Martial arts and mobility truly do go hand in hand. Even though most people (who usually rarely know what they’re talking about) associate martial arts and fighting with strength – mobility is usually the winner of a fight. It’s common knowledge that fighters constantly do stretching exercises in order to keep their mobility at a high level.
That’s insanely important for every fighter, as the primary way to counter an attack is predominantly by evading it, only then reacting to it. And in order to evade it – you have to be able to move quickly and at an angle.
This relation between mobility and martial arts is exactly what I’ll be researching today in order to point out just how important it is for every fighter to stay mobile and agile.
Why Is Mobility Important for Fighters?
Fighting in any form is a very complicated sport, but it’s essentially action and reaction. The goal of a fighter is to land as many punches and kicks as possible and to receive as little as possible. Mobility goes a long way in both of those efforts, and it can easily determine the outcome of a fight.
By mobility, I don’t mean the speed of a reaction – people often confuse those two terms. Speed predominantly depends on the reflexes of a fighter and muscle memory of evasion. Mobility, on the other hand, is the ability of a fighter to move their body or a part of their body in the way needed to accomplish an action, at normal or abnormal angles.
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So, being able to grapple, strike, and evade strikes is very dependent on mobility.
When you’re trying to evade a strike, be it a punch or a kick, the first thing that comes into play is your reflexes. Once your brain realizes the spot where the strike is going to land, then it’s all muscle memory and the attempt to evade that strike. The primary defense for any strike is evasion, and in order to avoid a strike, a fighter needs to be mobile, agile, and quick.
In order to grapple, a fighter often needs to bend their limbs in seemingly unnatural ways, and this is also determined by mobility. The same rule goes for getting out of grapples. If you’re pinned to the floor, the possibility of you getting out of that position is going to be determined mostly by mobility and strength, there’s no speed at play here.
Mobility is also vastly important when a fighter is trying to punch or kick their opponent, as it’s the primary tool that’s going to place the fighter in the right spot, at the right angle, and that’s going to ensure that the strike will actually connect.
Mobility is one of the most important aspects of fighting, alongside stamina, strength, speed, agility, and technique. It’s impossible for a fighter to win a fight if they’re going to stick to the same spot all the time and won’t move at all.
How Is Mobility Affected by Martial Arts?
Martial arts are known to vastly improve mobility, which is one of the main reasons why people decide to take up martial arts, especially people suffering from illnesses that cause a lack of mobility. It’s actually a common practice nowadays for older people who start noticing a lack of mobility to start training martial arts on an amateur level, not competitive, just to get their body moving.
It may seem ironic, but running – for example, isn’t that mobile exercise. Yes, you’re moving the whole time and you need to shuffle your whole body to run, but you’re not individually moving all parts of your body. Martial arts, on the other hand, require fighters to move every single part of their body, often at the same time and in different directions.
This makes martial arts very effective when battling immobility, and they’re definitely a sport that’s going to help you with a lack of mobility.
How to Improve Mobility?
Improving one’s mobility isn’t exactly a task that can be accomplished without going through a set of exercises that are here just to do that. Firstly, I recommend that you pick up a set of exercises that improve mobility.
There are many coaches who know very well what they’re doing, so you should speak with a coach at your gym or your dojo for some tips. If they don’t know any exercises that could help, though, then you should seek help elsewhere. Many athletes take up yoga to improve their mobility, as well as work with physical therapists and coaches.
However, a good gym will usually have coaches or at least a single coach who knows mobility exercises and how to improve mobility.
With good exercises, you’ll also need good equipment, and there’s a variety of tools you can use to improve your mobility. I recommend PSO-RITE and their collection of mobility exercising tools.
Roberto Villa is the CEO, Founder, Executive Writer, Senior Editor of FightBook MMA. Has a passion for Combat Sports and also a podcast host for Sitting Ringside. He’s also a former MMA fighter and Kickboxer.
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