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Randeep Walia

Using GST to become better at Capoeira

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Keilani Gutierrez

which reminds me that I should be practicing my horse stance. uhm...

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Klemen Bobnar

which reminds me that I should be practicing my horse stance. uhm...

I credit my horse stance practice for my fast progress on SLS PE2 & 3 :)

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Edward Prah

Does horse stance training make you more limber? Can it make my big muscular legs more supple/flexible? Also how long should you train? reps?

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Fred Mak

i'm no expert on exercise science, but i've done a lot of martial arts.  in my opinion, horse stance training would probably make you more stiff.  it will not help flexibility at all, as you do not move through the full range of motion.  horse stance training is not a useful exercise for anything other than stance training.  it will also tell your body to create slow twitch muscles.

 

i think most traditional martial arts practitioners just try to hold the horse stance for time.  it will suck balls.  i'm not sure that there would be any other way to train it.

 

also, if your hips aren't open enough (flexible enough), your legs won't have the proper alignment in a low horse stance.

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Jon Douglas

i'm no expert on exercise science, but i've done a lot of martial arts.  in my opinion, horse stance training would probably make you more stiff.  it will not help flexibility at all, as you do not move through the full range of motion.  horse stance training is not a useful exercise for anything other than stance training.  it will also tell your body to create slow twitch muscles.

That's ridiculous. How can you train GST and not think static holds have their place?

Like any other static position, when used strictly for strength training, its use is limited to 1) developing a decent hold time and 2) training the transitions into and out of.

 

Sei ping ma done correctly and especially with transitions will certainly open your hips in that direction and definitely will not make you tight, but If your priority is flexibility and mobility there are plenty of more effective and time-efficient drills. If you don't care about a solid stance then a trainee should spend their time doing specific mobility work first/instead.

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Craig Mallett

I also have to disagree with Ronin....horse stance as a static strength and mobility building exercise is fantastic (you need to be queued in the right way, not unlike most of the other static strength exercises done in GST). Use horse stance as part of a transition is even better, eg moving from horse stance to bow stance then around to the side stance all while keeping thighs parallel to the ground. 

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Rachid Tahri

The horse stance done PROPERLY is even a doorway to a side split....

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Edward Prah

The horse stance done PROPERLY is even a doorway to a side split....

Nice...then I need to do it! Can you provide  a video of  the proper horse stance?

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Rachid Tahri

I strongly recommend you the book "Stretching Scientifically" by Thomas Kurz! In his book he has detailed information about the horse stance and how to achieve full splits with strength over the full range of motion instead of just passive flexibility. Below you'll see some of his work. Good luck!

 

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Edward Prah

Thanks a lot Rachid!

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Jon Douglas

I strongly recommend you the book "Stretching Scientifically" by Thomas Kurz! In his book he has detailed information about the horse stance and how to achieve full splits with strength over the full range of motion instead of just passive flexibility. Below you'll see some of his work. Good luck!

 

This book is how I first got my splits.

Kit Laughlin's work is better and more comprehensive in some ways, but Stretching Scientifically does a great job of teaching you the whys and hows of stretching, and how to be intelligent about it. Also, yep, comfortable suspended splits, Whereas Stretching and Flexibility is 'today you will do this,' and very Foundation-like, rotates systematically through limiting factors to address each aspect of the issue, with a discussion of what's going on beneath the surface and a lot of information on how to tweak the positions for different levels.

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Rachid Tahri

I completely agree with you Jon! Kit's book tackles the stuff in a more comprehensive way with the idea's behind it. My split story is a little different. As a 12 year old child I saw the movie "bloodsport" of Jean Claude van Damme and decided to learn the side split on chairs. With my limited "knowledge" back than, I learned the splits in a couple of months but in passive way. I could also do the front splits passively. Because everything was passive I couldn't do them without being super warmed up. After more than twenty years (after reading Kurz book) I relearned the (correct) front split in an active way and the sensation is completely different! I can do it practically without any warming up!

 

Due to an adductor injury (during deep heavy squats) I cannot train properly for the side split according to the method that Kurz describes, but I cannot wait unit my injury is healed and relearn the side splits in an active way. 

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Geoffrey Wielingen

That video of Kurz is taunting me! :angry:

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Keilani Gutierrez

i'm no expert on exercise science, but i've done a lot of martial arts.  in my opinion, horse stance training would probably make you more stiff.  it will not help flexibility at all, as you do not move through the full range of motion.  horse stance training is not a useful exercise for anything other than stance training.  it will also tell your body to create slow twitch muscles.

 

i think most traditional martial arts practitioners just try to hold the horse stance for time.  it will suck balls.  i'm not sure that there would be any other way to train it.

 

also, if your hips aren't open enough (flexible enough), your legs won't have the proper alignment in a low horse stance.

 

easily mistakable. you're probably refering to habits that can further aggravate hip mechanics through incorrect pelvic tilt, which is possible and i experienced(anterior pelvic tilt during horse stance training didnt limber me up) now that I do horse stances with a flat back instead of a REALLY tucked anterior tilt, i find my efforts though lesser in intensity, more fruitful(add in actually doing Sei Ping Ma instead of just a squat hold with no real activation going on and you got a world of stuff going on in the lower body region) it's all in the little details ^_^ #sweatsathisdesk #YJKYMlife 

I also have to disagree with Ronin....horse stance as a static strength and mobility building exercise is fantastic (you need to be queued in the right way, not unlike most of the other static strength exercises done in GST). Use horse stance as part of a transition is even better, eg moving from horse stance to bow stance then around to the side stance all while keeping thighs parallel to the ground. 

yeah, Sei Ping Ma moving through Pu Bu and Gong Bu really is one heck of a workout. it's tortorous to not let the lower back act out its will if you got mobility deficits, but once you get through that road block, it's new to me to actually use these poses for splits development( in my school, they viewed it as seperate activities) and after going through countless hours of studying anatomy and doing the F1 leg segments to test for mobility gains, i'm surprised anyone would think that, unless it was so indoctrinated that they'd turn a blind eye

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Connor Davies

......Sei Ping Ma moving through Pu Bu and Gong Bu really is one heck of a workout.....

Just trying to picture this because I know SFA chinese, but you're basically referring to a horse stance, moving through a side lunge, into front stance?

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Keilani Gutierrez

Just trying to picture this because I know SFA chinese, but you're basically referring to a horse stance, moving through a side lunge, into front stance?

correct

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Connor Davies

correct

Cool.  I can do this, but are their any cues I should think about.  (pelvic tilt, foot alignment, anything?)

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Randeep Walia

Coming back into tumbling from an injury. Here's how my tumbling skills road map is progressing:

 

[X] Round off

[X] Back Handspring

[X] Double back handspring

[ ] Round off back handspring

[X] Standing back tuck

[ ] Round off back tuck

[ ] J-Step Gainer

 

I want to start putting this stuff into the roda. Particularly developing the aou mortao (cartwheel into a backflip) but this feels really hard to me, despite the fact that standing backflips feel pretty effortless. Any ideas for progressing up to this?

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Michaël Van den Berg

Correct me if I'm wrong, but what you are looking for is not a true (capoeira-style) cartwheel into a backflip but a roundoff to backflip (which you have listed in your progressions already). If you do a capoeira-style cartwheel you continue facing your opponent and therefore you will end up with your side towards the direction of the backflip, instead of your back. You could do a sideflip from that position, but not a backflip.

 

I would say you need to progress as follows:

 

1) Perfect your roundoff from any position in the roda you would like to combine with roundoff-backflip (e.g., cocorinha/crouch to roundoff, as it's most common to do roundoff-backflip when entering the roda, but ginga to roundoff will also work of course) and make sure you end up perfectly stable and strong in the final position of the roundoff;

2) Work towards transferring the momentum of your roundoff into a strong rebound and make sure you jump straight up;

3) After mastering 1 and 2, add the backflip :)

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Michaël Van den Berg

I would like to add (since the original topic of this thread is about using GST to improve your capoeira performance) that you should probably wait to see what Coach S. has in store for us regarding plyometrics/dynamic movement and the associated mobility and joint prep, before doing backflips in the roda (as you know capoeira is usually played on floors that are pretty unforgiving ;))

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Randeep Walia

as you know capoeira is usually played on floors that are pretty unforgiving

Man, ain't that the truth. I have a kind of a "senior citizens club" of Capoeiristas in the mid 30s I get together with and we're always sitting around with bags of ice complaining about our various injuries. I recently had a discussion with a couple of guys who are very talented at acrobatics and they have stopped doing any flips on wood surfaces and concrete since they just don't have anything to prove any more. Sounds smart to me.

 

I'm actually not looking to a sideflip in the roda (even though I would love to learn that skill, it's always been elusive to me). The common progression in my group is:

 

Armada (spinning kick) finishing with the kicking leg behind the base leg -> using the momentum from that kick to go straight into an aou and then a back flip from there.

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Fred Mak

If you want to pick up skills like backflips and handstands, capoeira is not the most efficient way to get there. Especially when you have no interest in the musical and martial aspects.

Capoeira does not have progressions like gymnastics does. Capoeira teachers can be very inspiring but most of them have no clue about proper training structure etc. Of course you start by training more 'basic' elements and progress to training more 'advanced' elements but this mostly pertains to kicking, escapes, takedowns, and less so to the acrobatic elements. When it comes to acrobatics your teacher shows you a movement and you just try to replicate it until you either get the move or get injured and decide it's not for you. That's why there are many advanced capoeiristas that hardly do any acrobatics at all and also many beginners that can do all kinds of tricks but have no skills in the game at all.

Please don't think that all capoeiristas are able to do everything you see in the showreels on Youtube.

I played capoeira for 8 years and still love the game for what it is, so please don't read this as an attack on capoeira... but the truth is that you should only train it if you love the game. It's not optimal if you just want to learn a couple of great moves.

michael,
 
i've been thinking about your post recently.
 
i realize that this may be a really redundant question, but i just want to make sure that i understood what you meant.  when you mentioned that capoeira is not good for learning "acrobatic" elements, such as the handstand and backflip, i wasn't sure if you were including flow type movements in the "acrobatic" category.  in the following video at 0:32, the guy does a "macaco," a move from capoeira, which is a flow type move:
 
if i just want to learn movements like the macaco but am not interested in roda, singing, or playing musical instruments, it worth going to capoeira classes?
 
thanks
 
 
p.s. here's another example of a guy who does a lot of flow type movements.  except for the handstand at 0:14 and the aerial at 0:35, everything is a flow type movement
 
 

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Michaël Van den Berg

My honest opinion is 'no'. When you take capoeira classes you learn the movements with the goal to apply them in the game of capoeira which is played in the roda (circle). The roda does not exist without the music. You are expected to learn it all. There are always students who have no interest in participating in the roda. But that is frowned upon and my experience is that they quit sooner than later.

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Michaël Van den Berg

To put it another way: you can definitely learn all sorts of moves in capoeira class (although the approach to training is primitive at best, which prompted my original post) but it simply isn't the most productive environment if you're not interested in the martial aspects, the game, the music... because a large part of capoeira training is devoted to those aspects, rather than to learning moves.

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