Sunday, August 22, 2010

Martial Art Films

I'm finally going to post my list and comments on the martial arts films that I've seen.  This should be a multipart series as I remember more.  Here's the ones that I can remember seeing. In order of how much I liked them....What have you liked? Obviously, I haven't seen that much.

Films / TV Programs

Kung Fu. The TV Program starring David Carradine. The martial arts craze of the 70s was fueled in large part by the 'Kung Fu' program on TV (I recently purchased the first season on DVD). The TV series ran from 1972–1975 (I graduated from high school in 1976). It was a huge hit putting a pacifist idealistic kung fu master in the rough old racist US west. It hit the trends well riding both the enthusiasm for Westerns and the interest in Eastern philosophy and the martial arts. I learned about kung fu and Eastern philosophy from it.

Red Belt. By David Mamet.
The Human Weapon. A series on the History Channel in 2007-08. 

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story  
The Karate Kid. Original.
The Karate Kid. Remake 2010.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

Legend of Drunken Master. Jackie Chen.
Kung Fu Panda.  
Foot Fist Way.

When we were Kings
Mike Tyson
Thrilla in Manilla
And a bunch of others on Mohammed Ali.

BTW, I wrote about my martial arts reading list a few years ago.

Sunday, August 08, 2010

Stretching: Warming up versus Building Flexibility

I'm thrilled by the flexibility that I've gained through the martial arts. With that said, I'm still not sure that I understand it very well so I'm going to study it over the next few weeks to see what I can learn.  Got anything to contribute? Anybody ever read an informative article or book about it?

A starting point is that I've never fully understood the difference between stretching to warm up for a work out and stretching to increase my overall flexibility.  What stretches are appropriate for each? How long should a stretch be held for each? When should they be done?

Warming up - A workout typically starts with some light cardio such as jog-around, shadow boxing, few dozen jumping jacks, situps and pushups designed to warm the muscles. After the body is warmed, there's a set of stretches. I know that these should be light. How long should positions be held?  How much of them should you do?  Any other guidelines?

Increasing flexibility - Near the end of a workout, there is a different type of stretching. This is more intense and is intended both to help recovery time from the workout (to avoid getting stiff) and to increase flexibility. The positions should be held I believe for 20-30 seconds and should be done in two to three repetitions for each area. I'm not sure where I learned this or if it is gospel truth. Questions that I have are whether you should stretch the same muscle group every day or is this like weight lifting in that you should rotate muscle groups. 

PS - I wanted to grab an image to put on this post so I googled stretching. Wow, there's a lot of online writing on the topic.  I should have know that.
I often "cheat" on my warm-ups by getting into a jacuzzi. In less then five minutes, I get warmed up and I have a series of stretches that I've figured out that I can do in there without falling or drowning. Is this a good or bad idea?  Also, I sometimes go into it after workouts since I believe that it helps get rid of lactic acid. Any truth or opinions on this?