Resistance Bands for Kick Training: Unintended Comedy
Someone has asked me what I think about using resistance bands in kick training, specifically Myosource Kinetic Bands. (You can see a martial arts class using these bands in the video below.)
Here is my answer:
With good technique, they could help. The TKD master in the video is an abysmally poor instructor, so for people in his class, those things may even be harmful.
For adding resistance to a technique to make sense, the form and timing of the technique have to be well learned, otherwise both will be ruined and a bad habit will be ingrained. You can see this ruining of side and roundhouse kicks by a too early application of resistance in the martial arts class shown in the video.
The type of resistance is the next consideration (but no additional resistance helps until technique is learned). Each type of resistance has its pluses and minuses. Elastic resistance slows down movements at the end of their path when their velocity should be increasing. Weights offer the most resistance at the beginning of the move, but then their inertia can overextend the move. Application of the right type and amount of resistance depends on the weak points of the athlete in a given technique. For some that will mean applying resistance only at the beginning phase of a technique, for others at the end phase. Some techniques must be broken into parts that can be safely done against resistance.
The bottom line: If a resistance distorts the correct technique, then it should not be applied or should be applied differently, or a different resistance should be applied. The way to find out is to try, observe, and adjust.
And here are reasons why this TKD master is a poor instructor:
— An instructor worthy of this title doesn’t turn his back on the class, especially a class of children. The first reason has to do with discipline and class control: You don’t turn your back on the class because people, especially children, can do the craziest things when you are not watching. This is taught to all real instructors. The second reason is not taught to people mentally fit to be instructors because it is too obvious: When you are demonstrating something, you have to face the class so students can see what you are doing, and you can see how they are doing it. Further, trained instructors demonstrate all moves as if a mirror image of students facing them. So, when a real instructor shows a move that is to be done with a right limb, the instructor does it with a left limb, so students facing the instructor don’t have to flip the image in their minds. That helps the students concentrate on the essential points of the movement and speeds up learning. With well motivated and focused students, an instructor can get away with such “backward” demonstrating as this TKD master—as witnessed in good-to-excellent results of individual instruction in Dancing with the Stars, for example—but as a rule, in large-group settings it wastes students’ time.
— The class mixes grown-ups and children. That is a sign of incompetence or desperation. In such a setting, group instruction short-changes both young and old. Readers of Children and Sports Training realize that.
— The instructor has students with poor or even no technique (a testimony to his teaching skill) practice moves they don’t know with added resistance. More need not be said….
Such sights are common in martial arts, especially those imported from the Far East. Their exotic origin and language give them an air of mystery, set a rigid hierarchy, and so help obscure incompetence of the “instructors,” grand and utmost masters, and gurus. There are individuals desperate to be in charge, to be authorities, no matter how ignorant they are of the subject. Many of those martial arts organizations give them that opportunity if they are a tad fitter and persistent than the rest of their peers. And there are plenty of gullible people among their peers to keep those masters in business.
Filed under: Sports Technique, Strength Training for Sports and Martial Arts, Teaching Movement Skills for Sports and Martial Arts | 5 Comments
Tags: American Taekwondo Association, ATA, athlete, Chief Master Steve Westbrook, Children and Sports Training, comedy, elastic resistance, instructor, kick, kicking, martial arts, martial arts class, Myosource Kinetic Bands, resistance bands, Songahm Taekwondo Federations, sports training, STU, taekwondo, technique, Thomas Kurz, TKD master, World Traditional Taekwondo Union, WTTU