A Beginner’s Guide to Stretching, Part One

To perform aikido your body needs to be relaxed & supple. For this reason I would strongly recommend that you incorporate regular stretching into your practice.

Aiming to stretch for 10-15 minutes 4-6 times a week not only helps to keep the body supple, but it also introduces the habit of regular practice into your life.

Advantages of stretching

  • It teaches you how to relax your muscles & calm your mind both of which are important to aikido.
  • It increases flexibility & extends your range of motion thus helping to prevent injury.
  • It improves body awareness (learn where you hold tension in your body & improve posture).
  • It’s free.
  • You can do it where & when it suits you.
  • You work at your own pace – within your own limits. Stretching shouldn’t be competitive.
  • It enables you to move more fluidly another important requirement for aikido practice.
  • You learn how to make time for regular training.
  • You don’t need special equipment.

How to stretch

In Part Two I describe how to stretch. Part Three has a stretching routine that you can print off and use in your daily practice.