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Michael and myself before our sparring match at the 2000 Taekwondo Festival here in Edmonton. I won't tell you who won, but I got the Gold medal in sparring this year. Also Gold in Poomse and Silver in Power Breaking.
My Taekwondo school is Edmonton Family Taekwondo and my intsructor is Mr Randy Hamilton, 3rd Dan.
I started Taekwondo in May of 1999 because I've always been interested but didn't think my knees could handle it after carrying all that weight. I find that Taekwondo training provides me with cardiovascular, strength and flexibility workouts way beyond what I would normally have put myself through (with the exception of the strength training). I believe that one of the best things I ever did in the last decade was to start Taekwondo.
This was also taken at the Taekwondo Festival 2000 on May 6. I had broken one brick for my Green Belt testing and thought I would turn it up a notch for the festival. Notice I did not edit the photo to add hair.
The video above of my back kick and the video below is
from my Green Belt testing November 03,
I apologize for the quality of the photos for the back kick and the brick break. I had no stills taken and these were screen captures from the video.
I recently took a year off from training to establish my business, but have recently returned. As of Oct, 2002, I am a Red Belt, about to test for Black Stripe.
Look, we both know that Taekwondo, Judo, Kickboxing or any combat martial art is highly dependant on the abdominal region, right? Well, lets get really specific for a minute. Abdominals are only part of the picture. All the abs do is bring the shoulders / chest region down toward the hips. That's it. How often do you do that in your martial art? I suppose there are times during say Judo or some other grappeling discipline where being able to hold that "crunch" would be important, but in Taekwondo, Kickboxing or anything that makes use of the rotation of the abdominal region is actually using your whole "core", not just the abs. Abs are pretty, they're for bodybuilders (see link below)
Core Performance and Improvement
It's the core, not the abs that should be developed. Youre core is made up of various combination of muscle groups and all should be trained to support and serve your training. I used to do endless crunches and leg raises and the like and ended up with a good set of abs, but a killer sore back too. Sometimes it was sore enought that I had trouble getting out of bed in the morning. Enter my trainer in the spring of 2004. She absolutely refuses to let me do crunches. In fact she's so serious about it that if she catches me doing them, she will end our contract. She's far too valuable to me to risk losing her. Her training is all core based. Everything I do now is all based on developing and strengthening the core. When I do dumbell presses, curls, flyes, squates or lunges, it's all done in a manner that brings the core into play and let me tell you, I've increased all my lifts due to this little change.
Core Training, Not Ab Training
Firm and Flatten Your Abs by David Grisaffi certified by the Chek Institute as a Corrective High Performance Exercise Kinesiologist. David's program literallly fell into my lap a few weeks ago. I've had look through it and it's all core based training which results in firm abs and a better developed core. I've been doing a few of the exercises he recommends as they're some of the ones my trainer has me doing that has proved so well for me. I've gotten the results. I was able to grab a few others from the book along with training advice he gives and developed my own specific core program based on his book Firm and Flatten Your Abs.
Tom Venuto interviewed David and I've posted it for you to look over and decide for yourself if it's something you want to explore. I recommend you do. I've seen an increase in my punching strength and my kicks because of how I've strengthened everything. A stronger core produces a heavier impact on the target whether it be a punch or a kick, or getting out of any defensive position. Look into it.
Killer Abs, Bodybuilding "Old School"
If you're looking to build a set of killer abs, check out the How to Get Killer Abs in 8 Easy Lessons article by Bodybuilder and coach Tom Venuto. Just remember, Abdominal training by itself is a bodybuilding application, not functional muscle. If you're really a martial artist, you should be more concerned with Core based abdominal training.