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Sifu Jensen’s article Part 1 of 2

How about legs that kick butt and take names? Then you want Kung Fu legs, Northern Shaolin Kung Fu Legs to be precise.  

Northern Shaolin is famous as the kicking style of Kung Fu. Northern Shaolin is full of devastating high kicks. Northern Shaolin kicks are not only high they are also fast! And extremely powerful! Northern Shaolin is where Bruce Lee learned his kicks!  

In many ways Northern Shaolin Kung Fu is grandfather of kicking styles because it is so old. Then only older style still practiced that is full of kicks is Cha Quan. Cha Quan is also considered to be an ancestor of Northern Shaolin. Cha Quan is one of Northern Shaolin’s “Five Mother Styles” and contributed kicking skills to the arsenal of Northern Shaolin.  

There are other styles that practice lots of kicks. But Northern Shaolin has one great advantage over most other kicking styles. That advantage is the long and low stances of Northern Shaolin. The long low stances of Northern Shaolin develop incredible strength and flexibility. To do an extremely low horse stance or an extremely low bow stance both take the same flexibility as the center or side splits. If you practice your stances until they are rock bottom low with your thighs parallel and legs extended over widely separated feet, your stances will stretch your hips just like doing the splits does.  

As someone who has survived a severe car accident and broken my pelvis in five places you can imagine what a challenge it was to stretch out my hips. There was a point early in training when I hit a plateau in my stretching. I was stretching constantly and making no progress on the deepest stretches “the splits”. At that point, I realized I was getting little return on my stretching effort and switched my tactics. Instead, I focused on keeping my hips level, my thighs rotated outward so my knees were aligned and going as deep as I possibly could in my stances. It was important to keep my hips tucked and thighs slightly rotated outward to stretch the correct muscles.

If you let your hips or pelvis tilt forward, you will not stretch the muscles in the pelvic region that are required for your deep stances to be powerful or to open your hips for dynamic high kicking. This combination of tucking the pelvis and maintaining your knee alignment with the slight outward rotation of thighs at the hips protects your knees and especially your Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) from injury and massively and completely stretches your entire pelvic area.

In Part 2 of 2 we will look into “How to do Jaw-Dropping Kicks in Northern Shaolin Kung Fu!”

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