The hips are used extensively in all martial arts of the world to perform different techniques with the hands, fists, elbows, legs, knees or feet. They are used primarily to gain mass and thereby to increase power in a stance, a strike, a block, a punch, or a kick.
The movement of the hips may be:
All the above can be performed by:
—using only the hips
—using both the hips and the knees together
Using only the hips
In Taekwon-Do, the hips are moved in almost all techniques. In the following video, Gen. Choi demonstrates how to twist the hips to perform a low block with the outer forearm.
TKDCoaching.com video “Gen Choi Choi Hong Hi – use of the hip for power”:
In Judo, the hips are used extensively. The following video demonstrates how the hips are used in various ways to execute throws.
GARIBO101 video “15 BASIC JUDO THROWS – LA VALLEY COLLEGE”:
In Bajiquan, a Chinese martial art, the use of hips (known as ‘kua’) is employed effectively to enable various techniques. The following video shows how the hips are twisted in one its technique.
BajiFreak video “Baji Quan fight Application : KuaDa (胯打)”:
In Karate, the hips are used in multiple ways. The following video shows three methods of using the hips.
Radek Scuri video “Tatsuya Naka 7th dan Shotokan Karate _ Three methods to use hips”:
The following video shows Bruce Lee twisting his hips while practicing punches and kicks.
odieoreilly video “BRUCE LEE PUT YOU’RE HIP INTO IT 2016”:
Using both the hips and the knees
In Taekwon-Do, to gain more mass and thereby more power, the hips can be twisted along with a sine wave motion to execute different techniques. The bending and straightening of the knees, in varying degrees, with or without a spring action, for the sole purpose of gaining mass and thereby power, is given an explicit name in Taekwon-Do as the ‘sine wave’ motion. A pattern (tul) in Taekwon-Do provides an opportunity to see how both the hips and the sine wave, can be combined effectively. The following video shows the movement of the hips combined with the sine wave motion.
ITFtuls video “Tong-Il Tul”:
The ‘sine wave’ movement is also found in other martial arts, where either no explicit name is given or the nomenclature is different. For example, in Karate, twisting the hips along with bending and straightening of the knees is found, as can be seen in the following video showing a kata of Karate.
World Karate Federation video “Final Female Kata. Rika Usami of Japan. 宇佐美 里香。空手”:
Using the hips forward
In Wing Chun, the hips are kept forward to increase structural stability. The following video shows Grandmaster Ip Man practicing on a wooden dummy. Notice how the hips are always kept forward to maintain stability and increase power.
White Crane – Wing Chun video “Ip Man Wooden Dummy Real Speed HD”:
Using hips rotation
Rotation of the hips is seen in kicks, especially roundhouse kick, reverse roundhouse kick, and other spinning/ turning kicks. It is also seen in strikes with spinning palms, fists, elbows or knees in Muay Thai and Silat.
ImpactTKD video “Knockout Spinning Jump kick – ITF Taekwon-Do – Carl van Roon”:
TKD Action video “Taekwondo 360, 540, 600, 720, Demonstration & back flips”:
UFC – Ultimate Fighting Championship video “Wildest Spinning Finishes in UFC History”:
Improving hip strength and flexibility
To perform kicks and other techniques involving hip movements, the hips need to be strong, loose and relaxed. Several exercises, if practiced regularly, can achieve this. Few videos are presented below.
Todays Taekwondo video “Taekwondo Tutorial – Hip Strength by Olympic Coach Gareth Brown”:
Alex Wong video “TKD Drills to Strengthen Hip Flexors”:
Nora TKD video “Hip Flexibility Training for Martial Artists”:
HeadStart Sports Massage Clinic, Cambridge video “Hip mobility exercises – Internal & External rotation”:
Moving the hip is an important way to generate power and is found in almost all martial arts. The flexibility of the hip can be gained by regular stretching exercises. Additionally, adequate warm up before training and cool down after training, also make the hips more healthier, more flexible, and more strong. Moreover relaxed breathing and meditation can also help in a holistic manner.
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