Book review: “Dynamic Stretching and Kicking” by Bill “Superfoot” Wallace
Bill Wallace is one of the big names in American martial arts. He was a successful Karate point fighter and then turned to full contact competitions. He’s most famous for using only his lead leg to kick with and doing so with great success. You can also see him in a few older martial arts movies, usually playing the bad guy.
This book is another one of those “oldies”in my library (first published in 1981). I used the information in it to enhance my kicking skills when I just started competing. As a heavyweight, I often fought opponents who were perhaps strong but not that skillful because they relied on their strength too much. I wasn’t the strongest fighter around, but I often managed to be a bit faster than the others, especially with my kicking techniques. Part of the success I enjoyed in these competitions is due to this book. As time went by, I was confronted with the limitations of this method, but more on that later.
The book starts out with a short introduction to basic anatomy, physiology and kinesiology of stretching. These topics are covered very briefly, but they do give some useful background information. At the end of this chapter, some useful pointers are given: Keep your back straight, don’t bounce, etc.
Next are some warm-up exercises covering the major joints and muscles. The format in which they are presented is one of the best I have seen so far, but it has sadly not been copied much in martial arts books. Each exercise is presented with several pictures. On the opposite page is an explanation of the physiological benefits, the number of repetitions to be performed, Martial arts benefits and some pointers. This way, you know exactly what to do, why it is important and what mistakes to be attentive to.
Even though most exercises are good enough, there are some that would be considered advanced or not good for you these days. E.g.: certain hip rotations, lower back stretches and bridging exercises. Besides these few, the exercises certainly have their use. [Read more…]