"Master, if I do not have 50 feet to work with for exercises that need it (like the Lizard Crawl), can I just loop the exercise to make it fit my training area?"
To answer your question, you can certainly loop the exercise to complete it. We do this often with many exercises in the ninja clan. For example, one exercise that we do calls for climbing 300 feet of metal pole. Instead of doing that, we climb 25 feet of vertical pole 12 times, to achieve the same effect.
"Master, you said that one must not open one’s leg completely in kicks.. but in your practice videos you demonstrate kicks by opening them out fully, and with great power!!! How should I practice at home?"
No, honorable Deshi - one NEVER snaps open the leg with full force in a way that can damage the knee. Even though it might look like that in a video, the ninja who is demonstrating is actually keeping the leg very slightly bent. Very slightly bent is enough - the knee should not be completely straight, that is all.
If your full-power strike misses an opponent, you may injure your OWN elbow or knee with the power of your strike. Hence, keeping the elbow or knee joint slightly bent as your strike reaches extension is a wise precaution.
Training continues after the Message below...
"I have a little bit of a problem with the dragon stance… the exercise for flexibility – can you tell me how to do it properly?"
The dragon stance is useful because if you master it, later in your training you will have no problem with using powerful and fast kicks. For those unfamiliar with the dragon stance, here is a simple introduction...
For a beginner, it can be difficult. The easiest way to learn it is to start with extending the leg to a very low height - don't try to extend the foot to waist height - instead, extend the leg to just 1 foot above the ground.
When you are used to it, extend the leg to just 2 feet above the ground. When this is easy, extend the leg to just 3 feet above the ground, and so on, gradually increasing the height to which you extend the leg, until you can easily extend it to waist height.
This will take a little time, but is VERY good for leg flexibility, which is very good for kicking ability.
Practice the dragon stance, but do not worry too much if you cannot do it perfectly. Instead, practice the ninja combat kicks against a bag regularly - doing these kicks against a bag will help perfect your dragon stance.
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