Martial Arts Grace

How to Develop More Grace With Martial Arts

I think that just about everyone knows that martial-arts training helps to develop both balance and grace of movement. Some fiction books describe the movements of a martial-arts master as resembling the feline motions of a large tiger or panther.

So, does this fluidity of movement develop naturally?

Is there a way to speed the process of becoming graceful by using martial-arts training?

Tips To Improve Your Martial Arts Grace

1. Start easy — Stationary balance exercises, like throwing out a kick and holding it in the air, are a great starting point. You won’t “move” across the floor like a cheetah, but you’ll lose some of the awkward wobbliness that some people have.

2. Practice stepping off at tighter angles — in some styles, you do a wide step, when you block — often at a 45 degree angle. This is NOT what I am referring to. Think of someone punching or kicking at you, and you dodge it by barely stepping or pivoting to the side. The punch almost kisses the side of your face or arm. It’s passing at a tight angle. With enough of this type of practice, you’ll lose some of that “bull in a china shop” clunkiness.

3. Practice a “no bump” policy — If you are prone to grazing the side of a door frame as you enter a room, or you occasionally bump into someone in a crowded place … stop it! Make a conscious effort to glide through life without feeling like a chrome ball in a pinball machine. You can see how this will make you a more graceful martial artist, right?

4. Move across your dojo or training facility, both with formal glides, regular walking, and quick-step-running — Let’s say you are practicing punching. If your style has formal footwork for moving across the floor, start with that. Make the combination of punching and gliding seem almost natural. Then progress to walking and punching, and finally, punching while running.

This will really improve your ability to be able to “walk and chew gum at the same time.” Your coordination will improve, as will your skill … not to mention the added dose of martial arts grace. I’m willing to bet that people will notice that you are more graceful in all of your actions.

Of course, there are a lot more ways to improve, but these four martial-arts tips are a great beginning.

Do you have any favorite ways to develop the lithe, cat-like movements that you’d like to share?

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Comments (1)


  1. Neko says:

    A perfect way for me is training the tenkan footwork (from aikido) and then apply it in every turn I make. It’s basically like turning left 90* by spinning right 270* and turning back the way I came from with tenkan only. In time that movement got smaller and more agile and I’ve even had some compliments of my gracefulness.

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