Dallyon is the Korean word for "equipment maintenance". In Taekwon-Do
equipment refers to our bodies. Dallyon is the maintenance of our bodies,
Forging - The toughening of our attacking and blocking tools, such as hands and
Stretching - Flexibility helps prevent injury and promotes great technique and
overall health. It's very important that we never underestimate the importance of
Running - Our bodies need to be conditioned to handle extended lengths of
rigorous activity. Endurance and stamina are crucial in sparring, exercising and the
possibility of self-defense. We hope that we never have to use our self-defense
training outside the dojang but if the situation does arise we need to be able to last
longer and fight harder then our attacker.
Weight training - Strong muscles create strong technique. Whether your
punching, kicking or blocking an attacker, every move should be capable of
disabling an attacker. Strong muscles are also important in preventing injury by
promoting strong limbs, joints and bones.
Stretching and Flexibility
When defending "empty handed" against an armed opponent, if the
Taekwondo Master managed to not get hit, there was "one chance,"
one kick, one punch or one throw. If it did not disable the attacker the
artist did not servive. This is called Ilkyung Pilsaeng (One strike,
victory). Every movement, every technique had to be decisive,it had
to have the potential to render the opponent harmless. Therefore, if a
good strong strike was developed it could never be used against
another human being unless it were a life and death situation.
One of the main tools for training to develop the Ilkyung Pilsaeng
strike was the training post, Talyuntae or Talyunbong (makiwara in
Japanese). The talyuntae was a 6 foot x 4 inch x 4 inch post that was
buried so that only 4 feet were above the ground. The board was 4x4
at the bottom and tapered up to a 2x4 at the top. Affixed to the
talyuntae was a straw pad to absorb some of the shock. The
Taekwondo student repeatedly struck the talyuntae with full power
punches, knife hand strikes, elbow strikes and low kicks to
strengthen the knuckles, fists, knife edge of hand, etc. With ever
strike of the talyuntae, the intent was to disable the opponent. The
Taekwondo practitioner developed “heavy hands,” the ability to hit
hard with little effort.
Ballistic stretching uses the momentum of a moving body or a limb in an attempt to force it beyond
its normal range of motion. This is stretching, or "warming up", by bouncing into (or out of) a
stretched position, using the stretched muscles as a spring which pulls you out of the stretched
position. (e.g. bouncing down repeatedly to touch your toes.) This type of stretching is not
considered useful and can lead to injury. It does not allow your muscles to adjust to, and relax in,
the stretched position. It may instead cause them to tighten up by repeatedly activating the
Dynamic stretching, according to Kurz, "involves moving parts of your body and gradually
increasing reach, speed of movement, or both." Do not confuse dynamic stretching with ballistic
stretching! Dynamic stretching consists of controlled leg and arm swings that take you (gently!) to
the limits of your range of motion. Ballistic stretches involve trying to force a part of the body
beyond its range of motion. In dynamic stretches, there are no bounces or "jerky" movements. An
example of dynamic stretching would be slow, controlled leg swings, arm swings, or torso twists.
Dynamic stretching improves dynamic flexibility and is quite useful as part of your warm-up for an
active or aerobic workout (such as a dance or martial-arts class).
Active stretching is also referred to as static-active stretching. An active stretch is one where you
assume a position and then hold it there with no assistance other than using the strength of your
agonist muscles (see section Cooperating Muscle Groups). For example, bringing your leg up
and then holding it there without anything (other than your leg muscles themselves) to keep the
leg in that extended position. The tension of the agonists in an active stretch helps to relax the
muscles being stretched (the antagonists) by reciprocal inhibition (see section Reciprocal
Active stretching increases active flexibility and strengthens the agonistic muscles. Active
stretches are usually quite difficult to hold and maintain for more than 10 seconds and rarely need
to be held any longer than 15 seconds.
Many of the movements (or stretches) found in various forms of yoga are active stretches
Passive stretching is also referred to as relaxed stretching, and as static-passive stretching. A
passive stretch is one where you assume a position and hold it with some other part of your body,
or with the assistance of a partner or some other apparatus. For example, bringing your leg up
high and then holding it there with your hand. The splits is an example of a passive stretch (in this
case the floor is the "apparatus" that you use to maintain your extended position).
Slow, relaxed stretching is useful in relieving spasms in muscles that are healing after an injury.
Obviously, you should check with your doctor first to see if it is okay to attempt to stretch the
injured muscles (see section Pain and Discomfort).
Relaxed stretching is also very good for "cooling down" after a workout and helps reduce
post-workout muscle fatigue, and soreness.
Many people use the term "passive stretching" and "static stretching" interchangeably. However,
there are a number of people who make a distinction between the two.
Static stretching involves holding a position. That is, you stretch to the farthest point and hold the
stretch ... Passive stretching is a technique in which you are relaxed and make no contribution to
the range of motion. Instead, an external force is created by an outside agent, either manually or
mechanically. Notice that the definition of passive stretching given in the previous section
encompasses both of the above definitions. Throughout this document, when the term static
stretching or passive stretching is used, its intended meaning is the definition of passive
stretching as described in the previous section. You should be aware of these alternative
meanings, however, when looking at other references on stretching.
Isometric stretching is a type of static stretching (meaning it does not use motion) which involves
the resistance of muscle groups through isometric contractions (tensing) of the stretched
muscles (see section Types of Muscle Contractions). The use of isometric stretching is one of the
fastest ways to develop increased static-passive flexibility and is much more effective than either
passive stretching or active stretching alone. Isometric stretches also help to develop strength in
the "tensed" muscles (which helps to develop static-active flexibility), and seems to decrease the
amount of pain usually associated with stretching. The most common ways to provide the needed
resistance for an isometric stretch are to apply resistance manually to one's own limbs, to have a
partner apply the resistance, or to use an apparatus such as a wall (or the floor) to provide
An example of manual resistance would be holding onto the ball of your foot to keep it from flexing
while you are using the muscles of your calf to try and straighten your instep so that the toes are
pointed. An example of using a partner to provide resistance would be having a partner hold your
leg up high (and keep it there) while you attempt to force your leg back down to the ground. An
example of using the wall to provide resistance would be the well known "push-the-wall"
calf-stretch where you are actively attempting to move the wall (even though you know you can't).
Isometric stretching is not recommended for children and adolescents whose bones are still
growing. These people are usually already flexible enough that the strong stretches produced by
the isometric contraction have a much higher risk of damaging tendons and connective tissue.
Kurz strongly recommends preceding any isometric stretch of a muscle with dynamic strength
training for the muscle to be stretched. A full session of isometric stretching makes a lot of
demands on the muscles being stretched and should not be performed more than once per day
for a given group of muscles (ideally, no more than once every 36 hours).
The proper way to perform an isometric stretch is as follows:
Assume the position of a passive stretch for the desired muscle.
Next, tense the stretched muscle for 7-15 seconds (resisting against some force that will not
move, like the floor or a partner).
Finally, relax the muscle for at least 20 seconds.
Some people seem to recommend holding the isometric contraction for longer than 15 seconds,
but according to SynerStretch (the videotape), research has shown that this is not necessary. So
you might as well make your stretching routine less time consuming.
How Isometric Stretching Works
How Isometric Stretching Works
Isometric Stretching: (beginning of section)
Recall from our previous discussion (see section How Muscles Contract) that there is no such
thing as a partially contracted muscle fiber: when a muscle is contracted, some of the fibers
contract and some remain at rest (more fibers are recruited as the load on the muscle increases).
Similarly, when a muscle is stretched, some of the fibers are elongated and some remain at rest
(see section What Happens When You Stretch). During an isometric contraction, some of the
resting fibers are being pulled upon from both ends by the muscles that are contracting. The
result is that some of those resting fibers stretch!
Normally, the handful of fibers that stretch during an isometric contraction are not very significant.
The true effectiveness of the isometric contraction occurs when a muscle that is already in a
stretched position is subjected to an isometric contraction. In this case, some of the muscle
fibers are already stretched before the contraction, and, if held long enough, the initial passive
stretch overcomes the stretch reflex (see section The Stretch Reflex) and triggers the
lengthening reaction (see section The Lengthening Reaction), inhibiting the stretched fibers from
When you isometrically contracted, some of the resting fibers would contract, many of the resting
fibers would stretch, and many of the already stretched fibers, which are being prevented from
contracting by the inverse myotatic reflex [the lengthening reaction], would stretch even more.
When the isometric contraction was relaxed and the contracting fibers returned to their resting
length, the stretched fibers would retain their ability to stretch beyond their normal limit. ... the
whole muscle would be able to stretch beyond its initial maximum, and you would have increased
The reason that the stretched fibers develop and retain the ability to stretch beyond their normal
limit during an isometric stretch has to do with the muscle spindles (see section Proprioceptors):
The signal which tells the muscle to contract voluntarily, also tells the muscle spindle's
(intrafusal) muscle fibers to shorten, increasing sensitivity of the stretch reflex. This mechanism
normally maintains the sensitivity of the muscle spindle as the muscle shortens during
contraction. This allows the muscle spindles to habituate (become accustomed) to an even
PNF stretching is currently the fastest and most effective way known to increase static-passive
flexibility. PNF is an acronym for proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation. It is not really a type of
stretching but is a technique of combining passive stretching (see section Passive Stretching)
and isometric stretching (see section Isometric Stretching) in order to achieve maximum static
flexibility. Actually, the term PNF stretching is itself a misnomer. PNF was initially developed as a
method of rehabilitating stroke victims. PNF refers to any of several post-isometric relaxation
stretching techniques in which a muscle group is passively stretched, then contracts
isometrically against resistance while in the stretched position, and then is passively stretched
again through the resulting increased range of motion. PNF stretching usually employs the use of
a partner to provide resistance against the isometric contraction and then later to passively take
the joint through its increased range of motion. It may be performed, however, without a partner,
although it is usually more effective with a partner's assistance.
Most PNF stretching techniques employ isometric agonist contraction/relaxation where the
stretched muscles are contracted isometrically and then relaxed. Some PNF techniques also
employ isometric antagonist contraction where the antagonists of the stretched muscles are
contracted. In all cases, it is important to note that the stretched muscle should be rested (and
relaxed) for at least 20 seconds before performing another PNF technique. The most common
stretching techniques are:
This technique is also called the contract-relax. After assuming an initial passive stretch, the
muscle being stretched is isometrically contracted for 7-15 seconds, after which the muscle is
briefly relaxed for 2-3 seconds, and then immediately subjected to a passive stretch which
stretches the muscle even further than the initial passive stretch. This final passive stretch is held
for 10-15 seconds. The muscle is then relaxed for 20 seconds before performing another PNF
This technique is also called the contract-relax-contract, and the
contract-relax-antagonist-contract (or CRAC). It involves performing two isometric contractions:
first of the agonists, then, of the antagonists. The first part is similar to the hold-relax where, after
assuming an initial passive stretch, the stretched muscle is isometrically contracted for 7-15
seconds. Then the muscle is relaxed while its antagonist immediately performs an isometric
contraction that is held for 7-15 seconds. The muscles are then relaxed for 20 seconds before
performing another PNF technique.
This technique (and a similar technique called the hold-relax-bounce) actually involves the use of
dynamic or ballistic stretches in conjunction with static and isometric stretches. It is very risky,
and is successfully used only by the most advanced of athletes and dancers that have managed
achieve a high level of control over their muscle stretch reflex (see section The Stretch Reflex). It
is similar to the hold-relax technique except that a dynamic or ballistic stretch is employed in
place of the final passive stretch.
Notice that in the hold-relax-contract, there is no final passive stretch. It is replaced by the
antagonist-contraction which, via reciprocal inhibition (see section Reciprocal Inhibition), serves
to relax and further stretch the muscle that was subjected to the initial passive stretch. Because
there is no final passive stretch, this PNF technique is considered one of the safest PNF
techniques to perform (it is less likely to result in torn muscle tissue). Some people like to make
the technique even more intense by adding the final passive stretch after the second isometric
contraction. Although this can result in greater flexibility gains, it also increases the likelihood of
Even more risky are dynamic and ballistic PNF stretching techniques like the hold-relax-swing,
and the hold-relax-bounce. If you are not a professional athlete or dancer, you probably have no
business attempting either of these techniques (the likelihood of injury is just too great). Even
professionals should not attempt these techniques without the guidance of a professional coach
or training advisor. These two techniques have the greatest potential for rapid flexibility gains, but
only when performed by people who have a sufficiently high level of control of the stretch reflex in
the muscles that are being stretched.
Like isometric stretching (see section Isometric Stretching), PNF stretching is also not
recommended for children and people whose bones are still growing (for the same reasons. Also
like isometric stretching, PNF stretching helps strengthen the muscles that are contracted and
therefore is good for increasing active flexibility as well as passive flexibility. Furthermore, as with
isometric stretching, PNF stretching is very strenuous and should be performed for a given
muscle group no more than once per day (ideally, no more than once per 36 hour period).
The initial recommended procedure for PNF stretching is to perform the desired PNF technique
times for a given muscle group (resting 20 seconds between each repetition). However, HFLTA
cites a 1987 study whose results suggest that performing 3-5 repetitions of a PNF technique for a
given muscle group is not necessarily any more effective than performing the technique only
once. As a result, in order to decrease the amount of time taken up by your stretching routine
(without decreasing its effectiveness), HFLTA recommends performing only one PNF technique
per muscle group stretched in a given stretching session.
How PNF Stretching Works
How PNF Stretching Works
PNF Stretching: (beginning of section)
Remember that during an isometric stretch, when the muscle performing the isometric
contraction is relaxed, it retains its ability to stretch beyond its initial maximum length (see
section How Isometric Stretching Works). Well, PNF tries to take immediate advantage of this
increased range of motion by immediately subjecting the contracted muscle to a passive stretch.
The isometric contraction of the stretched muscle accomplishes several things:
As explained previously (see section How Isometric Stretching Works), it helps to train the stretch
receptors of the muscle spindle to immediately accommodate a greater muscle length.
The intense muscle contraction, and the fact that it is maintained for a period of time, serves to
fatigue many of the fast-twitch fibers of the contracting muscles (see section Fast and Slow
Muscle Fibers). This makes it harder for the fatigued muscle fibers to contract in resistance to a
subsequent stretch (see section The Stretch Reflex).
The tension generated by the contraction activates the golgi tendon organ (see section
Proprioceptors), which inhibits contraction of the muscle via the lengthening reaction (see section
The Lengthening Reaction). Voluntary contraction during a stretch increases tension on the
muscle, activating the golgi tendon organs more than the stretch alone. So, when the voluntary
contraction is stopped, the muscle is even more inhibited from contracting against a subsequent
PNF stretching techniques take advantage of the sudden "vulnerability" of the muscle and its
increased range of motion by using the period of time immediately following the isometric
contraction to train the stretch receptors to get used to this new, increased, range of muscle
length. This is what the final passive (or in some cases, dynamic) stretch accomplishes.
Hand Conditioning with Grandmaster Hee Il Cho
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