3 Ways Gymnastics Will Improve Your Martial Arts Game

American Janet Todd added to her highlight reel with a head kick KO over Ekaterina Vandaryeva at ONE: CENTURY in Tokyo.

Many of ONE Championship’s stars either cross-train in other sports or transitioned into martial arts from another athletic endeavor.

For example, Ritu “The Indian Tigress” Phogat came from wrestling and Lowen Tynanes has spent a lifetime surfing. Then there’s ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Champion Janet “JT” Todd, who started out in gymnastics.

Before the Japanese-American battles Alma Juniku at ONE: FISTS OF FURY III – which will air this Friday, 19 March – we look at how gymnastics aided her martial arts journey, and how it can benefit yours.

#1 Increases Your Flexibility

American Janet Todd added to her highlight reel with a head kick KO over Ekaterina Vandaryeva at ONE: CENTURY in Tokyo.

In order to kick properly, the muscles in your hips and legs must be extremely flexible, and that’s where gymnastics can help even the tightest of physiques.

Kick passes, needle kicks, and hamstring leg lowers – which are taught in gymnastics classes – will all increase the flexibility in your hips and legs, which means you’ll be kicking like Todd in no time.

That flexibility is how “JT” got her leg high enough to knock out her taller rival – Ekaterina “Barbie” Vandaryeva – at ONE: CENTURY in 2019.

#2 Improves Your Balance

JAnet Todd DSC_2540.jpg

Balance is important in all combat sports, but especially in mixed martial arts and Muay Thai, where opponents are either trying to take you down or sweep you from within the clinch.

In gymnastics, techniques like the switch leap, full turn, and the more advanced front aerial – all performed from a 4-inch balance beam at the upper levels – will do wonders for your foundation.

Since Todd is a former gymnast, it’s no surprise that she’s rarely been off-balance in the clinch in Muay Thai bouts, even during her first outing against former two-sport ONE World Champion Stamp Fairtex.

#3 Strengthens Your Core

ONE Atomweight Kickboxing World Champion connects with a roundhouse on Stamp Fairtex

It’s no secret that fighters need strong cores. The midsection, after all, is one of the primary targets for punches, kicks, and knees.

Gymnastics will help strengthen your midsection because the sport requires so much core control. Spend regular amounts of time on the rings or horse, for instance, and you’ll eventually develop abs of steel that not even ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang “The Iron Man” Jitmuangnon can bend.

Todd has shown just how durable her core is. In fact, the Boxing Works product has never succumbed to a body shot in the ONE Circle.

However, when it comes to dishing out body shots, that’s another story – one that “JT” will look to write when she steps into battle against Juniku this Friday, 19 March.

Read more: Alma Juniku Has ‘A Lot To Prove’ Against Janet Todd

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