Junbi Undu

            Junbi Undu is a systematic series of stretches and exercises used to get the practitioners warmed up and physically ready for the class that follows. The following outline is used at the beginning of Sensei Brian Nell's classes and last for about a half hour. The exercises consist of a mixture of strength training, stretching, yoga and Qi Gong designed to get the body ready for the rigors of the martial art.
            The exercises start with the feet and work their way up to the top of the head. Almost all of the movements are repeated ten times, and the stretching held for ten seconds. Thought the exercises may be hard to do, they do have a purpose. It is important that students try to do the exercises, even if they only do a few amounts and work their way to more repetitions. It is more important to do a few correctly, then a large number wrong.
            Thought the exercises are written below, it is best to have an instructor carefully go over and assist with them. The following is an outline to illustrate what the exercises during a regular class consists of and is not intended to be done without experienced supervision. There are subtle nuances with the exercises that cannot be explained in words, but by someone that has done them and is abler to correct a student as they are in the processes of doing it.


Heal Pivot:

Start with feet together, hands on hips. Rotate the right food 90 degrees, pivoting from the heal and return. This is one movement and one count. Repeat ten times, and then move to the left side doing the same action ten times.

Ball Pivot:

Next rotate the right heal out about 90 degrees, pivoting on the ball of the foot and return. This is one movement and one count. Repeat ten times, and then move to the left side doing the same action ten times.


Knee Bends:

Still with feet together and hands on hips, bend at the knees as if setting in a chair, then return to a standing position. Repeat ten times.

Knee Rotations:

Bend the knees and move them in a circular motion. Do ten rotations to the clockwise, then ten rotations counter-clockwise.

High Knee Stretch:

Stretch the legs and knees. While standing on the left leg, bring the right knee up to the chest. With the toes pointing towards the floor, grab the knee with your hands, and gently pull to get more stretch. Hold for about ten seconds, move to the next exercise. After completing the exercise on the right side, come back and stretch the left leg.

Knee Circles:

Knee strengthening exercises. From the stretching position of the last exercise, bring the knee down so the upper part of the leg is parallel to the floor, the lower part is hanging down and the toes are still pointing towards the floor. With the first ten counts, draw a circle in the air with the toes in a clockwise direction. Then draw ten more circles in a counter-clockwise direction. Then switch to the left leg, and start with the stretching described above.

Hips and Waist


Start with feet together, hands with thumbs next to each other and close to the center of the chest. In a smooth motion reach hand straight out in front of your chest, then bend at the waist and reach down to the floor. Do not stop the motion as you return to the starting position. Repeat this motion ten times, each time trying to bring your hands closer and closer to the floor.

Leg stretches:

Next, just bend at the waist and try to place palms of the hand to the floor, and hold the stretch for ten seconds.


ElbowsAfter returning to a standing position, move feet so they are shoulder with apart. With fists touching knuckle to knuckle and elbows nice and high, twist at the waist as if to strike something directly behind you, then return to the starting position. Start with the right side, and do ten repetitions, then the left and do ten repetitions. From both the starting position and during the twist, keep eyes open, and try to focus on the same small target each time. This will help speed up the eyes abilities to focus and allow for faster targeting.


Leg Lifting Exercises:

Stand with the left leg planted, back straight, hands on hips and right leg pulled slightly back. The motion should be isolated to only the hip. Do not rock the body forward and back or lean during this exercise. It is not intended to be kicking practice per say, but rather used to strengthen the muscles and tendons around the hip. In a pendulous motion, keeping the right leg straight and moving solely from the hip, kick the right leg into the air as if trying to kick the forehead. Repeat this ten times, when finished move to the next exercise.

Shelf Kick:

Keep the right leg straight, and kick ort to the side. Bring the leg up so that it is parallel to the floor, and then return the leg to the starting position. Do this motion then times.

Heal Kick:

Kicking the heal of the foot up as if trying to kick your own backside. Strike the meaty part of the palm of the hand. Repeat this ten times.


After completing the heal kicks, bring the heal up towards your rear end and grab the foot. Stretch for about ten seconds.

Note that here the order of the exercises for the left leg can get a little weird. The exercises go in a descending order on the left side, but start with the Heal kicks, then the Stretch, followed by the Shelf kick and then onto the leg lifts.

Hip Circles

Hip Circles:

Stand with feet shoulder with apart, and rotate hips in a clockwise circle, as if with a hula-hoop. Count the number of rotations, then switch to a counter-clockwise direction and repeat the same number as before.

Hojo Undu

Hojo Undu:

Stand in Kiba Dachi, or Horse Stance, with feet double shoulder with apart, toes pointing forward, feet parrell, hips tucked, back stright and centered, shoulders down and back. While in this stance there are two different weight training exercises that can be used to help strengthen the muscles, and tendons surrounding the joints to better ready the martial artist.

One set of exercises use the Chikara Ichi, or Strength Stones. Starting with the Chikara Ishi in the right hand, a student works on a series of exercises based on movements found throughout the Katas, such as punches and blocks. The workout done on the right side then shifts to the left and is done in the reverse order.

The other set of exercises uses the Ishi Sahsi, or Stone Locks. Thought the exercises differ slightly they are done starting with the right side, focusing on movements found in the Katas. After completing the exercises on the right side, move to the left side is worked out in reverse order.

Leg Stretches

Single Leg Squat:

Keeping legs at double shoulder width, keep the left leg straight and squat down with the right leg. Make sure that the right foot is flat on the floor. Hold for ten seconds, the switch to the left side.

Stretch Middle:

Stretch MiddleWith feet still double shoulder width apart, keep legs straight and bend from the waist, as if trying to touch the top of the head to the floor. Hold for ten seconds.

Side Stretch:

Grab the left ankle, keep leg straight and gently pull chin to knee. Stretch for ten seconds, and then switch sides.

Three Point Stretch:

From windmills, turn so that the chest is facing the sidewall. Drop onto one knee with it bent at a 90-degree angle, and the top of the foot on the ground. Keep the other leg out straight with the foot flat on the floor.


Reach out and grab the ankle with both hands. Gently pull and try to get the chin to the knee. It is vary important to keep the legs straight. Do not bend the knee. Hold for ten seconds.


Next pivot the ankle so that the heal is still touching the floor, but the ball of the foot is not. Grab the ball of the foot wit the same hand (right hand to right foot, left hand to left foot), and pull in an attempt to get the elbow to the knee. Just like before, do not bend the knee, and keep the leg straight. Hold for ten seconds.

Pivot so as to change sides. Repeat on the opposite side, in the same order as before.


There are many different types of sit-up. Some sit-ups are done with feet flat on the floor and with knees bent, some have feet raised with calves parallel to the floor. Hands can be at the side, across the chest or with fingertips behind the ears. The chest can be brought to the knees, or towards the ceiling. What is most important is isolating the core muscles, raising shoulder blades off the floor, and then returning to the starting position. To allow for variation, try different types of sit-ups.

Core Stretches

Up-ward Facing Dog:

Rolling over from the sit-ups onto stomach. The next exercise, a yoga pose, allows for the stomach muscles to get stretched out. Start laying flat on the floor, push the upper body off the floor with the arms, arching the back and trying to look at the bottoms of your feet. The whole time push the belly towards the floor. Do not stretch to hard, but rather ease into the pose, in order to protect the back from injury. Hold for about ten seconds.

Childs Pose:

This yoga pose is in opposition to the prior pose. From Up-ward Facing dog, bull the body back so that the rear is nestled on the feet, the chest is on the upper legs, and the arms are stretched straight out in front. The entire time, try to lengthen the spine. Hold for about ten seconds.

Arms and Shoulders


Push-ups can be done in a verity of ways. The most important factors are to keep the back straight as a board, with head up. This will isolate the shoulder area, and allow for full range of motion.

Some of the different push-ups include:
    Standard push-ups. This consists of hands directly under shoulders.

    One Hand High, One Low push-ups. One hand at shoulder height and located lower, around the ribs, and turned at a 90 degree angle, finger tips pointing away from the body.

    Diamond push-ups. This is when the hands are located in the center of the chest, with thumbs touching and pointer fingers touching, and the resulting shape is a diamond. The pushing motion is linear up and down.

These are just a few of the variations of different push-ups that can be done. By having a selections and changing between different styles will allow for a more complete workout, and stave off boredom. Do several sets of the different sit-ups for no more than ten per type of exercise done.

Arm Stretches:

After returning to an upright position, with feet together, begin swinging arms at about shoulder height and wrap around as if to give yourself a hug. Then swing the arms back behind till the hands almost touch, then reverse the direction to return to hugging position.

Arm Circles:

With feet together and arms extended straight out to the side, begin rotating the arms forward. Start with tiny circles, and every tenth rotation, increase the size of the circle. The last set of arm rotations should be the largest circles the arms could make. Do about fifty rotations, or five sets of ten different size arm rotations, then reverse directions. Do the same amount in reverse as the forward rotations, but start with the big rotations and work to tiny ones.

Walnut Breaking:

Stand with feet together, Arms held up and out at chest level, elbows bent at a 90-degree angle and one arm on top of the other. Quickly move the elbows straight back, and the shoulder blades together as if there is a walnut between them and it is to be broken into small pieces. Then return to the starting position except with the other arm on top. This is one count. Each time, alternate the arm that is on top.

Neck and Head

Neck Turns:

With feet together, hands clasped in front, and chin close to chest, tighten the neck muscles. On count one (and all odd numbers after): turn the head so that the chin is pointing at the right shoulder, then move the head so that the up and back down as if nodding 'yes', then return to the starting position. On count two (and all even numbers after): turn the head so that the chin is pointing at the left shoulder, then move the head so that the up and back down as if nodding 'yes', then return to the starting position. Do a total of ten Neck Turns, five on each side.

Head Rotations:

With feet together, hands clasped in front, and chin close to chest, tighten the neck muscles. On count one (and all odd numbers after): turn the in a circular rotation to the right side and return to where it started, then lifting the head straight up the middle up and back down as if nodding 'yes'. On count two (and all even numbers after): turn the in a circular rotation to the left side and return to where it started, then lifting the head straight up the middle up and back down as if nodding 'yes', then return to the starting position. Do a total of ten Head Rotations, five on each side.

Breathing and Meditation


This Qi Gong exercise is very simple, but very effective. Staring with feet together, slowly raise arms straight over head, then is a circular motion, bringing the back of the hands to the front of the corresponding upper chest and shoulder. During the duration of the movement, breathe in fully and completely, all the way to the bellybutton and fill the entire chest. Then while pushing the hands towards the starting position, breath out. During the breath out, slightly constrict the throat, and make a hissing sound. This allows for better breath control during exhalations.


This time is spent focusing and exercising the mind.