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Stretching and Suppleness - Interview with the Edmunds Sistas

The Edmunds Sistas are well known within the Martial Arts world. Having just performed at the UK Martial Arts Show, Lauren, Sian and Lara Edmunds are going from strength to strength as this year has already been massive for them. With a background in Taekwondo and several world titles between them all, we caught up with them to discuss their history in the martial arts, as well as their flexibility and fitness routine along with plans for the future. Hey Lauren! Can you give us a bit of background on the Edmunds Sistas and your career in martial arts so far? We've been doing Taekwondo for the past 15 years and started training together at the ages of 3 and 5. Our dad got us into the martial arts as he used to study Karate and after watching numerous Jackie Chan films we would pester him to let us start training! Our mum and dad have always been great supporters of us and have travelled round the country with us to help out whenever they can! We started up the Edmunds Sistas demonstration team about 5 years ago, and at that time it was just myself and Sian but we now have our youngest sister Lara involved too so we make up a trio. You're known mainly for being martial arts performers, but both you and Sian have national and world titles in Taekwondo, can you tell us a bit about what it was like competing at such a high level? It's always great competing at a high level. We used to be in seperate categories, but more recently have been placed in the same ones so had to fight each other, normally in the final so one us will get either 1st or 2nd place. 2010 was a big year for me as I was training for the World Championships and I entered in sparring, musical patters, patterns and team sparring. On top of this we were due to perform as part of the demonstration team so it was a very busy day for us to say the least! I knew if I had a chance of winning I had to train a lot and do something different so decided to take up boxing as well in the run up to the championships to give me an edge on the opponents. On the day we were involved in two performances and I won gold for sparring, patterns and team sparring. Sian also won gold in team sparring as we both fought on the same team. While performing you showcase your strength and flexibility. How important do you think flexibility is in both martial arts and sport in general? Very important!! We all stretch at least 15-20 minutes a day to keep ourselves flexible and prevent the risk of injury when we perform. Have you suffered any bad injuries? If so how did you recover and get back to being 100%? In 2012 I badly tore a ligament in my ankle while training and unfortunately it was three weeks before I was due to test for my 3rd degree black belt so I had to delay this 6 months while I recovered. It took a while to get back to 100% as it was a grade 3 tear so pretty serious and I still get pain with it now. After a long few months resting I slowly got back to training with light exercise. I've had a lot of injuries in the past from martial arts such as two broken ribs and I currently have a broken toe from kicking Sian during rehearsals! What does your training day normally consist of? We all stretch at least 15-20 minutes a day and train in martial arts normally three times a week. During the week I teach classes and so I'm always at the training centre and in the run up to shows we train every day to make sure we put on the best performance we can! What advice would you give to people like myself who are about as flexible as a brick but want to increase their flexibility? The key is little and often and trying to stretch every day if possible. You don't have to do it for hours at a time, 15 minutes will be enough to train your body and muscles to slowly become more supple and flexible! What are the most common myths associated with stretching, or areas where people get it wrong? I'm not sure of any myths, but most people believe they can stretch for hours at a time once a week then leave it for the rest of the week. This isn't training your body and stretching little and often is definitely more effective and efficient. What's the most important thing to consider when stretching? Everyone's body's are different and everyones age is different so we have to be careful. When you're under 16, your body is fully developed yet and so you have to be careful with certain stretches such as force stretching otherwise you run the risk of permanent damage. What plans do you have in the future both for the Edmunds Sistas and individually? Are you looking for more titles and competitions or are you more focussed on your performances and stretching seminars? Both really, all three of us love performing and competing but sometimes it's hard to balance both as they take up so much time and can be so demanding. Sian - I have had a little break from competing but am really keen to get started on it again soon. The Edmunds Sistas are touring again next year to teach seminars and we're really excited about this! Lauren - Competing for me has taken a back seat as I've been so busy with bookings but its something I really miss and want to get back to soon. I have my UK tour coming up this summer so I am really busy with that, and I teach Taekwondo and fitness classes in the evening. Hopefully we can all get the balance right and do it all! We are now working really closely with our new manager Kris who has been great at supporting us and taking The Edmunds Sistas to the next level and go from strength to strength. We have a great team and look forward to the years ahead where we can build on everything we're already doing. We'd like to take this opportunity to welcome on board our new sponsors, Temple Fight Gear, CustomKit4 and Awakening Female Fighters!