I'm kinda with 47MartialMan on this, as someone who didn't get side splits or manage any great degree in flexibility but still passed grades, won competitions, and got to 1st degree in just over 2 years. My flexibility improved slowly, in part from the amount of kicking in class, and the partner stretches in class. Certainly it helps in some of the more advanced grades as technically the demands just get that much harder. Also, its hard to take anyone seriously who joins up and their first post is please please help me do this. How is that community/conversation minded? If you're 18 its likely going to be easier to get this flexibility quicker than if your 44.