MightyBands, home gym system

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mind-Muscle Connection

If you haven’t read my Si-Fu’s latest blog post dated September 7, 2009, you can find it here. The post is on target. The only way to get better at Wing Tsun is to practice Wing Tsun. It’s a pretty a obvious statement and applies to anything else, yet surprisingly, you do see many that rationalize the approach of practicing X will make them better at Y.

Now let me clarify that I’m not referring to methods of supplementing your training – what I’m referring to are the methods that (for whatever reason) rely on abandoning wing tsun training, for the purpose of excelling one’s wing tsun training.

I’ve seen this everywhere. At work: people don’t talk to the boss about a raise, instead the stay silent and work harder. I’m sorry, if you want a raise, then go to the boss and get one. Dating life: you can mentally prepare on how to approach the girl at the bar all you want, but buddy, you gotta step up and JUST APPROACH the girl. Dieting: people simply limit their caloric intake (eg. order diet pop with their big mac) – how about sweating it in the gym, eating well and cardio training?

Back to Wing Tsun – the post mentions that wing tsun uses certain muscles that only wing tsun can develop. This is very true. There is no exercise in the gym, or a focus mitt, or a striking dummy that can replicate the stimulus required to develop these muscles. With all exercises, a mind-muscle connection must be developed. The Wing Tsun-related muscles must be connected to the mind but can only be done so with wing tsun-specific exercises.

(Think about it. The exercise in the gym rely on a push/pull mechanism, and away from your centre-line. There’s nothing there that provides a push/pull or even a compress/decompress action ALONG the centre-line. Yes, some exercises can replicate the actions, but nothing provides the perfect stimulus to trigger the appropriate muscle reaction.)

But once the connection is made, supplementary exercises may help in increasing the load or capacity of that connection (think squat exercises for stance training). But, again, only the wing tsun-specific exercises can target this mind-muscle connection and stimulate it over and over again. When it comes to self-defense, reflexes, reactions, etc. this is what matters – you need that stimulus to maintain the proper firing of the wing tsun specific muscles.

(Back to the squat exercise example, you are pushing up against a downward force. While in wing tsun, you’re “pushing up” against a force directed at you perpendicular to that replicated in the squat exercise)

So sure, if you want to practice BJJ to get a better idea of how to use wing tsun, that’s fine. But don’t expect to get a wing tsun punch by practicing BJJ. If you want to be able to fight, then you will probably get the gear on and spar. But if you want to be able to fight with your wing tsun, you still gotta practice wing tsun.

Until then.

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