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Sunday, May 5, 2013

Trust Issues? We all have them.

In the moments of a fight, an intense drill, or even a regular exercise where you just don’t know what to expect – tension happens.  Stress happens. Your muscles tighten, your jaw clenches, fist squeezes just a little bit harder, for just a little bit longer than you want.

It’s a very natural reaction.

You see this in all fights. It’s built into our nervous system. When animals fight, they all fight with it. As quick as a snack bites..you can see the flexion in its muscles to make that happen.  We are wired to fight in this way…to be tense, to use strength.

From this tension, comes other bad habits – our centre of gravity rises, we tend to reach for our opponent, we hit at him, not through him.

It’s primal…it’s what got us here as a species. We understand it. It makes sense to us  There’s sex and there’s fight – the two most primal of states that we are hardwired to do.

And then you have wing tsun. It says to you, do the exact opposite of tension - relax. Do the exact opposite of what all those thousands of years of evolution has built into us.  The more relaxed you are, the faster your strikes will be, the more powerful they will be, the more grounded you will be. It will also help with your mental state – being relaxed keeps you from freaking out. it keeps your options open..there’s always a way out..there’s always the opportunity to think of what to do next or what to do now. 

Relaxation is key.

But what is hindering us from relaxing during a fight? TRUST.

We do not trust what relaxation can really do. We do not trust the benefits of relaxation and we revert back to our comfort zone – tension.

(Let’s take a quick moment  to state that relaxation does not mean being weak or frail in your structure. You can have very solid structure and be quite powerful but without being tense.)

There is no tension in water. It just flows and it can be devastating.  There is tension in ice, and while it can be a strong tool, it can snap or break.

We have to learn how to trust relaxation. But how do you build this trust?
It’s like a relationship in which we have to build from the ground up starting with a little bit of faith. Fake it till you make it, as they say. 

When practicing your drills, partner exercises, forms – you will have to learn how to relax the body. You will get hurt, and get hit as you go determine the difference between weak and relaxed, but this risk of getting hurt is common with any process of allowing yourself to trust something.

From there, it becomes a matter of fine tuning to see how much more you can relax while maintaining solid positions and structures…sometimes too much tension, sometimes not enough structure.  It’s all part of the discovery process. 

Give yourself up to relaxation, let it take over you.

And just when you think you got it, relax even more.

Side note: You can have your “strong” wing chun days and you can your “relax” wing chun days. No need to ignore one or the other. You should incorporate both sides of the spectrum to your training. Some give wing chun styles a hard time because they’re too relaxed and others give wing chun styles a hard time because it’s too tense.

But the message here is that tension is inherent in all of us. We already trust tension. We already know what it can do, we also know its limitations.  Now it’s time to discover the benefits of relaxation in fighting. 

Until then. 

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