Cam Evans shares his perspective on relaxation – a key concept many of us struggle to implement in training.
Relax. Relax more.
In Ving Tsun it is important to train relaxation right from the first day, for a number of different reasons.
Consider that one of our goals in training is to be able to quickly defeat an opponent who is twice our size, or maybe even more. Chances are high that a bigger opponent will also be a stronger opponent; which means that we don’t want to play the strength game because it increases the chances that we will lose.
Instead, we train to have relaxed structure. What I mean by that is we want to align our bones into a position that is naturally and structurally strong. We want to move so that we are in as advantageous a position as possible. If you are in a good position, and your opponent is in a bad position, the need for strength is greatly diminished. Now the odds shift, the fight does not necessarily go to the biggest person automatically. It goes to the person in a better position.
You may have heard that Ving Tsun strives for efficiency in time, energy, and in motion. One of the key methods to achieve this is by relaxing. For example: try clenching your fist as tightly as you can. Hold it like that for 30 seconds or so. Feel the muscles in your forearm working away, straining to tighten that fist up even more.
Now open your hand.
What happened to your forearm muscles? Did they relax as you opened your hand? How quickly did your hand open? Did it feel unusual or uncomfortable?
If you are tense, movement becomes less efficient. In order to move something that is tense; some muscles must first become relaxed. Whereas if you are relaxed from the beginning, there is no additional step. You simply need to move.
Relaxation can allow you to be more sensitive; which any Ving Tsun practitioner will find valuable. Think of how it felt to keep your fist closed so tightly. That tension can confuse, or even distract you from, the information that you are getting from your opponent or training partner. It’s like trying to watch a movie and listen to music at the same time. You are likely to miss details you otherwise would not have missed if you were focused on a single task.
Relaxation can help you maintain an advantageous, structured position. For example, if you tense your arm up it becomes easier for an opponent, or training partner, to manipulate that arm in a way that affects your balance. If that arm was relaxed, your balance would not be affected as severely; you may even notice an opportunity to strike!
The list of reasons to train relaxation goes on. Hopefully this article not only gives you some reasons to keep this focus high on your list of priorities; but also can help you identify when you have an opportunity to relax more.