How many times have you been told to ‘RELAX!!’ (especially in the Dojo)?
We have all been there, you are putting in so much effort to improve your technique or be as strong as you can and still end up feeling stiff and slow.
Then a shout across the dojo, “RELAX, you are carrying too much tension”.
Next time you get this feeling in training, try to switch off and relax your mind!!
I know it sounds very ZEN, but the mind controls everything and is the command centre for us all.
There are many relaxation techniques out there, but a common technique in the dojo is Mokuso 黙想 (Japanese term for meditation) and this is to focus and prepare for training. As I always say to my students, use that time to leave your problems at the door, they will be there when you leave.
Just taking that few minutes or even few seconds to re-focus can make the world of difference. If you control your mind, you control your body and allow it to be effortless.
A quote that stands out from Gichin Funankoshi Sensei:
“Always be ready to release your mind”
Now onto feeling heavy, there is a common phrase among martial arts or fighting systems called ‘Heavy Hands’ or Rick Hotton Sensei would describe it as ‘Relaxed Heaviness’.
This is generally associated with a person that can hit hard!
There are many ways to develop this skill, but one of main factors of this is your ability to relax the body and turn on that relaxed state at will.
An example of this is if you pick up a child that is awake, there is an element of tension from them as you pick them up.
If you pick up that same child and they are asleep, the total relaxation makes the child feel a lot heavier.
One of the most inspirational martial artist that has this concept in all his practice is Rick Hotton Sensei. He explains that the main thing you have to do is listen to your body and experiment with different techniques to develop your mind and body connection, thus creating that relaxed state.
A fantastic quote from Rick Hotton Sensei encapsulates this entire feeling,
“Keep your shoulders down, eyes up and look to an Infinite point”
The Journey continues…