How can I ease my tension whilst practicing kata?

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I can't speak to any medical issues, but I'd wager that the OP is trying to hard to be "tough," or "angry." I saw a youth at a karate demo doing a kata (and yelling "kee-ai!"), but he was so tense, I could see that Y-shaped blood vessel on his forehead quite easily. Very bad.

It's unfortunate that we need to learn how to relax, when we shouldn't have been tense in the first place!

So, OP, just put your limbs where they need to be. Don't try to be tough. Relax. Doing this stuff while tense is like driving with your foot on the brake all the time. It prevents you from moving easily and smoothly.
I think I understand the point of kata now, its supposed to kind of get you into the feeling and movement of things and one shouldnt give out full force while trying to memorize it to preserve energy and to not tire yourself out without reason, I think.
 

Dirty Dog

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So went to the doctor today and they told me nothing seemed to be wrong and that I probably didnt eat well enough or wasnt hydrated enough on that day
I'm going to disagree with your doctor. Diet and hydration can cause problems. But there's an easy way to tell. Was your diet and hydration prior to class significantly different than your norm? I don't mean "I normally drink 5 glasses of water but only drank 4". It would need to be a pretty drastic change. Now, I am not a Dr. I'm an ER/Flight nurse with 40 years of experience, a Masters in Human Physiology, and (quick counting on my fingers) 53 years of experience in the martial arts.

It's far more likely that you were holding your breath. This is a very common problem for new students. Especially kids.

It is also kind of silly to think you could have corrected this (or anything else) in a whole two DAYS of training. That's likely to be what, 2-3 hours total?

When you're standing in whatever ready stance your system uses, there should be little or no tension in your body. You're just standing, after all. Consciously relax, and breath from your diaphragm. When you're doing forms, inhale (again, from your diaphragm) when you're chambering and exhale forcefully with every punch or kick. Exhaling during strikes makes them more powerful. That is the reason for the kiap. Go watch the Wimbledon matches. Hear all the grunting? This is why.

The other thing it does is make you breath. People breath-hold after inhaling. Holding your breath after an exhale is far less likely.

Making this automatic is going to take time and effort. Especially breathing from the diaphragm. Most people (especially westerners) breath by expanding their chest. That will never fill the lungs. To fill the lungs fully, you must first breathe from the diaphragm. Your belly expands, then your chest. Not just when you're in class. Breath like this all the time. Every breath. It often takes people years to correct this.
 

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I think I understand the point of kata now, its supposed to kind of get you into the feeling and movement of things and one shouldnt give out full force while trying to memorize it to preserve energy and to not tire yourself out without reason, I think.
The point of kata is to teach you how to perform specific movements and combinations of movements in a way that can be practiced solo. Putting a ton of power into techniques that you don't really even know how to perform is not helpful, and can, in some cases, lead to injury. Learn the movements. Learn the pattern they follow in a given kata. Then learn to do them with power. When you're doing kata correctly, it should tire you out. If a student isn't huffing and puffing and sweating after finishing a form, I know they're coasting along, not really working.
 
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The point of kata is to teach you how to perform specific movements and combinations of movements in a way that can be practiced solo. Putting a ton of power into techniques that you don't really even know how to perform is not helpful, and can, in some cases, lead to injury. Learn the movements. Learn the pattern they follow in a given kata. Then learn to do them with power. When you're doing kata correctly, it should tire you out. If a student isn't huffing and puffing and sweating after finishing a form, I know they're coasting along, not really working.
Thanks man, may have gotten too excited and rushed into this a bit , I will try and take this a little bit slower and try and practice that breathing routine in your other reply, should I try and start out breathing like that only while practicing kata or try and incorporate whilst doing everyday things like chores and stuff?
 
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Thanks man, may have gotten too excited and rushed into this a bit , I will try and take this a little bit slower and try and practice that breathing routine in your other reply, should I try and start out breathing like that only while practicing kata or try and incorporate whilst doing everyday things like chores and stuff?
Nvm just reread the message will try to practice this regularly
 

Dirty Dog

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Thanks man, may have gotten too excited and rushed into this a bit ,
Also a super common reaction.
I will try and take this a little bit slower and try and practice that breathing routine in your other reply, should I try and start out breathing like that only while practicing kata or try and incorporate whilst doing everyday things like chores and stuff?
You're going to have to consciously control your breathing at first. So start at rest when there's nothing distracting you. Then keep reminding yourself to do it constantly. Eventually it'll become automatic.
In class, start by doing the exhale with movement to force yourself to take ANY sort of breath. Eventually, you will belly breathe automatically and this will carry over into every breath you take.
 

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Hi there, Ive just started karate 2 days ago, some time before the end of the lesson my head started feeling very dizzy and I couldnt see properly, my sensei told me that throughout the lesson Ive been too tense and stressing my muscles, Ive tried practicing at home but to no avail I was still stressing myself out, any suggestions on how I can relax more during training?
Give it time, your new dont rush, dont keep up with everyone else your in competition with you self, practice your forms, techniques slow do it that way till you get used to, then add a little speed to your movements! Go slow to make it flow!!
 

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Glad you went to the doctor to make sure there isn't anything overall that is a problem. You'll eventually get your body figured out and then progress accordingly. That's why some of us older practitioners use the word "years" when it comes to the practice of Martial Arts. Here are a few things to remember in your journey.

Breathing. I'll jump on the "bandwagon" here and agree with all those stressing the importance of learning to breathe. My instructor is constantly telling the students to control their breathing. Before each class gets into the actual practice, we have a few minutes of seated meditation to try and set aside the things we've been thru during the day and to generally calm ourselves. Because most of our commands are given in Korean, there is a short verbal drill after the meditation that covers those terms. It tends to bring our minds into the dojang from the rest of the day.

Focus. As an older guy, my focus when doing forms (or kicks/punches/throws, etc.) is to aim for a semblance of perfection in the movement. Most of the teens seem to be focused on how fast they can do it once they've learned the basic movements. They're just throwing their hands or feet out and then back in with no real attention paid to the proper stance or the actual purpose of what that block is supposed to do. Focusing on the form and trying to get it right is a part of the life-long learning experience. I may be slower than the younger set, but my aim is doing it "right."

Food. Like hydration, food is important. I find if it's been 6-7 hours since the last meal (such as going to an evening class and the last meal I've had was lunch), it affects me both physically and mentally. I get tired quicker and I start thinking about leaving class early or taking a longer break to catch my breath. It's more than just needing water. I generally try and eat a little about an hour or so prior to class so that my body has something to work with. I'm diabetic, so when my body is on "E" as far as glucose is concerned, it doesn't do much more than have the desire to sit!
 

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Breathing.....keep breathing out the accumulated tension and it does take awhile
We teach that the first phase should be relaxed and just about learning the moves. After that, strength is put into it as if practicing the strikes and the final stage is to have a strong strike while relaxed

Congrats on becoming a martial artist and best wishes. You exhibit patience and tolerance well.
 

Darren

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Hi there, Ive just started karate 2 days ago, some time before the end of the lesson my head started feeling very dizzy and I couldnt see properly, my sensei told me that throughout the lesson Ive been too tense and stressing my muscles, Ive tried practicing at home but to no avail I was still stressing myself out, any suggestions on how I can relax more during training?
I have a very mild form of cerebral palsy, TN(they call it the suicide disease) very bad inner ear problems, balance problems, 12+ surgeries, very hard of hearing and heck thats enough for me!! But still do martial arts off and on about 5-6 years of training, got back in it last year after 27 years of being out( hardest thing i ever done was getting back in it after 27 years) I do get dizzy at times thats my inner ear working against me, the question is not if I fall but when I will fall, plus had about 5-6 concussions. So as I read earlier somewhere go see a doctor!!! But also be aware you can learn martial arts as per your doctor!! Keep it up you will get there in time!!!
 

jergar

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Hi there, Ive just started karate 2 days ago, some time before the end of the lesson my head started feeling very dizzy and I couldnt see properly, my sensei told me that throughout the lesson Ive been too tense and stressing my muscles, Ive tried practicing at home but to no avail I was still stressing myself out, any suggestions on how I can relax more during training?
Hi C/F , it's been sometime since i studied karate but i do remember a few things . When your first learning kata ,first of all relax, then you need to time your breathing, breathe in on the wind up and breath out on the strikes. Your holding our breath that's why you feel dizzy lack of oxygen! If your trying to follow your instructor just remember he's been doing the kata for years so he can do at full strength . In kung fu at least in my style we breathe in on the blocks and out on the strikes ,then when you do actual technique , you breathe in on the blocks and then short breaths out on the strikes. Have fun and learn!
Peace!
 
OP
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Thanks everyone for the replies and advice! After my recent karate sessions I feel less tired and drained ,and the stretching techniques some of you recommended to me really helped me out having less sore muscles after a session, Ive also tried to use to breathe through my stomach, I usually forget to do it 99% of the time but its helped me practice my kata longer whenever I do remember to do it.
 
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An update: Hey guys so Ive taken a lot of the advice you gave to heart, I breathe down to my stomach before my chest and I exhale during my strikes although not automatically I get what I should be doing,

Ive also been doing some of the yoga drop bear has recommended, been going to my lessons 6 days a week and havent had an episode like that again.

So I just want to thank you all for all the tips you guys gave me and the concern you all showed for my health, I feel like Ive gotten somewhat healthier and have really enjoyed the lessons, I now have a bigger hurdle to cross now though, gaining some gosh darn muscle.
 

_Simon_

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An update: Hey guys so Ive taken a lot of the advice you gave to heart, I breathe down to my stomach before my chest and I exhale during my strikes although not automatically I get what I should be doing,

Ive also been doing some of the yoga drop bear has recommended, been going to my lessons 6 days a week and havent had an episode like that again.

So I just want to thank you all for all the tips you guys gave me and the concern you all showed for my health, I feel like Ive gotten somewhat healthier and have really enjoyed the lessons, I now have a bigger hurdle to cross now though, gaining some gosh darn muscle.
That's really wonderful to hear brother! Karate is such a process of self-inquiry and mindfully attending to yourself and the moment, so enjoy the journey and take it day by day with a curious and open spirit.
 
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