Staying Relaxed While Training

crushing

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What are the keys to staying relaxed while training? My hapkido teacher keeps telling me to relax, and it isn't until he says something that I realize how tensed up I have become. So I relax, for maybe next technique or two and then I start reverting back to being tense again.

Being relaxed seems to be much more important with hapkido than it has been with my taekwondo studies, although I'm sure the ability to be relaxed would help in both.

Thank you,
crushing
 

Ceicei

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I have the same problem with JuJitsu. My instructor says I am "way too tense" and need to relax. There are times when I AM relaxed, but apparently not enough. I am not sure if personality plays a part or if it is a skill that could be acquired.

It would be nice to figure a way how to remain relaxed. I know it will help me with Kenpo as well.

- Ceicei
 

Kacey

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Breathing is the key to relaxation - although this is a lot easier to say than to do. You need to be tense at the instant that the technique lands; then you need to keep just enough tension in your muscles to hold the position you're in; if you don't relax between movements, then your moves will be stiff and slow. Relaxing under stress (whether you're in class, competition, or on the street) is a difficult skill to learn. Breathing out with the technique and then inhaling in preparation for the next movement will help you relax, as will consciously relaxing your muscles - and you will have to practice a long itme before you can do it consistently in all settings. It's something that everyone has to learn - like anything else, it's harder for some people than others.

If you can't make yourself relax as described above, there is only one exercise I've found that helps with this: to perform a movement over and over until you are so tired that you relax because you must, while still keeping the tool in the proper position. Then you will know what it feels like, and can teach yourself to relax consciously.
 

Paul B

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I was always reminded to drop and relax my shoulders and to not hold my breath while striking or falling..the same words I pass on today.

It's really amazing how much little things like hunching over,tensing our shoulders,and straining on technique really do hinder our movement and execution.
 

Lisa

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Breathing and practice practice practice is all I can come up with. As you do something over and over again it will become second nature so, if you stay consciously aware that you tend to tense up and keep that in the back of your mind as you practice the techniques, it will soon become nature to be relaxed.

Easier said then done. :) Trust me I know. When grappling when I was new at it, I felt I had to muscle out of everything.
 

Xue Sheng

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Breathing is a good you certainly can't relax well without :)

I do not know about relaxing in Hapkido

In Xingyi, Yiquan and Tai Chi picking a stance and standing in it for about 3 to 30 minutes while breathing can help.

You can figure out proper alignment, teach you how to relax in the stance as well as make the necessary muscles stronger.

There are also Qigong forms that can help relaxation, 8 pieces of Brocade is a good one for that.
 

SeanKerby

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Breathing is the key to everything. As for being relaxed, well I'd open up a can of worms if I really give my opinion on relaxation in martial arts. When your doing hapkido, aikido, jujutsu, or aikijujutsu you have to remember these arts are supposed to flow like water. If you are tense and you dont relax you may get seriously injured. James Williams explains it alot better than I do. When I have a little time I will be glad to put it all on the screen for people to read.
 

profesormental

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Greetings!

First, you have to set up a way to know if you're realxesd or tense so YOU can know immediately.

This si easily done...

First, relax and soften every part of your body from head to toe. Make sure it is limp and soft... do this lying down or preferably sitting. Later you can do it while standing. Be careful... you might fall asleep if you practice it lying down.

Then notice how it feels, waht you hear, how you see, notice how your body feels inside and out. You can later start moving in this mode and notice the difference.

Now, shake yourself up and go to your normal physical state.


Ok, you now know how being relaxed feels like... now get ready to notice the difference of being tensed up!

You can either tense al your muscles at one, or do an exercise using high to full strength... like playing sumo with a partner or something.

Notice how it feels, etc.

Now shake yourself up and get to your normal state...


Now that you know how it feels and how to relax, every time you realx at will, it will be easier to identify if you're relaxed or not, and when you're not... just follow the procedure!

In less than a month of daily concious relaxing of your whole body, it will become an act of will.

Then start integrating it to your training, one technique at a time, and in sparring practice so that in normally high streess levels you retain your ability to think.

There is a lot more, yet this is just the tip of the iceberg and should get you going on bettering your performance!

Sincerely,

Juan M. Mercado
 

mantis

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crushing said:
What are the keys to staying relaxed while training? My hapkido teacher keeps telling me to relax, and it isn't until he says something that I realize how tensed up I have become. So I relax, for maybe next technique or two and then I start reverting back to being tense again.

Being relaxed seems to be much more important with hapkido than it has been with my taekwondo studies, although I'm sure the ability to be relaxed would help in both.

Thank you,
crushing
you got my same problem!
Try, with help of your instructor or classmates, to find WHEN exactly you get tense. Usually people, including me, get tense when overwhelmed. When you are overwhelmed think that taking a hit is okay. You should take a hit and think it's okay to take a hit. Remember that you willl not get hurt in class so if you are going to get hit then get hit. Try to get the max benefit from the strike. i.e. learn why you got hit, what you did wrong, and when you get hit yield to the strike and so on. This way you will learn to take hits and not freak out and consequently tense up.

The other thing is you must control your breathing at all time. This is very important. If you cannot control your breathing you will tense up, get worn out faster, and eventually get beat up.

g'luck
 
OP
C

crushing

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Breathing, breathing, breathing. Breathing seems to be a recurring theme in relaxation, and I KNOW I have problems with my breathing. Sometimes I find myself holding my breath. Is the tenseness causing me to hold my breath, or vice-versa? I'll take the excellent advice from this thread and read some other threads that I found are related to breathing and work towards continuous improvement.

Sean said:
When I have a little time I will be glad to put it all on the screen for people to read.

Sean, I would really appreciate that.

mantis said:
Usually people, including me, get tense when overwhelmed.

mantis, I will see if I can determine when I get tense. I'm not so sure that it's the possibility of getting hit that causes me to tense up. I think it may be that I want to get my technique right. For example, the way we were working the techniques today I was very confident I wouldn't get hurt as we were executing them similar to one-steps. I knew what was coming and what my response was going to be, yet I was stiff.

Paul B said:
It's really amazing how much little things like hunching over,tensing our shoulders,and straining on technique really do hinder our movement and execution.

Paul, No kidding. I can see where incorect posture can cause problems. Another thing to worry about and cause tension! :)

Thanks everyone!

Best Regards,
crushing
 

painstain

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without reading everyone alses reply, i would say breathing is the whole key to relaxation while training.

with respect,
painstain
 

Shaolinwind

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crushing said:
What are the keys to staying relaxed while training? My hapkido teacher keeps telling me to relax, and it isn't until he says something that I realize how tensed up I have become. So I relax, for maybe next technique or two and then I start reverting back to being tense again.

Being relaxed seems to be much more important with hapkido than it has been with my taekwondo studies, although I'm sure the ability to be relaxed would help in both.

Thank you,
crushing

I had a dream once. I was at the bottom of a hill. I climbed it for hours and hours, through snow and wind and freezing rain. At the top, I found an indian chief. He stood silent, with his arms crossed. There was a teepee to his right, and to his left.

So I told my master about this. He told me I was two tents.
 

Ceicei

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Breathing doesn't seem to be the problem. I can get my breathing to slow down and blood pressure to drop, yet in Jujitsu, they say I am still "tense". I am, however, much more relaxed in Kenpo than I used to be. Maybe I just "look tense" with JuJitsu. I don't know. I am still new with Jujitsu, so perhaps that may be part of the reason, until I learn to "own" it.

- Ceicei
 

MJS

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crushing said:
What are the keys to staying relaxed while training? My hapkido teacher keeps telling me to relax, and it isn't until he says something that I realize how tensed up I have become. So I relax, for maybe next technique or two and then I start reverting back to being tense again.

Being relaxed seems to be much more important with hapkido than it has been with my taekwondo studies, although I'm sure the ability to be relaxed would help in both.

Thank you,
crushing

It looks like breathing is the majority vote, and I too, have to agree with that!:) Being tense is certainly going to make techniques harder to perform. Try not to think too hard about what you're doing, but instead, just go with the flow and you'll see that the way you perform the material will be much easier.

Take your time, it certainly won't happen overnight.

Mike
 

Grenadier

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In addition to the breathing, it may be a matter of tension / relaxation of specific areas.

One thing for certain, tension in the shoulders is never a good thing, and you should always be on the lookout for the opportunity to drop the shoulders, and relax. What can help, is to keep tension in the abdomen, which does not affect one's ability to relax the rest of the body when taking an impact / fall. By doing this, it may help you unconsciously relax the other parts of the body that should be relaxed.

Ceicei, with time, and experience, you'll be more accustomed to the techniques used in the classes, and with that familiarity, tendencies to tense in the wrong areas will start to disappear. When I took Jiu-Jitsu, I was easily the stiffest person there, despite a significant Karate / Tae Kwon Do background, and it wasn't until about the second month, where I finally got to the point where I didn't have to force the body to relax.

If anything, learning how to relax had helped the training in the striking arts, as well, and I wouldn't wake up the next morning with the usual muscle soreness.
 

Kenpojujitsu3

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Breathing and mindset. Especially in grappling arts. When people are unsure of what is going on or what the other person is trying to do they tend to tense up in an effort to avoid letting the person move them. The mindset must be "flow like water." If the person wants to move to a postion go in that direction but not necessarily to the position they want. Kind of like yielding to thier energy but not their intention. For the kenpo people it falls under "purposeful compliance". This comes with time, confidence and a willingness to fail while training so you can learn to succeed when it really counts.
 

Bigshadow

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MJS said:
Try not to think too hard about what you're doing, but instead, just go with the flow
With breathing already pointed out many times, I believe you hit on the second crucial part, not thinking. However it is more than that. I like to think about it as "No mind". There are many things that play into unbalancing the mind, things such as fear (of getting hit, pain, not getting it, looking bad in front of people), anticipation, anxiety, and ego. These all play a part in unbalancing the mind. If the mind is relaxed, the body will relax. One has to be in the moment, not the future (what I am going to do) or the past (what I should have done better), but now, the immediate situation at this second.
 

Robert Lee

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First you are not the only one with this problem. everybody has it at one time or the other. Its hard to learn to relax. 1 you can shake your arms and legs out like a rag just let themgo limp shake them out feel how they relax. Then try to remember power at the end for hits and kicks then in other applications you start with feel fell what the other person is doing yeild and flow apply just enough to direct or upset the energy. This is easyersaid then done. I would train soft at home dropping all power for smoothness When you punch think you are reaching for say a glaas of tea. This will be soft movement. Compare to Tai chi action supple soft training the muscle groups not to over react. Then slowly speed the motion up. Think start is soft impact hard then back to soft its relaxed hard relaxed. All this really is time in training. Breathing has been mentioned several times. Well it helps somewhat but still you have to train your musclegroups to do as you want that is mind and body. I have found over the years if you slow down long enough to let the body work with the mind you train them both to react as you want. Might give this a try and you will notice much more just walking through your training at home in a few short weeks your class training should improve alot Because agin the natural thing is to resist or think you have to be hard. slow training lets you over come it better.
 

rutherford

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Good points all around. Breathing is the main key, and a slow, deep forced exhalation can go a long way towards relaxation.

My Bujinkan instructor would often pull me aside for a shoulder massage during class. I tend to carry all my tension in my upper back, and it definitely affects my movement. We all carry our tension in different places, and it's important to watch for this and dissipate any tension not required or desirable for the movement.

Another thing you can do for relaxation is to shake out your muscles, or give yourself a good whole body bounce.

Pay particular attention to tension in your face. A relaxed face is another thing that greatly reduces tension in the whole body.
 

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