Tuesday’s 10am advanced Muay Thai Kickboxing clinic was a fantastic class. Shihan addressed the issue that some students have been having with tension and discomfort in their necks and shoulders. Most people, especially when they haven’t been kickboxing for long, tend to keep their shoulders high and hunched to protect their jaw at all times, even when they are out of close boxing range. In actuality, when you’re farther away from your opponent it’s important to relax and stay loose. You can tense up when necessary but if you stay that way all the time then you’ll exhaust your muscles very quickly. We worked on keeping our chins down instead of holding our shoulders up while punching and kicking…I think everyone’s necks and shoulders felt better after class.
Besides exhausting your muscles, tensing them makes your techniques slower. We all begin by thinking that in order to create power in our punches and kicks we have to tense and squeeze our muscles. This actually creates the opposite effect! The relaxed “whip” of punches and kicks when combined with speed will make your strikes penetrate more deeply and thus be more effective.
The same principle of relaxation can be applied to Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ). Guys who are in great shape but who have never fought on the ground usually exhaust themselves within a minute or two because they are so tense and try to use muscle and power without a break. Experienced practitioners know when to relax and conserve energy and when to explode for escapes and submissions…this is the key to how two people can roll continuously for an hour or more.
Learning how to relax is an important skill to master in training and in life as well. When you’re relaxed you take in information more readily, you learn more quickly, and you make adjustments more easily. You can’t think outside the box to solve problems in training or in life without relaxing. It can become a habit but you have to practice it…continually remind yourself to relax while training and consciously feel your shoulders releasing. Add yoga or meditation to your schedule if that kind of thing is for you, and if it’s not, still try and find some time to sit each day and consciously relax your muscles and let your mind go quiet. Over time you’ll see benefits in all aspects of your daily life as well as in your martial arts training.
Elite Training Center
1628 South Pacific Coast Highway,
Redondo Beach, CA 90277