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Keeping the Muscles Relaxed ... for explosive power!

Keeping the Muscles Relaxed ...for explosive power!

“Many people make the mistake of tensing their muscles when they launch a punch. This tension actually weakens the overall power of their punch because they are tightening both the extensor and the contractor muscles. The extensor muscles are those used in launching the punch and the contractor muscles are those used in withdrawing the punch. If both sets of muscles are tense during a punch, the extensor wastes much of its power overcoming the tension of the contractor. However, if the contractor muscles are relaxed, all of the extensor muscles’ power is given into the punch. This is why it is important to keep one’s muscles relaxed while practicing Siu-Nim-Tau.”

- From the book Siu Nim Tau by Grandmaster Leung Ting

The above advice is important that the whole Siu Nim Tau should be performed once per day indefinitely.

One of my earliest real-life lessons in kung fu was in the late 1970s (before I became a direct student of Great Grandmaster Leung Ting) when a disruptive senior student (who shall remain anonymous) of my first Wing Chun sifu at that time came into the dressing room and attacked me. He was trying to discourage me from attending the private lessons. I had been learning some Shaolin weapons forms privately from the sifu but the student came in after the lesson. He knew I had about 2 + years of formal wing chun lessons from the sifu. Looking back now I can see that my chi sau training was not effective and was one of the reasons I left that teacher. The senior student started ‘boxing’ me in the face. I stopped his hits by throwing up my hand and grabbing him. He could not loosen my grip and the fight eventually stopped out of his inability to continue hitting me. However it taught me how important being soft and flexible is and I was surprised that a senior disciple was stymied by my just grabbing him.

After Siu Nim Tau and wrist circles, the vital practice is chi sau. The poon sau (chi sau rolling hands) practice according to the Leung Ting way is THE way to move into a flexible mode of self-defense. There is none better. Without a flexible physicaland mental training approach and mind set, one cannot defend well. Regular chi sau training works the reactions so that hesitation and rigidity is eliminated from the body and mind.

Beginner Tip:

1) One way to get and keep muscles relaxed is to work them! Do wrist circles every single day, 20-30 with each hand. Watch the form you use such as keeping the elbow locked during Huen Sau at the end of a Sun Thrusting Punch!

2) Secondly, do the Siu Nim Tau slowly as intended as a yoga-like stretching exercise.

a) Withdrawing hands to chamber (side),

b) the tan sau elbow-in position and

c) front, rear and side gum sau techniques are good examples of stretching in the Siu Nim Tau.

©Copyright, 2010-2013, Keith Sonnenberg. All rights reserved.

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