“The hard and the stiff will be broken.”
Another good example of how karate mirrors life. We all know that Shotokan is known for bone-crushing power, and we also know that the stiff and tense fighter is slower and less able to adjust to an opponents varying attacks. Power alone is good if you’re fortunate to land the right technique at the right time – if not, your finished – you’re one-dimensional.
There’s not much chance of changing your mind against an attack if you’re going at your opponent with teeth clenched and every muscle tensed like stone. Besides that, half your energy has been expelled before you get near the target.
On top of that, as we age, conserving energy gives us more stamina. We use energy where we need it: at the right point of Kime.
The trick is to not relax yourself out of the fight, but rather to keep Zanshin (continued awareness). You can keep your muscles on alert without having them on fire.
I like this from Jesse Enkamp:
“Your mind and body are two sides of the same coin.
- A strong body cannot exist without a strong mind.
- A flexible body cannot exist without a flexible mind.
- A relaxed body cannot exist without a relaxed mind.”
He feels that trying to relax is like trying to go to sleep.
Clear your mind (breathe), and then be aware of all of your body (up, down and center as one Sensei puts it).
In my training I’m trying to get energy to flow between movements, rather than going through techniques like I’m a suit or armor.
Tension in the mind is tension in the body…and that can hurt.