Karate Thoughts Blog

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I posted an article entitled Relax. Perhaps this follow-up post should be entitled "Really, Really, Really, Relax."

The inability to relax is the greatest obstacle for most new students. Because of their preconceived notions about how Karate is "supposed" to look, and to keep up with the more advanced students, many new students tense up and use much too much brute force (misdirected force).

A skilled Karate expert makes everything look effortless. Why is this? It is not because they are moving hard and making it look effortless -- they are actually using much less effort and producing far greater power. It looks effortless because it is effortless, relatively speaking.

Try this. Stand with your feet about shoulder's width apart. Extend your hands, palm down, at shoulder level. Now lower your elbows until they are about one fist from your body. Relax your wrists, hands, and fingers. You should literally be limp wristed. Relax your shoulders.

Does this look like a Karate posture? It certainly does to me! You might think that this posture looks more like Tai Chi. I would agree with that -- Karate should look a lot more like Tai Chi.

In my experience, the more relaxed you are, the more explosive your movements can be. Flexibility is what makes a whip work.

About 95% of the time, you should be relaxed during any kata. You should only tighten up (squeeze) for a slit second during the striking part (or parts) of each movement. The rest of the time, you should only use the minimum power required to maintain your form.

Really, Really, Really, Relax.


Charles C. Goodin