Relaxation in Wing Chun
Relaxation or being soft is fundamental to Wing Chun and essential to defeating an opponent's power, force or oncoming strike.
It has been said that while it is possible to use Wing Chun while tense, such an unsophisticated approach is easily defeated by a skilled Wing Chun practitioner. Wing Chun techniques are performed in a relaxed manner, during both training and in actual combat. Even Chi Sao training can be misused if too much force is applied.
- Muscles act in pairs in opposition to each other (e.g. biceps and triceps). If the arm is tensed, your maximum punching speed cannot be achieved as the biceps will be opposing the extension of the arm. A tensed arm must first relax before beginning the punching motion. When relaxed at the onset, the punch may begin at any time. This saves time.
- Unnecessary tension in the limbs wastes energy, causing fatigue and as Wing Chun is based on economy of movement, this may be critical in an extended engagement.
- If there is tension in the arms making them stiff, this makes them less sensitive in Chi Sao and reduces ability to sense and react to an opponent's movements?
- If you use a relaxed arm an opponent can move your arm but your structure is not compromised therefore you remain in control of the situation. If you tense up your arm, this offers the opponent a stiff handle to manipulate compromising your structure and you advantage
To be relaxed in a fight scenario goes against all human instinct, when you are threatened your body releases adrenalin in to the system. Once this has happened you lose control of all fine motor skills and rely on larger, non complex movements to try and get you out of the scenario. This is why training is important and training should include some form of pressure testing to get the practitioner used to performing under pressure.
Most importantly you need to maintain a relaxed mind i.e. a clear head as this enables you to react without thinking, a clouded mind will inevitably result in over complicating matters and comprising your position. To maintain a relaxed mind is difficult when adrenalised but with the correct training and experience you learn to be relaxed and keep things simple.