Check out the latest info and research from Coach Chris' explorations in the Subject of Internal Power.
Many of the mechanics of the internal arts are predicated on our ability to release or address tension. As we have discussed in previous articles on speed, connection, and heaviness, without the correct levels of relaxation, much of what makes these efficient will not be there. The tense practitioner will constantly be ‘breaking’ their expression of power as it travels through sports of tension or tight tissue.
As described previously the out breath can have a direct impact on the state of relaxation in the body. The pressure changes that occur during breath release helps to lead tissue relaxation over time.
But there is also another useful part of the breath cycle we can utilize. This is the Inhalation phase.
We can actually use the 'in' breath and resultant increase in body pressure to 'pull' on stretched tissues to increase the potential conditioning and activation.
This idea is something often neglected in favor of out breath relaxation. Usually because, for this area of training to work correctly, the body needs to be very open and relaxed. But if performed correctly this method can be very powerful and deepen practices such as pulling silk.
The idea of raising the breath is one that we see in a number of internal arts. It can normally be observed in new students where they are puffing the chest up, breathing very shallow using the chest and pressurizing their upper body, especially during complex motion where they might need to think hard about what they are doing.
One of the biggest hurdles to overcome for the beginner of internal training is their ability to relax. Often they will be unable to even lift their arm without building isolation tension in the shoulder, and no matter how hard they ‘try’ they simply don’t have the control to relax specific muscles or areas of tension. In these cases a coach or teacher will often instruct the pupil to use their exhalation as a tool to guide the relaxation of the body.
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