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#409036 - 10/02/08 05:14 PM How relaxed is your grappling?
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
We have all heard it at some point in any martial arts class. The instructor tells us to relax. Easier said than done for most of us! To quote a Japanese Sword master from a film "You can tell a man to relax, but you can be sure he won't"

I have come to believe that relaxation is essential in grappling. It conserves energy, makes you harder to move, and less likely to get injured (my experience). I have a hard time mastering it (maybe because I am "trying" lol!), but I noticed a lot of other folks do to. Even senior grapplers with many years of experience seem tense.

I was wondering, how relaxed are you when grappling (physically and mentally)?

I got thinking on this after watching this Sombo Clip. As is noted, the guy with the long hair seems very relaxed:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Flk_kRSlEs
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#409037 - 10/02/08 05:27 PM Re: How relaxed is your grappling? [Re: Prizewriter]
Aesir Offline
Member

Registered: 07/17/07
Posts: 397
Loc: Croydon, UK
I dunno when I grapple (only just started) I am very relaxed (or so I think) and alot of young people who I train with just seem to be more relaxed when rolling than some of the older guys there.

I am quite light compared to everyone else there so I know there is noway I am going to do anything just by muscling through it so I just sort of lay there and wait for them to slip up.

Of course most of the time this doesn't matter as they will submit me anyway but it works alot better than powering my way through and resisting everything they do.

Bottomline I think the younger you are the easier it is for you to be taught to relax, older people tend to just find it harder.

But what really helps me relax is just thinking of what I am going to do next and not really concentrating too much on the present situation, if that makes any sense.

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#409038 - 10/02/08 05:31 PM Re: How relaxed is your grappling? [Re: Prizewriter]
everyone Offline
Enthusiast

Registered: 01/02/07
Posts: 597
Loc: USA
I generally feel very relaxed in the class-room setting. Out in the real world, if someone was really trying to hurt/kill me, I don't know (probably not).

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#409039 - 10/02/08 06:08 PM Re: How relaxed is your grappling? [Re: everyone]
Dereck Offline
Prolific

Registered: 10/04/04
Posts: 10413
Loc: Great White North
It depends sometimes who I'm grappling with or my mood. Some times stupidly I still try to muscle my way through techniques because I feel I'm stronger not realizing that leverage is what I really need. But when I continually grapple I will usually settle down and the longer I go, because of exhaustion, I will relax even more. My best grappling is at this point.

I do find however when grappling with new people that I find it hard to relax as much as I need to. This is when I should but it sometimes feels like a battle and too much strength is being used which something in my brain clicks and I try to impose my strength on them to let them know that I can. It never seems quite the same grappling with newer people as it is with people with some experience.
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#409040 - 10/02/08 11:38 PM Re: How relaxed is your grappling? [Re: Dereck]
JKogas Offline
Prolific

Registered: 01/25/03
Posts: 10818
Loc: North Carolina
Relaxed but active and aggressive. I don't force anything and try to always go with the flow. I never tense up though I will sometimes explode when I need to. I think whats really important is knowing when to relax and when to effort.

I really don't have a stake in what happens when I roll. I don't care if I tap, or get the tap. It's all about learning. In that sense, what the need to be tense?


-John

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#409041 - 10/03/08 03:28 AM Re: How relaxed is your grappling? [Re: JKogas]
BrianS Offline
Higher rank than you
Professional Poster

Registered: 11/04/05
Posts: 5959
Loc: Northwest Arkansas
My grappling is so relaxed I often fall asleep while choking someone out.
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#409042 - 10/03/08 09:42 AM Re: How relaxed is your grappling? [Re: BrianS]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Good call, JKogas. I always tried to be relaxed when grappling, but my perception and the reality were often not in agreement, LOL.
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"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#409043 - 10/03/08 10:27 AM Re: How relaxed is your grappling? [Re: MattJ]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
What do you do to relax? I was reading a book called the Art of Learning by Josh Waitzkin. In the book he talks about achieving consistancy, regardless of the situation. He mentioned that doing "relaxing" activities before an event can help get you "in the zone" and help you relax. Some examples of things that helped people relax were taking a bath/cold shower, having some green tea, listening to certain music, doing yoga, stretching, praying etc....

The idea was to spend as much time doing this as you needed to to relax. This may initially take an hour, for instance. After a while, by doing this activities on a regular basis, the time it takes for your mind & body to relax should diminsh, because your mind will associate these activities with becoming relaxed more quickly e.g. You become relaxed when you hear the intro to a piece of relaxing music, rather than listening to the whole song.

Josh Waitzkin said that people (including Mr. Waitzkin) gradually reduced this down and down until it takes a very very small amount of time to relax themselves and "get in the zone". Your mind has develpoed such strong associations with things that make you relax, you just need little pieces of these things to get you relaxed.

Very interesting theory, and certainly I have been trying it and I would say it is defintely benefical.

I can only speak for myself, but it is not possible, that I know of, to make myself relaxed on command. I have to prepare myself to relax. I hope in time to be able to make relaxation a more natural thing, which it really should be!
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#409044 - 10/03/08 10:40 AM Re: How relaxed is your grappling? [Re: Prizewriter]
MattJ Offline
Free Rhinoplasty!
Prolific

Registered: 11/25/04
Posts: 15634
Loc: York PA. USA
Dereck has the right idea for me. Rolling to the point of exhaustion generally takes all the stiffness out of my movement. Right before it takes all the movement out of my movement.
_________________________
"In case you ever wondered what it's like to be knocked out, it's like waking up from a nightmare only to discover it wasn't a dream." -Forrest Griffin

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#409045 - 10/10/08 08:04 AM Re: How relaxed is your grappling? [Re: Prizewriter]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2573
A very interesting and recent article on relaxation, featuring Michael Phelps:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/10/02/health...amp;oref=slogin

I was also reminded of something a Chinese IMA teacher once told me to test relaxation:

From a standing position, raise your arms alternately (i.e. one at a time) and let them drop.

If they drop slowly, your body is tense. If they drop quickly, as though you have lost the power to hold them up, you are relaxed.

It is a very rough guide, but I was surprised at how tense I was. My arms initially dropped slowly. The difference between your arm dropping slowly and flooping down is quite subtle but noticeable.

In the past I thought I was relaxed in class, but the coach would still tell me I wasn't relaxed enough.

I often think of mental tension too, such as stress. I have read about people who have been so stressed out but they didn't even realize it until something happened to them.

Just my own experience, but sometimes I may not be as rrelaxed as I think.
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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