*Taekwondo Masters relax when they kick
Have you ever watched top taekwondo players kick? I always notice how relaxed they are. Their shoulders are down and back. Their arms are loose. And their legs seem to work totally independently of their bodies. It appears to take top Masters no effort at all to power through a thick breaking boards. And top sparring competitors look like they are taking a walk in the park!
*Can you relax in taekwondo when you first start out?
Of course it’s very hard for beginners to not tense up. The last thing you feel as a martial arts white belt is relaxed! Everything is new. The techniques are tough and alien to you. And chances are you aren’t totally strong, coordinated and flexible at this stage. So of course you feel tense!
*And what does tension do to your taekwondo kicks?
If you are tense in your taekwondo class your body produces more adrenaline. This is your fight-flight hormone. It is useful if you are in physical danger. But in class it just burns your muscle energy. And you are left drained and tired. You kicks get slow and heavy.
Tension also makes your muscles stiff. And stiff muscles can’t work properly. You move more like a robot than a person. Your techniques can’t flow properly. Your kicks get slow and weak. And you’re more prone to injuries.
*But then over time your taekwondo kicking technique improves.
As you move up through the belt system… You practice your kicking technique and get stronger and more balanced. Your body starts to remember what to do and taekwondo is more automatic. Your co-ordination improves. You get stronger and more flexible. And all of a sudden you start to feel a bit better.
*Now’s the time to work on relaxing
So now your technique is good… you need to start to learn to trust it. After all taekwondo kicks work if the technique is right. And your kicks will work if you let them flow. So find ways to make yourself relax in Dojang. Drop your shoulders when they feel tense. Breathe and shake your legs if you get nervous. Step back and smile if you feel like powering a kick into the bag.
If you are not used to relaxing it takes work. You have to keep reminding yourself it’s OK to let go. But once you start to trust your taekwondo kicks your results will be fantastic!