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Relaxing in training/sparring

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I have been training for almost 6 years, but after doing a few private sessions with different trainers from another gyms (boxing and muay thai), both of them pointed out that I am too tense, even when I am skipping, and that I need to be more relaxed and that got me thinking about what is that tension and relaxing that they are talking about because I don't feel it, I feel like I am relaxed, but obviously they see something that I don't and perhaps that inability to be as relaxed is an obstacle to my ability to progress. So I am curious if you have received similar advice and what did it mean for you? Perhaps the relaxing that they were talking about means not thinking so much about what I am doing and just let the actions come out instinctively?

Fighting Frog

Fighting Frog

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They probably mean that there is muscle tension in your shoulders and hips. Best way of seeing what they mean is to film yourself in training/sparring and watch it with them so they can point it out; or watch someone else with the same problem when they are training. It is surprisingly easy to see what other people are 'doing wrong' and it's a light bulb moment as a result to actually see and realise what your error is. I've experienced this when horse riding - when I used to assist my instructor when she was teaching other people I could see exactly what she meant by comments like 'Your elbows are tight, that's causing the horse to do whatever' because I could see the other rider's tension and the effect it had on the horse. Before I would think 'My elbows feel fine' and not really understand.

Muscle tension means your movements won't flow as easily and won't have as much control or power as they could. I notice a huge difference, especially when I'm kicking - if my shoulders, stomach etc stay nice and relaxed then the kick is way faster and more powerful (and more accurate) than if they are at all tense.

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