Relaxing your entire body and focusing your force on different key parts of your body is a very important concept to master if you want to properly apply Wing Chun. It allows you to increase your speed (and power) and sensitivity (so you can react to incoming attacks).
However, relaxing can also be detrimental to your Wing Chun if you misunderstand relaxing.
Here are some basic concepts to apply and misconceptions for you to avoid:
1. Relaxing is Good. Being Soft is Good. Sandbagging Isn’t
The reason why we relax when we are moving is because it allows us to move faster and thus punch harder and block more effectively. However, it does not mean disregarding proper structure and positions. You should not sacrifice the integrity of your structure to become more soft or relaxed.
Instead, you should keep relaxed while retaining your structure. With the right structure, you will be able to sustain a certain amount of force. This also depends if you are stationary or performing a block (like a stationary car getting hit and a car crashing into each other). Stationary structure allows you to sustain some pressure but you must change immediately because it will leave you vulnerable if you don’t; like a stationary car, the car that is being hit is easily moved by the car hitting it. While performing a block sustains much greater force (provided that you remain relaxed with proper structure and force focus); like two head-on collisions, two cars have the chance to stay at the point of impact, bounce off to other directions, or move in the direction of the car with more force and speed.
The point is, being relaxed does not mean giving in to every little amount of force that is put onto you.
2. Knowing When to Harden
It is just as important to know when to harden your force just as when and how to relax. For example, you must harden your fist at the end of a punch to deliver substantial power to the opponent
Typically, you do not want to harden your blocks at the end of the motion but rather keep the position. For example, Pak Sao does not require you to harden at the end but rather meeting the attack and keeping your hand there.
Hardening is not necessarily flexing. For example, proper Fak Sao has a slight bend in the wrist (towards outside) in the end to deliver the force.
3. Knowing Where To Focus Your Force
This is one of the most overlooked part in Wing Chun. Have you ever heard of shoulder injury from Bong Sao? That is a very common injury in many schools because of using the shoulder instead of the elbow. The force is focused at the wrong spot.
Knowing where to focus your force can greatly increase how relaxed you are and therefore the speed and power in which you attack/block.
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