What do you spend most of the day thinking about? How mindful are you of your thoughts and feelings and how much do you think they effect your day in terms or your state of relaxation within your posture and movements?
Wing Chun Kung Fu, when studied as a internal martial art, requires the mindful application of movement in order to keep tension and stress out of the body, in particular the muscular system.
When the muscles of the body tighten up they restrict the movement of the joints and the body is unable to move freely. This greatly impedes the ability to move the body and have freedom of movement in the joints. Think about it this way, when muscles tighten up around a joint they act as a hand-brake does in a car, the car can still move but it requires a lot more energy/effort to do so. But when we mindfully relax a joint it’s as if we have put the car in neutral and so the wheels can move around freely. This in turn maximizes speed and reaction time. Furthermore, force can travel freely through an open joint so we can give or take force with more of our mass. This is the Wing Chun way: to use our mass as the power force rather than the muscles. At first this is counter-intuitive because we were brought up believing bigger muscles give better movement and power but this is not the case. Force = Mass x Acceleration so through relaxation we can maximize both aspects of power generation for a self-defense scenario. Moreover, keeping a calm state of presence gives us more chance to act rationally and choose the best outcome in all situations, rather than just reacting out of fear or anger, giving us more control of the situation.
We need to find a way to relax the body and since the body cannot relax unless we are mindful of it we see that our thinking, good or bad, positive or negative, is going to greatly effect our movement.
In Hong Kong there are many Martial Arts schools for fitness and self-defense training… Usually when people think about self-defense they picture hitting a punching bag as hard as they can and getting some basic pointers and getting thrown into a sparring match. Although smashing a bag and sparring can be helpful in self defense through giving confidence through practice, without the study of the condition of our body and mind we are limiting ourselves to the body and missing perhaps what is the biggest and most influential part of self-defense training. Who knew that mindfulness could effect our ability to defend ourselves to this level!
- Mindful Wing Chun Hong Kong