I would like to bring the following method to your attention, because I think this is a very effective method to use to develop relaxation of your shoulder and whole arm in general. It sounds like a contradiction, that you have to relax your arm when you strike. Of course, to move your arm you need to use your muslces, but at the same time you have to relax.. Relax basically means to not use your muscle. Fortunately, it is not that black and white, else it would be impossible to strike. There is a term to describe this relaxedness that we use, which is required energy. Before I go on to explain about required energy, please have a look at the following method, which helps you to develop a relaxed arm.
Execution: Position your right hand on Seichusen and let your left arm hang. Twist your body so that your arm gets a swing. When your arm is in front of you on Seichusen, stop it with your right hand. The more relaxed your arm is, the better it will swing through. I explain and demonstrate this method in the video as well.
The term required energy is self explanatory, as it already tells you to only use the energy that you require. Basically, a muscle communicates in terms of contraction, so to explain the term of Required energy, let's use a scale of 0 to 100 for the amount of contraction.
0 contraction = no trace of muscle tension whatsoever i.e. completely relaxed.
1-99 contraction = lower to higher intensity of contraction
100 contraction = full contraction
Imagine taking Shizentai as you arms hang at the sides of your body. At this point, the muscles surrounding your shoulder which are used to lift your arm are for convenience sake 0 in this example. If you want to raise your arm and use a contraction of 5, maybe your muscles activate, but still you can not lift your arm. If you lift by 90 or 100, you may lift your arm but use a kind of contraction that would allow you to lift a 10Kg dumbell. In other words, using 90 or 100 is not necessary if you simply want to lift your arm.
Required energy is the number that you need to lift your arm.
Let's say you need 30 to lift your arm (beat gravity). In this situation, if you change from 30 to 29 your arm starts to drop by gravity. If you use 31, your arm becomes more tense than necessary and it will be more difficult to move smoothly.
You can imagine that reaching a level of body control of 1/100 in all body parts at the same time is very difficult. Especially since using your body requires muslce contraction. For this, there are various trainingmethods that loosen up your body. For this blog, I chose to share three methods with you, focussing on the shoulder and arm.
The method "stopping your arm" is one of the three methods which I demonstrate and explain in this video. The other two methods focus on swinging your arm without using your arm. The movement of the body is used to generate the momentum to swing your arm. One method is sideway and the other is executed in a vertical plane. These methods are pretty simple, yet very effective. Have a look!