In our combatives (self-offense) training course we use the acronym S.W.A.M.P to help us remember the fundamentals of power development. Today we will be talking about the letter “S” in S.W.A.M.P.
S stands for STAY RELAXED. You may be asking yourself, how do I stay relaxed before a conflict?
The first thing you can do is have a PLAN. You may find that you have three or four go-to strikes that you like. With that in mind you can plan how you’re going to use those if a conflict arises. Knowing this helps you plan your strikes and you can relax in knowing how you are going to react in a conflict.
The next is, STAY LOOSE. When we say stay loose that means don’t tense up or clinch. So, let’s test this theory of loose vs. tense. Use your right hand to give your left hand five. First, tense up your right hand plus your arm and give your left hand five. You should find that it feels robotic and slow. Now keep your right hand and arm loose and give that left hand five. Notice the speed and power that is developed when you stay loose. When we tense up we are more likely to get injured in a fight vs. staying loose.
Last but not least, BREATHE. I have been teaching combatives for many years and let me tell you it is hard to relax if you are not breathing. Don’t laugh, I have had several people more so during fight scenarios hold their breath. The problems are obvious but let’s talk about a few. At some point, with no air, you are going to pass out, not a good idea if we are fighting for our lives. Lack of oxygen causes a rapid heart rate. It goes without saying that a rapid heart rate on top of your already heightened state will not help you relax. It is also good practice to exhale when throwing strikes. This will be impossible to do more than once if you do not breathe.
In closing the letter S for “STAY RELAXED” is first for a good reason. It sets up everything we are going to do next.
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