The relaxation-tension-relaxation sequence of body control allows the body to apply power quickly and smoothly to a technique. Relaxation helps disconnect the arm or leg from the body so it may move with greater quickness. In the execution of a technique, the entire body must relax initially so it may move quickly and powerfully. Then snap the arm or leg at the target. At the instant of impact, the entire body must tense (especially the abdomen) so it may transfer energy to the opponent and absorb the reactive jolt of the impact that will ripple back through the body. An instant later, the entire body must relax so it may quickly recover to a defensive position.
There are two kinds of muscles in every movement. Agonists are the muscles which contract and make the motion happen. Both sets of muscles cannot tense at the same time. If the antagonists are tensed during a motion, they will slow the motion and possibly be injured.
Power is a combination of strength and speed. Strength comes from tension and speed comes from relaxation. The body should be relaxed until the moment of impact. Even then, the tension only lasts for a split second. A most common mistake is to tense the wrong muscles at the wrong time.
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