Help with staying relaxed

Discussion in 'Standup Technique' started by Millencolin, Aug 7, 2010.

  1. Millencolin

    Millencolin White Belt

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    Recently, I sparred with a current UFC fighter. Now, normally when I spar, I don't have a lot of problems whether or not I am tense, I tend to be able to loosen up and land a couple good combos here and there and leave satisfied.

    However, this guy is on a different level entirely, obviously. I went 3 rounds with him, the first one wasn't very good, but not terrible. Second one was decent. Third one I took a straight from hell.

    What both my coach and he said is that I was too square, too tense... I don't quite understand what they meant because I'm definitely not "tense" muscle wise... I'm just not moving I guess, even though I'm making a conscious effort to do it. I don't feel nervous, I have no qualms about taking on semi-concussions learning the stuff, but I'd really like to know what some of you (advanced strikers, not keyboard jockeys) do to stay relaxed, fluid, and focused.

    Also, what are some good strikers (mma please, boxing too if applicable style) I can study and take from?
     
  2. ECS123

    ECS123 Purple Belt

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    Try having someone video tape you in a similar situation, and you will actually be able to see it yourself, rather than trying to visualize an explaination. I would bet you will be able to identify the problem, and make self corrections. A picture is worth a thousand words, and video is invaluable.

    :icon_chee
     
  3. Millencolin

    Millencolin White Belt

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    Good call. I think video taping would help, but even if I recognized what was wrong with me, I still would need to harness a technique or method to keep my self in line.. Just asking what others have tried..
     
  4. SKizzit**

    SKizzit** Purple Belt

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    Control your breathing is the best advice I can give. If your out of the pocket and far enough away that he can't lunge in, step back and take a few deep breaths. It doesn't matter if he thinks your getting tired or not as long as you stay calm.
     
  5. BigPete

    BigPete Purple Belt

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    Have you previously sparred with a pro MMA fighter though?

    I know it may sound daft but maybe you were just thinking damn I'm with a pro fighter sparring so may have been a bit starstruck hence what made you tighten up?

    If so just try to ignore who they are and just go as you would normally go, same movement, pace etc see how it goes.
     
  6. Millencolin

    Millencolin White Belt

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    Many, many times. Bellator fighters, WEC fighters, KOTC fighters, you name it.. I have sparred many times. No star struck here... its a common thing I tend to hear from people, that I am too "tense". However, its not tense that I feel, its more of a blank stiffness, that isn't really related to my muscular tension, but more of how I'm placing myself in close situations..
     
  7. xilliun

    xilliun Brown Belt

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    ask your trainer how to solve your problem and exactly what to do to not be tensed up. too vague of a problem without a video to show.
     
  8. Alacrity

    Alacrity White Belt

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    I think watching tapes of yourself will be good. I know this is going to sound super stupid but can you dance?

    When I played basketball back in high school I was stiff moving as in I moved like a robot. I also hated to dance. I got to college and my roommates dragged me to a dance club. I sucked, I moved like a robot, I was not comfortable, I really just felt like a stick in the mud.

    As it turned out, as I kept going back, and my roommates help me to get more comfortable dancing, my basketball game actually got better. I become more fluid in my movements.

    You can be relaxed mentally and your muscles may not be tense, but you could still be moving like a rusted up robot, which I think might be what they are referring to?

    I know when I sparr, I generally start out very tight and robotic like, and part of it is the lack of experience since I have only done any type of training since November. But when I relax and move more fluidly, I am quicker, better able to strike and cover backup and block etc.

    So watch video to see what you look like, because you can say you look fine or that you are not stiff, but you may suddenly see something different when watching from someone else's view. At that time, talk to the pros or your training about ways to improve or learn how to dance ;)

    But actually, it could be a case where maybe try some cross training with something else that will help loosen you up physically. Swimming for example, since good swimming relies on smooth fluid motions to be effective or any type of activity that relies on fluid motions and coordination that can help carry over into your sparring. just my two cents.
     
  9. Oh Mah Gawd

    Oh Mah Gawd Orange Belt

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    Video of you sparring a better fighter is a great idea!

    Also not having some technical aspects of stand up mastered leaves you vulnerable to fall into traps/counters and changes.

    I recommend that if you were overwhelmed by boxing, that you spar people who are better than you at boxing. You will learn more tricks and become more comfortable under pressure.
     
  10. Andrew Green

    Andrew Green White Belt

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    Without seeing you it will be hard for anyone to really give much advise as "tense" can mean a lot of things.

    Could be lack of head movement, could be you are flat footed, could be how you respond to getting hit, could be you are moving straight in and straight out without any angling or pivots.\ could simply be you are getting angry as you get beat.

    All that said, have more fun. Loosen up and play, don't take it seriously.
     
  11. thelyricalmaste

    thelyricalmaste Green Belt

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    Shadowboxing properly can help you to get over your inflexibility. A lot of your problem might come from your inability to match technique with the pace of a sparring match. For example, do you find yourself feeling slow in the beat after throwing a combination? That could be explained by poor footwork resulting in the need to "catch" your upper body. Or do you feel like you can't get away from your opponent's punches? Your defensive moves might be too predictable and you're opponent is too comfortable.

    All these things can be corrected with good visualization and shadowboxing with a good instructor.
     
  12. SteelHammer

    SteelHammer Green Belt

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  13. Connoisseur

    Connoisseur Purple Belt

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    It sounds like your trainers want you to move around more, come in at angles. Generall when you're too square it means that the other guy is beating you with footwork and getting to a position where they're poised to deliver shots and you aren't. Also, at least for me I try to shake out my shoulders/ roll my neck around a bit, because although you want the hands up/ chin tucked, you don't want them to be stiff or tense.

    As others have suggested, watch tape of yourself, practice your footwork (which you can never work on too much), etc.

    Also, if you're fighting high level guys like that, you might be a bit gunshy/ tentative, and that could be your problem. I understand completely bud, it's hard to be extremely self confident when you're getting smashed in the grill, but even if you're getting worked it's important to adapt and find ways to do well (or at the bare minimum, survive).

    When I trained at Xtreme Couture last Summer, the brits from TUF 9 came to alot of the same classes as I did, and even though I was quite a bit bigger than them, I would get shitkicked in Thai Boxing when we sparred (even lightly), so I got real good at pumping my jab, circling right, keeping my hands/ elbows up & tight, and throwing the occasional check hook/ cross. I still got worked, but didn't get any concussions
     
  14. ssullivan80

    ssullivan80 see....what had happened was

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    My opinion, learning to be relaxed in the ring is something that comes with time and experience, and there really are not any shortcuts. Along with experience the next most important variable in being relaxed in the ring is learning how to constantly be thinking and evaluating both yourself and your opponent, but doing so without over-thinking yourself into nervousness or tension. I know that answer is vague, but really the best way i can describe it. A lot of times when someone says your "tense" or "you need to relax" they are referring to your posturing, both physically and mentally (because your expression is more tell tale than you may realize).

    There are a lot of guys out there that are not intimidated, or are not afraid to take a big shot. That does not necessarily make them relaxed, it makes them either 1. foolish or 2. fearless, and both have repercussions. Being relaxed is more mental than physical. A fighter who can relax in the ring is constantly thinking, he is evaluating every movement his opponent makes and looking for patterns that present opportunity. When he gets hit, he doesn't panic and think "i got to hit him back" or get angry. Instead he thinks "how did i get hit", then he baits his opponent into throwing the same shot he was just successful with, knowing he will look for the same opportunity. Only this time he knows what to expect because he wasn't just fighting...... he was thinking his way through the fight!

    A great fighter or a relaxed fighter has the mental state of an expert chess player, he envisions each and every move and tries to think three or more steps ahead of his opponent. He does this without letting his nerves or emotions cloud his judgement....... Then, when the opportunity presents itself, he no longer has to think! He just reacts instinctively, because he saw it coming! If his move was wrong, he doesn't get angry or tense. He adapts and adjusts by developing a new strategy to outsmart his opponent.

    Spend more time thinking, less time fighting and you will be more relaxed in the ring. If you have trained long enough that your body knows how to perform the techniques and they are second nature, committed to muscle memory. Then stop thinking about what technique you are going to use and just start being an observer of your opponent, trusting that the tools and techniques you trained to develop will be there when the opportunity presents itself. Have no pre determined notions or pre-set plans, just stay patient, think, observe, and react when the opportunities present themselves, and they always do...... you just got to be able to recognize them! And that is a whole hell of a lot easier said than done!
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2010
  15. AmericanSambo

    AmericanSambo White Belt

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    usually it takes me getting hit hard to loosen up :icon_lol:
     
  16. golvmopp

    golvmopp Always outnumbered, never outgunned

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    Granted I don't know all aspects of the story, but I recognize what you just said.

    My solution? Stay active and in his face. For me, one part of tension is not being able to read your opponent, the other one is anticipating your own actions too much. The solution to the first part is to take charge and push the pace, not leaving the initiative for your opponent. The second part is to stop being so committing to your attacks. Use your jab, teep, throw feints - always keep him on his toes. Vary everything about your offense - speed, power, levels.
    All of my best sparring sessions have come from adhering to that mindset.
     
  17. ssullivan80

    ssullivan80 see....what had happened was

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    Very well said! The explanation you gave, highlighted above, is well worth being framed in giant block letters and posted on the wall at the gym! :icon_idea
     
  18. Timm S

    Timm S Yellow Belt

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    Perfectly said and someone already mentioned breathing. If I'm breathing in the ring I'm fine when I'm not I move like a slug.
     
  19. p4pbest

    p4pbest Yellow Belt

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    Accept your fears. ( i.e accept that there is a chance that you will take a savage beating. Accept it. Dont fight it. Let it be. That is whats making you tense. You are trying hard to avoid this possibility. Be at peace with it and your mind will settle )

    Focus on attack, not defense. ( meaning that you dont go in the ring/cage with a mentality of trying not to get hit and avoiding punishment. Focus on dishing out what you can do and using your skills to the best of your ability. Defense comes automaticlly with this mindset.Focus on hitting him as much you can)

    Your Ego ( You are a fighter and i know full well that an odd bruise or a broken hand or nose etc wont bother you that much. Infact you might look at the bruises in the mirror and smile at your self. Ideally you would want to avoide the odd bruise or black eye but deep down your not really fussed too much if you do end up with a bruise or black eye. BUT.... you are worried immensly about being shown up, about being embarrassed, about being laughed at due to a poor performance, about looking like a dummy. Thats your EGO. A bruise to the EGO is something you cannot take. Thats why your mind is making you tense. Thats why its hesitant. Thats why you tense up and dont perform best to your ability cos you know you can do much better. Learn to accept that its ok if you fail. There is no embarrassment. Let it go. It will free your mind completley when you are in the ring/cage and sparring/fighting will be fun, beautiful and like a chess game.)


    hope that helped

    peace



    EDIT: good strikers: buakaw, floyd mayweather, pacman, saenchai,ramon dekkers, jomhod, tyson, marvin hagler , andy souwer, ray leonard, etc

    EDIT2: i spar with pro muay thai guys. some of the are also ammy/pro boxers. I am ammy muay thai fighter

    peace
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2010
  20. HulmeHardy**

    HulmeHardy** Green Belt

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    Jesus Knows.
     

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