Tue, 28 Jun 2005

Pain and Trust

I just got back from Boston, where I took Master Yang, Jwing-Ming's Qin Na seminar at YMAA (Yang's Martial Arts Association). Qin Na is chinese joint locks, used to subdue or control someone while you do something else to them. I had already attended a Saturday morning class taught by Jim Noble. Jim is a really good teacher. I enjoyed that class, so when my friend invited me down to Boston to take the seminar with him, I jumped at the chance.

Qin Na is interesting because you have to hurt your opponent to practice, and he you. "Hurt", though, has two components: pain and damage. When you're practicing, you want to restrict yourself to causing pain, and you want the person working on you to restrict himself to causing pain. Damage is undesirable.

So how do you learn how to accept pain without fear of damage? You see, if you tense up, if you resist the joint lock, that causes your muscles to be torn, which increases the soreness. It's best to relax, which allows your tendons to stretch and increases flexiblity. The only way you can do that, though, is if you have no fear of being damaged.

Trust, you see, is the key. The trouble with a Level 1 class, which is what I was attending, is that everybody you're working with is also a beginner. Beginners tend to use too many muscles (this is true of all sports) and too much strength. Qin Na is all about technique, not strength, and a beginner doesn't have the technique, so they try strength.

I really, really didn't trust some of the students in the class.

I learned to trust the instructors and Master Yang. He's the worst of all. He causes so much pain so quickly that you can barely see it coming. Suddenly you're in his control. The instructors don't cause as much pain as Master Yang, but they cause more than the other students. I also learned to trust a few of the students.

I didn't get damaged this weekend, but I sure felt a lot of pain.

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