Body Efficiency. The efficiency of the body’s movements largely depends upon how relaxed you are. Our amazing network of muscle & tendon, of artery & vein, of organs & lymphatic system, and of tissue with its astonishing elasticity, needs to work in a smooth and coordinated fashion for the body to function ‘like clockwork’.
Energy & Water.
The ‘body hose pipes’. There are two different points here. The first is about general tension and stress, which is the one this blog is focusing on. The second is that, under certain circumstances in martial arts we intentionally ‘bend the hose pipes’ in order to achieve a specific result, e.g. when doing either a hand, elbow, shoulder, knee, or heel strike.
Tension. In the body, tension in the muscles is the equivalent of over-flexing the hose pipe. Physical/muscular tension or stress squeezes the nerves, reduces movement potential in the joints (by both pulling the joints together and by reducing flexibility), restricts the flow of blood and lymph, reduces breathing (which means that there is less oxygen for the cells, which causes an increase in stress), and reduces both coordination and balance. In other words, the body’s energy becomes restricted and stops functioning as effectively.
Getting older. Aspects of this are particularly noticeable in older people where, because of a natural tightening of the tendons with age, the body contracts and starts to fold in on itself. Often breathing becomes shallower, balance and coordination are compromised, and the flow of blood is reduced and the body feels colder.
Tai chi and qigong classes with James Drewe at http://www.taiji.co.uk/classes.