The Art of Relaxation

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I first encountered the paradox of relaxation in years of martial arts training:

The more relaxed you are, the faster you will be

If I come to a kung-fu class tensed, I would inevitably get my ass kicked @#$$!

However, if I am relaxed, I am able to have a higher reaction time, discern attacks and be able counter-attack with speed.

This is counter-intuitive. Instinctively, our muscles and body tense when face to danger. Why should we learn to be relaxed instead?

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The Free Radical Theory of Aging

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The picture above shows iron rust. Oxygen reacts with steel, in a process called oxidation. It gives a grey and red color, and soon, steel disintegrate. The process can be accelerated with air or water moisture.

Oxidation can also been seen in food, turning rancid cooking oils or transforming nice apples into sad brown food. This process of oxidation creates free radicals.

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Monitor stress and breathing with Spire

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I have had a Spire for almost a year, using the wearable in various situations. This is my 1-year review on this innovative take on the wearable movement.

Spire embeds its electronics in what looks like a small stone. The wireless charger has a wood finish, and the whole product has a nice Zen design that many Apple fans would appreciate. When clipped to your pants (or bra for women), it’s hardly noticeable and can be worn for up to a week without recharging.

The stone even survives machine washing, which is a rare occurrence amongst wearables.

Like most wearables, it tracks your daily steps, and will alert you if you haven’t moved in a while. The app can list at the end of the day your activity moments with the related events and pictures found on your phone.

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Why Studying Traditional Martial Arts makes sense in 21st century

It can build strong physical and mental health as well as a good social network. And it’s just the start!

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Kung fu group training

I have trained many years in traditional kung fu (white crane), filipino, thai, brazilian (BJJ, capoeira) and japanese martial arts. I heard: “Traditional martial arts don’t work”. “MMA is better than traditional martial arts”. Many find quick arguments on why traditional martial arts training doesn’t make any sense.

The most sensible argument is that we have transitioned from constant warfare to societies of relative peace. The most lethal situation is perhaps a knife or gun mugging – but those are exceptional. The vast majority of us simply do not fear caught in a battle when getting out.

The argument is true. Since traditional martial arts train warriors, traditional martial training is in a way aimless. But so does long-distance running, MMA, football or soccer. No-one runs or plays football to train skills that are required for daily lives.

So why train at all in traditional martial arts?

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Meditating for balance

Meditation can reduce psychological stress as well strengthen our immune system

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Chances are that you live in a big city with a demanding job, with requests from “customers” and bosses. Your friends and family need attention. You might stress about your health. Worse, there is this thing called the Internet that throws emails, social media notifications as well all sorts of news and trends at you. Look, new shoes to buy. Hey, look at what Trump said yesterday. Oh, new video from my favourite Youtuber. And should I go to this popular event posted on Eventbrite? I’ve had so many Facebook messages about it. Let’s open another tab to check the news!

As a result, the mind jumps from thought to thought all the time. We all treat it like a dustbin to throw in all the requests from the modern world. Every single day.

Few actually realize that this “dustbin” has a limited capacity. When you put too much, it overflows. It will impact your physical health, drive your cortisol and adrenal glands through the roof. This means symptoms of burn out, mental stress or depression years later.

Along with a good diet, rest and physical activity, meditation can help.

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Listening to your body

It is easy to rely on medical advice, various experts or studies. Remember however to listen to what your body tells you.

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Meditation to listen to your body

When faced with a health or body issue, the Internet, friends or various experts will tell you many and different diagnoses. It is important to listen what they have to say and inquire about possible solutions.

Yet, it is your job is to listen to your body on a continuous basis, not the doctor’s. Like Plato and the allegory of the cave, doctors and other experts can only see symptoms through proxies. Indeed, you tell about your symptoms in a certain way, tests are delayed and partial, and no-one didn’t live your life to know about your unique health history and identity.

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