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Spinning (More, Better, and Faster) in the Air
"How do I spin more?" I get this question from people a lot. The next question I get after that is "Do I need to jump higher?" In this issue, we'll take a break from discussing techniques and talk about general concepts, since they apply to nearly all techniques. Achieving multiple rotations in the air requires two things - air time and high rotation speed. While you may be able to jump high, and be able to spin well on the ground, doing both at the same time is a bit trickier. When people focus on one aspect (e.g. spinning), they tend to forget about the other aspect. In addition, movements which improve the performance of one aspect may affect the performance of the other. For example, throwing your arms up as hard as you can while you push off the ground will help with your jump height. However, it is likely to affect your spinning ability, especially if they don't reach a position close to the axis of your rotation. Therefore, you need to find adjustments which will benefit both jumping and spinning at the same time.
Each jumping technique in Wushu involves a different takeoff and therefore different methods are employed to maximize jump height and spin rotation simultaneously. However, if you keep the following three concepts clearly in mind when executing any of the techniques, you'll make progress much more quickly.
1. Use the Ground - The ground is the source of your power. You generate all of your rotational momentum while on the ground. Once you leave the ground, what you got is all you'll get. So, when you are adjusting your technique to get more rotation, focus on generating more rotational momentum before you leave the ground. However, be sure that the adjustments you make do not affect your spin axis when you take off.
2. Stay Tight - Once you are airborne, you'll have to maximize what you generated earlier while keeping your body as tight and close to your spin axis as possible. That means minimizing the time that your limbs are in an extended position away from the body. Whatever movements you attempt in the air, they must not affect your spin axis much (unless it is intentional).
3. Jump High - Height is king. You can spin as fast as you want but without any air time to work with, you won't get very far. In general, you should focus on height before rotation. If an adjustment that you make improves rotation but decreases jump height, it probably isn't doing you much good.
Training with the Chinese Coaches
A few months ago, our school had the good fortune of having a few professionals from China come to help coach. I had the opportunity to discuss the intricacies of the various nandu techniques with them and it was great to see how we agreed on so many things. The most common thing that they mentioned was to focus on jumping up as high as you can. Like mentioned many times before, air time makes everything easier. One thing also became apparent during our discussion. Movements should not be forced. Doing so makes it easier to commit errors. In addition, it is harder to sense your body when you are overly tense. The technique should be executed with clarity and power - just like stretch kicks. The leg should be loose but fast on the upwards portion of the kick in order to maximize the speed. Being overly tense will make the kick slower. Most of your effort should be spent during the takeoff. Once you are in the air, you just ride the rest of the way.
Stay tuned for more insights from these discussions in future issues of this newsletter!
Training Forums - Embeddable YouTube Videos
In keeping with the practice of recording videos of your practice sessions, the High Performance Wushu Training Forums now allow YouTube videos to be embedded in your posts! Several people have already posted videos and there are replies with comments and suggestions for improvement.Take a look and see what problems other people are having with their techniques. You just might find the answer you've been looking for there.
If you have any questions or difficulties with any aspect of your training, feel free to post on the forums to get some help! To go to the High Performance Wushu Training Forums, just click on www.highperformancewushu.com/forums/phpbb2/index.php and create a free account.
FHPW 3-Pack is Now Available
It's always better to train with a friend or a group. The more eyes that watch you, the more feedback you can get. Different people focus on different things and catch different things when they watch you practice. And, it's even better when they are all knowledgeable. To help facilitate that, the Fundamentals of High Performance Wushu Book 3-Pack is now available! Get a copy for yourself and your training buddies and save even more off the list price!
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