Tension in the Upper Body

by Zak
(Statesboro, Georgia, United States)

I am practicing Kendo in an upstart club at my college. A reoccurring suggestion I get from our sensei and others who are more experienced, is that I am retaining tension in my shoulders and elbows.

At first it was clear to me that I was doing that because my right elbow would hurt. I corrected myself over time, but I am still being told that my shoulders are not relaxed enough. I am starting to suspect that it might be my shoulders are just shaped that way. Is this common? Is it even an issue?

Answer: Thank you for your post. I am sure that there are many people wondering about the same thing. Assume that your shoulders are relaxed and your sensei still tells you to relax your shoulders, it is quiet likely that your shoulders are shaped like that.

One more thing. It may be your keikogi. From time to time, keikogi makes your shoulders look tense. I know that because some of my students have such keikogi.

Even if your shoulders are relaxed, but your shoulders are extended fully, your shoulders tend to come up. So you may want to recheck your form. To fix the form, I recommend the method to make the shizentai posture.

This method is good to keep your shoulders down without rolling your shoulders forwards. Try this and see how it goes.

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