Summer, a time of break of the facilities where we practice throughout the week.
Time of necessary rest we give to our body, mind and spirit, providing us spaces and ways to interrupt the daily routine of the year so we fill up our system with new energy and new stimuli.
The summer break is a great opportunity to work on your psychophysical system, even in the absence of ordinary training sessions.
For this reason, we can equip ourselves with a few, compact, transportable and low-cost tools, which allow us to work on some qualities of the practice even at the seaside or hiking.
Today we talk about a nice tool as depicted in this article’s picture.
It is an elastomer ring (a resistant yet deformable kind of rubber , supplied in three different densities and strengths. We have chosen the intermediate one, which offers significant but not extreme resistance. The entry-level is not that resistant and it could break in hard-trained hands.
There are many similar tools, usually kind of equipped pliers with more or less resistant springs, used for the rehabilitation of the hand and forearm after injuries and surgery. Everyone is fine! We chose this one because it is small, colorful, cheerful, you can put it everywhere and it has no metal parts.
Using this tool means immediately realizing the asymmetry of our hands. It is not a mystery: we have a predominant side. On the one hand, the grip is smoother and more powerful, on the other hand, less.
For those who, like a martial arts practitioner, “live” by grabs, this ring becomes a very interesting training companion.
First of all, it allows you to strengthen your grip (and this also is suitable for everyday activities and to make a good impression at the bar when you unscrew a cap that no one else can move… Martialists also have their own ways of worrying about the swimsuit season).
Secondly, it contributes to the development and maintenance of laterality. The system perceives with discomfort the sequence of contractions made by the weaker hand: this is precisely a sign that the work must be done and in a proper way!
But above all – and especially for those who practice Aikido or Judo – this tool allows you to feel how much the entire musculoskeletal chain that goes up from the hand towards the shoulder girdle is more or less relaxed when the hand contracts to squeeze the ring.
Full presence training is one of the pillars of martial practice. The full focusing of energy in a grab is not an immediate process.
Squeezing a wrist is easy: anyone with the use of an opposable thumb can do that.
Squeezing it to convey your intention through the grab and energy to “touch” the center of your mate, is not that simple.
Doing all this while keeping the rest of the system (say from the forearm up) relaxed and ready for a smooth, relaxed movement is not absolutely easy.
For a handful of euros, at the value of an ice cream and without the need to transport the dojo and our mates on holiday with us, we can equip ourselves with a tool with which to work every day with intensity on one of the key points of our practice.
In general, therefore, summer is that special time in which we can dedicate oureselves to some details that we don’t always have time to think about. This is the time to experiment with new good habits.
This can avoid the “trauma” of resuming activities in September, which usually requires some weeks to be absorbed and return to an optimal physical and mental condition for the practice.