Tension generated as the coil is pressed down. It quivers and is sprung. Released in a direction it exerts force. The coiled spring, the tensed muscle, the panther on its haunches waiting to leap.
With the tension unleashed, the energy is transferred. The spring is sprung. The fist, it flies forth. The cat leaps through the air. The dagger descends with increasing speed. The stone is pushed, and gives way
Shortly before he died, my dad offered a piece of advice – that a man’s life, the entirety of it, is a pecking order.You are pecked up, or down, the order. At the right time your moment arrives, how you react, or act, determines much, When opportunity’s door opens do you even recognize it for what it is? Are you patient enough to wait, to prepare, and then to see things for what they are and do what you must do?
Man’s life is often conditioned by tension and stress. Inwardly we are coiled up by society’s demands. We un-tense and do what we must, or what we are told. Some tensions remain, some coils remain un-sprung, no mode of release is found, and constantly the toll is taken.
The coil’s metal fatigues and cracks. The stress fractures spread.
Our society winds us up like springs. We are fed, from childhood on, a diet of fears and anxieties. We are told contradictions and lies, as to our roles, obligations and duties. The carrot dangled before our noses, we are promised love, and promised friendship, promised shelter, if we but conform, buckle under, and plough on through. The reward is the relaxation, the release promised to be forthcoming.
Tension is managed, the stress sublimated.
In a muscle strength is tension. Each muscle motor unit is told by our minds how tightly to tense itself. Microscopic units in our muscle tissue attenuate the signals our mind sends to tell our muscles to contract. Our muscles can contract with greater force than our sinews and connective tissues can withstand. We can literally rip our own muscles off our bones.
Strength is will. Strength is power, power is the ability to use force to accomplish a task.
Strength can be as mental as it seems physical. And by exerting constant and increasing tension against heavy objects, or against our own muscles, or against immobile objects, we can condition the link between our minds and our muscles, making them more efficient, even causing our bodies to create more neural connections.
Our muscles with work and time grow denser, our tendons grow tougher, and better able to handle loads we place on them. Our muscle fibers themselves grow more mitochondria, more furnaces to stoke and provide energy.
Constant and progressive effort makes us stronger. In all things.
Any faculty of man can be strengthened. Our overly materialistic minds only focus on the symbol of coiled striated muscles, the proportional rippled figure of an Adonis statue. We then loose sight of a bigger picture.
What of our minds? What of our reason, our eyesight, our hearing, our more subtle modes of perception. Do we know what they are? A man can exercise his eyes, his ears, his reason, his intellect. A man can exercise his sex, his touch, his feelings and emotions. A man can and should exercise his will, because the will is where strength truly lies.
To exercise tension and strength is one thing, but what of relaxation and release? The coil, too tightly wound, can break or spring in an unfocused direction. To practice precision and form is essential. To practice relaxation on demand, and tension on demand, is essential. When a man wills overmuch, and undertakes to do that which is greater than him, two things can happen. He can man up to the task, grow stronger, and accomplish his aims.
Or he can break.
If we only know how to tense up, and not how to release, where does this leave us?
The key in strengthening muscles is progressive overload, just a little bit outside your range. You add extra reps, extra sets, extra weight, but with common sense never outstripping your capacity by too far.
You constantly place tasks to accomplish, directions into which you can grow, goals ahead of your nose. They must be realistically close enough at first to accomplish with some effort, because you will be learning to use long dormant faculties. With time you can make the goals more remote, as the confidence of achieving simple tasks just slightly out of reach grows.
When you know that you own your strength, you no longer need to remain constantly wound up and tense. The small dog quivering in rage becomes the larger wolf, relaxed and watchful.
What we were told to fear, we can accept, and swallow, and thus conquering it relaxed.
Pay attention to what others tell you to fear, do not fear these things, but pay attention to them. Some advice is golden and well meant, but some advice is distraction. By understanding what is presented to you, you can glimpse at what it is that you are being distracted from.
It is possible to trap a wary man in just this way. If you are on the look out for a trap then a truth may be presented to you in the knowledge that you will reflexively simply do or seek the opposite. In this way your healthy paranoia can be subverted.
Discretion in all things matters. Listen to all, and weight it. Take the best, leave the rest. Many an ostensible friend is actually an enemy, many a present enemy can become a useful friend and ally. Iago appears honorable and a sincere well wisher. By man a Desdemona is innocent, if you but have the eyes to see, and the mind to perceive.
A man must learn to relax before judgment, before striking, before action. To perceive, and weigh, before he acts.
Haste is not a sign of strength, it is a sign of weakness. The wolf stalks and measures his prey. You must learn to do the same. To do otherwise is stupidity and potentially can shorten your life and prevent you from accomplishing what you ought to.
Relax, sniff the wind, perceive all things before you, and strike at your moment, and no one else’s. IF they tighten the spring, and increase the tension, relax yourself accordingly. Never let them dictate the terms of your engagement. Move at your time, and your pace, having prepared yourself accordingly.
Society tells you what you must do. Allow this to flow by, decide when to fight your battles, against whom, and for what reasons.