Ying and Yang has always been applied to the training of martial artists. It is in martial arts where a soft approach (Ying) is in harmony with a hard approach (Yang).
I believe the same should be applied to tennis. If through movement you emphasize firm, assertive, explosive movements in combination with pliable, yielding and relaxed flowing movements then you have the perfect tennis playing approach. You need to connect hard hitting powerfully aggressive movements with relaxed wrists and soft hands and a calm mind.
It is my firm conviction that technique, footwork and movement training must involve the cultivation of both Ying and Yang energies. The cultivation of YANG involves the sharpening of your “tools” or “weapons” i.e. serve footwork, groundstrokes, and smashes. One develops these weapons so that one or more are your weapons of attack, but others can still not be disarmed. One must raise his quality of execution by improving co-ordination, balance, speed, precision and power.
The cultivation of Ying energy, however, involves the sensitivity and pliability of one’s body, improving the soft and yielding skills of one’s limbs and cultivating the relaxation of mind and body, in addition to developing a “detached” attitude of mental poise and emotional calmness. As a result, one is able to move to a higher training, developing the skill of SPONTANEOUS ADAPTION. This skill allows one to quickly generate the appropriate amount of energy, which complements the opponent’s energy almost without conscious thought.
When the adaptive skills reach its highest level, it becomes like a shadow following effortlessly the moving object, or a cork adapting itself to the crests and troughs of the waves.
The height of CULTIVATION should move towards SIMPLICITY. The process is to simplify like a sculptor who continuously chisels away all the nonessentials until he creates a masterpiece. It is combining the Ying and Yang energies i.e. when to he hard when to be soft and adapting whenever necessary.
When a martial artist understands and most importantly RESPECTS his ART he learns through his mentor (sensei) and through experience, experimentation and study to ask him three questions…. What suits you? ……What is your way (style)? …..What do you do well?……….. Great questions for a tennis player to ask him/herself!!!
“I have personally learnt a lot by reading about martial arts and their approach to learning and teaching and combat.
A lot of the above theories are based on those of Bruce Lee (below) …a very famous martial artist but …in my eyes …. a greater teacher and philosopher. I personally apply a lot of his philosophy into my thinking and teaching and I really advise others to “empty your cup” and read up on others sports as they can really help in the learning, training, playing and teaching of tennis”.