Slack

 

There is a concept in martial arts called “taking up the slack.” If the defender grabs an attacker and tries to redirect his energy with a violent push or pull, the attacker can sense this energy and fight back. But if the defender takes up the slack in the defender’s space, whether it be his distance from the defender or the slack in his clothes or the slack in his skin, the attacker’s feeling of resistance changes into one of wanting to follow the direction and lead of the defender. 

An example of “taking up the slack” in horse riding is taking up the slack in the reins rather than jerking them. Jerking the reins causes the horse to fight and pull in a direction the rider does not want to go. Gently taking up the slack in the reins, and slowly, but with enough force, pulling the horse to the right, left, or back results in the horse wanting to follow this lead. This technique also works for leading a horse from the ground and any other contact with the horse where we are trying to move her in a particular direction. 

Taking Up Slack and Yielding: Reducing resistance by taking up the slack and not fighting is another path towards yielding.