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Thread: the most secret skill in kung fu

  1. #1

    the most secret skill in kung fu

    weight lifting.

    a good traditional weightlifting protocol is the most secretive part of traditional kung fu. the easiest way to control scam and abuse your students is to keep them physically weak. numerous "internal" teachers have obviously muscular physiques that can come only from years of "external" heavy weight lifting.

    lifting weights goes back to the warring states period in 1000 BC. lifting weights is one of the gentlemanly skills of confucianism.

    out of 360 heroes in water margin only 1 hero was not muscular. majority of heroes were described as "muscular" and few heroes described as "freakishly muscular".

    traditional weight lifting is very detailed and refined but the one ace in the deck kung fu teachers keep to control their students. if you do not lift weights, you will never achieve anything in kung fu.
    Last edited by bawang; 03-19-2015 at 11:27 AM.

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  2. #2
    Okay, Bawang. Whats your best lifts?

    I'll list mine. Nothing to write home about. Not winning any medals. Not making the mags.

    I never had great 1 rep strength. But I had fairly good weight amounts for higher reps.

    So , Best bench was 205 3 times. Once by myself the last 2 with assistance. So once!

    But my best for me was

    Bench- 185 for 20 reps. I did up to 6 sets and the reps would drop on each set. I may have been able to go a bit higher first set but that's what I did.

    Squat. 175 for 20 ass to grass. Similar as above.

    Half squat, 350 for 20 never did more than 3 sets if I went that high in weight. Again each set reps went down a few.

    Pull downs, 150 for 20 and as above.

    Presses 120 for 20 and as above

    Curls 90 or 100 (I cant recall) for 20 and as above.

    I cant recall any of the other stuff a played with. Nothing great I am sure. I sometimes used the Universal for different moves but the above was a mainstay.

    Ab work, I never really counted.

    Most push ups chest to floor high 70's I cant recall the exact amount.

    Most push ups done in a work oput, in sets. Total was around 300. 20-30 rep range. 10 or a little more sets.

    Pullups. 21 but I weighed 140ish pounds so..

    My body weight has bounced between 135 to almost 200 ( 197-198). I currently weigh around 160-165. If I get above 185 I tend to get to fat. But I can bulk to that in 2 months. DONT DO IT. You lose your gracefulness! Actually at my current weight I could hit 185 in a month I'd bet.

    So, I trained that top secret kung fu method and that's the best I ever did.

    I can not do the amounts listed nor the reps at present. In fact I have not touched any real amount of weight since I got hurt.

    Anyone else care to share?

    edit. In the above listed amounts. I weighed no more than 150lbs. That's when I was kind of serious with the weights. I actually gain size better with bodyweight stuff. Just the basic moves. Nothing fancy No leverage moves which can rip your attachments apart so be careful with that stuff. The biggest thing is EAT and SLEEP !
    Last edited by boxerbilly; 03-19-2015 at 11:56 AM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    New Mexico
    As long as hard body does not become rigid body and complete exercise balances with the muscles most affected by the weights.
    I do agree that whatever it is today, it was about endurance to exceed and forms only part of any day.
    The years I had the anvil works or forest life were the only times I had sufficient weight resistence muscle exercise in my regular diet.
    Last edited by curenado; 03-19-2015 at 12:33 PM.
    "The perfect way to do, is to be" ~ Lao Tzu

  4. #4
    Anvil Works- Were you a blacksmith? I don't mean that on anyway as a slight. I think that stuff is pretty cool. Not many can do it anymore. I suspect most in that if they can't sell the art would have to sideline as horse ferriers.

    Really, weights are great but not the end all to be all. They don't equate to increased striking power that good. They can make you faster (which can make you hit harder) or they can make you feel like a piece of lead. Heavy feet. I think grappling wise way important. That's were strength gets scary to me. Translates well there since you have something to push against. And it improves your ability to take punishment to a degree but not that good in my opinion. Getting hit sucks even if you got strength and muscle. Probably the best thing they do is make you feel strong which improves your confidence. All that said, sure I would love a 400lb bench. But it is probably not in my cards not matter what I do.

  5. #5
    90 people online. 17 in this forum and I guess no one ever touched a weight?

    I thought it was a good thread Bawang but what do I know? I suspect people don't like writing about not being very good at it. I wasn't. Anyway, as everyone can see. I certainly was not very strong. I could exert the strength I did have more times than average is all. Call it endurance I guess. But not really sure. Just the muscle fiber make up I was given through genetics.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    New Mexico
    I am not a big guy. It seemed freaky how strong my arms were because I developed even, did not bulk out.

    Yes, farm kid. Can build anything and when I got accepted in '77 by Don Miller, he was already making weapons, though I think these days he does mostly knives.

    But creature is right about resistance muscle exercise and training, whether you have fancy ones or 5 gallon buckets.
    "The perfect way to do, is to be" ~ Lao Tzu

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    Fremont, CA, U.S.A.

    Most people just lurk

    Quote Originally Posted by boxerbilly View Post
    90 people online. 17 in this forum and I guess no one ever touched a weight?
    You came to this assumption because only 3 members posted on this thread since 11 this morning? What if we apply that same logic to our two-year old Chinese-toilets thread. No one replied to that one for a whole day. "96 people online. 2 in this forum and I guess no one ever touched a toilet?"
    Gene Ching
    Author of Shaolin Trips
    Support our forum by getting your gear at MartialArtSmart

  8. #8
    Gene, I never said I was a mental giant, lol. Impatient, most certainly.

    Curenado , Im not a big guy. Even at almost 200 , yeah I wore x lg shirts for awhile but I was not really big or huge in my opinion. Biggest my arms ever got were a bit more than 14 3/4 for the right and about that for the left. Not big by anyone's standards.

    And custom knives. Way cool.

    And yes, I can imagine the kind of strength one may develop working with steel and swinging hammers all day. Your grip may be dangerous. Like that Dennis Rogers rolling pans. That stuff is frightening. Say you are BJJ god and take old Dennis down and he grabs **** near anywhere. Its a hold and it may rip your muscle from their attachments. He could possible snap the handles of a pair of pliers with his grip. YIKES!

    Again, I was never real strong. Guys bending steel is more impressive to watch than a 250 pound guy putting up 500lbs.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Columbia, MO
    A basic, sound weightlifting routine is one of the healthiest habits a person can pick up, but always seems the be the last thing a typical TCMA person wants to do.

    Weightlifting, if done over the full range of motion, will actually increase flexibility.

    A basic strength program improves not only striking power, but nearly any physical aspect of your life.

    Most of what I know about weightlifting comes either from school courses or when I trained sanda at Wuhan Sports University. I would love to know more about traditional weightlifting. I asked several traditional teachers about this and they said though modern programs are sufficient, traditionally lifting stone locks like a deadlift offered the most benefit. And by stone locks I don't mean throwing them like you see at festivals, but lifting the very large ones off the ground. This was confirmed to me by a taiji group I met once. Typically, they met in the park to train but came to the gym to train (mostly deadlifts) twice a week.

    If you go to a school which doesn't at least offer advice on weightlifting, you may want to consider another school.
    "I'm a highly ranked officer of his tong. HE is the Dragon Head. our BOSS. our LEADER. the Mountain Lord." - hskwarrior

  10. #10
    I never really deadlifted. I think for 3 months is all. Repping out with probably 200lbs on the bar. Its all the weight I had in my garage and I did not belong to the Y or a gym so that's what I did until I got back in one. It was mostly on 2 feet lifts. I had bent the supports on the crappy bench I had so that move was out.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    springfield mo usa
    I dunno. My xingyi teacher was not a muscular man but I could only hope to hit a fraction of as hard as he could. If you look back at lots of the old school boxers (pre Muhammed Ali) most of them weren't physically impressive by today's standards but I doubt that anyone would question the striking power of someone like Fitzimmons or Jim Corbet. I was a bodybuilder in HS but I can hit much harder today than I could back then.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Brat View Post
    I dunno. My xingyi teacher was not a muscular man but I could only hope to hit a fraction of as hard as he could. If you look back at lots of the old school boxers (pre Muhammed Ali) most of them weren't physically impressive by today's standards but I doubt that anyone would question the striking power of someone like Fitzimmons or Jim Corbet. I was a bodybuilder in HS but I can hit much harder today than I could back then.
    I agree. Just does not work like a lot of people think. Here is a clip of Joe Frazier lifting. I should say doing his best to lift. Its sad. But, I don't know many guys that could have hit as hard as he can.

    Your going old school man. Fitzi was a blacksmith. That's were he got his power. Corbet. I think he did that light dumbbell Sandow system not heavy weights. Jack Johnson was another guy used those 2-3 pound dumbbells Sandow style. That's were you tense them while lifting for those that may not know. In some ways, similar to your tension sets in your particular systems. Probably don't even need the weights when doing that stuff?

    I think Ali could bench like 185 over 100 times when he was 16 or something.
    Last edited by boxerbilly; 03-19-2015 at 04:09 PM.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    CA, USA
    My dad grew up on a farm (the youngest of 8 children), achieved dan ranking in judo, and later worked on a tuna fishing boat. Well into middle age, he looked like he weight trained but never did. Yet he always had surprising, freaky 'farmer's strength' until his health eventually declined; even then, he still had old man strength that belied his appearance. His brothers had that same type of strength.

    If some TMA people think weight training is incompatible with MA training, I'm sure that in the past, many practitioners of many systems worked hard labor every day, like farming, construction, etc., and many may not have needed specific weight training routines if they were constantly lifting, moving and tossing heavy objects for a living. Their livelihoods were providing them with built-in Gong. Yet many also incorporated specialized ST methods. People who do hard labor every day have highly functional strength that would surprise many non-laborers, including many athletes.

    The mistake comes when modern, mostly sedentary people think they don't need to incorporate any strength training routines, either.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 03-19-2015 at 04:56 PM.

  14. #14

    What Jimbo mentioned with regard to activity in one's lifestyle was something that Dan Miller mentioned in his "Pa Kua Chang journal". It is still relevant now as it was then: meaning if you are not really active, you will have to get active--supplement your training to enhance your strength levels.


  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 1970
    springfield mo usa
    Interestingly strong men in times past (turn of the century) the kind that you found in circuses and carnivals actively practiced deep breathing exercises in addition to any heavy lifting they did. Most considered the deep breathing exercises of equal or even greater importance to any isotonic exercises they had. Theodore Roosevelt reputedly brought himself out of childhood asthma with a regular regimen of strength training and deep breathing exercises. He was also known to be a pretty hard hitting boxer.

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