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Thread: the most secret skill in kung fu

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    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.
    I think the distinction needs to be drawn between weight lifting for strength and bodybuilding. To be honest I've never sparred with a bodybuilder who could hit very hard. Also there's two ways of generating power - internal and external. Lots of xingyi nowadays claims to be internal but if you absorb a hit from one of those dudes they are just using the external or muscle power. Internal power comes from your weight coupled with tendon strength which is the result of lots of static stance training in the santi posture. The difference between internal and external strength is that the external puncher will throw 6-8 punches in succession and then the power will begin to decline. The internal puncher can throw a punch that will knock you off your feet and he can throw another 50 or so in succession with equal power because he's not using his muscles or not beyond any more capacity than it takes to support the arms in the effort. Punching power is a balance between physical force through the muscles (minimal) and "soft" rigidity of posture. A "perfect punch would be a balance between the two variables which is optimal. Weight training is one way to go about it but in my experience an equally successful method is good ol calisthenics, push ups, pull ups. I tend to shun weight lifting in my own training because after I lift weights I need to stretch again to avoid tensing up. I usually begin my workout running in place for about 5 minutes then I do 100 jumping jacks to get the cardio working. Then I work my abs and midsection with some modified sit ups and leg lifts and I finish up with push ups, squats, and qigong which targets the arms and shoulders. The stretching is built into the workout itself so I don't have to start backtracking and doing things twice which I hate. One of the things that I have found to be of immense untility to overall strength is static stance training. I stand in both a left and right santi posture for 5 mins each side every day. There are no immediate power gains but after 6 months or so of this you will notice an incredible overall increase in strength. Lots of guys stand 5 minutes in the posture and think "Oh man I could do 10 or 15 minutes next time." But then that quick of an increase comes with pain so they get discouraged and just quit altogether. Moderation in any of your training will take you much ****her than balls to the wall.
    Also if your in Kung Fu eventually you've gotta talk about qi. I am no expert but I do know how to recognize the effects and work with it. I tend to view qi as more of a guide or a rule as to whether I am doing the techniques correctly with the right posture and tension so forth.

  2. #17
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    Strength training is noted in all of the old Chinese MA manuals, not to mention the old Okinawan ones also.
    It has become the "dirty little" secret in some arts ONLY because of the BS that was propagated in the past ( when MA were marketed to the lazy masses) that size and strength doesn't matter.

    Every single MA that I know that is at least a competent fighter, does some sort of ST.

    There are of course various types of ST, ranging from the muscular endurance type ( body weight for example) to the pure strength type to even the body builder type.
    It is up to the individual to decide which method is ideal for them at ANY GIVEN point in time.
    The smart ones hit on ALL types to get a well balanced strength curve.
    Psalms 144:1
    Praise be my Lord my Rock,
    He trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle !

  3. #18
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    Resistance training to build muscle mass is no secret.
    Kung Fu is good for you.

  4. #19
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    I think in all areas of life people often confuse gentleness and weakness.

    Gentleness is good, Weakness is a sin.

    But I think one should not try and go against ones nature. For example I am wiry and thin and I can't put on weight whatever I do. For me I have found calisthenic exercise like parallel bars and chin up bars are more effective for my strength than weights. But if you are stockier than me then I think weights would be more effective as progress on bars would certainly be slow. Not that wiry people shouldn't use weights as well but, well, I do not think there will be one universal method that will be good for everyone.

    Either way strength is a virtue and must be pursued in all of its manifestations.

  5. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by David Jamieson View Post
    Resistance training to build muscle mass is no secret.
    ok bro then give me ur traditional hung gar lifting protocol

    Quote Originally Posted by RenDaHai View Post

    But I think one should not try and go against ones nature.
    whole philosophy of ur shaolin kung fu is to surpass pre heaven natural abilities

    Quote Originally Posted by boxerbilly View Post
    Okay, Bawang. Whats your best lifts?
    i did that starting strength bullsh1t to 240 then my spine disc explode, had no money ate once or twice a day and had to even count the number of meatballs to microwave. then i got some money for food did some bodybuilding body weight went from 130 to 190 pounds, but doing light baby weights. now im googling better program and want to lift heavy again. doing some high rep stuff 200 for 13 rep rite now
    Last edited by bawang; 03-20-2015 at 07:48 AM.

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  6. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by sanjuro_ronin View Post
    Strength training is noted in all of the old Chinese MA manuals, not to mention the old Okinawan ones also.
    It has become the "dirty little" secret in some arts ONLY because of the BS that was propagated in the past ( when MA were marketed to the lazy masses) that size and strength doesn't matter.
    Actually, that's a good point.

    Particularly around the late 1800s to early 20th century, in China, an 'ideal man' was often viewed as a frail scholarly type who eschewed any type of physical labor. The alternative was a coarse, unrefined, uneducated man. When certain systems were marketed towards these scholarly types, they were often taught that size and physical strength doesn't matter and that qi/chi power would enable them to achieve superhuman abilities. Now, qi is definitely real, but not to the degree of many of those legendary feats.

    Also, among some internal styles marketed to the scholarly types, it was believed that even sweating during training was counterproductive.

    Similarly, when Eastern MA (such as judo/jujitsu) were first marketed in the West during the late Victorian era, it was often taught that "even a frail woman or small man can subdue a brute with little effort." In these cases, MA became a series of "tricks" designed for specific situations that someone need only remember. This marketing was directed at the upper-crust of society as a new novelty, along with spiritualism, seances, etc.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 03-20-2015 at 07:41 AM.

  7. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jimbo View Post
    Actually, that's a good point.



    Similarly, when Eastern MA (such as judo/jujitsu) were first marketed in the West during the late Victorian era, it was often taught that "even a frail woman or small man can subdue a brute with little effort."
    I have seen this happen and actually done it to others but it is a level of mastery and is also dependent on the skill level of your opponent. It isn't hard to simply step to the side and push an opponent who is directing his force at you and seemingly throw him in mid air. It takes only a little push to do so. I can do this and did do it when I trained in Taekkyon in South Korea. When we had a new student come into the dojang it was pretty easy for the advanced students to handle them like a rag doll and throw them all over the place. After they began to improve it got more difficult. I think I threw my instructor like this just once. I have been in the presence of a teacher from China who was wiry and appeared frail. It was only when you took hold of him that you felt his tremendous power. I do agree that lots of martial arts have been marketed as such to the couch potato types and any martial art will return to you exactly what you put into it. But I also wouldn't discount soft practice as in my experience it is equally effective or even perhaps more effective than hard lifting or strength training. Farmer Burns, once the world catch wrestling champion who once defeated Jagaro Kano's best Judo student stated that deep breathing "would make a sick person healthy and a weak person strong". In his manual on wrestling about half of his warm up exercise regimen is devoted to deep breathing.

  8. #23
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    my typical morning work-out

    first is qigong workout. if i have enough time, and i usually do, a 45 minute qigong workout is best. than a little self-massage. gotta make sure my engine is purring.

    then, around 50 regular push-ups. then i do ab work- curls, and sit ups. then leg raises on my back, both double and single. then a nice leg stretch.

    then is time for weights. i only bench 75 lbs., but i am not trying to go big, i guess- i focus more on reps. i do 30-40 reps. than i lift 30 lb. weights for anywhere from 50- 100 reps. then i use smaller weights for my wrist/ forearm in a kneeling stance. then back to the bench press for more reps of that.

    then i do 30-40 push ups on my knuckles (making a fist) and also holding myself up in that position. than another leg stretch.

    than i do a line of kicking drills back and forth, mainly high heel kicks and slapping kicks. than i will do something like a weapons form, like double short sticks or sword. than some basic reverse punches and combos, and things like round house kicks on the bag. (i do not consider this to be my "kung fu" work-out, i do that later in the day/ evening/ night usually.)

    than i have those little spring things for grip strength. i use those and than do finger-tip push ups, about 20. than i do a set of snake turn-overs (iron palm conditioning) than push-ups on the back of my wrist, 20- 30. than i like to strike some things w/ back of wrist, up, down, and also palm strikes.

    then on the ground for more leg stretches/ splits.

    i will go for a 2 mile run 3-4 times a week. currently i wish to get back in running shape to at least half marathon target (12-15 miles).

    and usually in the evenings i will do my kung fu work-outs, focus on stance, drills, kicks, forms, etc. for 2 hours if i have time.

    i also do a lot of hiking and exploring, looking for remains of old stone structures, temples, caves, cairns, sacred effigies, propped boulders, etc. in the woods. sometimes i might hike a small mountain just for the hell of it. i worked on a horse farm in high school, and have always had warehouse distribution job, or produce dept. in grocery store type work. i also enjoy riding my bicycle to the beach in the summer for exercise.

  9. #24
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    lol boxerbilly

    Quote Originally Posted by boxerbilly View Post
    Gene, I never said I was a mental giant, lol. Impatient, most certainly.
    Given the type of responses we get around here sometimes, I thought that delusion was a prerequisite for membership. I salute your honesty and humility.

    Somehow, weightlifting fell out of fashion in American martial arts. I'm not sure why. That's an interesting question, actually. I'd guess that it's another 'delusion' perpetuated by casual martial artists feeling neurotic about their muscles or lack thereof. In China, there are always weights in schools. There are even traditional weight training regimens in many styles. I'm not sure why a lot of that got lost in translation. But clearly, there has been a rejection of weight training among many American practitioners.
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  10. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by sanjuro_ronin View Post
    Strength training is noted in all of the old Chinese MA manuals, not to mention the old Okinawan ones also.
    It has become the "dirty little" secret in some arts ONLY because of the BS that was propagated in the past ( when MA were marketed to the lazy masses) that size and strength doesn't matter.

    Every single MA that I know that is at least a competent fighter, does some sort of ST.

    There are of course various types of ST, ranging from the muscular endurance type ( body weight for example) to the pure strength type to even the body builder type.
    It is up to the individual to decide which method is ideal for them at ANY GIVEN point in time.
    The smart ones hit on ALL types to get a well balanced strength curve.

    Size and strength totally matter. That's another way they may increase your striking power. If you eat and get bigger. Probably going to hit harder. But, you possibly give up other things. For me, it was moving gracefully. But when I held the same body weight and got stronger, I don't think my power increased all that much. I may have been a little faster, it's hard to tell. The biggest difference was I felt strong and confident.

    Again, on the ground, in my opinion strength is very needed. For me, that was where I felt a difference.

    Gene, yeah I get a little hyper when I think this is going to be a good topic. Sorry. Sometimes I need to slow down. Always had that problem.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by bawang View Post
    ...and had to even count the number of meatballs to microwave.
    I think I just shed a tear.
    "I'm a highly ranked officer of his tong. HE is the Dragon Head. our BOSS. our LEADER. the Mountain Lord." - hskwarrior

  12. #27

    Americans and weightlifting........

    Greetings,

    Something I shared with sanjuro ronin in another thread was that the physical education requirements in the school system was very stringent in the past. And weightlifting were a part of that. Back in the 1980's I met women who were into weightlifting in their younger days. Beyond the aesthetic, they were aware of the health benefits. Even though they were up in age and no longer trained, there was a definite benefit from training during those times that stayed with them.

    mickey

  13. #28
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    There seems to be a lot of misinformation about weightlifting and getting bulky.

    You cannot get big and bulky unless 1) you are on a specific body building routine, 2) eating like crazy, and 3) sleeping way more than you need to. This is why it is much more difficult for a skinny guy to gain weight than it is for a fat guy to lose weight. Whenever I've gained weight in the past due to injury or study, all I have to do is get back on my normal training routine, add in a little extra cardio and stay away from sweets and the weight comes off quick. Wirey guys tend to make gains in strength but not in size and they have to put in a lot of extra work to get bigger.
    "I'm a highly ranked officer of his tong. HE is the Dragon Head. our BOSS. our LEADER. the Mountain Lord." - hskwarrior

  14. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by Brat View Post
    I have seen this happen and actually done it to others but it is a level of mastery and is also dependent on the skill level of your opponent. It isn't hard to simply step to the side and push an opponent who is directing his force at you and seemingly throw him in mid air. It takes only a little push to do so. I can do this and did do it when I trained in Taekkyon in South Korea. When we had a new student come into the dojang it was pretty easy for the advanced students to handle them like a rag doll and throw them all over the place. After they began to improve it got more difficult. I think I threw my instructor like this just once. I have been in the presence of a teacher from China who was wiry and appeared frail. It was only when you took hold of him that you felt his tremendous power. I do agree that lots of martial arts have been marketed as such to the couch potato types and any martial art will return to you exactly what you put into it. But I also wouldn't discount soft practice as in my experience it is equally effective or even perhaps more effective than hard lifting or strength training. Farmer Burns, once the world catch wrestling champion who once defeated Jagaro Kano's best Judo student stated that deep breathing "would make a sick person healthy and a weak person strong". In his manual on wrestling about half of his warm up exercise regimen is devoted to deep breathing.
    Hi.

    I'm not saying it doesn't or can't happen. There are indeed smaller people who can handle bigger, stronger types...I've seen it myself. The kind of nonsense in CMA that I was referring to was about stories of internal powers to be gained that are obviously untrue:

    1) Sending an (highly trained) opponent flying 30 feet away with a simple, effortless strike or push. And in a real fight, not in a contrived demo.

    2) The ability to jump or levitate from the ground up onto the roof. One supposed incident even reported that a southern master challenged a Taiji master. The southern master showed his mastery by jumping from the ground to the rooftop. When he turned around, he realized that, unknown to him, the Taiji master was behind him and had 'stuck to him' by touching his shoulder the whole time. The southern master conceded defeat. These types of accounts are ridiculous even if it's a low roof.

    3) The ability to control or kill someone by simply pointing at him.

    Those are only a few examples. There were people who actually believed that stuff, and some probably still do. There are indeed benefits from deep breathing, qigong, etc. And there are people who are capable of some very impressive feats and skills. I'm not discounting that at all. But some things have crossed over into the world of fantasy. IMO, the very best would be to combine both types of development, 'internal' and 'external'. And the line between the 'two' can become blurred.

    In Taiwan, I saw a number of middle-aged or older Taiji teachers who claimed to do only 'internal' training. None of those particular individuals seemed very healthy, or even skilled. Meanwhile, another old guy who'd been a weightlifter in China when younger, and still emphasized strength as well as brisk daily walking, had far greater vitality and good health, as well as mental clarity, than those who de-emphasized vigorous exercise. Ironically, I'm sure the strong old guy had more 'internal' development than those particular Taiji masters.
    Last edited by Jimbo; 03-20-2015 at 11:31 AM.

  15. #30
    All great posts guys. Thanks. One thing I forgot to add is weights do help with that negative energy, You know, the stuff that you sometimes feel bad when you hit something. Power flows back into you. I've almost knocked myself out throwing a hard right on one of those foam makiwara boards bolted to a wall. Don't do that ! It is not pleasant.

    And sorry guys, I sometimes have a tendency to flood threads. I don't mean too. Im not trying to impress anyone. Just share. My **** brain is so active at times, I forget to add all at once. Most of you probably don't have or understand that. I was the kid that could never sit still ! "Give me more, give me something to do. Or not that, that's boring." Sorry.

    Really great replies. Thanks for the thread Bawang.

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