Easing Off on Over-Training

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit demonstrates Alone Chop the Hua Mountain, a popular pattern in Baguazhang.

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit demonstrates Alone Chop the Hua Mountain, a popular pattern in Baguazhang.

Hey there, folks! Been an age since I posted. Just finished my family medicine rotation earlier today. Working hours were far longer than I was expecting these past few weeks. Had some interesting experiences working with a physician who specializes in addiction medicine. Gave me more than a few neat memories, not to mention gave me an impression as to the nature of my perspective on training. It’s always a nice experience to have folks chatting about the current popular topics, like over-training (I wonder what other subjects people feel like keying in on? There don’t seem to be many subjects that capture the forum’s attention with as much fervor); thank you to the folks who responded with their insights on the matter.

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Continuing the Basics

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit demonstrating One Finger Shooting Zen, a "ta chong" (force training on stance) exercise. Image taken from www.shaolin.org

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit demonstrating One Finger Shooting Zen, a force training exercise from Shaolin Kung Fu. Image taken from http://www.shaolin.org

Had a fun training session (aren’t they all?) split across 2015 January 2. My first session emphasized One Finger Shooting Zen. I may have mentioned to a few folks that my previous sessions of tachong (force training exercises performed while “sitting” in a stance, such as One Finger Shooting Zen from Shaolin Kung Fu or Lifting Water from Taijiquan), when going through the whole form-flow-force method (for example, doing five rounds each of One Finger Shooting Zen emphasizing form, then flow, focusing force, and closing would take upwards of a half hour. A fair amount of time for force training, especially for a busy student like me! I experimented with having less rounds at form and flow and more rounds with focusing/consolidating and was quite happy with the result; again, more force and mental clarity developed in a shorter period of time.

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Your favorite martial arts exercise?

My sitaigung (grand-grandmaster) Ho Fatt Nam practicing One Finger Shooting Zen, the force training exercise that he emphasized above all others. Image taken from www.shaolin.org

My sitaigung (great-grandmaster) Ho Fatt Nam practicing One Finger Shooting Zen, the force training exercise that he emphasized above all others. Image taken from http://www.shaolin.org

I posed the following question to the G+ Martial Artists forum: What is your favorite exercise or genre of exercise in your art(s)? 

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Just five techniques

If you could pick just five techniques to practice, what would they be?

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The most important lessons

Even though I haven’t lived my “real life” for very long yet (I graduated last week, woo), I’ve come to realize something: the most important lessons I have ever had transmitted to me by my amazing teachers have been the first and the last one. This has held true in virtually every facet of my life: school, research, martial arts, cooking, and my various jobs.

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The External Training of Shaolin Kung Fu

Some of the most visually spectacular arts of kung fu involve people breaking things that seem pretty sturdy like bricks or poles. “Surely there’s some secret magical training involved!” I used to think, before I learnt better. The training principles are actually quite easy, it’s a matter of dedicating oneself to the correct training for years under a competent master (yes, I said years, and yes, I said you needed a competent master).

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