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Wednesday, July 15, 2020


Chinese Strength Development

Chinese strength development programs, or power exercises, are essential to any martial arts style. They are designed to strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. When done correctly and consistently, they will strengthen the muscle from the core. 

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This means the muscle will start getting stronger closest to the bone, and work its way out. These exercises are performed with full tension, with full attention focused on the particular muscle group that is being worked.

Specific Areas of Focus

Power exercises are taught and practiced to develop muscles for enhancing one's fighting applications. Some are taught in sets, designed to show students how to go through forms, or 'katas', with power. All of the programs were invented to give the fighter the strength needed to use certain techniques when dealing with a combat situation.

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Did you know that when punching in line with the sternum, the pectoral muscle becomes hard and flexed? It's at its maximum for delivering the most potent blow. For instance, the arm grab program will strengthen the forearms, biceps, and triceps. The particular exercise is completed with full tension while pulling the arm up, curling it back, then (the most important part) pushing it out in line with the sternum, just like a reverse punch.

This exercise program is performed daily beginning by doing 30 arm grabs on each arm for 30 days. Every day after that, the repetitions are increased by one until reaching 100 arm grabs on each arm. At that point, continue with 100 arm grabs on each arm for 100 days.

 This program takes approximately 20 minutes per day (when completing the maximum repetitions) and it will take about 6 1/2 months to complete. Practice this exercise and arm strength - along with punching power - will double.

Muscle Restructure

For many martial artists, the common thought is that the Indian Monk, Da Mo, brought martial arts to the Shaolin Temple. The ex-military personnel brought the combative arts to the Temple - Da Mo brought the muscle to restructure.

When Da Mo traveled from India to the Shaolin Temple, what he observed were monks that were dying at an early age. He saw that they spent their days in prayer and meditation...with no physical exercise.

So he brought them these very strenuous exercises.

Muscle restructure, or muscle change consists of a series of 12 exercises performed 49 times each. These exercises should be done every day for two full years. Muscle restructure focuses on the arms, shoulders, upper back, traps, and the entire clavicle area. For very advanced martial artists, the 12 exercises begin right at the 49 repetitions.

I have always suggested that one should start at 10 or 15 repetitions per exercise and build up to the 49.

Ancient Exercises for Modern Times

Tai Chi was invented to slow the martial artist down, to teach him how to use his whole body to hit with. To make certain that the exhale, along with the body and the strike, all were delivered at the same time. We now see the health benefits associated with the practice of Tai Chi.

The few strength development exercises that have been mentioned in this article are similar to Tai Chi, in that they have a very specific purpose in the beginning - then we'll experience the other health-related benefits associated with doing these power exercises.

All of these  development programs require full tension (isotonic style), and almost all of them require the lifting of the internal organs. This is a very big key to good health and longevity. When the gut goes out - the organs come down.

One of the "buzz words" in the fitness industry is abdominal obesity. I've read a lot about this, but they never really say what the true danger is. The internal organs are supposed to be protected by our ribs, so when your stomach gets big, your organs slide down.

For the martial artist, this is very dangerous should he be in a self-defense situation. For both the non-martial artist and the martial artist alike, the stress and strain this puts on the organs are very dangerous to our health and well-being.

Even if the gut never 'goes out', doesn't gravity set in? Look at all the of the breast augmentations and facelifts being performed these days.

Consider these strength development exercises as "organ lifts".

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