Thursday, July 22, 2010

Brush your teeth; practice your energy

I bet you brush your teeth.
But why ?

Is it to make them look good ?
Or is it to avoid having them
rot away ?

People brush their teeth to prevent
problems in the future. It takes years to
get a child to understand that if he or she
doesn't take care of his teeth, they're
going to rot and fall out.

So why don't you have the same relationship
with your body ? People exercise to look good,
not for future health. You can look around
and know that as you age, your body
will begin to break down. First you lose
the ability to jump and run. Then your
balance gets weaker. Then you become
prone to injuries.

Young adults have a "normal" posture,
and "normal" walking gait. But middle-aged
people begin to show a "side to side,"
penguin waddle. Seniors are more bent
over, and take smaller steps.
Like oral hygiene, the body can be cared-for
in a way that makes it useful for a lifetime.

Back to TommyTheory:
"You can only exercise to the level you
So for many, jogging and weight-lifting are
what they understand. This kind of exercise
is beneficial when you're 25, not when
you're 45.
Others find out for themselves that
energy practice is a boon to the body,
and for sooth--
The Fountain of Youth.
Fu Tai Chi and QiGong are special exercise
that will keep you healthy and mobile
your whole life.

Brushing your teeth is like a health bank;
every day you contribute a few minutes
of time so that when you're old, you still
have your natural teeth.
Fu Tai Chi is exactly the same; 20 minutes
each day will extend your mobility much
longer than if you don't exercise or if you
jog, lift weights, or do most other forms
of exercise.

The next time you brush you teeth, take
a good look at your body and ask yourself,
"Why don't I take better care of my body ?"

Monday, July 12, 2010

The Mysteries of Kung Fu

There is an old Shaolin story that goes
like this:
A young man was accepted into the
Shaolin school. He showed up to his
first lesson excited to learn.

The old monk led the young man to
a raised pool and told him to slap the

When the young man came back to
class the next day, the monk told him
to go to the pool and slap the water.
Day after day, this was the only task
he was given.

After 12 months, the young man became
so frustrated that he broke his instruction
and went to the monk who was eating
breakfast. The young man demanded
a lesson, slamming his hand down on the
heavy wooden breakfast table, which
immediately broke in half.

The monk looked up at the young man
and said, "you're ready for your next lesson."


Sun Lu Tang is perhaps the most famous
XingYi Boxer in history. It is said that his
first teacher taught him how to stand for
his first lesson, and did not check on him
for one year. When he returned, he struck
Sun in the back and was surprised that
Sun did not lose his balance.

It is said that Sun's best student practiced
the stance for three years before he learned
anything else.


In the beginning of June, a young man came
to me asking for private lessons. In the very
first lesson, I saw just how clumsy and stiff
he was. But he practiced hard, and made
amazing progress. Two days ago, he came
for a lesson. I asked him how much he was
practicing. He said, "two hours a day, but
I would practice more if I was learning anything."
He had not noticed how his clumsiness had
waned, and how much stronger his stance
and balance had gotten.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Gentle Exercise

My father was a track star in high
school, and continued jogging
almost every day. In his 30's, he
was still a fantastic distance runner,
placing well in running competitions.
By age 42, his knees were done
and he had to stop running completely.

A female friend from high school
was also a track star. She, too, kept
running afterward, staying very "fit"
in her 30's, but suffering multiple
health problems she considered
"unrelated." To this day, she denies
she has any health problems, but
continues going to the doctor for
all sorts of issues.

At age 38, I can tell story after story
about "fitness" fanatics who felt they
needed their hard exercise-- running,
biking, weight-lifting, etc-- in order
to stay healthy and look good. But
the reality is hard exercise isn't that
good for you after age 30. Sure, you
can still do it in your 30's, but you're
causing yourself problems. And in
your 40's, the pain you feel from
hard exercise is your body telling
you "hard exercise is wrong for you."

Most generally, people exercise to
look good. But if you've read my blog
or listened to other health professionals,
trimming body fat is a dietary function.

So if you want to be healthy, and exercise
in a suitable, sustainable manner, you need
to exercise gently. Chinese calisthenics like
tai chi and QiGong gently work the entire
body, including the cardiovascular system
because they include super-special breathing
practices. They also strengthen the trunk
(build so-called "core strength") because
they include postural practice. Your hard
exercise has neither postural training or
breathing training.

If you're over age 35, you need to take a
good look around and see who USED TO
exercise hard, but can't anymore. You need
to look into the crystal ball and understand
in earnest that hard exercise is not sustainable.
In fact, it's not even what's keeping you looking

Keep exercising hard, and you will plague
yourself with pain, health problems and
deteriorating joints.

If you don't exercise at all, you need to start.

Exercise gently, and you will live longer
and healthier. I beg you to listen to me,
and act now.