Monday, November 7, 2011

Marathon Means Death

People love the concept of running
a marathon. Perhaps it is the conquest
of one's own body and mind to run
26 miles that inspires people to train
and participate in such madness.

As the legend goes, Pheidippides first
ran the stretch from Marathon to Athens
in 490 B.C. just to announce that the
Persians had been defeated. He burst
into the Greek assembly, announced,
"We have won!"

In our twisted society, six-pack abs and
visible ribs are purporters of health. Most
anyone who trains for marathons will
exhibit these markers with pride. But the
reality is body fat at this level allows the
quick onset of sickness and promotes
the birth of cancer. The immune system
gets completely hammered with this
kind of punishment.

A marathon is a wretched plague of
sickness. Many do not finish, and the
ones who do are on death's door. Even
the best can collapse and need medical
attention. Runners like to say that deaths
are rare, but there are certainly enough
deaths of "healthy" marathoners to get
everyone's attention.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Chinese Doctor

                        MD v. OMD
                   Scalpel - Needle
                     Drugs - Herbs
               Lab Tests - Massage
       Sedentary Rest - Healing Exercise

My new Chinese doctor says she can
cure cancer. I looked at her recommendations,
and I believe her. She told me she's 80.
The friend who referred me said she's 93.
You wouldn't guess either of those numbers.

If you don't get acupuncture, you can
safely assume the doctor (OMD) or
doctor of TCM will lie you down on
a clinic table, insert three to 20 needles
(which are extremely thin) and then
you'll lay there for 20 minutes.

Not with this doctor. She said,
"I treat you now." So I stretched back
on the table and let her do her thing.
It had been eight years since my distal
tibia splayed open like a banana when
I stupidly jumped off a ladder. But Tai Chi
and acupuncture had honestly made the
ankle more flexible than before I broke it.

I couldn't really see what she was doing.
Her small frame blocked my view of my
ankle. I hate needles, but they always help.
I relaxed and tried to breathe easily. I saw
her little body jerk with good force, and felt
the needle go in, and then again and then
again. The last couple pinched a little, and
the the second to the last one made my
whole body tense up.

She said, "OK, you try it. Feel better ?"
I was shocked and trying to figure out
what happened to the 20 minutes of waiting.
There were no needles still in my ankle;
just punctures where something when in.
I stood up, and indeed, it did feel better.
But blood oozed out without cessation.

I looked at her desk where she laid down
the cotton balls and maybe the leftover
needles. There weren't any needles. Laying
there conspicuously was a lighter and a
fairly large set of tweezers, burned on both
tips. Holy crap. That's what she stabbed
me with.

The two major puncture marks on my ankle
were black with burned soot. The spot where
the tweezers went in first had clearly been
singed. But my ankle felt way better. The
bleeding finally stopped. I did some deep
ankle bends. The range of motion was
awesome and the pain was gone.

Over the next week, I had some of the best
exercise of my life.

Get over yourelf and go see a Chinese
doctor. I prefer my Chinese doctors to be
old and Chinese. Let him or her treat you
and take whatever herbs they want you
to take. It's amazingly good medicine.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Pinnacle of Athletics

Fu Style Principles

1. Turn Your Waist
If you've ever had class with Master Fu,
you've heard him say this plenty. "Turn
your waist" is his first-line of advice and
his go-to mantra. Tai Chi is the beginner
level in Fu Style; it introduces waist turning
in the stepping by having the student turn his
or her waist twice for each step. In the 105 Form,
the movements begin to stretch the range
of waist turning-- especially in the third section
with the "Fair Lady Works Shuttles" to the
four corners. Liang-Yi Chuan increases the
range yet again; adds turning across the
other two planes; and increases waist skills
by adding different kinds of turning such as
swinging, shaking, and explosive fajing.
BaGua waist turning affects stepping, coiling,
and multitudes of other skills. Fu Style XingYi
uses big waist turns to develop power and
speed that's different from the other forms.
In seminars I've attended, Master Fu usually
corrects this first and foremost.

2. Posture
Fu Style posture can be broken into three
parts. First, "Hollow Chest" is Master Fu's
go-to advice. He will tell even very experienced
practitioners to "deeply hollow your chest,"
and has many exercises and tricks to help
learn this. Second, Master Fu will teach how
to raise the head while keeping the chin down.
He usually teaches this by saying, "it's like
having a book balanced on your head."
Third is pelvic tilt. This points the tailbone
down and brings it forward. In the most
advanced teachings for BaGua, Fu Style
mandates to "wind up the hyman."

3. Concentrate on the Breathing
If you go out and look for videos on YouTube
of supposed "Taoist Breathing," most do
it incorrectly. Taoist Breathing is also known
as "Reverse Breathing." Why ? Because the
inhalation CONTRACTS the lower abdomen,
while exhalation EXPANDS it. Master Fu
talks about the "Dan Tien Muscle" in order
to explain how to breathe correctly, even
though there is no such thing. One must
use the mind to think about breathing
down, down into the dan tien, and imagine
it contracting and expanding as it's supposed
to. This breathing will improve posture, which
will in turn improve breathing.

4. Make Circles
Master Fu discusses the hand techniques
categorized with three circles: small, medium
and large. The large circle is the circle made
from the shoulder; it is the most powerful
of the three, but the slowest. The medium
circle is made at the elbow. Obviously, the
elbow is merely a hinge joint, and doesn't
rotate in a circle; but its hinging can combine
with some rotation from the shoulder to make
the medium circle, which is still powerful,
but faster than the shoulder circle. The
small circle is made at the wrist; this has
the least power, but moves the fastest.
Master Fu often says, "Make circle and change
the other person's power." This is his way
of saying, "Change 10,000 pounds with
four ounces."

5. Fix The Body
Fu Style is truly one the world's great forms
of pugilism; but it is also one of the best
systems for health and wellness. Master Fu
talks about "XingYi Power" and "BaGua
Stepping," but he often reverts the discussion
back to Tai Chi to "fix the body." The skill-sets
of Fu Style (and the internal martial arts) are
largely invisible to those who have little
experience. But after years of practice, one
can see how a real master such as Master Fu
has excellent posture, softness in every step,
relaxation throughout his body, and power
that is hidden deep within. Fu Style develops
the athleticism and immunity of the body such
that it remains youthful, and sickness cannot
enter. Before one will have much martial art
skill from Fu Style, his or her body will become
far more youthful, flexible and capable.

6. FaJing
All that waist turning in the Fu Style forms
trains the waist to move at your slightest
impulse. The exercises that precede the forms
also train the waist; many of these exercises
are to develop fajing, or explosive power.
Master Fu says, "fajing must be always have
recoil. It must go from soft to hard, and then
immediately back to soft." And there are different
kinds of fajing in Fu Style. Master Fu says that
"Opposite Power" is most important. He says
that when you shoot a gun, the bullet goes
forward, but the gun goes back. So emission
of power in Fu Style moves the waist in the
opposite direction of the focus at the point of
impact. Also, Master Fu says the highest level
of power is "Flying Power," when the feet are
OFF the ground (ling cone jing).

7. Stepping
Master Fu generally teaches Tai Chi stepping
with one and a half feet ("feet" as it were does not
mean 12 inches, but your own foot as a tool
of measurement). In XingYi, the step should
be at least two "feet," with the knees more
bent and the stance lower (when you turn your
waist from this stance, it will stretch you like
nothing else !) The Yang BaGua step can be
as short as one and a half "feet" for beginners,
to two "feet" for high-level practitioners. The
Yin BaGua step should be three "feet" or more
because of the forward projection of the waist.

8. Fu Tai Chi
Fu Style Tai Chi steps are in 90 degree angles.
Each step has two waist turns. Fu Style Tai Chi
movements are more developed, detailed, clear,
and more difficult than other Tai Chi styles. Many
of the major movements (such as Grasp Bird's Tail,
Single Whip, Wave Hands Like Clouds, etc.)
have a 24-level, a 105-level, a Lightning Palm-
level, a LiangYi-level and an Advanced Tai Chi level.
"What?" you ask. Example: Grasp Bird's Tail is taught
with the five basic movements at the 24-Form level.
At the 105-Level, it adds a distinctive "waggle" after
the Push, and usually includes teaching of applications
and push hands; later in the 105-Form, the Ward-Off
portion raises the arm over the head (high Ward-Off),
and includes both a step-back and a step-through
(with bai bu) version of the movement. In Lightning Palm,
GBT includes fajing. In Liang-Yi, GBT uses a short
Pull-Back, with active forward steps through the Press,
and the Push; and uses a special fajing with a widening
of the stance. If you've never seen Fu Style Advanced
Tai Chi, go watch it on our YouTube channel (TransMun).
High Ward-Off, all kinds of crazy bending and leaning
back through the Pull-Backs, unbelievable stretching,
and three fajings at the end. Wow.

9. Fu Style BaGua
Not only is Fu Style BaGua considered one of only FIVE
orthodox styles; we think it's the best. Yang Palm is
the basic level, but it should really only be learned
after a student has practiced YEARS of Fu Style 105-Form,
Lightning Palm and Liang-Yi Chuan. The reason for
this is these forms were created to teach the skills
required for BaGua progressively. Then when the
student starts BaGua, he or she can focus on the
stepping while the body keeps up with the physical
demands of the forms. Characteristics of Fu Style are:
Sinking and Rising; Coiling; Swinging, etc. Single Palm
Change is more complex than other styles, and uses
powerful, upward spirals. Palms include pushing, double-
pushing, piercing, spinning, chopping, lifting, spitting,
fanning, a 'wrist-strike,' "double-exploding fists," and
dragon palm (which looks like how it sounds...). There
are also plenty of kicks. The Yang Step balances on one
foot while the other leg 'snaps' the knee to kick the
step and jiggle the foot. The Yin Step uses what
Master Fu calls a "Gudang Step." "Gudang" is sometimes
translated as "arouse" or "awaken/excite." Master Fu's
Gudang step projects the waist forward to extend
each step measurably.

10. Fu Style XingYi
Fu Style XingYi uses big waist turns, massive stretching
movements from the waist, and shaking/opposite power
in each fajing. When compared to other styles of XingYi,
Fu Style seems to have much more whole-body turning.
Master Fu says each punch should be relaxed, and to,
"throw the hand like a towel." Steps are still in 90 degree
angles. In Splitting Fist, Drilling Fist and Crushing Fist,
the "follow steps" are strait forward, with the weight mostly
on the back leg (which must follow quickly). In Pounding
Fist and Crossing Fist, the steps are diagonal, with the
weight most on the front foot. Higher-level forms, such
as BaShr (which means "Controller") also use a Gudang
step. Stance is 2-3 feet lengths in most movements.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Banging Pots & Pans

When I was a freshman in high school,
I rolled my ankle in gym class, and had
to call my mom. "Mom, I sprained
my ankle; you have to come get me."

"You didn't sprain your ankle," she said.

"Yes I did, you need to come get me."

"Fine, but you didn't sprain your ankle."
She repeated it again on the way to
the hospital. Upon examination, there
was something delicious and affirming
when the doc told me the ankle was
sprained, even though it hurt like hell.

Bang, bang, bang !

When we're kids, we play hard, and we
sometimes get hurt. In our 20's, we play
even harder, and get hurt even more. In
our 30's, parts of the body ache when we
get out bed, so we slow down a little.

This is the fork in the road where we
either go sedentary and pack on the pounds,
or we work harder to maintain "fitness,"
every year clutching more desperately
to our youth.

I watched my father go from super-athlete
to mad-dog jogger; then when he hit age
42, he had to have surgery on both knees
and he was done-- out of the game. Being
only age 22, this was shocking to me.

Pa-dink, clank.

At age 26, I was lifting weights and told my
partner that my chest was sore. A 31-year old
guy heard this and piped-up,
"Wait 'til you're over 30, and everything hurts."

At age 31, fresh from another winter of
skiing the big mountain and dropping cliffs,
I thought I could easily jump over a fence
from the top of a ladder. I caught my strong
foot on the fence, landed on the stiff one
(the one I had sprained many times), and
the tibia split UP in three pieces like a
peeled banana.

Bang, clank, bang, smash !
This was my wake-up call.

My wife is in the military, so she has to
maintain the required "Fit to Fight"
standard of the Air Force. They have
periodic physical testing to ensure airmen
can run a timed mile and a half, do
timed sit-ups & push-ups; and can meet
BMI and waist circumference standards.

I started telling her to observe her
coworkers getting injured as they age.
One after the next, torn muscles,
tendonitis, spinal problems, they
were dropping like flies. She's shocked.

I plea with my friends rounding 40
to stop running marathons, triathlons,
lifting weights and all that other "fitness"
insanity. I hate to watch them get hurt,
but they do, just like my wife's

I feel like I need to bang pots and
pans in the street to get people to
wake up. I don't want to take away
anyone's fun, but I care deeply about
people and their health.

You know you won't be jogging
or riding 50 miles on a bicycle when
you're 60. Chances are you won't
be doing it when you're 50 either.
In the name of sustainability, please
realize now that if you're over 30,
these kinds of exercise will need
to stop one day. Why not cut them
down now and find a suitable
replacement ?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

The Medicine Of Animals

If human products are considered
unnatural, dogs must be so too.
Dogs did not occur in nature; we
manufactured them out of wolves.
To be our friends.

Some of the latest dog research I've
seen is just incredible. Did you know
that we are now training dogs to sniff
out cancer ? True story.
Just like the singular smell of cadavers,
cancer in humans can be picked up
and signaled by trained dogs.
Pretty neat.

Robert Sapolsky has spent the last
30 years studying the brain science
of stress by observing baboons.
Stress in baboons, he notes, is the
perfect model for human stress because
they spend so little time finding food,
and so much time abusing their
hierarchal subordinates. They're nasty !
Instead of running for their lives
once in a while like a zebra chased
by a lion, baboons are just like us in that
they marinate in stress hormones all
day long. Their health really suffers
for it, especially the low men on the
totem pole. "Zebras don't get ulcers."

One of the latest lab rat studies shows
that eating fatty foods not only drops
your physical performance by 30 percent,
but memory and cognitive function
as well. One theory is that a high-fat
diet can trigger insulin resistance,
which means the body becomes less
efficient at using blood sugar which
is important to brain function. (seems
like I saw something about fatty diets
increasing the risk of Alzheimers...)

A very promising subject of research
is the science of regeneration. A starfish
can regrow a limb; so can a salamander.
Maybe someday we can too.

Thousands of years ago, the Chinese
began emulating the movements of
animals for a variety of reasons: if you
need to attack, tigers are pretty good;
if you need to run away, chickens do
that very well; and if you can stimulate
your endocrine system by shaking
your tail, your health and longevity
will assimilate the deer's.

The snake is famed in Chinese myth
because it could fight off a stork; the
snake's stillness and blinding impulse
speed were two observations said to
have influenced the development
of Tai Chi. This observation of nature
also witnessed water wearing down rock,
wind breaking trees, and the imminent
cycle of the sun, the moon & the stars.

Over thousands of years, the Taoists
observed animals in nature and developed
systems of movement and breathing
that replace chiropractic, physical therapy,
and even higher levels of medicine.

When you see the word
Tai chi
you may find it easier to say the word

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Bicyling = Bad

I know, I know. Once again,
I've hit you with the inflammatory
headline. But I'll remind you
ever so gently that in my blog,
"Important Statistics on Sports
Injuries" BICYCLING is the
most injurious sport, and that
is undisputed. Did you ever
crash on a bike ? Did you ever
see other people crash on a bike ?

Of course, it's fun to ride a bike.
My good friend Ken moved from
Michigan to Boulder, Colorado
to go to college around 1980. That's
when he fell in love with biking.
He competed in road races, and
with the advent of the mountain
bike, Ken rode hundreds and
thousands of miles for 30 years.
Then he had to have both knees
surgically redone. And he can't wait
to get back on that little, tiny seat I like
to call "butt-floss." Ken's injuries
are called "repetitive use injuries."
He simply wore his knees out.

When you think of Lance Armstrong,
what do you associate with his name?
"Winner?" "Cancer survivor?"
How about "Illicit drug user?" Or,
"Cheater" or "Liar?" I am still baffled
that folks do not associate Armstrong's
fact that his figs had nowhere to go
for the thousands of miles he's ridden.
Armstrong's injury stems from having
his testicles in a (so-called) vice.

If you take informal surveys with your
male friends who are over 40, and who
rode their bikes 'til their nuts turned
blue, you'll find that repetitive use
knee injuries like Ken's, and nether-
region maladies like Armstrongs are
quite common. Men over 40 have
enough problems with the under-
carriage trifecta (testes, prostate, colon/anus)
without the torture device labeled
"bike," which is thinly veiled as exercise

Look at the range of motion; bicycling
puts all the power of the legs into a minute
extension/flexion of the knee. The hips
and ankles barely articulate.

The rest is all isometrics. The abdomen,
the lower back, the chest, the upper
back, shoulders, biceps, triceps, and
neck must all stabilize against the gyration
of the knees and ankles. Look at the
posture! It's wretched ! Horrible !

If you want to go for a Sunday ride,
that's fine and fun and fulfilling. But
bicycling is bad, especially for boys.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Easy-Fix Health Repair Kit

Look into the mirror and
acknowledge your desire to make
changes. Affirm that you are
awesome in your own capacity.

Admire what you see.

Don't drink coffee on an empty
stomach. Try to quit drinking
coffee altogether if you can.
If you cannot, try to cut it down.
I believe a nice substitute is
Ganocafe Classic, which tastes
like coffee, but replaces the caffeine
with something much better :)

Stop wearing shoes with heels.
Look at the side of the shoe.
The heel should not be thicker
than the material under the toes.
You can even try negative heels.

Reduce your food intake. Eat less.

Stay away from liquid calories
like soda, juice and especially
"energy drinks." Bad, bad.
If you feel like you need stimulants,
try Chinese herbs like ginseng
instead. These come in a wonderful
variety of drinks and snacks.

Eat onions every day. Green
onion, fresh ginger, cilantro and
garlic are the true health foods
of Fu Style.

Forget fitness. Stop jogging,
lifting weights, or doing any kind
of exercise that requires a lot of
strength. Instead, do Healing
Exercise like Rolling Stretch
every day.

Try to keep your knees and elbows
bent all the time. Never lock your
knees. Try to sit less every day. When
you stand, figure out which foot you
favor, and try to use the other one
instead (but keep that knee bent).
When you sit, try to do the
same thing with your buttocks.

Take time to breathe like this

Massage yourself. You can start
with a face massage; then try
deeply massaging anything you
think might need it.

Try acupuncture. Don't worry,
it doesn't hurt. And afterward,
you will feel amazing.

Old Taoist medicine prescribes
direct sunlight on the anus.
If you're not there, just try
to get some sunlight on your
skin occasionally.

Keep yourself sexually satisfied.

A cocktail late in the day is beneficial.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Quest For Perfect Gait

Kinesiologists and biomechanical
analysts can study human Gait,
analyze different steps and strikes,
and diagram their findings--
but they have no models for
perfect gait.

They seem to understand that gait
is a huge key to health and athletics;
and that there must be a better way
to walk; but they have not yet
figured out the "how."

I've never actually heard anyone
stand up and say, "We have figured
out human gait, and perfect gait
looks like this --"

But I tell you right now:

Tai Chi stepping is far more advanced
than any gait synthesized in the West.
And BaGuaZhang stepping is far more
advanced than Tai Chi stepping.

BaGua is the most advanced form
of physical training on the planet.
I don't care what condition you are in,
it is far too difficult for you. Of course,
you can walk the circle, but you won't
be able to do it correctly for a long time.

I speak humbly in these superlatives.
I have been studying BaGuaZhang
for eight years, and still, it is too difficult
for my body. I learned BaGua stepping
8-years ago, but I have not practiced BaGua
for years. My teacher told me recently that
I should practice BaGua, so I started again.
The pain was incredible, and I had to stop
after two and a half months.

What is BaGuaZhang ?
That is a great question.

BaGuaZhang is a system of skilled
stepping, mostly in circular paths,
that fortifies balance and body to
levels not witnessed, much less
In the Chinese martial arts, many
consider BaGua to be the graduate
study of all martial arts.

In the movies "Crouching Tiger Hidden
Dragon" and "The Last Airbender,"
BaGuaZhang is depicted as the
ultimate in physical skill and power.
That's because it is.

BaGua is the zenith of human gait.
It is an ideal, because when someone
tries to learn BaGua, he can learn the
steps but he must practice them endlessly
to develop the essence and the skill.
And this skill is sheerly invisible to
anyone but a master of the skill.

I believe Victor Fu is the number one
BaGuaZhang teacher on the planet.
Check him out.

Some day they will put the electrodes
and GPS units on Victor Fu to analyze
his amazing ability to step. Someone
with more accolades and abbreviations
after his name than me is going collect
this evidence and echo what I am declaring

BaGuaZhang is the model for perfect gait.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Public Health Announcement

Let's start with hard science.
77 credible clinical studies show
Tai Chi & QiGong:
  • Relieve Arthritis Significantly
  • Boost Immuno-response Significantly
  • Reduce Blood Pressure Significantly
  • Improve Cardiopulmonary Function Significantly
  • Strengthen Bones
  • Lower Cholesterol
  • Lower Body Mass Index (BMI)
  • Improve Quality of Life
  • Improve Quality of Sleep
  • Reduce Anxiety & Stress
  • Enhance Mood & Self-esteem
  • Improve Balance
  • Increase Strength, Hand Grip, & Flexibility
  • Raise Confidence From Fear of Falling
  • Increase Mobility Greatly

Friday, April 15, 2011

Unecessary $77.00 Dollar Medical Bill

I contracted strep throat.
I went to the doctor.
I hate the throat swab worse
than anything, seriously.
The culture was positive
for STREP; so she wrote
me a prescript for antibiotics.

I got rid of it, but somehow
contracted strep again after
three weeks. I went back to
the doctor, and told the
receptionist I didn't want
the throat swab. She implied
I would probably still get one.

When the tech came to swab
my throat, I politely requested
she go fetch the doctor. The
doctor came in, examined me,
and wrote me a second prescript
for a stronger antibiotic.
Staved it off, ha ha !

The billing line item from the first
swab was $77.00 from a place called
"Afterhours somethin er-other~"

When I went the second time, I had
to fight to keep it off the bill
(and out of my mouth !). I knew
what was wrong, and did not need
a fleeb-flarbin' throat swab.

More than half of all medical procedures
are unnecessary. More than half of all
hospital visits are unnecessary.
I'm not making this crap up, it's true.
Interesting crap link
Boring crap link

Ain't nothin' more expensive than health-
care in America. And that's because,
generally speaking, we are past the tipping
point of knowing how to take care of
ourselves-- and relying on the best medicine
we believe money can buy. Our healthcare
system costs $2.3 Trillion dollars a year.
You might need to read that again.

Active: I take care of myself
Passive: The system takes care of me

The U.S. has no standardized system of
personal heath. We have standards
for dental health, and we have standards
for performance, and we have standards
for society, and we have standards
for attractiveness and beauty.
But we have no standard for autonomous
care of one's own body.

Imagine if we took better care of ourselves
and cut our healthcare bill in half.
$2.3 Trillion X 0.5 = $1.15 Trillion

My teacher and I have devised a set of tools
like no other on the planet. We have created
a five-DVD box set of
Exercise for absolutely everyone
this should be the standard

Learn how to care for your body, then
Fire your Chiropractor ! Fix your own back !
Fight off unnecessary medical expenses !
Like frickin' throat swabs !
Forget Pharmaceuticals ! Take fewer pills !

Keep more money for yourself !

Click the Healing Exercise link !

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Race Horse Fitness

This blog is starting to pick up steam
in terms of readership; but unless
you've read my first blog, you might
still misunderstand what I mean by
"Forget Fitness." In a nutshell, the
blog name refers to the fact that the
word FITNESS connotes aesthetics
and sexual appeal over health,
wellness or athletic performance.

To re-emphasize the concept, let's
look at the "physical appropriateness"
of race horses.

The following is from Texas A&M
University Department of Animal
Science, Equine Sciences Program
for the development of race horses:

"The conditioning program for the
different horses varies depending on
the race length. Genetics, training,
age, and skeletal soundness are all
factors that contribute to a horse’s
performance. The muscle structure
and fiber type of horses depends on
the breed, therefore genetics must be
considered when constructing a
conditioning plan. A horse’s fitness
plan must be coordinated properly
in order to prevent injury or
unnecessary lameness. If these were
to occur, they may negatively affect
a horse’s willingness to learn.
Sprinting exercises are appropriate
for training two-year-old racehorses,
but they are mentally incapable of
handling too many of them. A horse’s
skeletal system adapts to the exercise
they are receiving. Because the
skeletal system does not reach full
maturity until the horse is at least four
years of age, young racehorses often
suffer multiple injuries."

The pdf, which is found here also
discusses how race horses with a
"fat score" of 5 generally perform
the best (on a scale of 1 to 9).

A fat score of 9 means the horse
is obese. A fat score of 1 means the
horse is emaciated. At a fat score of 5,
the horse is round and smooth; and
at score 6, it's considered "moderately
fleshy" (also a high-performance score).

(Texas A&M excerpt)
"Results indicate that a body condition
score of 5 appears to be the most
desirable for contributing to maximum
performance. Horses in condition
score 5 are able to store more usable
energy than horses in thinner condition.
The thinner horses are more prone to
early fatigue because they have to rely
almost entirely on that energy that is
derived from the daily diet."

So this is what an ideal horse looks like

This horse is considered "thin"

This horse is dead--

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Rethinking Your Athletic Shoes

The ATHLETICS were born of war.
Thousands of years of fighting honed
people into warriors. During most of
the Archaic Period in Greece, every
male citizen of Sparta was required
to train and live as a soldier in the
Spartan Army, no matter if he were
rich or poor. Imagine training with
a big, heavy shield.

When you think of athletic ability,
consider that very few of the athletes
you know were ever motivated by
protecting their own lives. Combat
is the mother of human physicality.

The Olympic Games were born in
776 B.C. The well-conditioned troops
competed against each other
in running races and pugilism. As
competitions became more formal,
technique was developed and taught.
Soldiers became athletes,
and they didn't have no Nikes.

In recent years, the Tarahumara Indians
of Mexico's Copper Canyons have
caused the athletic world to rethink
the concept of shoes. These guys run
120 miles over jagged rocks wearing
nothing but a half-ass huarache sandal.

Gerhard Hartmann, Ph.D., is an exercise
physiologist who says most running-
related injuries are a result of too much
foam injected pampering. He says running
shoes have become so super-cushioned
and motion-controlling, they allow our
foot muscles to atrophy and our tendons
to shorten and stiffen.

Alan Webb started barefoot exercises and
watched his shoes size drop from size 12 to 9.
Says Webb, "My foot muscles became
so strong, they pulled my arches up."

This article on running in basketball is also
very good.

While I can find websites that say running
in wrestling shoes will lead to injuries, there
are others who say running in them is
wonderful once you get through the first
week or two of strain.

I practice martial arts in my moccasins,
and hate to even put on a shoe for concern
it will have some kind of heel lift. At the
top of the page, look again at Perseus, the
slayer of Medusa. He is fine in musculature
and form, and his heel is flat on the ground.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Important Statistics on Sports Injuries

The National Athletic Trainers Association
reports that more than half of all sports
injuries occur during practice.

According to the National Center for Catastrophic Sport Injury Research Twentieth Annual Report:From 1982-2002, the total numbers of direct and indirect fatalities among high school athletes were:

Baseball — 17
Basketball — 88
Cheerleading — 21
Cross Country — 14
Football — 22
Soccer — 31
Track & Field — 47
Wrestling — 16

According to the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System All Injury Program:
In 2001, the number of sport-related injuries for each sport are as follows:

Gymnastics — 99,72
Basketball — 680,307
Baseball — 170,902
Softball — 118,354
Football — 413,620

According to SAFE KIDS USA:
More than 3.5 million children ages 14 and under receive medical treatment for sports injuries each year.
Injuries associated with participation in sports and recreational activities account for 21 percent of all traumatic brain injuries among children in the United States.
Overuse injury, which occurs over time from repeated motion, is responsible for nearly half of all sports injuries to middle-and high-school students. Immature bones, insufficient rest after an injury and poor training or conditioning contribute to overuse injuries among children.
Most organized sports related injuries (62 percent) occur during practices rather than games. Despite this fact, a third of parents often do not take the same safety precautions during their child's practices as they would for a game.
A recent survey found that among athletes ages 5 to 14, 15 percent of basketball players, 28 percent of football players, 22 percent of soccer players, 25 percent of baseball players and 12 percent of softball players have been injured while playing their respective sports.
Children ages 5 to 14 account for nearly 40 percent of all sports-related injuries treated in hospital emergency departments. The rate and severity of sports-related injury increases with a child's age.

In my research, I found that the
most injurious sport, regardless
of age, was BICYCLING.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Let's Talk Teeth (and bones) (and brains)

In Traditional Chinese Medicine,
the teeth are the extremity of the bone.
That means the teeth represent the
health and condition of the bones.

We all know how to take care of
our teeth, RIGHT ? Well...
We can all do better.

In order to care of the bones, the
human must place stress on them.

Unstressed bones weaken and
deteriorate. That's why astronauts
come back to earth with weaker

The amount and manner of stress
is of vital importance to optimizing
the bones, and to overall health.
Too much stress and the wrong kinds
of stress can wear out the joints
or even break the bones.

The back, a.k.a The Spine, is the most
concentrated, complicated archipelago
of bones, joints-- and this is important--
spinal cord, grey matter or "brain matter."
Your brain goes all the way down
to your ass. Yup, all the way down there.
(It's called the filum terminale)

In Chinese Medicine, the position of
the lower vertebrae and the coccyx
("the tailbone") are the key to optimizing
bone strength and overall health.
(Remember where your brain is...)

T'ai Chi Magazine published an article
by Liu Chang Jiang called, "On Skeletal
Posture and Muscle Function." In it,
Liu expounds,

"In untrained people, the angle between
the lower vertebrae and the coccyx is
typically quite big; about 30 degrees.
This causes the lower vertebrae to incline
forward with the result that that body
naturally leans forward and is perpetually
slightly off balance.
If the angle between the lower vertebrae
and the coccyx is any greater than this,
as it can be in those with back problems,
the pressure on the vertebrae becomes
excessive and can easily lead to chronic
back pain."

Let me put in easy terms.
You have to curl your genitals forward
and up; this is also known as "horizontal
pelvic tilt." Maybe you've heard this before ?

Don't you think it's time to learn how
to support your bones and your brain
with proper posture ?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Too Much Power, Not Enough Clutch

The title of this blog can mean
different things to different people;
but if you know anything about
cars, you know what I'm talking about.

I used to have a really fast Audi S6.
300 horsepower, outrageous torque--
but the clutch was seriously lacking.
Instead of transmitting the engine power
to the wheels, the clutch would sometimes
slip and burn.

Our bodies work much like the mechanisms
in a car. Food = fuel. Muscle = engine.
Bones = chassis. But what in the human
body is like the transmission on a car ?
What transmits energy so that you can
move a part of your body ?
It's your joints, tendons and ligaments.
We know we contract muscles... that
leverage our joints... in order to transmit
energy, or "move a part of the body."

But strength of muscle does not equal
"best transmission of power." You see,
resistance training like weight lifting
(and even running) shortens the tendons,
limiting the joints' range of motion.

Former NFL player Cory Walker told
me that when he really got into weight
lifting and getting stronger, he got slower.
His 40-yard sprint times got worse.

Why ?
Inefficient transmission of power.
He got stronger ! But he could not
convert his new power into speed.

I've said it before, and I'll say it again:
I cringe every time I hear a doctor tell
an elderly patient to lift weights. Dumbells !

You have plenty-enough muscle.
You need to work on your joints.
After all, when you lose a joint,
you lose mobility.
Tai Chi and Qigong improve the joints.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

If You Walked Like a Snowflake

GAIT is the term used to describe
the pattern of movement of the
limbs of animals. Human gait is
bipedal, meaning the pattern is
only on "two feet."

If you walk across the room and
back, what do you notice about
your own gait ? Before you read
on, try it. Walk across the room
and make mental notes about the
way you walk.

Did you land heel first and push
off your toes ? Did your knees
bend very much ? How long was
your right step compared to your
left step ? Now try it again and
see what you notice.

In gait analysis, the subject's gait
can be measured in many different
ways. Even if the right and left step
are the same length, they may not
take an equal amount of time. And
likely, they are not the same length.

In fact, almost everyone has one hip
stiffer than the other, which will make
a significant difference between left and
right steps. If the range of motion were
measured acutely in the foot, ankle, knee,
hip and lower spine, a myriad of asymmetry

Not only do ankles and knees flex and extend,
they twist. The feet are vastly complex with
with ranges of motion in three planes, as are
the hips. This illustrates how much asymmetry
is possible in the lower body.

As a snowflake forms, it takes on symmetry.
As its branches extend out from the center,
each new joint is a perfect match of the other
joints. But as the human body grows and
ages, each joint range of motion of the lower
body begins to repeat movements based on
necessity, thereby forming habits. These
habits cause increasing asymmetry of gait,
and break down the misused joints over time.
If the habits are bad enough and last long
enough, they may require artificial knee
and/or hip joints to replace the natural ones.

Like a snowflake, there are endless combinations
of lower body joint mobility, making every
person's gait unique. However, there are
standards of movement originating from
Tai Chi Chuan that mobilize joints more
thoroughly, allowing a person to "fix" his
or her gait and save the natural joints.

You'll get no such love from jogging, weight
lifting or even swimming.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Boost Your Athletic Breathing !

Imagine what sports would be like
if you could take classes on breathing.
Imagine being able to breathe so
efficiently and so well that you would
never get winded. Wow. Wouldn't
that be an incredible skill ?

Two days ago, I skied with my old
buddy, Herb. Herb lives in Telluride,
Colorado, which perches at a paltry
8750 feet above sea-level. Telluride
Mountain Resort peaks-out at 12,225'--
so in essence, Herb came "down"
to ski at Alta, which bases at 8530'
and peaks-out at 10,550'.

Lots of people have been at altitude,
and many others haven't. When I took
my parents to the top of Pike's Peak at
14,000 feet, neither one could even walk
a straight line, and my mom knocked
merchandise off the gift store shelves
several times. Suffice it to say there is
less oxygen the higher you go.

Back to my story--
Herb is a great skier. He competed on
the Big Mountain circuit, and has been
shredding mountains worldwide for
almost 20 years. When we skied at Alta,
we hiked, and skied real hard. He couldn't
keep up with me on the hikes, and he was
huffing and puffing when we got down
to the lifts.

I don't do "cardio." No jogging, no stair
climbers, nothing of the sort. But I did
take lessons on how to breathe; and I dare
say that no one is ever waiting on me when
it's time to hike or do something that requires
a high "aerobic threshold."

This is no fantasy. I've been working on my
breathing for seven years, and can say with
confidence that I can breathe far better than
you can. The old BaGua masters like Wang
Shu Jin would practice martial arts for three
hours without ever opening their mouths. And
if you don't know BaGua, it's more physically
demanding than anything !

Hmmm. Are you starting to think maybe
there's a big hole in your athletic training ?
Well, stop lifting "dumbbells," and start
learning Tai Chi just as soon as breathing
development makes sense to you.