The following discussion is reproduced from the thread Chi Kung Running in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum on 9th June 2005.
Ok, since then, some mad cleansing has made me not even able to walk properly, but it surely is a glimpse at what can be achieved when we have good control of this. -- Hubert
9th June 2005
I have a work colleague who is very externally fit. He trains at the gym three times a week, goes running and eats well. He is interested in what I practice and often asks good questions.
One day recently, we discussed how I can achieve the same results (stamina, speed, agility) from the Shaolin Arts. The conversation continued as we walked home. As we reached a long set of very steep steps, he asked if I fancied a race to the top.
We ran to the top full speed, and he beat me by about 10 inches. However, once we reached the summit I continued to stroll and chat, while he sat down on the pavement, panting and wheezing! My breath was silent, slow and still!
We were both shocked, surprised and pleased.
Here is what I did :
- Tried to stay relaxed, upright and open.
- Gently aware of my Dan Tian.
- Did not try to control my breath. Forgot my breath.
Thanks for starting this thread. Running is a topic that has come up before and is one that I have a fair bit of interest in.
I was so surprised to learn that from a Chinese Medical/ Chi Kung perspective that running as a means of physical conditioning is generally considered harmful. Afterwards however, I began to watch the people I saw in the park who were jogging.
Most of them seemed to be really suffering and not enjoying themselves. I could see how really awful running was for them, and how it wasn't helping them become more fit. For most of them it seemed like some kind of strange compulsion or some kind of penance.
Occasionally I would see someone running who really looked like they were having fun, and I said to myself "wow, now that looks like it is healthy". The litmus test for running should be the same as for our Chi Kung Fu: Afterwards you should feel better and more energized than when you start.
My two year old daughter also enjoys running quite a bit. To see her run is a wonderful thing. She is usually smiling or laughing while she does it.
Perhaps some othesr would like to add their comments about how we can enjoy running, as a result of our good health, and not as a mistaken means towards good health.
BTW Jamie, That's an interesting story about the stair race. It seems that your friend was too busy thinking about winning that he forgot to "protect himself".
With Shaolin Salute,
Nice experience, Jamie.
Something similar happened to me some time ago. I think I told the story at the February Chi Kung course in Ireland.
After a nice late Kung Fu session, I was feeling very refreshed and very energized, and for some bizarre reason I felt very much like running. Now that's not something that happens very often, so I decided to just go with it and run
I actually used to run quite a lot a few years ago, and while I was enjoying it (on some strange level), I always had to push myself, and would end up completely exhausted.
This time it was different. I started to run quite fast, without effort, feeling very light. Then I decided to go faster, and somehow just told my legs "go faster", and - good old legs - they did. [insert the 60 billion dollar man sound effect here]
It was all strange, but wonderful. I could run very fast, for a long time, and yet was kind of "detached" from the physical aspect of it. i.e I could look around me, admiring the view, relaxing, while my dan tian was taking care of the running.
When I came back to my flat, I wasn't out of breath, didn't feel any aching muscles, and wasn't even sweating!
Ok, since then, some mad cleansing has made me not even able to walk properly, but it surely is a glimpse at what can be achieved when we have good control of this.
Wow! This is one of the most amazing threads I have read yet.
I'd like to share my experience from last week - at least I know now that at least a couple of people won't think I am crazy!
I was visiting my parents last week. Near where they live I can train outdoors amongst trees, at the foot of a mountain. I have previously had some amazing chi flows whilst practising there.
Last week after a very good long session there I went back to the house 5 minutes after the session and took my dog out for a walk. He likes me to throw or kick a ball for him to chase. I usually throw the ball nowadays as I haven't played football in over a year due to sore hip joints.
I took to the football field with the dog and threw the ball - I noticed my body felt nice and relaxed, but charged.
All of a sudden I got this incredible urge to chase the ball myself! So I did - when I started running... I couldn't stop, I got the urge to go faster and faster!
I ended up doing about 10 laps of the field, dribbling the ball at my feet while my dog snapped at my heels to try and take it off me (a training method I used to use all the time).
After that I had to run without the ball as I felt like it was slowing me down too much! Eventually when my legs stopped forcing me to run, I stopped and my dan tian kept twitching, making me throw punches etc for a few minutes. Eventually the urge stopped, and I just felt really relaxed and happy, not tired or sore at all! Even though I had run faster than I used to when I was training and playing football all the time! And this after a full year without running or playing football at all!
It was just incredible. The only slight downside was that when I later tried to have a few shots at goal, I still couldn't, my hip joints were still too sore, but this was a big step in the right direction I hope!
Thanks to my Master!
Thanks to Sifu Wong!
Finally thanks to the other contributors for giving me the confidence to post this, and good luck in your training!