combat application

Jopgging and weighting are discouraged in a Chinese martial artist's perspective


I would like to know what do you think of jogging and weightlifting from a Chinese martial artist's perspective. Are they actually detrimental to health? Olympic participants usually have lots of health problems when they grow older. However, would an average amount of jogging still be more beneficial than detrimental?

-- Lim, Singapore


From the perspective of Chinese martial arts, both jogging and weight-lifting are detrimental to health. A jogger, even if he does an average amount of jogging, not only tosses his internal organs about when he jogs, each step he makes sends shock waves of chi along meridians from his feet to his internal organs. Habitually shocking internal organs in this way is not healthy. But walking is healthy, especially if you walk leisurely. Humans are born to walk; running is meant for emergency.

Weight-lifting is unhealthy because its training procedure places excessive burden on the heart and lungs without preparing these organs beforehand. Notice how a weight-lifter progresses. If his limit is 200 lbs at this moment, he adds more lbs for the next moment. If he cannot lift the new weight, he violently throws the weight onto the ground. He has to do so because he has been stretched to his limit; he does not even allow his heart and lungs an oz of reserve. If he can successfully lift the new weights, he adds more weights until his muscles and organs can stand no further.

Notice also that when he successfully lifts his weights, he closes his mouth tight and holds his breath. From the chi kung perspective, this is extremely unhealthy. Not only this may build up a lot of stress harmful to his internal organs, the toxic waste produced as a result of work done (in lifting weights) is not disposed off, but left inside the body with far-reaching consequences, such as disrupting the flow of chi necessary for the working of his body systems.

Chinese martial arts also use running and weights in their training, but the philosophy and approach are crucially different. While the Western concept would use jogging and weight-lifting to promote health and strength, the Chinese regard them as the result of health and strength, not the cause. While the West would use jogging and weight-lifting as ends themselves, the Chinese martial artists use them as means to improve stamina and train force.

In their training, while the West stretch to the limits, the Chinese emphasize gradual progress and always provide for a wide margin of safety. For example, if a Chinese martial artist can run 500 metres or lift 200 lbs, he would not run 550 metres or lift 250 lbs the next day. Instead he would run only 200 metres or lift 100 lbs for a few days, and then add a few metres or lbs after every few days. At the same time he would practise appropriate chi kung exercises (or take medicinal herbs) not only to strengthen his body system to prepare for the new demand, but also to clear off injuries sustained unwittingly. Progressing gradually over a period of consistent training, he may eventually run 5000 metres or lift 400 lbs.

While in the Western approach, little attention is paid to breath control and mental state, the Chinese pay much attention to regulating the breathing and attaining a relaxed and focussed mind. Indeed, running and weights are aids in the training. In other words, the purpose is not to run or lift weights, but to use running and weightlifting as means to train energy and mind so as to increase stamina and force.

The above is taken from Question 1 of May 1999 Part 3 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.


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