Kung Fu Body Conditioning
Traditional Training for Endurance and Power
By Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, and YMAA Retreat Center Disciples
Even those who do not intend to become experts in kung fu will find the discipline of Kung Fu Body Conditioning and accompanying instruction in the fundamentals of qigong meditation a healthful and empowering practice.
Dr. Yang, Jwing-Ming, is the founder of the YMAA (Yang’s Martial Arts Association) California Retreat Center, dedicated to restoring and preserving traditional Chinese martial arts at the highest possible standard of excellence. The center’s resident students live in a remote northern California location and participate in a comprehensive 10-yearlong martial arts training program; the results of this training are evident in the skill and self-discipline of the student/disciple presenters.
Body conditioning is the first step in traditional kung fu training and includes stretching, strength training, tumbling drills, and outdoor training methods, including running, rope climbing, and rock throwing. The exercises are designed to strengthen the structure of the entire body, improve the health of the spine and internal organs, and enhance cardiovascular endurance, and the instructors give excellent explanations of which muscle groups, bones, and joints are being addressed and the benefits of each particular exercise. There are also exercises that develop flexibility, speed, a sense of one’s root, and the explosive power that martial artists need in order to perform without injury. Each exercise is done slowly and mindfully, with instruction on where to focus the eyes and the mind. Warnings about the possibility of injury accompany all the more intense examples, and even experienced practitioners may hear something new to add to their understanding.
As Chinese martial artists must develop and train both the internal and the external qi, with the internal being the foundation of the external, attention is given to the co-ordination of the mind with the body and with the diff erent types of abdominal breathing.
Dr. Yang’s meditation instruction is calming, centering, and intense and would enhance the meditation practice of anyone who cares to go deeply into the ways in which Chinese breathing techniques act to conserve, channel, and direct the power of qi.
Recommended for skill levels 1 and 2, Kung Fu Body Conditioning will inspire and deepen the practice of martial artists and meditators of any level.