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  • "Toughening" the Body

    I am learning the Five Family T'ai Chi. It is rather rare and is Kung Fu. My teacher's teacher's lineage originates from Ark Wong who was one of the last Sifus to leave the Shaolin Temple in China before it was destroyed. I have been told that what I am learning is incredibly rare and everything that I can find on it backs that up. Really, I don't care as it is rather valuable physically wherever it came from. I get my slow movement in and it centers me physically, psychologically, and emotionally.

    My teacher has drunk the cool aid, though. He thinks that Kung Fu is the greatest martial arts system ever. Having trained in two different but very similar styles of karate, it is hard for me to just take it at face value.

    A part of the Kung Fu training as described to me is toughening the body. One hits parts of one's body with different materials. For instance, with the hand you start with a ball stuffed with sand, progress to a ball stuffed with gravel, then end with a ball stuffed with shot.

    Because of the particular circumstances I am in, if I want to progress, I will have to train in Kung Fu in order to get better with the T'ai Chi unless I change styles. Changing styles would be very difficult as I live in the middle of nowhere in Indiana. It is incredible that this avenue of learning is available to me at all (Someone who knew someone knew someone, who knew me, etc...).

    My question is, is toughening the body like this Paleo? I just can't imagine Grok practicing different styles of punching in the sand, then the river bank, and then against something that simulates shot. Despite being a middle aged woman who lives in the middle of corn and soy bean fields who will not need such training, I will probably do what is required of me. I just want to be able to smirk internally as I do it.

  • #2
    Frankly, I suggest dropping traditional martial arts and just go for something that has proved its efficiency. Boxing, kickboxing, judo, wrestling, BJJ or something similar (anything you see in MMA). Or just do straight Tai Chi. The whole ''toughening up the body'' you see in some martial arts like Kung Fu is either terrible on the long term for your joints/body, or, best case scenario, is simply ineffective.

    I always loved Joe Rogan's comment on Tae Kwon Do after he got beat up by a friend who did kickboxing: ''At that moment I realized I had become really good at something stupid''.

    I'm not saying to drop it if it makes you happy. I'm just saying that if you do it, don't expect it to be useful.

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    • #3
      In this case I wouldn't really ask if it was Paleo or Primal...I would ask myself whether or not it is necessary now. If you practice full-contact combat on a regular basis, then it can be useful...but if you practice a softer style with no emphasis on hand-to-hand, I don't really see it as being necessary. Historically they have been using these methods for over a thousand years with plenty of success and I haven't run across much information on negative sides to it (though it's recommended you practice a particular form of qigong to gather energy beforehand).
      Josh Vernier, CPT

      My Journal

      Evolution Revolution Fitness

      "The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me."

      -Ayn Rand

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      • #4
        What you need is the Elephant Man workout.

        Elephant Man Dancehall Gym Part #1 - YouTube

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        • #5
          Originally posted by 888erkan888 View Post
          What you need is the Elephant Man workout.

          Elephant Man Dancehall Gym Part #1 - YouTube
          No...you don't need that at all. In fact, that can barely be considered a workout in any effective sense of the term.
          Josh Vernier, CPT

          My Journal

          Evolution Revolution Fitness

          "The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me."

          -Ayn Rand

          Comment


          • #6
            Toughening doesn't sound right to me. Harden with strong muscles from strength and function,not beating the shit out of yourself externally. If you were a hard core fighter it may help take some knocks, but for the sake of it? Nah.

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            • #7
              Somewhere on youtube are a bunch of videos about an army (maybe it was Korean? or Chinese? i can't remember) where they did a bunch of toughening exercises with the troops. When you see the "finished" army, it's really impressive what abuse their bodies can handle without injury. But what you don't see are the 2 out of 5 who suffered permanent joint or bone injuries and had to get cut from the program.

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              • #8
                +1 to EvRevFit's thoughts.

                I also wouldn't worry about "is it primal". But if you really want to know, I'd say any activity that you do for fun/play is primal. "Toughening the body through external abuse" (so to speak) like is done in many kung-fu practices might seem like a strange way to "play" in the modern world, but really, any intense physical activity/workout toughens the body by abusing it (in some fashion). Like EvRevFit said, do whatever you feel the need/desire to do.

                888erkan888... are you actually Ele? Or are you just really amused by his video? Didn't you already start a thread about that yesterday? To anyone who doesn't know and is confused about what the hell that is, Elephant Man is a Jamaican dancehall MC. He got hugely popular about 10 years ago, I don't know if he still is though. I was kind of a fan at first, but his style and lyrics got old/annoying really fast (especially the homophobic stuff, which is par for the course in Jamaica, but still). Anyway, I'm pretty sure that "workout" video of his is just a funny joke on his part, but with Ele, who knows...

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                • #9
                  It will increase your bone density and up your pain tolerance, probably.
                  I didn't like the rules you gave me, so I made some of my own.

                  Strong people are harder to kill than weak people, and more useful in general. - Mark Rippetoe

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by dragonmamma View Post
                    Somewhere on youtube are a bunch of videos about an army (maybe it was Korean? or Chinese? i can't remember) where they did a bunch of toughening exercises with the troops. When you see the "finished" army, it's really impressive what abuse their bodies can handle without injury. But what you don't see are the 2 out of 5 who suffered permanent joint or bone injuries and had to get cut from the program.
                    You're looking for Chinese Qigong "Iron Body" exercises.

                    Like Grandmaster Tu here:
                    Peak weight on Standard American Diet: 316.8 lbs
                    Initial Weight When Starting Primal: 275 lbs
                    Current weight: 210.8 lbs
                    Goal weight: 220 lbs (or less): MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

                    The way "ChooseMyPlate.gov" should have looked:
                    ChooseMyPlate

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ciep View Post
                      +1 to EvRevFit's thoughts.
                      888erkan888... are you actually Ele? Or are you just really amused by his video? Didn't you already start a thread about that yesterday? To anyone who doesn't know and is confused about what the hell that is, Elephant Man is a Jamaican dancehall MC. He got hugely popular about 10 years ago, I don't know if he still is though. I was kind of a fan at first, but his style and lyrics got old/annoying really fast (especially the homophobic stuff, which is par for the course in Jamaica, but still). Anyway, I'm pretty sure that "workout" video of his is just a funny joke on his part, but with Ele, who knows...
                      =) Im just really amused by those videos... I laughted so hard when I made that thread (and I hoped others would laugh too!!), asking if that would "make me ripped" or "if its primal"... but people believed me! I guess they have seen enough CW nonsense already...

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                      • #12
                        Haha, I figured that was your intention. I was amused to see serious responses to it.

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                        • #13
                          I practiced tang-soo-do for a while before switching to boxing, and our instructors never had us doing "toughening" techniques.
                          Seems stupid to me.
                          Like stated earlier, eventually you'll hurt yourself.
                          Tai chi is great for joint mobility, and something that you can practice into old age that will benefit you.
                          Traditional martial arts is fine if that's what you like to do, but don't get carried away with certain techniques just because an instructor thinks that you should. If it seems dangerous to you, then it probably is.
                          Use common sense, and don't be afraid to think for yourself.
                          Good luck.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ciep View Post
                            Haha, I figured that was your intention. I was amused to see serious responses to it.
                            LOL, that makes me feel better about my reaction!

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