"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.