Is fitness the ultimate key?

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Re: Is fitness the ultimate key?

Postby dspyrido on Thu Dec 15, 2016 10:42 pm

Who would not want to be a little more fitter? By its very definition it is about having more of a good characteristic regardless of whether it relates to physical (run, mobility, lift weight, ...), mental (memory, problem solving, ...) or emotional (calm, energetic, in tune with others, ...). If not, why?

In martial arts it is key? In sports fitness it is vital. In urban self defense not as much but it does not hurt to have more of it.

Why in sports vs urban self defense? Because most real fights dont tend to last long. People pour everything into it when they believe they are in real danger. Oxygen burns quickly and systems go into overload. It's been proven that peoples perception of time slows down. Here it's about being aware of how to remove the danger and end the threat quickly. This relies heavily on applying the right tactics/moves at the right time.

In a sports situation its not the same. A few minutes where you have ref who will stop things or a buddy who will hold back if you concede means it's just a game. In sparring I usually dont care about messing around, trying out things, making mistakes on purpose to learn especially when I have another 5-10 other sparring partners to get through. Here fitness is key and if you have a good base level of it then time passes pretty quickly between rounds. Even in tournaments things just happen fast.

But what is more important than fitness is what enables it. This is awareness, understanding and discipline. Awareness & understanding leads to the right choice of where to apply focus and discipline to improve on fitness and coordination. Without the coordination (of the bows), without the repetition to take it to a "song" habit of motion, without connection from the hand to the core and similarly to the legs then it's not ima. Then without taking all this and knowing how to apply it for the right level of efficiency against another human being in a competitive situation it is also not ima - its just another type of yoga or a health dance.
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Re: Is fitness the ultimate key?

Postby middleway on Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:37 am

In martial arts it is key? In sports fitness it is vital. In urban self defense not as much but it does not hurt to have more of it.

Why in sports vs urban self defense? Because most real fights dont tend to last long. People pour everything into it when they believe they are in real danger. Oxygen burns quickly and systems go into overload. It's been proven that peoples perception of time slows down. Here it's about being aware of how to remove the danger and end the threat quickly. This relies heavily on applying the right tactics/moves at the right time.


Linked to this is our ability to deal with or utilize Adrenalin and Cortisol. Fitter guys with endocrine systems that are used to being mildly and deliberately 'stressed', are better equipped to utilize and also flush these hormones in an efficient way. Having been in hundreds of encounters the Adrenalin and cortisol effects are brutal ... They can drain you of all of your strength in the pre-fight build up, or fire you up and ready you for battle. Standing mat side waiting to go into a final at a grappling event can produce a similar effect so there is absolutely cross over. Having a healthy body, especially one trained in a non-cooperative combative environment, will help people here.

There is a lot more to 'fight fitness' than simply strength or endurance. Hormones are one of the Keys in stressful environments that very few people talk about.

thanks.
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Re: Is fitness the ultimate key?

Postby RobP3 on Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:15 am

dspyrido wrote:Who would not want to be a little more fitter? By its very definition it is about having more of a good characteristic regardless of whether it relates to physical (run, mobility, lift weight, ...), mental (memory, problem solving, ...) or emotional (calm, energetic, in tune with others, ...). If not, why?


middleway wrote:Linked to this is our ability to deal with or utilize Adrenalin and Cortisol. Fitter guys with endocrine systems that are used to being mildly and deliberately 'stressed', are better equipped to utilize and also flush these hormones in an efficient way. There is a lot more to 'fight fitness' than simply strength or endurance. Hormones are one of the Keys in stressful environments that very few people talk about.



The two guys above make a very important point. You can't underestimate the effects of stress on the system. It can severely deplete resources. Developing a calm mind in a calm situation is one thing. Maintaining a calm mind in a chaotic situation is something else entirely.

Plus it is also a gross oversimplification to imagine that anyone not an "expert" in IMA will attack you like some sort of steroid muscle-bound meathead (which in any case is still not simple to deal with)

As for running being a modern Western "invention" I guess you never heard of Marathon :) Or even a quick google reveals "A further part of Roman basic military training was also physical exercise. Vegetius mentions running, long and high jump and carrying heavy packs. During the summer swimming was also a part of training. If their camp was near the sea, a lake or river, every recruit was made to swim."

Running, climbing, swimming etc are all very natural activities for us and, for me, form a far more adaptable base for training than "unnatural" ones
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Re: Is fitness the ultimate key?

Postby Dmitri on Fri Dec 16, 2016 3:58 am

Re. "gassing out" vs "being fit": you will move much more efficiently doing a very familiar activity, than an unfamiliar one -- even if the latter is less demanding physically. I.e. "fitness" is activity-specific. if you spar all the time, you don't have to be nearly as generally-fit as your partner, if he's the world's top athlete but never sparred before.
A friend of mine who plays badminton as a hobby told me how amusing it is to watch this 75-year-old Malaysian guy who used to be a high-level pro in his day (and never stopped playing) working some 20-something year olds to death while barely breaking a sweat. With experience comes efficiency, requiring less exertion. (I know, "duh!", -- but just wanted to say it plainly, as it applies to MA directly.)
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Re: Is fitness the ultimate key?

Postby wiesiek on Fri Dec 16, 2016 5:41 am

yes,
"been fit in the MA way " was in my mind /@Steve/
I`ve been thinkin` that it is clear, `cause we typin` on MA forum :)
For ex., we are much more flexible than average Joe, but even in the dojo with <black belts> only, difference may be huge ...
In old chap example - it is additional "sense of the precognition" what goin` to happen when somebody move/ positioning in the certain way...
so, can I sum up, that:
calm mind in the heat of the fight, experience, power and flexibility /IMA way, of c.,/
are our all time pillars ?
joyful usefullnes of the effords
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Re: Is fitness the ultimate key?

Postby grzegorz on Sat Dec 24, 2016 6:35 pm

gerard wrote:
grzegorz wrote:I work a ton and I don't have a lot of time right now to attend regular group sessions so I mostly do a boxing/kettlebell routine these days. It occurs to me that it is not enough for competitions or anything but that dealing with an athlete in a fight can't be good. Almost to the point where I am becoming convinced that this is the edge that top fighters have. Obviously skills are skills but without fitness then forget about it.


Why don't you ask here.

Xingyiquan - Baguazhang - Taijiquan

No wonder why these arts are degrading so fast...and furiously. :)


I finally have time to read and respond.

I disagree, because personally I think most famous Chinese martial artists came from a farming or working class background and were therefore already physically strong when they started training. Now whether their children or students were physically strong is hard to say but I am sure in a lot of challenge matches the same person who won was probably the same person who was better at working in the fields.
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Re: Is fitness the ultimate key?

Postby C.J.W. on Sat Dec 24, 2016 7:33 pm

grzegorz wrote:I disagree, because personally I think most famous Chinese martial artists came from a farming or working class background and were therefore already physically strong when started training. Now whether their children or students were physically strong is hard to say but I am sure in a lot of challenge matches the same person who won was probably the same person who was better at working in the fields.



I would argue that the type of body and strength that one acquires through performing hard manual labor in the typical manners is NOT always beneficial to the development of CMA, especially IMA, skills. In many cases, they may actually be counterproductive.
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Re: Is fitness the ultimate key?

Postby yeniseri on Sat Dec 24, 2016 8:30 pm

Perhaps it is just me but most of CMA fellows had great skill based on their occupations, be it carpenter, cook, convoy protector, agricultural work, etc so they possessed fitness in many domains regarding psychological, spiritual, etc to round out what we know as fitness. In modern society, fitness tends to be one dimensional so it loses much of other domains that encompass it. Jus' sayin' ???
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Re: Is fitness the ultimate key?

Postby C.J.W. on Sun Dec 25, 2016 4:37 am

I'd like to add that if you understand the principles and body method of the art you practice, it is possible to turn everyday activities into style-specific training drills that can improve your skills as well as fitness.
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Re: Is fitness the ultimate key?

Postby windwalker on Sun Dec 25, 2016 11:33 am

I'd like to add that if you understand the principles and body method of the art you practice, it is possible to turn everyday activities into style-specific training drills that can improve your skills as well as fitness.


Which in turn changes the way in which the activities are done ;)

IMA skill sets, and idea of fitness approaches movement in gen come from a very different perspective.
It is said from “outside to inside, from inside to outside”
Many do not ever reach the point where their training practice can be said to be, being done from the inside out.

Most of ones' time is spent on re mapping how things are done with the body/mind..to achieve this.
More so for those who’ve ingrained other ways of movement under high stress situations.
In the end they may never reach a point where "don’t use force" means anything to them...
They can’t distinguish between the two.
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Re: Is fitness the ultimate key?

Postby grzegorz on Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:21 pm

C.J.W. wrote:
grzegorz wrote:I disagree, because personally I think most famous Chinese martial artists came from a farming or working class background and were therefore already physically strong when started training. Now whether their children or students were physically strong is hard to say but I am sure in a lot of challenge matches the same person who won was probably the same person who was better at working in the fields.



I would argue that the type of body and strength that one acquires through performing hard manual labor in the typical manners is NOT always beneficial to the development of CMA, especially IMA, skills. In many cases, they may actually be counterproductive.


I don't agree. Just as fighting can be done without relying on tension manual labor is the same.

I move hundred pound boxes without relying on muscular tension and from using what I learned from IMAs and judo.

One thing is for sure the people who developed IMAs were not living the same life style we are living today so I am sure they were using their bodies much more than we do in the West today.
Last edited by grzegorz on Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Is fitness the ultimate key?

Postby Trick on Tue Dec 27, 2016 10:48 pm

C.J.W. wrote:
grzegorz wrote:I disagree, because personally I think most famous Chinese martial artists came from a farming or working class background and were therefore already physically strong when started training. Now whether their children or students were physically strong is hard to say but I am sure in a lot of challenge matches the same person who won was probably the same person who was better at working in the fields.



I would argue that the type of body and strength that one acquires through performing hard manual labor in the typical manners is NOT always beneficial to the development of CMA, especially IMA, skills. In many cases, they may actually be counterproductive.

Wax on wax off, paint the fence......Ok, not really being serious there, but there could be something to it. I began with Karate when i was 17 years old, back then i had been and was doing quite a lot of running and some weight lifting, in the karate club we bagan sparring almost already at beginners class, i remember gassing out after about just a minute of sparring and so did most of my fellow clasmates because we did not relax properly.
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Re: Is fitness the ultimate key?

Postby oragami_itto on Tue Dec 27, 2016 11:53 pm

So when I was in the Air Force they had this "bike test" to measure cardio fitness. You pedaled a stationary bike while wearing a heart monitor and the tester would manipulate the resistance while you maintained a steady speed. Your heart rate had to stay within a certain range or you would fail, get written up, have mandatory exercise, blablabla

When I had to take it, I was smoking a pack or so per day and most mornings I showed up to work still drunk from the night before. Fitness was not my forte.

So my heart rate started skyrocketing as soon as the tester added tension.

Now back in high school I'd started teaching myself basic meditation techniques, like slowing my heartbeat through the breath, so I decided to try that to continue my lazy and vice laden lifestyle.

I passed, the tester showed me the strip chart and said I had almost failed, but that my heart suddenly and rapidly shot back down to the safe range, I had passed, and she had never seen a test play out like that before.

The taijiquan and xingyiquan I study have very similar techniques embedded in the practices. For example in xingyiquan, we would throw sets of ten, twenty, thirty punches at a bag while only breathing once.

They keep you from gassing out, and help you keep using what little you have as long as possible.

Effective fitness is the ultimate key
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Re: Is fitness the ultimate key?

Postby C.J.W. on Wed Dec 28, 2016 11:51 am

grzegorz wrote:
C.J.W. wrote:
grzegorz wrote:I disagree, because personally I think most famous Chinese martial artists came from a farming or working class background and were therefore already physically strong when started training. Now whether their children or students were physically strong is hard to say but I am sure in a lot of challenge matches the same person who won was probably the same person who was better at working in the fields.



I would argue that the type of body and strength that one acquires through performing hard manual labor in the typical manners is NOT always beneficial to the development of CMA, especially IMA, skills. In many cases, they may actually be counterproductive.


I don't agree. Just as fighting can be done without relying on tension manual labor is the same.

I move hundred pound boxes without relying on muscular tension and from using what I learned from IMAs and judo.

One thing is for sure the people who developed IMAs were not living the same life style we are living today so I am sure they were using their bodies much more than we do in the West today.


Please read my other post and you'll see that there's common ground between our standpoints.

C.J.W. wrote:I'd like to add that if you understand the principles and body method of the art you practice, it is possible to turn everyday activities into style-specific training drills that can improve your skills as well as fitness.
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Re: Is fitness the ultimate key?

Postby grzegorz on Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:02 pm

Yes, but you also stated in "many cases" which is where we disagree. If you do 12 hours of manual labor a day you find ways to "relax" while doing it otherwise the work would be impossible.
Last edited by grzegorz on Wed Dec 28, 2016 10:25 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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