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  • Qigong's effects on Athletic performance

    A nice video of the University of Virginia's swim coaches discussing the effect of Qigong on their athletic performance:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature...&v=V-HFdkIDQdE

    In the same vein, an article discussing the part Qigong has played in China's recent Olympic rise:

    http://www.examiner.com/article/anci...mpic-greatness
    Sifu Andy Cusick

    Shaolin Wahnam Thailand
    Shaolin Qigong

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    "a trained mind brings health and happiness"
    - ancient wisdom

  • #2
    Hi Anthony Sihing,

    Wow, two great links

    Best regards,
    Claude
    Love is wonderful, because anyone with love in his heart wants to see everyone in bliss, everyone healthy and everyone availing freedom. This is the state of a man who considers the world as his family. Such are the wise man, the great souls. (Shri Shantananda Saraswati)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Claudien S View Post
      Hi Anthony




      Sifu Andy Cusick

      Shaolin Wahnam Thailand
      Shaolin Qigong

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      "a trained mind brings health and happiness"
      - ancient wisdom

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      • #4
        University Training

        For the past year and a half I have been teaching Chi Kung and Taijiquan to students at National Chi Nan University here in Taiwan. Next semester I will begin working on a joint project with the Student Activity Center and the Student Health Center to improve student health with Taijiquan and Chi Kung. I have used this opportunity to conduct research which will be included in my Ph.D. dissertation in Education. The general topic is improving student health and well-being.

        Anticipating that I will be training athletes at the university, in the past 6 months I have experimented with using Qigong skills in swimming and running. Both attempts have been successful and enjoyable. I started with swimming. We have an Olympic-size pool at the university. I focused a lot on relaxation the first few weeks and once I was able to swim about 200 meters totally relaxed non-stop, I set my goal farther. Being totally relaxed, I started swimming with a goal of 600 meters. When I reached 600 meters and not tired, I went for 1000 meters. And when at 1000 meters when I was still relaxed and feeling good, I kept going until 2000 meters; this was all in the same session. Now I can regularly swim more than 2000 meters non-stop in a relaxed approach. I genuinely feel MORE relaxed and powerful at the end of my swim than at the beginning. This is because I simply must relax in order to swim for over 1 hour. I could keep going past 2000 meters and I want to because it's enjoyable, but I stop because I have other things in my life to do or it's closing time for the pool.

        Some weeks ago I found this documentary:


        It shows some of the fundamental training methods of a school which has put out some of the top runners in the world including Ibrahim Hussein(3-time Boston marathon winner, Matthew Birir, 1992 gold-medalist in the 3000 meter steeplechase, and David Rudisha who won back-to-back gold medals in London 2012 and Rio 2016 in the 800 meter race and is current world-record holder in that event. The 800 meter distance is a very fast-paced race, but I was happy to see that their fundamental training is some light and relaxed running and other relaxed exercises. As Brother Colm O'Connel, the coach, says, he wants them to practice running not as an exertion, but as a discipline and a focus. I would also add the word "relaxation". He also emphasizes body alignment(which is familiar to our Chi Kung and Kung Fu training) and stability.

        As Sifu has taught us, and as we practice, being relaxed allows us to spar and train for hours without tiring. We are especially primed for this since Sifu has given us the skill of having direct control over our energy flow.

        So, I put the practice from swimming into running. I started out gradually over a few weeks. So far I can run 3200 meters in a very relaxed way and I feel even more relaxed than after the swimming. Eventually I'll try a longer distance. If you can run 1000 steps in a relaxed way, then you can run an endless number of steps the same.

        As a side note, Sifu's teaching has given us the ability to look at other's skills and glean the useful parts while leaving the unnecessary parts. And this can even be done from watching a video and practicing. Amazing!
        Last edited by Mark Blohm; 16th January 2017, 08:45 AM.
        少林華南台灣 Shaolin Wahnam Taiwan

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        "Then how could chi kung overcome diseases where the cause is unknown or when there is no cure? The question is actually incorrect. The expressions "the cause is unknown" and "there is no cure" are applicable only in the Western medical paradigm. The expressions no longer hold true in the chi kung paradigm. In the chi kung paradigm the cause is known, and there is a cure."

        -Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

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        • #5
          Thank you for this last insert Mark. I'm currently preparing for a strenuous hike up Mt Kenya, so the more interesting with an insert of the Kenyan training methods.

          I do cycling exclusively and also try to keep my intensity at a lower level, opposed to going for broke on previous occasions and training philosophy. I started with a 20min session and the bike on intensity level 5. 2nd session was 30min on 5 and 3rd session 40min on 5. My heart rate would stay around 120bpm. Do you have a definition of "relaxed" in terms of heart rate?

          During the 3rd week I upped the intensity to 6 for 20min, yet my heart rate went above 140bpm. I continued upping the time to 40min at intensity 6 during the week, but I guess this cant be seeing as relaxed training anymore. Even at 120bpm the breathing becomes heavier. I will back down on intensity and up the time further since I have a feeling that your experience is much more relaxed than mine.

          Does this sound in line with your methods?

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          • #6
            I can only confirm this as I have several students involved in sports, who told me that Qigong and the skills associated with it (Qigong State of mind) have boosted their performance. The sports vary from fitness training to marathon or triathlon competitions, regular running, mountain climbing or tennis. All of them were practicing these sports before and simply noted a significant boost in their performance (some up to 30% improvement) after a relatively short period of Qigong.

            Best regards
            Andrea
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            • #7
              Hi Branderplank,

              By relaxed I mean that I am moving my arms and legs and the muscles are relaxed. I can do this because the motion is beginning from the waist. Therefore, no need to tense any muscles. Energy is moving through the muscles rather than the limbs being the source of the energy. I have heard some athletic trainers describe it as using "core muscles", but this does not truly describe the energetic source of the power which is at the Dan Tian energy field. The time that I am most comfortable for increasing the pace is after about 60 minutes of non-stop swimming. I have not tried this for other athletic activities yet. If at any point I feel overburdened I can take the intensity down a notch.

              So, perhaps you can try low intensity for an hour and then try to increase, or increase the amount of time in weeks that you are doing low intensity. This will all work much better if you use skills learned in one of our Chi Kung or Kung Fu classes.....
              少林華南台灣 Shaolin Wahnam Taiwan

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              "Then how could chi kung overcome diseases where the cause is unknown or when there is no cure? The question is actually incorrect. The expressions "the cause is unknown" and "there is no cure" are applicable only in the Western medical paradigm. The expressions no longer hold true in the chi kung paradigm. In the chi kung paradigm the cause is known, and there is a cure."

              -Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

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              • #8
                Thank you for sharing...very pertinent and timely as i see that there is a lot of interest lately it seems, in a shift in physical training...to be safer, happier and in the long run healthier,

                than the methods that have been tearing up peoples bodies for so long...I look forward to hearing, what you wish share, of the journey your thesis work takes you on..[Mark]

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                • #9
                  Definition of the term " Relaxation"

                  Hey Folks,
                  I would like to add something that may be useful for future. It is around the use of terminology, what it mean directly and what it means to the individual.

                  I will use the term relaxation it can mean many things to some people the unconscious meaning is dropping on the couch doing nothing and staring at the TV, to some people it is going out and doing physical exercise.... This how they relax.


                  When discussing topics of physical performance it can sometime's be useful to check in and see what people mean as sometimes you can be discussing different idea's yet using the same words.

                  I would like to share something with you that I have found useful in defining the term relaxation in physical performance and this is the term optimal tension.

                  So to some people if we say the muscles are relaxed this means that their is no tension in the muscles at all, which is not a true statement in essence. This is more like limp noodle arms

                  This is because the anatomy and muscles do need to have some engagement to do the act, we do this whenever we stand up as we need some engagement to stand up against gravity.


                  The term optimal tension dynamic is always in context with the activity that we doing.

                  Just sharing some thought

                  Peace

                  Mark
                  Sifu Mark Appleford

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Mark Blohm View Post
                    Some weeks ago I found this documentary:
                    Thank you for this. As an athlete, there's so much wisdom and insight there. And you are right, it aligns perfectly with the training philosophy that Sifu passed on to us.
                    George / Юра
                    Shaolin Wahnam England

                    gate gate pāragate pārasaṁgate bodhi svāhā

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                    • #11
                      Interesting and useful conversation.

                      At the London, Surrey and Sussex classes we have been using the phrase "the absence of unnecessary tension". People seem to be "getting it" - relaxing without collapsing - which is the outcome we are looking for .

                      I have been cycling for about 1.5 years now and all of the Chi Kung skills are really paying off - not surprising . It started off well and has got better.

                      Do you have a definition of "relaxed" in terms of heart rate?
                      In my experience, smiling from the heart and being relaxed about what my physical heart does has worked fine for me. If it wants to beat at 140 fine, if it wants to beat at 120 fine .

                      With metta,

                      Barry
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                      • #12
                        The Art of 1000 Steps

                        After a lot of time swimming, I decided to focus more on freestyle(front crawl). That led me to Total Immersion Swimming. See here:



                        The legs initiate the waist movement, which drives the forward hand while the other hand simultaneously moves back under the body. The movement is coordinated, relaxed and efficient. I have not mastered this yet, but already I can use the basic skill to swim freestyle in a relaxed way; this is possible because power is generated from the waist turn and not the arms. If you look at videos of Olympic swimmers, they all use their waist to power their movement. The turning of the waist is a limitless movement.

                        So, what about running? Things get interesting. The most clear demonstration of power from waist is the 4-time British Olympic gold-medalist Mo Farah. All the top runners power their running from the waist, and I've found that his movement is the most pronounced: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9-gOCOu_KGU&t=2047s

                        Notice the high leg kick backwards of all the runners. The mechanics of the leg movement have been described well by runner and author Danny Dreyer. This video explains well the slight forward leaning posture and movement of the legs:

                        .

                        From what I've read and watched so far, the basis of this approach is to have your body cooperate with the force of gravity and the oncoming ground. The core of the body("core muscles") does most of the work. The legs become almost like wheels as they roll forward and carry the runner forward. I believe top athletic runners would also describe and train according to this concept. Still, I think there is more to it. I will explain below.

                        The human being is an energy transformer. In our Chi Kung and Kung Fu practice we have direct experience of this. In a step-down process, unlimited energy from the Cosmos is converted into what Chinese Medical theory calls Shen, Chi and Jing. Shen controls Chi which controls Jing. By using fluid mechanics and relaxation, I believe that some of the top runners are able to carry on a perpetual energy motion. Do they realize this? I don't know. But it allows them to run very fast and very far.

                        To approach the issue from the mind(shen) and (chi)energy side creates an opportunity to take things to another level. The key skill is using mind to direct energy to direct form. This is not just philosophy. Through my initial experiments I have found, amazingly, that you can run without using your legs to run. This sounds absurd but is true. The important thing for the legs is to keep them relaxed and in coordination with the waist. The waist rotates counterclockwise(left), which powers the right leg and vice versa. We know this basic movement well from the bow arrow stance: the waist rotates and the back leg becomes straight. When you do this in repetition, the legs don't have to do any work; however, they do need some time to adjust to the new pattern. Breathing also needs time to adjust to this new situation. Notice the bounce I get in the following two demonstrations. I'm bouncing, yet the movement is effortless. All I'm doing is turning my waist, which is effortless:



                        Through Abdominal, Small Universe and Dantian Breathing, our Dantian is continuously supplied with energy. It is a reservoir of power. The power is delivered to the feet as well as the arms by a continuous flow of Chi around the body, which is in fact the Big Universal flow of energy through the 12 primary meridians. The movement is perpetual and effortless, though the physical body needs time to adjust through practice.

                        One main issue? Over-training. After all, it is the Phenomenal Big Universe. Everything must be done to limit over-training, primarily through limiting practice time and lowering the level of practice. This, so far, is my biggest obstacle. I am working on it. Otherwise, this is amazing.
                        少林華南台灣 Shaolin Wahnam Taiwan

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                        "Then how could chi kung overcome diseases where the cause is unknown or when there is no cure? The question is actually incorrect. The expressions "the cause is unknown" and "there is no cure" are applicable only in the Western medical paradigm. The expressions no longer hold true in the chi kung paradigm. In the chi kung paradigm the cause is known, and there is a cure."

                        -Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

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                        • #13
                          Congratulations Master Runner ...
                          the so called 'bouncing" is actually qing kong, ie in this case , a slight levitation as the chi rises to the chest
                          Damian Kissey
                          Shaolin Wahnam Sabah , Malaysia .
                          www.shaolinwahnamsabah.com

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                          • #14
                            Dear Mark,

                            It seems like you are having a lot of fun!

                            With Shaolin Salute,
                            Lee Wei Joo
                            http://shaolinwahnammalaysia.com/

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                            • #15
                              Nice Thread

                              Hey Mark,
                              It is great to read your progress. I used to swim a lot as I was a lifeguard in my early years, and I taught swimming as well. As with our Kung Fu training I found it useful to isolate parts of the techniques to get them efficient and then put it back into the whole mix of the stroke.

                              For me swimming became very medatitive and similiar to the Chi Kung state of mind when I had my technique down. I was able to really let all my thoughts go, let the body operate independently and fully immerse my self in the moment of swimming .

                              I am sure you are going through that, but if you would want any more information and drills that could help then I would be happy to point you in the right direction

                              Peace

                              Mark
                              Sifu Mark Appleford

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