Improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone

Re: Improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone

Postby ChiDragon » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:11 am

DPasek wrote:I would agree that TJQ would refine how one uses their strength.

It seems that you do not acknowledge that modern lifestyles tend to produce TJQ practitioners who are physically weaker than their ancestors. To me this indicates a potential deficiency in yang (being too weak, too yin). I think that just practicing solo forms will probably not be sufficient for rebalancing this deficiency. Therefore I think that weight training, while not ideal, could be used in moderation to help correct a deficiency in strength.

Do you not agree that modern practitioners tend to be weaker than previous generations?
Do you think that solo forms alone would correct reduced strength from easier modern lifestyles?
How would you propose increasing deficient strength in modern practitioners?
Do you think that the reduced strength of modern practitioners is still sufficient for TJQ practical usage?


The former paragraph seems to be a little misleading with respect to the time period. Tai Ji Chuan is for all ordinary people at all times. The physical body strength depends on the amount of time and dedication to the practice by the practitioner. The ancients had dedicated their practice as a full time job. They get up early in the morning, like 4 to 5 o'clock, to practice before going to the do their daily chores and practice more afterward in the evening.

Some might think that doing the daily chores like farming was aiding the Tai Ji practice. In reality, it is the other way around. Farming is considered to be external and consumes all the yang energy. While practice Tai Ji, in the evening, and get a good night rest will rejuvenate the body to regenerate the energy which consumed in the day time.

In the case of weight lifting, while not ideal, does not help to correct a deficiency in strength. It is because the body was consuming the body energy while lifting external weights. While Tai Ji is exercising the muscles softly without external means, therefore, very little energy was consumed. As result, most of the internal energy was utilized to perform the internal functions by the body. While the body is functioning more efficient, it will generate more energy than the body needs. The increase in strength was from the extra energy. Hence, one can lift more weights than normal.

Do you not agree that modern practitioners tend to be weaker than previous generations?
No, I do not agree that modern practitioners tend to be weaker than previous generations. As I had mentioned earlier, it is totally up to the amount time and dedication to the practice by the practitioner.

Do you think that solo forms alone would correct reduced strength from easier modern lifestyles?
Yes, solo forms alone would and will correct reduced strength from easier modern lifestyles. If, and only if, the practitioner has set the amount of time and dedication to the practice(assuming proper breathing was included.) FYI In the past forty years, I have been practicing only the solo yang style and corrected the reduced strength and breathing problem.

How would you propose increasing deficient strength in modern practitioners?
I would propose increasing deficient strength in modern practitioner is to dedicate oneself to practice Tai Chi, diligently, few times daily. As a matter of fact, that was what I had been doing all these years of my dedication to Tai Ji Quan. It also helps from teaching as a volunteer. It was more encouraging that some students saw my performance of the Tai Ji Sword. They had, enthusiastically, asked me to conduct an hour class after the Tai Ji Quan class.

Do you think that the reduced strength of modern practitioners is still sufficient for TJQ practical usage?
I don't know why this question was even addressed! The reason one practice Tai Ji is to increase the reduced strength. Why is it not sufficient for TJQ practical usage?
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Re: Improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone

Postby DPasek » Thu Aug 10, 2017 1:00 pm

Well, you have a lot of faith! Unfortunately, much of what you state is based primarily on dogma and wishful thinking.

Most modern practitioners are hobbyists rather than full-time practitioners. I still think that weight training, in moderation, can help cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone for many TJQ practitioners.

I have witnessed strong and muscular non-laborers fatigue quickly when doing the labor that wiry but not muscular farm laborers can do nearly tirelessly over long periods. I also witness unfit people fatigue quickly. The nearly tireless labor (as exemplified by wiry farm workers) is what I think that TJQ practitioners should be aiming for, whether or not they use weight training. You may consider this quality to be due to qi built through TJQ practice, but I think that it is also about using muscles efficiently, in a way that is not practiced by untrained people.

Perhaps there is a middle ground here somewhere.
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Re: Improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone

Postby ChiDragon » Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:15 pm

DPasek wrote:Well, you have a lot of faith! Unfortunately, much of what you state is based primarily on dogma and wishful thinking.

Perhaps there is a middle ground here somewhere.


Perhaps your knowledge about TJQ is in the middle ground and do not wish to go beyond to the dogma level!
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Re: Improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone

Postby DPasek » Thu Aug 10, 2017 5:25 pm

ChiDragon wrote:Some might think that doing the daily chores like farming was aiding the Tai Ji practice. In reality, it is the other way around. Farming is considered to be external and consumes all the yang energy.

CD,

If, as you stated, daily chores like farming harm ones TJQ practice, but that practicing TJQ before and after their chores was able to counteract the negative affects of that labor, then why cannot this also apply to weight training? That is, if instead of sun-up to sun-down physical chores like farm labor, a modern TJQ practitioner has an eight hour a day non-strenuous desk job but does some weight training before or after the day’s relative inactivity, why couldn’t TJQ practice before and after also counteract any negative effects of a little bit of weight training? Why would there be a need to discourage modest weight training if TJQ practice can counter a full day of physical labor?

If your premise that “In reality, it is the other way around.” is accepted, then much of the health advice modern people receive would likely be considered wrong. So instead, when possible, skip taking the potentially tiring stairs and instead use the elevator or escalator! Instead of walking or bicycling, use your car! If you practice TJQ seriously enough, you will be healthier than if you also do those other regular (“external”) physical activities!

Sorry, but I do not think that one can offer the above sort of advice without much more supporting information. Faith healing may help some people (as can the Placebo effect), but it is not something that I would promote in TJQ.

According to Chinese legend, Bodhidharma began the physical training of Shaolin monks because of their lack of physical strength. He saw the imbalance, and corrected it. Other stories state things like his legs atrophying after nine years of wall-gazing (meditation – internal work). I do not think that martial artists desire this physical deterioration. I think that if a TJQ practitioner neglects their physical conditioning in order to emphasize internal work, they may find themselves in a similar weakened situation.

Just to be clear, I would discourage weight training for bulking up or bodybuilding. TJQ does not pursue the approach of being muscularly stronger or faster, in the conventional senses, than opponents. Alignment and unity allows for power, and softness allows for speed – among many other factors like awareness, timing.....
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Re: Improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone

Postby ChiDragon » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:41 pm

ChiDragon wrote: In the case of weight lifting, while not ideal, does not help to correct a deficiency in strength. It is because the body was consuming the body energy while lifting external weights. While Tai Ji is exercising the muscles softly without external means, therefore, very little energy was consumed. As result, most of the internal energy was utilized to perform the internal functions by the body. While the body is functioning more efficient, it will generate more energy than the body needs. The increase in strength was from the extra energy. Hence, one can lift more weights than normal.


DPasek:
Did you not pay much attention to the above quote. There is a difference between external and internal arts. External arts is to use external objects to tone up the muscles to increase body strength. While internal arts does not use any external objects to increase strength. However, the internal arts could have developed the strength of the external arts without lifting weights. The internal arts is more like having a good biological effect within the body which the external arts does not. The external has more effect on the muscle development but a negative biological effect on the human body. For example, internal arts such as Tai Chi increase libido while external arts takes it away partially or completely.
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Re: Improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone

Postby ChiDragon » Thu Aug 10, 2017 8:50 pm

DPasek wrote:If your premise that “In reality, it is the other way around.” is accepted, then much of the health advice modern people receive would likely be considered wrong. So instead, when possible, skip taking the potentially tiring stairs and instead use the elevator or escalator! Instead of walking or bicycling, use your car! If you practice TJQ seriously enough, you will be healthier than if you also do those other regular (“external”) physical activities!


Yes, that is true and what I am getting at. "TJQ seriously enough" means breathing must be included in the practice.
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Re: Improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone

Postby DPasek » Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:22 pm

CD,

Well, it is clear what you believe, but I do not take your speculation as the truth – I think that you misinterpret things based on an unproven dogma and wishful thinking. You present things as fact when, in fact, they are just theories.

For those who do not remember previous threads where CD and I disagree, my views follow those expresses by Zhang Yun in the following article. There does not seem to be anything there that would prohibit moderate weight training, and nothing supernatural about jin used in TJQ.

http://www.ycgf.org/Articles/TJ_Jin/TJ_Jin1.html

But there is probably already enough information from both of us for readers to know our positions, and to judge for themselves.
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Re: Improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone

Postby ChiDragon » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:25 pm

fchai wrote:Hi CD,
Sorry CD but I totally disagree with that view.....

Folks can disagree, but that is my tuppence worth. My advice to anyone is to keep an open mind and with knowledge comes greater understanding.
Take care,
Frank


Thank you for your advice. Tai Ji practice is a physical training as well as mind training. Open mind is mandatory to study the theories in all aspects. In other words, one should not set a mental block for oneself to move forward for advancement. Looking things superficially and neglecting their subtleties will not go too far. Indeed, setting a mental block will be stagnant for a practitioner from reaching the realm of the practice.
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Re: Improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone

Postby ChiDragon » Fri Aug 11, 2017 5:40 pm

fchai wrote:.....So, in my humble opinion, one needs to be undertaking other training to even get close to the physicality of the past masters, whose physical lifestyles gave them that additional conditioning. So, I do additional training for building muscle strength, building core strength, building cardio-vascular capacity, speed work, etc. Has it affected my form? You bet! My rooting is stronger, fajin more explosive, form more precise and controlled, breathing is deep and slow, transitions are smoother and balanced, etc. The list goes on.


Hi, Frank
You had done a combination of things which make you to think that is helping to the things you'd claimed as highlighted. In my opinion, with the Tai Ji alone will do all that without any extra effort. Of course, this is my own study from books and empirical experience.
Last edited by ChiDragon on Wed Aug 16, 2017 4:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone

Postby DPasek » Fri Aug 11, 2017 8:30 pm

Empirical? Unlikely!

I doubt that your experience was verifiable and thus empirical, but go ahead and explain how this was done. The CDC has only recognized studies on Taijiquan for fall prevention as being empirical enough to receive their recommendation. It is difficult to design objective experiments with suitable and rigorous controls, but perhaps you have managed to do so?
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Re: Improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone

Postby ChiDragon » Sun Sep 17, 2017 9:37 pm

Empirical experience doesn't determine how good one is. It only let one knows if one had improved or better than the last advanced period; or one had gained any new experience or physical change by one's intuition from the past practices. Hence, one may learn from the new habit of practice and continue to improve one's physical being and health.
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Re: Improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone

Postby DPasek » Mon Sep 18, 2017 1:31 pm

"Intuition" cannot be called "empirical"; it needs to be objectively testable.
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Re: Improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone

Postby ChiDragon » Mon Sep 18, 2017 5:28 pm

To convince oneself that the next level has been reached, each individual has to do the test on one's own. Thus it cannot be done collectively.
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Re: Improving cardiovascular fitness and muscle tone

Postby fchai » Wed Sep 20, 2017 5:48 am

Greetings,
Self-testing in martial arts is patently an absurd proposition. Intuition in martial arts is also a ludicrous concept. As to your belief that just doing and practising Taiji alone will provide you with superior strength and energy is quite misguided. What you think, is not what is. You may practice as much as you like but without actual physical conditioning, it is all just candy floss without true substance. Fighting shadows is one thing, fighting a battle hardened opponent is something that is very different. Every successful athlete and martial artist work very hard at their physical and mental conditioning. A top tennis player doesn't just play tennis, they also do a lot of strength, speed and stamina training. This applies to any successful martial artist. If you doubt this, just ask a successful athlete or martial artist. Don't just rely on your books, theories or beliefs, empirical or otherwise.
Take care.
Frank
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