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Physical Ed. and health from a USA perspective

PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:02 pm
by mls_72
Does anyone remember the exercises they used to do growing up in school? elementary-high school level.

a stardard set would be-

jumping jacks
wing stretches (pectoralis) and shoulder stretches,
circling arms above head, sides and front,
sit ups
push ups,
sitting stretches
standing stretches- touching toes
running type stretches and squats.

now-a-days I see that people have lost this basic type of exercises as they grow older.
I introduced some very basic stretches in Tai chi class Saturday and people cant touch their toes. I want to introduce basic strength/physical education before learning tai chi.

remember Presidential physical fitness testing-

you had:
jump rope
long jump
jumping with chalk (height)
pull ups
sit ups
kilometer course
agility drill with blocks-aka shuttle run
challenge course
rope climb
peg climb

I think people should still be able to do these thing into their adulthood. if you cant, you su@k.

Tai chi is for health but alot of americans cant do these basic things. You should be considered healthy if you can do a basic physical set like the first mentioned above. if you can do that then your ready to try something like tai chi.

In china alot of old people i have seen in the parks are flexible and could do most of those things effortlessly.

PostPosted: Thu Mar 23, 2006 6:39 pm
by Louis Swaim
Hi Matt,

I agree about the general need for physical conditioning exercises. One thing I would add is that many physical trainers caution against doing the traditional sit-ups most of us did in elementary and high school, as they tend to place undue strain on the lower vertebrae, and they actually do a poor job of targeting the abdominals. It’s better to do abdominal crunches, as explained here:

I do these regularly, but I do the variant version of crossing my arms across my chest rather than placing my hands behind my head. Again, this helps assure that you’re targeting the right muscles, and avoids straining the neck.

Take care,

PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 8:01 pm
by mls_72
Something interesting I read today from a Strength training book-

“Most people confuse fitness with health. This is a misconception. A person may be healthy but they may not be fit. Health relates to being disease free whereas fitness is a larger quality that empowers you with enough energy to carry out an activity for a sustained period of time.”


“ fitness requires dedication. It is not something attained overnight. Fitness has to be worked at on a regular basis and should become an intrinsic part of your lifestyle. There is no magic machine- you have to rise above such haze and claims and apply immense self discipline to attain fitness.”

PostPosted: Tue Mar 28, 2006 9:41 pm
by chris
Fitness is not only different than health, "fitness" in a context-free sense does not exist.

A marathon runner is not fit to box. A defensive lineman is not fit to perform Swan Lake.

Do you really think people that can't perform a peg climb aren't qualified to learn or benefit from tai chi? I didn't see too many oldsters doing peg climbs in Tiantan Park! Image

PostPosted: Wed Mar 29, 2006 12:51 am
by fol
I vividly remember the President's Fitness test. In particular, I was confused why President Kennedy wanted to humiliate me. I figured it was because he was so healthy and glowing. One year, a PE teacher insisted that I couldn't hang from a rope for no seconds--I had to hang longer. Other than that, I did my fellow students the service of being last, worst, least, zero. I started taijiquan at the local rec center because it struck me as the least like exercise; indeed, maybe anti-exercise. The practice has transformed me--maybe I wouldn't be last, worst, least in everything anymore. But I'd hate to say that all those other things would be prereqs to this most valuable thing.--fol

PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 5:53 pm
by mls_72
chris said- "Fitness is not only different than health, "fitness" in a context-free sense does not exist.

A marathon runner is not fit to box. A defensive lineman is not fit to perform Swan Lake.

Do you really think people that can't perform a peg climb aren't qualified to learn or benefit from tai chi? I didn't see too many oldsters doing peg climbs in Tiantan Park! "

Excellent point Chris- however i wasnt asking taiji people to do President Physical fitness exam. just a few warm-ups that can progress them to touch their toes.

Wasnt it in the traditional old school days of taiji training that some would not teach taiji unless the student could touch their chin to toe?

PostPosted: Fri Mar 31, 2006 8:29 pm
by Pamela
Hi All,

My grandfather swears by this...

Every morning when he wakes he does jumping jacks, touches his toes, reaches for the sky...etc...a few simple calisthenics, ritually.

He is still very limber at eighty something.

TaiChi, seems to me, in this context, is simply a slew of more profound, carefully chosen movements that if practiced daily will keep us from seizing up and being a bent up old crone before our time...

The newspaper headlines in twenty years from now will probably still be the same... Image

"Exercise and eating well, rest and learning how to handle stress might assist in longevity and quality of life...research is still being made..."


[This message has been edited by Pamela (edited 03-31-2006).]

PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2006 7:55 pm
by mls_72
My grandfather was also pretty active. I guess in earlier times (1920's- 30's)) boxing was part of high school and college- having teams and what not in USA. He continued boxing and hiking into his old age while living in the San Bernadino Mountains in California. He used to shadowbox in the morning.

My grandma is now 96 years old- still active in card playing, reading, chores, gardening, doesnt walk with a cane....never has done any qigong or taiji in her life.

survival of the fittest i guess.

PostPosted: Fri Apr 28, 2006 10:13 pm
by mls_72
sample of physical strength sets I work with:

Set 1

Upper body

1. pushups- 15

2. dips- 15

3. hindu push ups- 15

4. Clap Push ups- 10

Power Abs, Hip, Back-

1. Back Bridge- 20 sec.

2. Crunches- 40

3. Leg raises- 30

4. Belly-ups-20

Lower Body-

1. squats- 50
2. lunges- 50
3. hamstring curls- 25 each
4. boxstep- 20

Set 2

Upper Body

1. Wide grip push ups-15

2. fist push ups- 15

3. finger tip push ups- 15

4. Handstand push ups-10

Power Abs, back, hips

1.scissors- 25

2. bicycles-25

3. sit ups- 20

4. v-ups- 20

Lower body

1. sidestrides/weight shifting drop stances- 30
2. wall sits- 60 sec.
3. jump switch lunges-20
4. Mt. Climbers- 50

Set 3

Upper Body

1. One arm push ups-10 each arm

2. alternate left and rt. Arm push ups-20

Power Abs, back, hips

1.side obliques-20

2. opposite knee elbow crunches-30

3. side bends-40

4. supermans- 20

Lower body

1. jump squats- 20
2. jump horse stance- 20
3. bent knee dead lift- 10 each leg
4. one leg squats- 10 each leg

PostPosted: Sat Apr 29, 2006 1:53 am
by chris
Man, that sounds like a drag!

Do you suppose your students have never heard of these exercises, or just have no interest in doing them?

It seems impossible to perform Snake Creeps Down without the ability to touch your toe. If this was my class, I would not be adding material, I would be subtracting it, e.g. holding that posture 1-2 minutes every time.

PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 4:36 pm
by mls_72
i dont have students nor interest to teach. this is my sets my coach has me doing. its not a tai chi coach either.

PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 6:51 pm
by Wu Chang-Chi
Are you training for anything specific: general exercise/fitness, fighting, competition, etc...?

I also supplement my tai chi workouts with additional exercises and you reminded of a few that I might want to add.

I find that tai chi works my legs very well, and I don't do anything additional for lower body. But, for upper body, I lift and do push-up sets inbetween lift days.

I always forget about abs, so, your list of exercises reminded me of a few I can try out.



[This message has been edited by Wu Chang-Chi (edited 05-01-2006).]

PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2006 9:52 pm
by mls_72
Wu Chang-Chi,

Yes I am training for a tournament. Yang Taijiquan when performed a few times really makes your legs and body very strong. i can feel just as tired doing that for 2 hours with some push hands just as if I worked out doing physical strength exercises.


PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2006 12:29 pm
by fol
I like it when I feel sort of the opposite of tired after practice. But then, I'm an old lady, so I get to feel tired all the time without having to do anything in particular to achieve it.