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Showing posts from 2013

The Science Of Stretching

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At the Shaolin Temple we never stretch first, we always start with a gentle warm up and when the muscles feel warm and loose we stretch. We do two types of stretching: static and dynamic. The Shaolin dynamic stretching we do is the five basic kicks, and the five stances which open the hips and warm up the leg muscles. We believe that it's only by doing these stretches that we can get truly flexible. We've stretched this way and warmed up our muscles like this for thousands of years, and if you train with my DVDs then you'll be doing it this way. In fact, I didn't know there was another way until I came to the UK. 
Yesterday, a student showed me a book about the science of exercise, which has a chapter on stretching. Latest research shows that the way Shaolin Disciples warm up and stretch is the way to get maximum performance from our workout. There's a belief in the West that stretching before a warm up is good but research has shown that it has no benefit and doesn…

The Goalless Goal

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Shaolin Training doesn't underestimate a person's strength of body and mind. The masters knew how much we could achieve and they wouldn't let us get away with anything less. The first goal young disciples have when they come to the Shaolin Temple is "Never Give Up." This means the thought of quitting is not a seed in our mind therefore it can never grow into a tree.

While holding this goal, we follow the philosophy of Zen, which is to train just to train. We're told the importance of aimlessness and letting go.
"The harder you try to grab something, the further away it goes," my master told me.

So how does aimlessness and the goal of Never Give Up sit comfortably together? Maybe the word goal should be changed to intention. "It's my intention to never give up." And once that statement is made then it's like sitting on a plane and knowing the destination is Beijing. We don't need to think anymore about where we're heading. Our…

Circuit Of Change

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Some people call circuit training a shortcut to fitness. It burns up to 30% more fat than a typical workout, while rapidly elevating fitness levels. If you're a runner and you mix in circuit training, you'll find an improvement in your long distance times. 
Many people ask me if I do weight training. I don't. My Shaolin Circuit Training DVDs are the main workout I do on a daily basis. These DVDs are designed for fit busy people who want results fast. Combining push ups with punches while keeping the heart rate elevated means the muscle are being constantly challenged. If you're pushed for time then you'll achieve more from circuit training than any other type of exercise
Shaolin Circuit Training combines cardio and strength training into 9 tough interval circuits.The level of intensity depends on how hard you push yourself but you should be working at an uncomfortable level of exertion the entire time. How many punches can you do in round one? How many kicks can yo…

Shifu Yan Lei talks about his daily workout, diet, and meditation

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What's your daily workout like?
My training day usually starts with either a 10 or 12k jog or interval running, sprinting 800 meters then resting for 800 meters and doing this 4 times or varying my runs like I show in my youtube video. I then do some circuit training, the same as on my DVD though I mix the punches and kicks together. I think it's important to sweat when you're training, only this is true training. In the afternoon I do bag work, and pad work if there's someone at the temple to hold pads. I finish off with Iron Shirt Qigong and combine Iron Shirt conditioning with Instant Health Massage using a metal brush.
Can the average person hack Shaolin training?
Shaolin is for everybody. Of course the average person doesn't have 4 hours a day to train but a lot can be accomplished in one hour five days a week. This is enough to be healthy and fit. If you're not close to a school and train from my DVDs then you need to make a program. The best DVDs for fitne…

How To Let Go And Why It Makes You Feel Good

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The aim of the physical training we do at the Shaolin Temple is to lead us to Zen.In our hectic lives, our minds become hectic and the best way to cut the circle of thought is through Shaolin Kung Fu and Qigong.
Before you start to play my DVD or follow my book, take a couple of  breaths and tell yourself to let go. Let go of your name, and who you think you are, and what's occupying your mind. Letting go is itself belief.
Your body is wise. When it was a baby, it knew how much milk it needed to drink and how much sleep it needed in order to grow. When you train, don't do anything, let the training train you.
My latest DVDs are an at home workout which is as close to having me as a personal trainer as possible. I didn't shoot them in a beautiful location in China because I wanted to demonstrate that wherever you are, whatever situation you are in, that is the perfect place to practice.
Whenever I feel worried or under pressure I go and workout. This doesn't mean I'm n…

How To Master The Shaolin Forms And Why You Should

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Shaolin Forms. What's the point of them?Haven't they had their day? Aren't there more efficient ways to exercise the body? Not if you want to awaken every cell in their body.
Awaken The Body
Shaolin Forms teach the many muscle groups in our body to work together. They are the only exercise I've come across where every muscle is engaged and you're simultaneously building flexibility, strength, endurance, balance, and power. These ancient forms come from nature, they awaken the body,helping us to let go of our small self and experience a connection with the very fabric of the Universe. They then teach us how to move in our modern life, whether that's carrying our groceries home or climbing the stairs to the subway. Everything becomes part of our training: total mind-body wellness
Circuit training in the gym consists of squats with weights, press ups, and lunges.There's nothing wrong with this kind of training but it looks monotonous and doesn't have the grac…

Two Minute Health Tricks From The Shaolin Temple Of Zen

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Training in Shaolin Martial Arts is a lifestyle that involves eating well, working out at least an hour five times a week as well as practicing Qigong. But if you're finding that you're busier than usual and can't fit in your regular training, one of these quick practices can still keep you on the Shaolin path.

Green Tea
Green tea is the best food source of a group called catechins. In test tubes, catechins are more powerful than vitamins C and E in halting oxidative damage to cells and appear to have other disease-fighting properties. Want to find out more about the health properties of drinking green tea? click here 
Qigong Workout Press Ups
Just doing ten Qigong press ups from my Qigong Workout every day will increase your upper body strength, and increase the flexibility of your back. A strong back is the foundation of a fit and healthy body. These press ups work the triceps hard so when you do regular press ups you'll find them easier.

Instant Health Massage
Don'…

What's In A Shaolin Monk's Refrigerator?

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Food is Medicine
Shaolin Monks alongside the majority of Chinese people see food as medicine and eat in accordance with traditional Chinese Medicine. Foods have Yin and Yang qualities and we alter what we eat in accordance with how our health is that day. For example, if we have a cold then we'll make chicken soup with dried red plums,Goji berries and ginger, an excellent tonic soup.
Inside the Shaolin Temple we eat vegetarian food but outside the temple, the fighting monks are allowed to eat meat. In this article I'm not going to go into the pros and cons of being a vegetarian but I'm going to give you an insight into our daily diet.
Shaolin Monk's focus on eating foods in their natural state. We don't eat energy bars or cereal, we don't drink coca cola,protein shakes,alcohol, or water with ice. We eat a diet which is rich in fruit, vegetables, and good quality protein. For carbohydrate we eat white rice, steamed buns or noodles. We drink water at room temperat…

How To Avoid Hitting A Martial Arts Plateau

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Martial Artists are no different from other athletes and if you're not careful you can easily hit a plateau. Plateaus must be avoided because it means your martial arts skill and fitness levels aren't improving. Here's The Shaolin Temple's Five Steps to avoid hitting a plateau.

1) Change Your Martial Arts Routine

Our bodies are efficient machines which adapt to whatever we throw at it including our workout. When you first start to train you'll make gains in your training but after a few months these gains will level off because your body has learnt to adapt. To avoid hitting a plateau you need to change your martial arts workout every couple of weeks.Combiningmy Workout, Bootcamp and newly released Circuit Training DVDs will give your body the constant change  it needs so it never reaches a plateau.

2)Do High Intensity Circuit Training

If you're fit and you can run 5k without any problem then you're ready to do circuit training. Though not suitable for everyone…

My journey with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS)

My journey with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a long way. When I was a teenager, about 14 or 15, I was diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). This is not something that made me change my habits and my lifestyle at the time. Finally, I was still a teenager. I was more interested in boys than in the days of my health care.

Of course, my bad days, when I just felt sluggish, my body ached, and I was very moody. I just wrote it to the "girl" and as much sleep as I could. I still did everything as usual ... in high school, talked with friends, and talk on the phone constantly (which drove my parents crazy).

But, I realized that I was older (and had more children), I was always tired, I'm always in pain, and my "bad day" is far from the number of my "good day." However, I did not do anything, except to catch off guard with my child if I could go, so let their children go to bed early when I wake up, and as late…

Never Give Up - The 3 Stages Of Zen

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It's not necessary to be a Buddhist to practice Shaolin. But it is necessary to understand why you practice. Martial Arts is not a sport but an art, and like all art, it changes your internal makeup. If it's not working the mind as hard as the body then your training need to be adjusted.

Martial Arts is not for the feint hearted because it's not an easy skill to master. I started studying when I was thirteen years old and I'm still a beginner. But one thing I understand is that our training goes through three vital stages. They are similar to traffic lights: red, amber, green. But the green is when we are stationery and can sit peacefully with ourselves because we know ourself.

The Three Stages Of Zen Training In Martial Arts

1st Stage: Jian Chi - Never Give Up



You need willpower, belief and knowledge of your goal so you don't give up. Having a goal means we know which direction our training is going and we have something to work towards. This helps us to Never Give up…