28th May 2010
Shaolin Adventurers - Part 1
The training programme.
ID Fight Unit members Ronin Traynor, Sylvie England and Stuart Boother have touched down in China!
They are currently residing at the Shaolin Martial Arts Academy, situated at the base of the Kunyu Mountains where the Shaolin Masters are putting them through their paces. Our tropic trio start training at 5.30am each day until 7pm in the evening, with the odd rice and green tea break in between.
With two months intensive training, they have been given their own programme studying a variety of different styles. These include Shaolin Fist, Shaolin Staff, Tai Chi, Qigong, Baji Fist, and Bagua.
Shaolin Fist and Staff is responsible for much of the cool and flash stuff you see in many movies but has very real application and requires lots of strength and flexibility just to survive the warm up!
The aforementioned Baji Fist comes from Kaimen Baji Quan, which means ‘the mysterious changes between Yin and Yang, which ultimately ends with eternity’. The ID Fight Unit members are still discovering the mystery but in the meantime, it still has some powerful punching.
The movements of Bagua Palm (Zhang) are very soft and agile, making it easy to turn around or move forward like a snake, to hit the opponent’s lower part. With quick movements, a Bagua practitioner can cope with several enemies simultaneously...! Currently, this involves our ID Fight Unit members walking menacingly around a tree for half an hour at a time. You can see the style (post tree-training) in Jet Li’s <i>The One</i>.
The main principle of Taiji Fist (Tai Chi) is that with soft strength, you restrain the opponent’s strong power, and with skill of the fist, you shrewdly take your adversary’s strength and use it against them. Taiji Fist is therefore very effective in actual combat. It is suitable for young and old and is very popular in China, so you never know if the old lady selling you pineapple-on-a-stick on the street corner can kick your arse or not.
Qigong (Chi-gung) is founded on a whole life outlook and includes three adjustments: to adjust your mind in peace, to adjust your body into the best condition, to adjust your breath in balance. For our ID Fight Unit members, this means maintaining low painful stances for up to half an hour at a time, whilst focusing their breathing and energy points and trying not to think of Starbucks. It’s a bit like the scene in The Empire Strikes Back when Luke Skywalker tries to lift his X-wing with his mind.
Our guys are studying both internal Qigong, mostly used for healing, and external Qigong, which is famously used for breaking bricks. The most impressive display so far has been a Master blowing out the candles on his birthday cake using explosive Qigong energy with a single hand gesture. Even Yoda would be impressed but more importantly it meant our guys got to eat cake!