Internal Power and Cardio Health


Students regularly ask me if they have to stop doing cardio or strength training in order to gain 'Internal Power'.

This is an excellent question that touches on every aspect of our training. I'll be succinct.

Authentic Chinese Internal Martial Arts are battlefield arts. If you become winded on the battlefield, you're dead. This goes against the #1 basic princple of training for health and long life. :)

The question is then how to 'Maintain Tai Chi Principles and increase our physical capacities?'

Here's how I do it:

  1. Limits: The most important limit to respect with each cardio or strength training session is to stay below the anaerobic threshold. Only touch the envelope, never break. Over time your limit will raise. Lactic acidosis and other effects of anaerobic training are not helpful for heath maintenance.
  2. Feel: If you choose to run - or swim or do any other physical activity - try to maintain the specific mind-body feel developed in your practice. Running for heath, it has been found, is better in short bursts up to medium distances. Running long distances can have profound long term negative health effects. Keep in mind the ZXD concept, 'There is only one movement'. Logically, if there is only one movement, how can any movement be 'wrong'? more on feel
  3. Partner Training: Find a partner who is willing to spin heavy and maybe play a little bit with push and pull to off balance. Carefully mind the anerobic threshold. Stay as near the limit without moving beyond for as long as possible. You will eventually be able to spin heavy for hours. This is one indication of Internal Power based on relaxation.
  4. Solo Practice: ZXD Throwing hands with vigorous stepping. You can add all the throwing hands exercises to this stepping practice. Do formwork fast and with fajin. Enjoy!
torso inside