Friday, October 29, 2010

Kenichi's Seikuuken Training

Kenichi's Seikuuken training is extremely brutal and, truthfully, difficult to replicate. At the very least, we can offer up an imitation of the training and try to capture the essence of what the Seikuuken is. Essentially, the Seikuuken (at least the first stage of it) is an imaginary circle around your body the represents the range of your movement. Ideally, you shouldn't allow anything to enter the realm of your Seikuuken (at the first stage). It is meeting an attacker at the gate, so to speak.

The training below is designed with this concept in mind. There are a few options for the levels of the training, but the concepts remain the same. The Seikuuken is said to require a calm, mirror-like, mind. Keep that in your thoughts as you train. You'll need to empty and calm your mind in order to use this skill as it is expressed in the anime.

Kenichi's Seikuuken Training

Level One: Grabbing the Fish  
   >If you have access to a stream where you can stand and attempt to grab or slap fish out of the water, by all means, do so. Remember that the concept here is not to go for where the fist is, but where it will be. However, if you do not (like most) have access to a stream as previously mentioned, there are other methods available to you.
   >The alternate method of "Grabbing the Fish" is done with a tennis ball. A partner will stand at the furthest point of your reach, where you can still grasp the ball, and then drop the ball. You will then attempt to snatch the ball out of the air. It is, I think, not a direct correlation nor as effective as actually catching a fish with your bare hands, but it will have to do. You could also try to catch a fly or another bug that has landed. This has more of a parallel to catching a fish, because you are making the first move. When you have regular success with this training, you can move to the second level.

Level Two: Blocking the Fist
   >The second level is a partner will circle around you and toss out random attacks. You'll have to block the attacks as they come and your partner can increase in speed as you get better at it. The strikes should be tossed out at the extent of the striking partner's reach and should be intercepted as early on in the movement as possible. For instance, if a punch comes, it should be blocked or deflected before it is extended out or just as it begins to move, but not before.

Level Three: Bees' Hell
    >This training is one of the things that is not really capable of being imitated. In the manga, it shows Kenichi undertaking this part of the training by balancing on one leg on three rocks stacked on one another, while bees attacked him. The Elder told him he should brush off the bees before they stung him. Although I do not recommend doing this at all, I think it is worthwhile to note that it is not the dangerous thing for a bee to fly next to you or even land on you-- it is the act of the been stinging you that is dangerous.
    >I think the key here is that you need not worry about attacks that you either perceive to be coming and are not or feints that the enemy may throw at you. You only need worry about the committed attack that is actually coming toward you. This is, obviously, easier said than done. I have a couple of training methods hear the can be useful. The first will require two partners tossing (once again) tennis balls at or around you. Your goal is to only react to the ones that are going to hit you and either catch or deflect them. To make it more difficult, you can stand on one foot, so balance is a factor. If you need to increase the difficulty, you can stand on one foot while on a half-balance ball.
    >The second training method is similar, but will be a partner tossing out attacks at you, while your goal is to only respond to the ones that are going to hit you. It is recommended that you wear gear for this, so you are not unnecessarily injured in training. Your partner should also be including feints during this training. You can include the balance training here as well. After reasonable success with this training, you can move to the next level.

Level Four: Dodging or Redirecting Large Force
   >The previous levels have mainly been things that aren't really going to hurt you if they connect (either because it's a tennis ball or because you are wearing gear); however, now it's going to get just slightly more dangerous. I still recommend that you wear gear, but this is going to be more of a sparring scenario. Your opponent can strike at you, attempt to grab you, or use a practice weapon (padded preferably) while you attempt to dodge or parry anything that is sent at you. The goal, again, is to intercept it on the outside edges of your "Seikuuken" (that invisible circle I was talking about). So, if it's a punch, kick, or an attempted double leg takedown-- you need to parry, dodge, or redirect it. In general, the parrying or the redirecting will come before the dodge. You really only dodge if you miss the parrying or redirecting.  Don't focus so much on technique when doing this training, but focus on the concept of the Seikuuken and really clear your mind. I think you'll be suprised at what happens when you just allow your body to move as is necessary.

Notes:
  • You can spend as much time as you like training: 10, 20, 30 minutes... 2 hours. I left this one intentionally open.

That's all for the Seikuuken Stage 1 training. The rest of the training will come in time, but just focus on this for now. Until next time, good luck and train hard!

On a side note, we added another FB fan. Good work, guys! Keep inviting your friends and spreading the word!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Sponsors

I'm going to post the first demonstration video for Real Anime Training on Monday, hopefully. After that, we'll try to have one at least once a week amidst our workouts and other things on the blog.

I know the videos are long overdue, but it's better late than never.

On a side note, if you feel so inclined, you can donate to Real Anime Training to help offset my training expenses or, if you know someone who would like to Sponsor us, we'd love to have them.

No workout tonight, but I'll definitely have one up for tomorrow.

Thanks, guys! Until next time, good luck and train hard!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Who Would Win #6: Sakaki Shio vs. Orochi Doppo

In these things, I tend to like to match people up based on their commonalities. This time, we've matched up two Karate masters from two different anime. Sakaki Shio is the "100 Dan Brawler" from History's Strongest Disciple Kenichi (I still refuse to call it Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple) and Orochi Doppo, the tiger-slaying "God of Karate" from Grappler Baki. Let's begin!

Truthfully, this would be a brutal fight, because both of these men know the deepest secrets of Karate and would, thus, anticipate each other's moves with amazing accuracy. The fight would likely be long and arduous and neither man would walk away unharmed. Their experiences are different, with Sakaki being involved in both underground fighting and government missions and Orochi Doppo's life almost fully committed to the day-to-day practice of Karate... and having badass fights in his own brand of underground matches.

I think speed and power go to Sakaki, but experience and sheer toughness go to Orochi. The other thing is that Doppo is not at all afraid to kill his opponent, if necessary, while Sakaki belongs to the "Katsujinken" or "Life Giving Fist." In the end, the fight would most likely end with a single full-power blow from both men, with Sakaki barely snatching victory away from the Tiger Killer.

That's two HSDK vs. Grappler Baki matches we've had. Don't know if there will be more of those, but I've got a couple more ideas for Random Who Would Win bouts.

In a side note, this is the 100th post we've done this year! To match that, if you haven't joined us on Facebook yet, we're still looking to get to 100 fans. We're only 39 shy of that and I've got some cool stuff planned for the blog when we get there!

I'm going to try to get a workout up sometime during the latter part of Wednesday and maybe another one on Thursday. If you have a request for Thursday, leave it in the comments!

Thanks, guys! Until next time, good luck and train hard!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Retsu Kaioh's Training- Part 4

In this edition of Retsu Kaioh's Training, we're going to look at some very interesting Shaolin training methods. The three methods are partially defensive and partially offensive and are, for the most part, a hard-type training method. The first of these is--

#8: Exercise- "Iron Head"- Yeah, this is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. You begin by wrapping your head in several layers of cloth or maybe a towel. Preferably it should be something that you can remove in layers. You will, at this point, hit your head against a wall. That, is, the top of your head. You shouldn't try to go really hard, just focus on getting used to the force and you only need to do it a few times a day, initially.

After a year of training in this fashion, you may remove a few layers (see why the layers are important?) and continue your training. After 100 more days of training, remove more layers and then, you gradually remove layers as is comfortable. After the end of the second year, the layers should be completely removed.

At this point, you will continue the training with a bare head. It will be painful, so proceed with caution, says the author. However, the head will eventually become harder than stone and can be used as a weapon and, obviously, if someone tries to hit you over the head, the damage will be greatly reduced. The author explains that this skill should only be used in defense and never as a first strike.

#9: Exercise "Iron Shirt"- This skill takes a little longer to develop, but you begin in a similar fashion. Wrap your torso in several layers of fabric and massage your chest, stomach, and back (I guess get someone to do this) with force. The author advises you to unbend your elbows from time to time as you do this. He also advises that you sleep on a hard bed in order for your body to get used to hard surfaces. Lastly, you will dig out a little pit and put a bar above it, so you can hold yourself up. Fill the bottom of the pit with about 1/4 inch of fine sand and, holding the bar, drop a body part (back, shoulder, butt, chest, etc) onto the sand with force. You will also have the fabric on your body in this training. Each body part should be hit twice during a training session. This first stage will take three years to attain.

The second stage involves the removal of the fabric from your body as you continue your training and add to your training regimen, striking your upper body with a wooden hammer (I would say with a larger striking surface... not like a framing hammer or something... more like a mallet) and finally an metal one. This training should also take you three years... I would make sure I was comfortable with the wooden mallet before I moved to its metal counterpart.

When the skill is acquired, your body will be able to fend off strikes from human bodies and lighter blunt weapons, the author says, but you should avoid heavier weapons all the same.

#10: A Series of Blows- This is sort of like "Iron Shirt," except you'll start with a flat piece of wood-- a wooden "brick," if you will-- and hit your body with it, lightly at first. You will train this skill once in the morning and once in the evening, picking a portion of your body every time to which you will deliver at least 100 blows (example: both arms, both legs, your chest and stomach, or your sides).

After a year of training, you can move to a normal clay brick and continue training in this fashion. After six months of training, you can move to a metal "brick" and finally after another six months of training, the first stage of mastery for this skill is reached. Obviously, you must continue on with this training in order to develop higher levels of mastery, but at two years of training, this is one of the arts that has the shortest time constraints on it.


Hope you enjoyed these three Arts! There's more on the way in the coming weeks. Until next time, good luck and train hard!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Ippo's Comeback Workout

This workout is for the training Ippo did for his comeback fight with Ponchai. Ippo was just coming off a three month rest period, so he had to build his stamina and rhythm back for the fight. Not to mention, Coach Kamogawa also spent some time in the hospital, so it threw another wrench in the training. The purpose of the skill training during the time, was to build a simultaneous offense and defense. The workout will be slightly different because Ippo is just coming off a rest period.

The result: The Dempsey Roll.

So, here's the workout!

Ippo's Comeback Workout

Morning
  • 3 Mile Run
4-6 Hours Later
  • 20 Push-ups
  • 20 Sit-ups
  • 20 Squats
4 Rounds, then
  • 3 Minutes Jump Rope
  • 2 Minutes Dodging Tennis Balls
  • 1 Minute Rope Drill
3 Rounds, then
  • Run 2 Miles
  • 5 Sets of 100 Yard Wheelbarrow Push or Other Push
Then,
  • 3 x 3 Minute Rounds Mitt Hitting
  • 3 x 3 Minute Rounds Bagwork
  • 3 x 3 Minute Rounds Shadowboxing
  • 3 x 3 Minute Rounds Sparring
Notes:
  • For Dodging Tennis Balls, you'll have a partner bounce tennis balls at your upper body as you bob and weave to dodge them. It's best to do it, where there is a wall that is about four or five feet behind you so you can be mindful of the balls bouncing off the wall, as well.
  • For the Rope Drill, you'll want to have a rope tied at about shoulder height, preferably at a length of about 15-20 feet, so you have enough room to move. First, you'll just move forward, while ducking underneath the rope and slipping to the other side. Then, you'll need to work on throwing a punch with that movement, like a hook or uppercut.
  • This workout is intentionally a little easier than some of the recent Ippo workouts, but don't worry, they'll pick up the pace again soon enough.
That's all for today, hope you enjoyed it! Until next time, good luck and train hard!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Donations

If you haven't already seen it, I added a donation button on the right side of the blog. Feel free to donate however much you like, because every little bit helps! With the growth we've had in the past few months, it seems an appropriate time to branch out, so I'm working on some more things for you guys.

Thanks so much for reading!!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Ideas

I just want to remind you guys that if you have any ideas or suggestions or just things you'd like to see, let me know in the comments or shoot me an email at realanimetraining@gmail.com.

Good luck and train hard!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Retsu Kaioh's Training- Part 3

As a continuation of Retsu Kaioh's Training, here are some more of the 72 Arts of Shaolin.

#6: The Four-Part Exercise- This exercise is a little more extensive than most of the other arts, if only because there are, as the name suggests, four parts to it. the first part is

>Supporting the Sky, Raising the Earth, Adjustment of "Three Heaters"
  -Stand up straight, stick out your chest, draw in your buttocks, and look straight ahead intently. Your arms are at your sides, fingers straight and your feets and knees are together. You will raise your arms up at the your sides, but do not bend your elbows. As the arms reach above your head, form your arms into a circle  and interlock your fingers and turn your palms upward, pushing up to the sky with all of your might. Tilt your head back and look at the back of your hands, while clenching your jaw tightly. Next you will bend at the waist and attempt to put your palms on the ground, without bending your knees at all. You may not be able to do so at first, but this is the ultimate goal. Then, you slowly come back to the original position, pushing up with all of your might. This exercise is to be done slowly.

>Five Damages, Seven Harms, Looking Back
  -Stand up straight and turn your head slowly to the right, attempting to look at the heel of your left foot. When you turn your head, your chest sticks out, the torso stays still, and your shoulders should not tilt. Then, return to the starting position and turn your head to the left, trying to look at your right heel. Finally, return to the initial position. This should also be done slowly.

>Opening the Window to Admire the Moon, Drive Away Fire from the Heart
  -Adopt a horse stance, (you may take whichever form you like), but your chest must be forward a little. Your hands are clenched into fists and pressed to the waist, palms up. Look forward and then push with your left leg and straighten it, as your left arm comes up, elbow pointing away from your body and palm facing out. Then take a step out to the right, toes pointing in that direction now with the knee still bent, and forcefully push your right palm out, your body also turning to the right. Keep your eyes on your right hand. Then, you will make the same movement to the left, the left palm out, stepping with the left, turning to the left, your right leg straightened. Return to the starting position.

>Catching Emptiness, Striking at Emptiness, the Strength will not Give Out
  -Adopt a horse stance again, the fists clenched at the waist again. Throw out a strong punch with your right fist at shoulder level, palm down. The left remains at the waist. The right hands opens and immediately clenches inot a fist again as if catching something, before snapping back to your waist. At the same time the right returns to your waist, the left strikes out now, opening and clenching just as the right did just a moment ago. Alternate this process until your legs are too tired to stay in this position.

For this Art, you can do each of the portions for a time limit in progression or in a cycle for a time period. For instance, you can do them each for 5 minutes or cycle through them as many times as you can in 20 minutes. In general, these are done slowly and are meant to build strength, range of motion, and body awareness. This Art's abilities will manifest naturally in your other skills. You must exhale deeply when bending down and for the first, it is best if you can raise up on your toes a little when pressing your palms into the air. Your breath should not be held, but kept in steady rhythm with your body's movements. This is a further foundation for the rest of your training.

#7: Exercise "One Finger of Chan Meditation"- I, personally, find this skill questionable. Up to the mastery of the first level, it seems practical enough, but after that, I'm not sure if I fully support what the author says. However, if you wish to train this art, by all means, practice with the full intent of success and maybe you can acheive something most think is impossible. The method of practice is from the story of a "well-known master of the Shouther Shaolin school" who apparently studied Martial Arts for 40 years and was never beaten.

This training begins with hanging a weight, assumably at about chest or shoulder height. I would say this weight should be considerable, maybe 40-50lbs or so. The master put the weight in a place he often would pass by and, as he did so, he would poke the weight with his finger. Initially, the weight remained motionless, but after a while it began to move and then it moved easier and easier. Here is where my belief begins to get shaky.

After a while, he would poke at the weight a little distance away (I'm guessing just a few inches at first) and the weight would move without him touching it. He then further increased the distance. After this, the master apparently placed a few lamps in the court and lit them in the evening. He would stand about 25 feet away from the lamps and delivered a blow at the flame with his finger. The flame apparently swayed at first, but after some time of practice, would go out immediately at the strike of the master.

The next stage after this was to cover the lamp with a paper shade and deliver blows at it until a single finger blow delivered in the direction of the flame tore the paper and extinguished the flame. The final stage has the paper shades replaced with glass and finger strikes are delivered in the direction of the flame so that the flame goes out without the glass breaking. With regular practice, (I'm supposing every day practice) the author says that this stage can be reached in 10 years and that if a strike is directed at a man, no wound will be seen but his internal organs will be seriously injured.

Like I said, hard to believe, but train it if you want to train it. I'm just relaying the information.

That's all for today. Retsu Kaioh's Training is going to take a while to complete because there are so many Arts, however it should be a fun ride. Until next time, good luck and train hard!

Ippo's Recovery Time

This workout corresponds to the recovery time after Ippo's title fight. He wasnt' allowed to come back to the gym for 3 months. While I think this is a little extreme, because I think you'd lose a lot of strength/speed/stamina, the concept of rest is very important to the athlete or anyone who does hard training. This is a light workout to throw in amidst the hellish training that we sometimes put ourselves through.

Ippo's Recovery Time

1. Run 1 Mile at a light pace
2. 20 Push-ups
3. 20 Sit-ups
4. 20 Squats
5. 3 Minutes Shadowboxing
6. Extra Stretching

Notes:
  • For extra stretching, you can do as you like, but I would say just do another round of the Real Anime Training Stretching Routine and maybe massage your muscles with your hands to work out the tension and lactic acid.
This is super simple, but it's supposed to be. This will give you an opportunity to have a very easy day every now and again, but still to keep your body moving.

That's number one for today-- up next is more of Retsu Kaioh's Training. Hope you enjoy! Good luck and train hard!

Later on today...

Gonna try to put two things up later today-- one Retsu Kaioh's Training and one Hajime no Ippo workout... you know, to make up for my recent slowness. :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Yu Yu Hakusho- Genkai's Training for Yusuke

There's not a whole lot of training that we can apply from Yu Yu Hakusho, because there's a lot of energy based things. However, there are some things we can take from it, both directly and for inspiration. This workout is based on the times that Genkai trained Yusuke. We don't see much, but what we do see is pretty interesting.  So, here it is!

Genkai's Training for Yusuke

1. Practice Handstands for 30 Minutes
2. Practice Rock Climbing for 30 Minutes
3. Taking Punches- 3 x 1 Minute Rounds
4. Pushing against an opponent- 3 x 1 Minute Rounds

Notes:
  • This is simple, but easily varied and increased in difficulty.
  • For handstands, just try to stay in a handstand as long as possible. Eventually, practice one handed handstand and fingertip handstands. The absolute limit of this training is being able to do a one-finger handstand. I'm fairly certain this is an ability that would require years and years of training, if you ever acheived it at all. So, for the sake of your sanity, try to focus on the task at hand and just practice the living hell of your handstands.
  • For rock climbing, it's best if you have gear and a rockwall made for training. If you're new and unless you are under the direct supervision of a rock climbing instructor, I wouldn't recommend actually going and training your rock climbing out in the wilderness, because you may die. Seriously-- death is forever. Anyway, if you have access to a rock climbing gym, then go for it! You need to work on speed and mobility on the wall. After you feel very comfortable, you can even race an opponent up the wall. To increase the difficulty, you can also wear ankle weights or a weighted vest.
  • For taking punches, you'll mainly be taking them to your midsection, preferably all the way around. Start with light blows and work our way up to harder ones.
  • For pushing against an opponent, you can put your hands, shoulders, chests, or backs together and try to push one another as hard as you can. The point here is maximum exertion, although you'll probably be pretty wasted from the rest of the workout at this point.
  • The exercises are mostly open so you can train on the principles and the movements, just so you're not always set in a certain way of doing things, because the world is never static and is always bringing you new challenges. Increase the difficulty as you get better at each thing.
  • Try to have fun!
That's all for today. I'm not sure if I can get anything else out of Yu Yu Hakusho, but I'm currently taking a second look at a few series I'd previously written off, so expect to see some newer things coming in the next few weeks, amidst our regulars.

Until next time, good luck and train hard!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Retsu Kaioh's Training- Part 2

Here are the first five of the 72 Arts of Shaolin for Retsu Kaioh's Training. There are a lot more, so be prepared to see Retsu's name for a while (I'll spare you from every post). Remember, the author cautions, these Arts are not to be used to harm, but to defend yourself and others. And I wholeheartedly agree.

1. Diamond Finger: Up first, we have the Diamond Finger. This Art is designed to turn the fore fingers of your hands into lethal weapons. The training is simple, but not easy. You'll need to continually poke your finger into hard objects, such as a tree trunks or a wall. Various other objects can, and should, be used. If you have a spare moment, poke something.

You'll have to start with light blows at first and build your way up to hitting harder. This training will take a long time and results will come slowly. Remember not to go too quickly or you may injure your fingertip and be unable to train for a short while, which can slow you even more. These Arts are not something acquired over night, so remember to be diligent in your training. Your fingers will be sore and you may find excuses not to train, but train every day even if it's just lightly tapping objects.

It takes approximately three years, according to the author, to say that you have acquired this skill. That is not to say you have Mastered it, but you have successfully acquired it. When the Art has become your own, the author conveys that you have leave imprints in wood and cause serious harm to a human being.


2. Twin Lock: Twin lock is also a simple exercise, but painful and not easy to continue for long periods of time, both because it is painful and partially embarassing to practice in front of others. To begin, you simply strike your forearms together. You do this bone on bone, bone on muscle, and muscle on muscle. It will hurt and the process will be slow. However, after a year or so of purposeful training, you should here a hollow knock and feel very little to no pain and it is possible to move on to the next stage.

The second stage includes the striking together of the wrists, fists, palms, two fingers held tightly together, and your straightened forefinger. A similar hollow knocking sound and diminished pain should bring to conclusion the second stage-- after approximate two years of total training.

The final stage includes striking at the feet and shins and upper legs with your forearms in the same fashion as the other stages of training. After at least another year of training, you'll have acquired this skill.


3. Striking with Foot: This Art requires that you take an stroll in the morning and evening. That's it... no, I'm kidding. You do take a morning and evening stroll, but on those walks, you go barefoot and kick at small stones or other small objects with your big toe. Gradually, you will work your way up to larger and larger stones and when you can toss a sizeable stone a fair distance, you'll have achieved the first stage. This, of course, is rather vague, so when you can toss a stone around the size of (or maybe a little bigger than) your fist, then you can move on to the next stage.

The second stage of this art requires you to take aiming blows at stones. So, instead of just kicking a larger stone with your toe, you will attempt to kick it at something. If you can regulary aim a large stone with a kick, then you will see that your kicking skill has greatly increased and you will have gained the ability to move even a large opponent with a kick.



4. Pulling Out Nails: This next skill builds your finger, hand, forearm, and shoulder strength. You will take 108 nails that are about 4" long (I suppose a 16d nail should work) and drive them part-ways into a thick board. You will then practice pulling all 108 nails out of the board with your thumb and forefinger. First focus on pulling out the 108 for as long as it takes you, even if it's 6 months. Then, drive another 108 and see how long that takes you. When you can pull them out (on both sides) in a single sitting, you have mastered the first stage.

The second stage requires driving the nails, sprinkling them with water, and then allowing them to rust. So, you may want to have a second set of the nails already rusting, while you're training your first stage. When you can remove all 108 rusty nails on with your left and right (108 each side) in a single sitting, you've gained this ability. The final stage of the training, and the one that leads to Mastery, is when you can pull 1,000 rusty nails on each side. I'm sure you could further complicate this training with thicker nails, but one thing at a time.


5. Ringing Round a Tree: This training requires you to hug trees. I'm not kidding this time. You'll go outside and find a tree that you can reach your arms around and clasp them together. Then you'll attempt to lift and pull with all of your might until you are absolutely exhausted. Do this several times throughout the day. After a year, you should be able to shake the tree.

After two years of training, you'll find your body muscles becoming hard as stone and the tree will move more and more. After three years of constant training, the author says that you should be able to uproot the tree. This makes me believe that you are supposed to use the same tree for three years and it should be one you can easily grasp your hands together or grab your own wrists. However, I'm slightly skeptical of this, however other people have practiced trying to throw or lift trees and have become very strong as a result, so even if you never uproot the tree, you'll build an amazing level of strength.


That's all for today. Just 67 more arts to go! Hope you enjoyed this one. Until next time, good luck and train hard!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Retsu Kaioh's Training- Part 1

The training for the Master of Chinese Kung Fu in Grappler Baki is not necessarily a workout, so much as it is a way of life. You can do a lot of these things throughout the day or you can have a time set aside to do them. Truthfully, Retsu Kaioh's Training is going to be split up into several posts, because there is so much here. My main resources for this training were some documentaries on the Shaolin Temple (previously used on Ma Kensei's Training) and a book called Training Methods of 72 Arts of Shaolin, written by Jin Jing Zhong.

The author states that "[i]t is impossible to perfect oneself in all 72 Arts" and that is probably because there are just so many of them it would take more years than a person has to live. So, we are either stuck with trying to develop a low to moderate skill in 72 different skills or a Mastery in just a handful over the course of a lifetime. The great thing about this is that you have your base set of skill and then, essentially, these 72 Arts are specialized skill sets or abilities. It's reminds me a lot of distributing skill points in video games, if that makes it easier to understand. You have a maximum of skill points you can spend, so choose wisely, because redistributing them at a later time is not really an option. So, in general, pick Arts that you like or find attractive for whatever reason, and then practice them relentlessly.

We're going to start with the basics. These exercises are to be done no matter which Arts you select and are to be practiced on a regular basis and are never abandoned. So this will be the subject of this first post on the 72 Arts of Shaolin-- the basics.

Retsu Kaioh's Training- The Basics
(Note: To be done before any and all 72 Arts training sessions.)

1. Suspending the Golden Coin -This art requires either a coin with a hole in it (or you could use a larger washer) to be suspended from a string.
             >The First Stage- Stand close to the coin and push it away from you gently. As it comes close to your eye, try not to blink. When the coin can come very close to your eye without blinking, you can move to the next stage. However, you must practice the first stage even if you attain the second stage.
             >The Second Stage- Stand with the coin behind your back and listen for the sound of its movement. Really focus on the sound. You don't have to react, merely focus. After a time, the author says, the skill with spontaneously reveal itself. It's half meditation, half ear training.

2. Hanging Pearl of Buddha- This art requires a pearl (or a small sphere) to be placed on a string in front of you and behind you while in a seated position. You could use a heavy bead on a string, for example. Have both of them swinging from side to side, one behind you and one in front. Try not to blink and also listen to the sound of the one behind you. Randomly reach out an attempt to grasp a "pearl" with two fingers. When you can successfully do this for both "pearls" you will have acheived a high level of skill with this exercise.

3. 1,000 Layers of Paper- This art requires 1,000 sheets of paper to be attached to a wooden block at waist height. Hand and elbow techniques are to be employed. However, I believe that a good substitute for the 1,000 shees of paper is a heavy bag. You make your own decision, though.

Attempt to deliver as many different kinds of strikes as you can think of-- slaps, punches, elbows, forearms, chops-- from as many angles as you can think-- from the side, front, behind you-- whatever. The author says if you train this skill (I'm assuming almost every day) for six months, the first stage will be complete. The second after a year and the third after two years. "Punches will be rapid like rain drops during wind blasts," the author says.

4. Circle RUYI- This exercise is for gripping. It involves two metal rings of varying weights. Initially, the metal rings should weight approximately 3-5 lbs a piece and held in each hand by the fingers. You will make circles with the ring in your fingers. Essentially, you hold the ring and shift your fingers like you're rubbing them together in order for the circle to turn.

You'll work your way to only being able to do it with your thumb and forefinger and you've completed the first stage. You shouldn't neglect your other fingers if you can do it with just the thumb and forefingers, practice with all five every time and take one finger away every so often. After you complete the first stage, you increase the weight of the circles to 8 or 9 lbs and start over. The third stage is 15-17 lbs and is the final stage. You'll stay here after you've reached this level.

Doing both hands at once also build coordination. The "rings" do not have to be circular and don't have to have a hole in the center. You could use a flat piece of metal or something like it as long as it weighs about what you need it to weigh.

5. Striking at Cotton-Wool Ball- Take a cotton ball or a piece of wool and hang it from a string.  Punch, kick, finger strike, kick, elbow, or palm strike at the cotton ball. The point is to develop pinpoint striking. You can strike continuously at the cotton, but be careful about overextending your joints. Eventually, you can do two cotton balls and do simultaneous attacks to each.

6. Striking at Wooden Dummy- You need a thick log in the ground, like a telephone pole or something and you need to attach cross arms to it to make it look more like a person. Wrap the arms and the body with wool and leather. Employ as many different kinds of strikes, pushes, or grab attacks as you can think. You can strike with your shoulder, hip, fist, or whatever body part you like.An alternative is if you have access to a real wooden dummy.

7. Kicking at Wooden Pole- Pretty much the same as the wooden dummy, but no cross arms. Also, this comes in stages.
             >Stage One- Deliver kicks from a stationary position and try not to shift your weight too much.
             >Stage Two- Deliver kicks from simple stepping motions or turns. Includes Stage One.
             >Stage Three- Deliver kicks from jumping or spinning. Includes Stages One and Two.

The author says that when you can break a thick pole by kicking, it shows the emergence of gong fu. Whether or not you can break the pole by kicking is not certain, but it's a goal!

8. Kicking at Flying Meteor- Hang three or four goose-egg size stones from a beam. Kick the stones to make them swing in different directions. You can hang them directly in front of you or one at each side, front, and back. You can have them at varying heights or all at one height and raise them as you get better at kicking. Employ many different kicks and when you can kick all of them without any of them swinging back and hitting you, you have acheived a high level of kicking skill.



Notes:
  • Ok, I know this seems like a lot, but it's only eight exercises. If you devoted 5-10 minutes to each before you trained you're 2-4 Arts selections, your total training time for a day would be approximately 2 hours. That is a long time to be training, but you can work up to that level or only work on perfecting a single Art if you lack time.
  • If you have to choose between practicing an Art and doing the basics, please do the basics.
  • Take your time and practice-- you'll see results soon enough.
That's all for today. I hope you enjoyed the foray into more gong fu training. It's always a pleasure because the training is so different. In any case, until next time, good luck and train hard!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Frequency of Real Anime Training Workouts (A Prelude)

I was going to post a workout for you guys tonight, but instead I'm going to take a step back and look at all the workouts we have. In general, there are a lot of workouts that we've had in Real Anime Training and, of those, many are either very high in intensity or volume... sometimes both.

Unfortunately, training at such a high level for a long period of time can lead to overtraining. Not just your body can be affected, in terms of sickness or injury, but your mind as well. It's when your mind is affected, you find that you've taken two months off training and you don't know why. You get burnt out. Training is just "one more thing" you have to do in the laundry list of things you have to do. Especially with workouts that may be a little longer or are day workouts.

Apart from the Level-oriented workouts, there's nothing that says you can't take a longer workout and turn it into three training sessions over three days. Now, I'm not telling you to take a workout and turn it into ten training sessions for ten days, because at that point you're breaking it up too much. However, taking a very high volume workout and breaking up over a two or three day period is fine, especially if you are just starting that workout.

You have to remember that Real Anime Training is about having fun with your training and adapting it to yourself. It's about finding inspiration from the characters and stories. I am going to put up a workout next, but in the next few days, I'm going to attempt to share some more thoughts on training frequency and schedules.

That's all for today. Until next time, good luck and train hard!