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These 7 Things Will Happen When You Start Practicing Kung Fu

These 7 Things Will Happen When You Start Practicing Kung Fu

There are a lot of myths about Kung Fu out there – for starters, it’s a very broad term that covers a wide range of Chinese martial arts that can be incredibly different from one another – and you generally find people who think that practicing it can give you near superhuman powers, and on the opposite end of the spectrum those who believe it to be impractical and a waste of time.

However, the problem is with overly commercialized schools that are oriented more towards business than martial arts, where people are taught sloppy technique and promoted to high ranks with virtually no practical sparring and technique application skills.

Generally speaking the smaller the class, the better off you will be – ideally, you’d find a master who has a day job and offers classes as a way to supplement his or her income, as this type of master believes in what he or she teaches and expects a high level of competence. Whatever path you choose to follow though, as long as you study under a good master when you start practicing Kung Fu, you’ll see a number of positive changes.

1. You’ll feel more energetic and focused

It’s a well-known fact that engaging in about an hour of moderate intensity physical activities on a daily basis can improve concentration, and improving your cardiovascular health will allow you to stay fresh and energized. Kung Fu, much like any martial art requires a great deal of endurance, isometric strength and explosive power, and by developing all of these things you eventually turn your body into a much more energy-efficient machine that just keeps chugging along no matter what challenge you throw at it.

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Hours of doing the same moves over and over again until you attain perfection will develop a lot of patience and incredible focus, which carry over to any other physical and intellectual task.

2. You’ll shed several pounds of fat

The best thing about having a training session every day, or almost every day, is that it takes a lot more calories for your body to maintain its current weight, let alone add more of it. This means that you can eat a decent amount of food and still lose weight. However, I’d always work up an appetite after all that exercise, so I had be more careful than usual about what I put on my plate.

Luckily, there plenty of diet-friendly options to choose from, even on your lunch break at work – you can make pasta a healthy alternative as long as you go with mushrooms and chicken and salads are your friend, as long as you stay away from high-calorie dressings. If you go a little overboard, just add another 20 minutes of form practice to your next workout.

3. You’ll become more balanced and fluid in your movements

You don’t really think about your training being good for much more than overall health and developing some fighting skills, until you find yourself in a situation where you’d normally slip and fall, break a glass or pump into a street sign, only this time you manage to Kung Fu your way out of the problem. My first big eureka moment happened while I was riding a bus.

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It slowed down suddenly and all the people were thrown a step or two forward, whereas I had just grounded myself, tensed up my legs and managed to stay balanced. I also started catching falling objects in midair, slipping through crowded streets with ease and stopped bumping my feet and elbows into random objects. Kung Fu gives you cat-like agility if you train consistently day in and day out.

4. You’ll be as healthy as an ox

Not only do you start to improve your posture and energy levels as your Kung Fu training builds up some muscle and endurance, but you’ll also feel healthier in general. The combined hard training like punching and the meditative serenity you get form practicing forms really help balance out your body’s chemistry and keep it strong.

Your body even starts craving healthy food when you deplete it through regular training, and there’s nothing like a huge glass of green juice to give you the micronutrient boost that you need. I found juices to be the easiest way to get all the vitamins and minerals I need, and I’d go back and forth between green juices, veggie smoothies and good old-fashioned homemade milkshakes with bananas and berries. After a few months of Kung Fu training you’ll notice a significant improvement in your blood work.

5. You’ll have more confidence

It’s not just about being more courageous and outspoken because you aren’t afraid of a beat down – although pure physical force won’t be a very good argument against you once you’ve learned the basics of delivering and receiving force – it’s about being confident in your ability to do a variety of different things.

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With a year or two of Kung Fu training under your belt you’ll be able to keep your balance on ice roads, you’ll become a much more fluid dancer, you will be able to carry and move around some weight (be it a person or an object), you’ll look good, you’ll have excellent confident posture and you’ll be brimming with positive energy.

All of this things will make you more comfortable with all kinds of situations, and as your confidence grows so will your comfort zone. People will pick up on this and you’ll come across as a much more interesting, fun and sexier person.

6. You’ll be able to protect yourself

Let’s just hit the breaks for a second here and cover a few important points before we move on:

  • Fighting and self-defense are totally different mindsets, and are both very precisely defined legal terms, which are not open to interpretation. Learn the difference if you want to stay out of trouble;
  • If you don’t do a lot of free sparring you’ll suck at very important things like keeping your eyes open as you strike, proper breathing, gauging distance, timing etc;
  • Even if you are good at sparring you can still freeze up or make blunders if you aren’t used to controlling the effects an adrenaline dump has on the body, and this has to be a part of your training;
  • Common sense, awareness, avoidance, de-escalation, giving people face-saving exits and flying past an attacker and beating your previous 200 meter dash record are all important self-defense tactics with more favorable outcomes than physical combat.

OK, so you’ll be able to stay out of trouble most of the time by looking confident, trying to avoid risk areas, positioning yourself tactically and being assertive, but there will be times when a quick explosive barrage of attacks is the best way to keep yourself and those around you out of harm’s way.

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Kung Fu styles allow for a good use of force ladder – i.e. you can arm lock a drunken “friend of a friend” who’s being a little too aggressive at a party and wait for him to tire himself out or push a persistent bully looking for a fight into a wall and run to safety, but you can also use more potent strikes or throws to dissuade a more determined attacker or even maim a criminal hell-bent on killing or seriously injuring you.

7. You’ll keep your cool in heated situations

A good master will be able to teach you self-control and explain to you that your training only gives you a better chance at staying alive and well, but combat is still a huge gamble and random chance can destroy all your well-laid out self-defense strategies.

Being ready to resort to violence as a last resort, and having the skill to effectively use violence against tough and aggressive opponents, will allow you to keep your cool when negotiating or settling an argument. When you’ve got nothing to prove you won’t make stupid mistakes like staring straight at a tough-looking guy to “keep an eye on him” or “show him you are not afraid”, or rushing into a fight that could have been avoided.

It’s worth researching the different Kung Fu styles to find something that suits your personality, physical build and the way you prefer to move your body, as the benefits of regular training are truly immense. This is why they say that Kung Fu is a lifestyle rather than a mere skill, and there is quite a lot to learn, so you can keep at it for decades and still have more areas to focus on and master.

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Nemanja Manojlovic

Editor at MyCity Web

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

The Ultimate Guide to Help You Sleep Through the Night Tonight

It’s well past midnight and you’ve got to get up in less than six hours. You toss and turn all night. Before you know it, another hour passes by and you start panicking.

If I don’t get to sleep in the next 30 minutes, I’m going to be exhausted tomorrow!”

One thing is for sure, you’re not alone. Over 70M+ Americans have stated that they don’t get the proper sleep they need at night.[1] So what could possibly be causing this insomnia epidemic?

Throughout my entrepreneurial journey of building my language learning company, I have experimented and researched dozens of best sleep practices. Some have flopped but a few have dramatically improved the quality of my life and work.

In this article, I’ll look into the reason why you’re sleep deprived and how to sleep through the night tonight.

Why you can’t sleep through the night

The first step to improving anything is getting to the bottom of the root problem. Different studies have shown the reasons why most people cannot sleep well at night.[2] Here are the main ones that the average person faces:

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Stress

If you’ve ever stayed up at night worrying about something, know that it’s a major sleep inhibitor. When you’re feeling stress, your mind and body becomes more activated, making it incredibly difficult to fall asleep. Even when you do manage to sleep, it won’t be deep enough to help you feel rested the next day.

Exposure to blue light before sleep time

We’re exposed to harmful blue light on a daily basis through the use of our digital screens. If you’ve never heard of blue light, it’s part of the visible light spectrum that suppresses melatonin, our sleep hormones. Other harmful effects include digital eye strains and macular cellular damage.

While daytime exposure to blue light is not very harmful, night time exposure tricks our brain into thinking it’s daytime. By keeping your brain alert and suppressing melatonin, your mind is unable to shut down and relax before bedtime.

Eating close to bedtime

Eating too late can actually be an issue for many people, especially those who are older than 40. The reason is, eating before laying down increases the chances of Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), in which stomach acid backflows into the esophagus.

Another reason not to eat too late is sleep quality. Even if you manage to sleep right after eating, it’s likely that you’ll wake up tired. Instead of letting your body rest during sleep, it has to digest the food that was entered before bedtime.

Rule of thumb: eat 3-4 hours before bedtime.

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Medical conditions

In some cases, it could be medical conditions that cause your sleep problems. If you can’t relate yourself to the above reasons or any of these common sleep problem causes, you should visit the doctor.

The vicious sleep cycle

The biggest danger to repeating the bad habits mentioned above is the negative cycle that it can take you through. A bad night’s sleep can affect not only your energy but your willpower and decision making skills.

Here’s an example of a bad sleep pattern:

You get a bad night’s sleep
–> You feel tired and stressful throughout the day.
–> You compensate it with unhealthy habits (for example junk food, skipping exercises, watching Netflix etc.)
–> You can’t sleep well (again) the next night.

    You can imagine what could happen if this cycle repeats over a longer period of time.

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    How to sleep better (throughout the night)

    To help you break the vicious cycle and stop waking up in the middle of the night, I’ll explain to you a list of actionable steps to solve your trouble staying asleep.

    1. Take control over the last 90 minutes of your night

    What you do (or don’t do) before bedtime have significant impact on the quality of your sleep. Many times, it can be the difference between staying up until 4am and sleeping like a baby.

    Here are a few suggestions:

    • Go from light to dark – Darkness stimulates production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Turn off unused light around the house, and think about investing into warm light that you can use in the bedroom before bedtime.
    • Avoid screens (or wear blue light blocking glasses) – Keep the bedroom a technology-free zone as the light from electronic devices can disturb your sleep. If you need to work, wear blue light blocking glasses (also known as computer glasses) throughout or before you sleep to prevent sleep disruption.
    • Find an activity that helps you to wind down  This could be anything that calms you down, and reduces thinking (especially unnecessary stress). Fir example, listening to soothing/good feel music, taking a hot bath, reading or meditating.
    • Keep any electronics you have on the other side of the room or outside the room – One of the most harmful things that can disrupt your sleep is the notifications you get from your smartphones. The simplest way to avoid this is to keep it away from you.
    • Create a bedtime routine – A night routine is a couple of things you do prior to going to bed. By doing these things every night, you’ll have a more restful and high-quality sleep. Learn how to pick up a night routine here: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide to Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

    2. Eat the right nutrients (and avoid the wrong ones)

    What you eat (not just when we eat) plays a critical role in your sleep quality. If you’re ever in doubt of what to eat to improve your sleep, take the following into consideration:

    • Kiwi – This green fruit may be the ultimate pre-bed snack. When volunteers ate two kiwis an hour before hitting the hay, they slept almost a full extra hour. Kiwis are full of vitamins C and E, serotonin and folate—all of which may help you snooze.
    • Soy foods – Foods made with soy such as tofu, miso and edamame, are rich in isoflavones. These compounds increase the production of serotonin, a brain chemical that influences the body’s sleep-wake cycle.
    • Fiber-rich foods – Eating more fiber could be key for better sleep. Eating fiber was associated with more restorative slow-wave sleep—the more you eat, the better you sleep—per a study published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine. Fiber prevents blood sugar surges that may lower melatonin. Get a fiber boost from beans, artichokes, bran cereal and quinoa.
    • Salmon – Most fish, especially salmon, halibut and tuna boost vitamin B6, which is needed to make melatonin— a sleep-inducing hormone triggered by darkness.

    3. Adjust your sleep temperature

    Once you’ve gone through the first 2 recommendations, the last step to experiment with is temperature. According to Sleep.org, the ideal temperature for sleep is 60-67 Farenheit. This may be cooler than what most people are used to, but keep in mind that our body temperature changes once we fall asleep.

    Rule of thumb: sleeping in cooler temperature is better for sleep quality than warmer temperature.

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    Find out how to maintain the optimal temperature to sleep better here: How to Sleep Faster with the Best Temperature

    Sleep better form now on

    Congrats on making it to the end of this guide on sleep. If you’re serious about taking the necessary steps in improving your sleep, remember to take it one step at a time.

    I recommend trying just one of the steps mentioned such as taking a hot bath, blocking out blue light at night, or sleeping in cooler temperature. From there, see how it impacts your sleep quality and you can keep doing what works, and throw away what doesn’t.

    As long as you follow these steps cautiously and diligently, I know you’ll see improved results in your sleep!

    Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

    Reference

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