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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 August 20, 2019

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

How to Control Your Thoughts and Be the Master of Your Mind

Your mind is the most powerful tool you have for the creation of good in your life, but if not used correctly, can also be the most destructive force in your life.

Your mind, more specifically, your thoughts, affect your perception and therefore, your interpretation of reality. (And here’s Why Your Perception Is Your Reality.)

I have heard that the average person thinks around 70,000 thoughts a day. That’s a lot, especially if they are unproductive, self-abusive and just a general waste of energy.

You can let your thoughts run amok, but why would you? It is your mind, your thoughts; isn’t it time to take your power back? Isn’t it time to take control?

Choose to be the person who is actively, consciously thinking your thoughts. Become the master of your mind.

When you change your thoughts, you will change your feelings as well, and you will also eliminate the triggers that set off those feelings. Both of these outcomes provide you with a greater level of peace in your mind.

I currently have few thoughts that are not of my own choosing or a response from my reprogramming. I am the master of my mind, so now my mind is quite peaceful. Yours can be too!

Who Is Thinking My Thoughts?

Before you can become the master of your mind, you must recognize that you are currently at the mercy of several unwanted “squatters” living in your mind, and they are in charge of your thoughts. If you want to be the boss of them, you must know who they are and what their motivation is, and then you can take charge and evict them.

Here are four of the “squatters” in your head that create the most unhealthy and unproductive thoughts:

1. The Inner Critic

This is your constant abuser who is often a conglomeration of:

  • Other people’s words; many times your parents.
  • Thoughts you have created based on your own or other peoples expectations.
  • Comparing yourself to other people, including those in the media.
  • The things you told yourself as a result of painful experiences such as betrayal and rejection. Your interpretation creates your self-doubt and self-blame, which are most likely undeserved in cases of rejection and betrayal.

The Inner Critic is motivated by pain, low self-esteem, lack of self-acceptance and lack of self-love.

Why else would this person abuse you? And since this person is actually you– why else would you abuse yourself? Why would you let anyone treat you this badly?

2. The Worrier

This person lives in the future; in the world of “what ifs.”

The Worrier is motivated by fear which is often irrational and with no basis for it. Occasionally, this person is motivated by fear that what happened in the past will happen again.

3. The Reactor or Trouble-Maker

This is the one that triggers anger, frustration and pain. These triggers stem from unhealed wounds of the past. Any experience that is even closely related to a past wound will set him off.

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This person can be set off by words or feelings, and can even be set off by sounds and smells.

The Reactor has no real motivation and has poor impulse control and is run by past programming that no longer serves you, if it ever did.

4. The Sleep Depriver

This can be a combination of any number of different squatters including the inner planner, the rehasher, and the ruminator, along with the inner critic and the worrier.

The Sleep Depriver’s motivation can be:

  • As a reaction to silence, which he fights against
  • Taking care of the business you neglected during the day
  • Self-doubt, low self-esteem, insecurity and generalized anxiety
  • As listed above for the inner critic and worrier

How can you control these squatters?

How to Master Your Mind

You are the thinker and the observer of your thoughts. You must pay attention to your thoughts so you can identify “who” is running the show; this will determine which technique you will want to use.

Begin each day with the intention of paying attention to your thoughts and catching yourself when you are thinking undesirable thoughts.

There are two ways to control your thoughts:

  • Technique A – Interrupt and replace them
  • Technique B – Eliminate them altogether

This second option is what is known as peace of mind!

The technique of interrupting and replacing is a means of reprogramming your subconscious mind. Eventually, the replacement thoughts will become the “go to” thoughts in the applicable situations.

Use Technique A with the Inner Critic and Worrier; and Technique B with the Reactor and Sleep Depriver.

For the Inner Critic

When you catch yourself thinking something negative about yourself (calling yourself names, disrespecting yourself, or berating yourself), interrupt it.

You can yell (in your mind), “Stop! No!” or, “Enough! I’m in control now.” Then, whatever your negative thought was about yourself, replace it with an opposite or counter thought or an affirmation that begins with “I am.”

For example, if your thought is, “I’m such a loser,” you can replace it with, “I am a Divine Creation of the Universal Spirit. I am a perfect spiritual being learning to master the human experience. I am a being of energy, light, and matter. I am magnificent, brilliant, and beautiful. I love and approve of myself just as I am.”

You can also have a dialogue with yourself with the intention of discrediting the ‘voice’ that created the thought, if you know whose voice it is:

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“Just because so-and-so said I was a loser doesn’t make it true. It was his or her opinion, not a statement of fact. Or maybe they were joking and I took it seriously because I’m insecure.”

If you recognize that you have recurring self-critical thoughts, you can write out or pre-plan your counter thoughts or affirmation so you can be ready. This is the first squatter you should evict, forcefully, if necessary:

  • They rile up the Worrier.
  • The names you call yourself become triggers when called those names by others, so he also maintains the presence of the Reactor.
  • They are often present when you try to fall asleep so he perpetuates the Sleep Depriver.
  • They are a bully and is verbally and emotionally abusive.
  • They are the destroyer of self-esteem. They convince you that you’re not worthy. They’re a liar! In the interest of your self-worth, get them out!

Eliminate your worst critic and you will also diminish the presence of the other three squatters.

Replace them with your new best friends who support, encourage, and enhance your life. This is a presence you want in your mind.

For the Worrier

Prolonged anxiety is mentally, emotionally and physically unhealthy. It can have long-term health implications.

Fear initiates the fight or flight response, creates worry in the mind and creates anxiety in the body.

You should be able to recognize a “worry thought” immediately by how you feel. The physiological signs that the fight or flight response of fear has kicked in are:

  • Increased heart rate, blood pressure, or surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tense

Use the above stated method to interrupt any thought of worry and then replace it. But this time you will replace your thoughts of worry with thoughts of gratitude for the outcome you wish for.

If you believe in a higher power, this is the time to engage with it. Here is an example:

Instead of worrying about my loved ones traveling in bad weather, I say the following (I call it a prayer):

“Thank you great spirit for watching over _______. Thank you for watching over his/her car and keeping it safe, road-worthy, and free of maintenance issues without warning. Thank you for surrounding him/her with only safe, conscientious, and alert drivers. And thank you for keeping him/her safe, conscientious, and alert.”

Smile when you think about it or say it aloud, and phrase it in the present tense; both of these will help you feel it and possibly even start to believe it.

If you can visualize what you are praying for, the visualization will enhance the feeling so you will increase the impact in your vibrational field.

Now take a calming breath, slowly in through your nose, and slowly out through the mouth. Take as many as you like!

Replacing fearful thoughts with gratitude will decrease reactionary behavior, taking the steam out of the Reactor.

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For example:

If your child gets lost in the mall, the typical parental reaction that follows the fearful thoughts when finding them is to yell at them.

“I told you never to leave my sight.” This reaction just adds to the child’s fear level from being lost in the first place. Plus, it also teaches them that mom and/or dad will get mad when he or she makes a mistake, which may make them lie to you or not tell you things in the future.

Change those fearful thoughts when they happen:

“Thank You (your choice of Higher Power) for watching over my child and keeping him safe. Thank you for helping me find him soon.”

Then, when you see your child after this thought process, your only reaction will be gratitude, and that seems like a better alternative for all people involved.

For the Trouble-Maker, Reactor or Over-Reactor

Permanently eliminating this squatter will take a bit more attention and reflection after the fact to identify and heal the causes of the triggers; but until then, you can prevent the Reactor from getting out of control by initiating conscious breathing as soon as you recognize his presence.

The Reactor’s thoughts or feelings activate the fight or flight response just like with the Worrier. The physiological signs of his presence will be the same. With a little attention, you should be able to tell the difference between anxiety, anger, frustration, or pain:

  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure; surge of adrenaline
  • Shallow breathing or breathlessness
  • Muscles tension

I’m sure you’ve heard the suggestion to count to ten when you get angry—well, you can make those ten seconds much more productive if you are breathing consciously during that time.

Conscious breathing is as simple as it sounds; just be conscious of your breathing. Pay attention to the air going in and coming out.

Breathe in through your nose:

  • Feel the air entering your nostrils.
  • Feel your lungs filling and expanding.
  • Focus on your belly rising.

Breathe out through your nose:

  • Feel your lungs emptying.
  • Focus on your belly falling.
  • Feel the air exiting your nostrils.

Do this for as long as you like. Leave the situation if you want. This gives the adrenaline time to normalize.

Now you can address the situation with a calmer, more rational perspective and avoid damaging behavior.

One of the troubles this squatter causes is that it adds to the sleep depriver’s issues. By evicting, or at least controlling the Reactor, you will decrease reactionary behavior, which will decrease the need for the rehashing and ruminating that may keep you from falling asleep.

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Master your mind and stop the Reactor from bringing stress to you and your relationships!

For the Sleep Depriver

(They’re made up of the Inner Planner, the Rehasher and the Ruminator, along with the Inner Critic and the Worrier.)

I was plagued with a very common problem: not being able to turn off my mind at bedtime. This inability prevented me from falling asleep and thus, getting a restful and restorative night’s sleep.

Here’s how I mastered my mind and evicted the Sleep Depriver and all his cronies.

  1. I started by focusing on my breathing—paying attention to the rise and fall of my belly—but that didn’t keep the thoughts out for long. (Actually, I now start with checking my at-rest mouth position to keep me from clenching.)
  2. Then I came up with replacement strategy that eliminated uncontrolled thinking—imagining the word in while breathing in and thinking the word out when breathing out. I would (and do) elongate the word to match the length of my breath.

When I catch myself thinking, I shift back to in, out. With this technique, I am still thinking, sort of, but the wheels are no longer spinning out of control. I am in control of my mind and I choose quiet.

From the first time I tried this method I started to yawn after only a few cycles and am usually asleep within ten minutes.

For really difficult nights, I add an increase of attention by holding my eyes in a looking-up position (Closed, of course!). Sometimes I try to look toward my third eye but that really hurts my eyes.

If you have trouble falling asleep because you can’t shut off your mind, I strongly recommend you try this technique. I still use it every night. You can start sleeping better tonight!

You can also use this technique any time you want to:

  • Fall back to sleep if you wake up too soon.
  • Shut down your thinking.
  • Calm your feelings.
  • Simply focus on the present moment. 

The Bottom Line

Your mind is a tool, and like any other tool, it can be used for constructive purposes or for destructive purposes.

You can allow your mind to be occupied by unwanted, undesirable and destructive tenants, or you can choose desirable tenants like peace, gratitude, compassion, love, and joy.

Your mind can become your best friend, your biggest supporter, and someone you can count on to be there and encourage you. The choice is yours!

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Featured photo credit: Priscilla Du Preez via unsplash.com

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