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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 February 18, 2019

13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with It and Enjoy the Ride

Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie can you help me fix my fear?”

Why is this so critically important to you?

The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share you with 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

Right now around the world people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear like so many other emotions can mean so many different things to so many different people:

  • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
  • The man facing the judge.
  • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
  • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr Smith.”
  • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
  • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

2. Accept Your Fear

Firstly if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

And here’s what can be done.

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3. Get Some Perspective

I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

  • Are you really at risk?
  • Will this kill you?
  • Which leads us on to..
  • If the worse was to happen what would it be?

4. Hold a Hand

As a coach, it is my job to holds someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

Like the child petrified of the thunder storm or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

Ask yourself:

  • If the worse were to happen, what would that be?
  • Could that really happen?
  • If the worse did happen, how would you recover?
  • If the worse were to happen, what would you need to do next?

By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through it’s wily evil ways and move forward.

5. Know Whose Hand You Hold Either Physically or Emotionally

This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

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The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

Not everyone was looking for greatness, however they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in the 2nd world war. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind he was free.

Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what hell you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music. hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

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It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded that nothing stays the same and I can find away.

One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

Did that moment fix the disaster that my clients life felt? No, however it gave them a moment of calm and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

It may feel like madness to do something you love, however it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

8. Assume the Worse

If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed?

  • Think about what age it may have made them feel?
  • Think about how they feel about champagne?
  • What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now.

If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

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10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

11. Go with Fear

When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

And in that clients words “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

13. Own Your Fear

Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

You can’t help but feel good when you see that can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

More Resources About Fighting Fear

Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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