Master Chen introduced us to a lot conditioning and strength training exercises over the course of the 3 day workshop. Master Chen often mentioned the idea of vertical energy and how we could develop vertical energy to redirect an incoming horizontal force. One way to develop vertical energy is by training static power using a wall.
Facing a wall, get into a bow stance with your front toe touching the wall. The knee should be directly above the heel of the foot and remain in that position. You can use some type of pillow or Styrofoam block to keep the knee in place. Next, place the forearm of the forward arm (if left leg forward, then use left arm) against the wall with your fingertips roughly at forehead height. The palm of the forward arm is also facing the wall. The palm of the rear arm is placed on the wall about solar plexus height. Bend the rear leg. The idea of the exercise is to basically lock the shape of your arms, torso, and the space between you and the wall. Then push against the wall using the rear leg. While pushing, try to lengthen/expand the back and spine. This exercise also helps in developing vertical force.
Other excises included using a rubber tube with the ends knotted together, making it look like a necklace. One end of the tube was securely fastened and the other end of the tube would go around a person’s waist. The person would then run in the opposite direction to stretch out the tube. Once the tube was stretched, the participant would try and sink into a horse stance. However, due to the force of the tube, the person was pulled backwards and off balance. This is an example of being double heavy or double weighted.
The follow-up exercise is to do the same thing as above, except when going into a horse stance, you alternate up/down motions in each knee, resulting in a rotation about the center. The participant would not be thrown off balanced initially, but the goal is to practice this until one does not become off balanced with tension of the rubber tube.
The second exercise is similar to the double heavy exercise above, except the person stretches out the tube and holds the tube in a fist. The idea is to use the elbow to draw the arm into the body and the hand leads the arm away from the body. The cord is used as a feedback method to show where the tension and what muscles are being used. Here’s a video of Master Chen Zhonghua doing both positive and negative circles with a rubber cord: