Regarding isolation, master physical trainer Paul Chek said it best, “Isolate, then integrate.” This isn’t something you will ever hear from the IMA community unfortunately. The idea is that you isolate the weak parts of the chain until they’re stronger THEN incorporate that new found strength back into the whole body movement …
I have been thinking a lot about the above idea of isolate, then integrate. In the techie world, there is a similar saying: “A system is only as fast as it’s slowest component”. In my research about knee pains, I’ve reading that pains can be a result of an imbalance of strength between the hamstrings and quads. Did I work on my hamstrings to try and correct this imbalance? No. Instead, I focused on the alignment of my knee over the toe. While focusing on the alignment is not a bad thing, I think I was just too lazy to try and work on my hamstrings.
Dave just wrote a new post that specifically addresses the role of shoulders in Internal Martial Arts (IMA). His post brings up some topics I mentioned in The Position of Shoulders in Opening the Chest. Dave describes the situation and offers some exercise videos to address the problems. I tried doing the shoulder dislocate exercise, and it’s pretty good at increasing the range of motion of the shoudlers. At first, I was unable to do it holding onto a belt, but after I switched to using an exercise band, things are coming along nicely. Check out Dave’s post at Opening the shoulders, generating power, improving posture | Formosa Fitness.
For me, P90X is bringing to light a lot of my own weaknesses. I could definitely lose a few pounds. Additionally, I know some parts of my body are physically weak and could be kicked up a notch. I don’t have aspirations of becoming a body builder, but I would like to know that I could easily lift my own body weight if need be.
So, what have I been doing with my own time? I am proud to say that I’ve been sticking with the P90X program. In fact, I did the shoulders, triceps and biceps routine on a late Friday evening, because I’m hardcore like that 😉 Note, I normally don’t workout on a Friday eve, as that’s generally dedicated to “chill time” that consists of having a beer while watching a movie with my wife.
However, Saturday was a different story and I didn’t do the Yoga-X workout. The weekend was just too busy with family activities of going to the library, rollerblading, going to a corn maze, etc. I don’t feel so bad as rollerblading gave me a good sweat. I had forgotten how tiring blading can be, especially when you’ve got a 40 lb little dude leaning on you because it was his first time rollerskating!
Has P90X affected my taiji training time? Yes, it has. I actually haven’t really been doing much of taiji or meditation lately. Previously, taiji and meditation were more of a stress reliever for me. The P90X physical workouts are pretty good at relieving stress while making me healthier at the same time. I am not giving up on taiji/meditation, they are just taking a back burner for now while I focus on my physical health and well-being.
Whenever I think about physical health and well-being in relation to martial arts, I often think of the following quote:
… Additionally, I would consider the ability to personally maintain a healthy body weight, an excellent state of overall physical fitness, and the ability to apply the Form Postures to self-defense as a soft style internal kung-fu art. In the end, whatever is expressed outwardly….our personal demonstration…is a reflection of what we think and feel inwardly.