How to control the perception of cold

What is the cold?

The cold could be seen as a gentle hand that caresses us to stimulate our Qi (read The use of Qi in the 6DKF’s meaning).

Note – This article has been asked by one of our Core Course practitioners on Patreon (see how to attend our home study classes here Learn Kung Fu online: a beginner-to-expert course).

Reconnecting us to the article Body control: the cold is just a feeling we want to go deeper into the learning how to control the feeling of cold. As we said, the first thing to do is to rationally divide:

  • The simple sensation of cold
  • The level of cold that damage our body
  • The consequences of an excess of cold

A lot of people confuse these 3 things making day by day their body weaker and this is not acceptable for a martial arts practitioner. The variations of temperature should not be seen as bad until they really hurt us.

We must mark the boundary line representing the limit of our endurance and move it further and further away.

The prerequisites to face the cold

Before tackling the cold foolishly and getting sick is essential to:

  • Do yearly check-up – Be sure to be in good physical conditions (let’s do a periodical complete check-up, blood, etc.)
  • Avoid useless external help – Limit (as much as possible) the use of artificial temperature’s alternators (conditioners, stoves, etc.)
  • Isolate our body to allow it to work correctly – Opt for an isolation (as dry and uniform as possible) of our body in all that situations where it could certainly not do alone (this way our body burns calories instead of waiting for an external energy help)
  • Learn to listen to our body – Learn to recognize the symptoms that our body manifests when it starts to lose its battle “against” the cold
  • Learn to do not force our body – When our body is weak it has to be helped (drinking hot liquids, etc.), when it is strong it has to be (gradually) pushed to its limits
  • Understand that movement generates heat – The more we move the more energy we produce, the more we stand still, the more we get cold
  • A body covered with cold liquids cools instantly – The only way to expose ourselves to the cold when we are sweaty is to keep our body active, if the sweat cools it is the end

A note by Master Kongling – Regarding the last point it is interesting and funny to test the fact in a very hot day; let’s take 2 bottles of beer (water) at room temperature and let’s put them in the fridge: one as is and the other wrapped in a wet rag, we will notice that in a few minutes (5-10) the first one will remain hot and not drinkable and that the second will be instead cold.

The causes of weakness

Our body gets sick through external pathogens (bacteria, etc.) and not from the cold itself. It is very common to get weaken when:

  • Our body is not trained – Our body is not used to autonomously supplying the heat requirement because it is used to receiving help from external sources (especially in presence of rapid thermal excursions)
  • We put at risk the health of our body – The immune system of our body is weakened by bad eating habits (read Qi and proper nutrition), sedentary lifestyle (read How to start practicing 6DKF), vices (alcohol, drugs, and smoking read How to stop smoking)
  • We are in contact with “too strong enemies” – We are in contact with sick people or too strong sources of cold (eg. we are sweaty and then covered of water and the outside temperature is “low”)
  • We have no mental energies – Being very tired or even only sad has a correspondence in terms of energy spread through the body (it is scientifically proved that when we are happy we are hot, when we are depressed we get cold, more about this later)

In all the other cases, the physical structure of a normal human being is more than sufficient to provide for the energy needs up to (relatively) low temperatures.

The signals of an imminent defeat of our body

A body part that is not hot is a body part that could have a problem.

When our body begins to cool:

  • The first signal –  It stops heating the ends of our limbs and starts  to concentrate the production of energy only near our vital organs (brain, heart, lungs, etc.)
  • The second ones – If we ignore the first signal we start to feel increasingly weaker or we start, for example, to cough and / or to increase the production of mucus

A note by Master Kongling – After this advice (the last useful), we have to react immediately by giving a strong, constant and prolonged apport of heat. Let’s avoid excessive temperatures and especially too big changes (eg. drink hot tea and immediately go out to face a glacial wind).

Until that happens:

  • We are safe – No matter what is going on around us, we are not truly suffering the cold and we must not intervene in any way (otherwise we condition our body to become weaker and weaker)
  • We are resisting  well – Our body is resisting well and effortlessly, let’s allow it to work; let’s ignore that little (psychological) discomfort
  • We are only victims of a consuetude – Let’s imagine that the one we are feeling is only a tactile sensation or a shudder of pleasure (later we will discuss better the voluntary conversion of sensory perceptions)

How to overcome social barriers related to cold

A note by Master Kongling – A funny story. Lately, it happens less but for several years, the first thing that people who met me (in winter) were asking: “but you’re not cold?”, “why do not you cover yourself? You make me cold just looking at you” and while at the beginning could appear a funny way to start a conversation about Kung Fu, with time, it had become a bit frustrating. Jokes apart, actually I was not doing anything strange, I was simply dressing regulating myself on the basis of a rational perception of the cold. While before I got sick with regularity, after developing this kind of resistance and listening to my body, I practically stopped suffering from the most common seasonal ills.

After starting to give sense to the cold, to free us from the strap that is holding back our body we should try to start to leave the typical conventions of the civil society:

  • We cover us because it is winter and not because we are cold
  • We cover us because all are covering, to uniform us
  • We cover us to show off dresses in theme with the current season
  • We cover us because they tell us to cover us (parents, media, friends, etc.)
  • We cover us because we dread disease

All this does not make any sense, 6 Dragons Kung Fu aims to forge minds independent from the mainstream.

How to train our resistance to cold

Of course, we should not start swimming in polar waters without preparation, as always we need rationality, patience and gradualness (discipline, concentration, preparation).

Let’s begin to:

  • Face cold actively – To try (without forcing ourselves) to use movement and training to replace heat sources and protective clothes
  • Face cold passively – Sleep (uniformly) with less clothing, to gain the result of being completely without clothes (let’s do not start from the coldest months)
  • Wear only what we need – To bring “emergency clothing” under our arm instead of wearing them directly (sweatshirts, jackets, etc.)
  • Fall in love with cold – To force us to voluntarily “embrace” the beautiful sensation of cold (gradually, without exaggerations)
  • Use cold water – To wash us with a gradually colder water (again, not starting from the coldest months)

We do not have to run, we have a whole life ahead; if we get sick (and the first times it will happen) it means that we found our limit and therefore we have been too hasty.

The benefits are endless

When we will reach a deeper relationship of listening and influence of our body, we will start to become stronger, avoiding a big part of the most common diseases.

Let’s give our body the right time and let’s trust in it; the benefits of this practice are numerous, here are some:

  • Immune system stronger and thus less illness
  • Fortification of discipline
  • Calory consumption (we burn more energies)
  • Production of brown fat (beneficial)
  • Increased resistance to cold climates
  • Improved ability to assess ourselves in relation to the climate

At a more advanced stage of this skill, we will expose Qi controlling techniques to voluntarily produce energy (burning calories).

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Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • At low temperatures, have you ever felt so good that you do not feel like covering yourself?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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