Physical conditioning: how it works

What is conditioning for?

In 6 Dragons Kung Fu, for each practitioner, physical conditioning has the goal to:

  • Become able to perform the most advanced techniques (acrobatic, complex, etc.)
  • Become able to perform the basic techniques more effectively (in terms of coordination, flow, etc.)
  • Better resist to opponent’s attacks (joints’ twists, impacts, etc.)
  • Achieve higher performance (power, speed, target reach, etc.)
  • Achieve a good health (our training must generate physical wellness)

The various types of conditioning that we will see are studied to:

  • Increase strength
  • Increase body resistance to damages
  • Increase breathing capacity / cardiac endurance
  • Increase speed / agility
  • Increase flexibility / elasticity
  • Eliminate common body limitations
  • Transform congenital defects into advantages (or at least to limit their incidence)

A note by Master Kongling – I remember having a friendly discussion with one of my students about having a metal (titanium) prosthesis under the skin. While he explained to me the fact that this was partially limiting his mobility, I did nothing but focus on the fact that, to all intents and purposes, he always had with him a deadly weapon perfectly connected to his body: “See it as a tool! Not all the weapons are equal, study it and manage its limits as its strong points!”. Of course, not all cases are superimposable to this but the point is accepting ourselves, adapting and finding a way to gain the best from the (more or less favorable) circumstances that the scenarios of life will force us to face.

Basic conditioning and advanced conditioning

Conditioning is made of regular, incremental and focused exercise.

In 6DKF we have a lot of practical tests useful for the recognition of the qualitative level of the conditioning of the various parts of our body (knuckles, fingers, abdominals, etc.), some of which have even rather scenic-theatrical implications.

Before starting, however, it is important to make some fundamental premises:

  • Basic and advanced conditioning – In our style, we distinguish between basic and advanced conditioning; the first one can be done by everyone, the second only by those who are extremely motivated (because it brings our body to the limits of its operativity)
  • Advanced conditioning never ends – Advanced conditioning should not be discontinued (due to the obvious deterioration of its effectiveness and, in some cases, the occurrence of physiological problems associated with bones / muscles / ligaments in terms of cramping / calcification / weakening / etc.)
  • Reasonable goals – In any case, when we talk about physical conditioning, we always aim for goals such as flexibility, elasticity, thickening, reinforcement, alignment, leveling, elongation (etc.); we never refer to things like the total loss of sensitivity, damage, deformation, surgery (etc.)
  • Listen to our body – A good practitioner must learn to listen to his body and to know his (present) limits and his (future) potentials; through gradual tests, steps forward (and backward) we must evolve patiently and always in a completely safe context (hurry creates damages and damages slow down or block our martial growth)
  • Advanced conditioning must be planned – Advanced conditioning is long, sometimes painful and involves both precise choices (we can not do everything); we must find a mechanical balance between the (passively or actively) involved parts (neither the best Shaolin warrior monk has ever sustained more than a few types of advanced conditioning)
  • Conditioning does not mean to become invincible – Conditioning does not make us invincible, immune to physical suffering, damages or defeat; this practice allows us to simply increase (extensively) our fighting abilities (nothing more, nothing less than this)

In the next article, we will see the various kinds of test to evaluate things like the impact resistance of body elements (such as fingers, knuckles, elbows, etc., read Physical conditioning: verification tests).

In-depth articles


Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • What is the part of the body that you would prefer to condition first?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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