The 6 stones: an exercise to develop coordination

An exercise to improve coordination of the arms

To start building a basic motion capability of our arms (eg. for trapping, read Trapping), we want to describe a very simple and useful exercise: its name is “The 6 stones”.

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).

This practice helps to develop some of the most important skills for a fighter:

A note by Master Kongling – After reaching a certain technical ability, when we face opponents of the same level, it is inevitable that the clash turns into a high-speed chess game. This way, the fact of having a mind capable of formulating effective and rapid strategies, as well as a body capable of fully responding to our will, become essential characteristics for a good fighter. It is especially in these contexts that coordination becomes a primary requirement.

The exercise

Preparation:

  • Let’s take 6 rocks with similar shape, weight and size (preferably sanded)
  • The rocks must have such a size and weight that they can be easily grasped with our hand
  • The exercise can be performed both on the floor, both on an old table (let’s choose a surface that does not get damaged)
  • The important thing is that our arms can move and stretch freely with their entire structure
  • Let’s put the stones within a rectangle in a free (but symmetrical) arrangement
  • Let’s position the stones at a close range but not in contact (less distance, greater difficulty)
  • We can stay on the ground, sitting or standing, it is indifferent (the important thing is to be able to reach the stones)

The execution:

  • Let’s pick the first 2 stones with our hands, one per hand (we have to move quickly)
  • Let’s exchange their positions with the idea of maintaining the original symmetrical arrangement
  • Let’s pick the next 2 stones and let’s exchange their position (always maintaining the structure intact)
  • Let’s gradually increase the speed (but without throwing the rocks)

The exercise exposed (in its basic version):

  • Requires a low physical effort
  • Has a duration of about 10 minutes
  • Can occasionally be inserted within the normal daily training (the important thing is to maintain balanced the normal effort of each session, read Daily training: the right psychophysical effort)

Variations

Let’s see some alternatives and / or more complex execution methods:

  • We can add more rocks (up to a maximum of 12), this adds a moderate increase in terms of difficulty
  • We can choose 2 stones at a random distance / dislocation instead of proceeding in order
  • We can alternate the simultaneous lay (1 noise only) of the 2 stones with a sequential one (2 sequential noises)
  • When we get used, we can opt for stones with different shape / weight / material / size (eg. metal cylinders, Tennis balls, rice bags, etc.); over a certain weight, we start to strengthen also our fingers
  • The most mind involving variation is to dynamically draw new symmetrical dispositions in real-time (eg. from a rectangle to a triangle, from a trapezium to a circle, etc.)

Final notes

A few conclusive thoughts:

  • A responsive coordination is a must-have to reach and / or do not obstacle the development of some of the most important 6 Dragons Kung Fu’s skills (read for example Use the body power: the muscle chain and Dragon Motion: the swirling movements)
  • Even it should be obvious, this exercise, by itself, does not teach us how to fight, it simply helps our mind and upper limbs for more advanced applications

In the next article of this series, we will see an exercise to work with legs’ coordination.

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Questions

Reply in the comments and share your experience:

  • Can you perform this exercise without errors?

Author: Master Kongling

Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.

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