Anaerobic Exercise and Internal Martial Arts

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Richard Alvoid
Last: 5 years 34 weeks ago
Joined: 8 Dec 2010

Hello forum siblings! I have a question about what Bruce's take is on anaerobic and aerobic exercise as understood in the internal martial arts. I have studied purely internal arts now for 6 years, and I see my belly growing by the year.

Recently, I was introduced to metabollic conditioning, where anaerobic exercises are introduced with precise interval training (Tabata method). This is supposed to be the optimal way to store and tap energy for any type of activity.

My curiosity is what B K Frantzis feels in this regard as a means to maintaining optimal health? Anybody please?

Paul Pallante's picture
Last: 3 weeks 3 days ago
Joined: 6 Oct 2010
Hello Rich, A lot of folks

Hello Rich,

A lot of folks who enjoy more muscularly intensive activities also enjoy the internal arts, so similar questions come up a lot (I've had a lot of them myself). By their nature, anaerobic activities are intense enough that they can't be continued for prolonged periods of time (Aerobic respiration can't keep up with the energy demand). This means that in one sense, they take a lot more energy than they yield, One of the fundamental understandings of doing nei gung practices under the 70% principle, is that what you are doing should be giving you more energy than it is consuming. This way, you are constantly generating energy to store and use, rather than using some amount of your energy just to keep everything from shaking apart by pushing the limit.

Even though nei gung and IMA try to minimize the use of "Li" or muscular power (the emphasis is on ligaments, fluids, and the interior structures of the body), I still enjoy doing a lot of activities that require a lot of muscular effort. I've heard that Tabata protocols can be really effective for what they are designed for in the sense of getting fit, but the goals of getting fit and being healthy are not necessarily the same. My main issue with Tabatas is that you're essentially working out at a MAXIMUM of what you're capable of. Even if it is done for short periods, the extreme nature seems like it winds the body and nerves up a bit much for my taste.

Regarding them being the best way to, " and tap energy", it probably kinda depends on how you're defining energy. When most fitness gurus are talking about energy, they are usually defining it in terms of muscle glycogen, ATP, V0 2 Max, or overall metabolic speed. When nei gung or IMA adepts talk about energy, they are talking in terms of chi. These two things may share overlaps, but they are very different paradigms.

Usually when you're talking anaerobic activity, some type of weight training comes up. Bruce's general statement on weight training is that "Nei Gung and IMA will help your weight lifting, but the weight lifting is not necessarily going to help your nei gung." This same statement can probably be extrapolated to intense sprints or other kinds of intervals.This is because the more relaxed and smooth your nervous system becomes, the better you can activate and feel your muscles. So a muscle in a trained state of relaxation will be able to tense better, but a tense muscle will not necessarily be able to relax.

Personally, when I now do activities that are heavy on muscular force, I prefer things that also require some form of dynamic movement that requires an inherent level of good body alignment. I've enjoyed kettlebells and capoeira in this vein. If I'm doing some sort of resistance exercise that requires rest between sets, I'll do the first swing to keep my body loose and not develop stuck blood in the form of a "pump". There is some good stuff on kettlebells by a guy named Pavel Tsatsouline. I like his never training to failure methodologies. You probably already use kettlebells, as they are frequently integrated with Tabatas. Regarding aerobic exercise and keeping the gut in check, faster Bagua walking and Hsing-I fit the bill (just don't mistake a hard won chi belly for a blubbery one ; ).

An Energy Arts instructor that you may want to talk with about this further is Dan Kleiman, . He knows a lot about this kind of thing and would probably have some helpful insights. No matter what, just enjoy moving and do the best you can to relax and keep your body opening daily. Take care of your nervous system and joints and keep them both smooth and fluid.

Happy Training!

Ted Stark
dragononground's picture
Last: 9 weeks 2 days ago
Joined: 15 Feb 2011
Very insightful. Thanks.

Very insightful. Thanks.

Richard Alvoid
Last: 5 years 34 weeks ago
Joined: 8 Dec 2010
Very helpful Paul, Many

Very helpful Paul, Many thanks. I avoid weights like the plague, and have only resorted to Tabata's training as I am now 40 and feeling lethargic, bloated, and toxic. I thikn I will try the circle walking at fast paces. Thanks for the suggestion. And how I wish I could avoid the aerobic exercise, as I prefer standing and IMA! Tahnks again

Dave Randolph
Last: 6 years 19 weeks ago
Joined: 10 Dec 2011
Hi, I'm new here but I saw

Hi, I'm new here but I saw this thread and thought I'd give my 2 cents worth.

I've been studying ma for over 20 years and some basic IMA (Bagua, Hsing-I & Tai Chi) for almost that long.

I've been training with kettlebells for resistance training since 2002 and I'm also an instructor and have written a book on kettlebells as well (it's on Amazon)

I find that using kettlebells especially swings and snatches for long sets (timed) as opposed to hard and fast sets/reps works best. The rhythmic nature of those two lifts means you have to learn to relax and explode at the right times and also requires your breathing to be in step/sequence with the movements to be most effective.

Give them a try, not using Tabata or other high intensity intervals but longer timed set 3 minutes, 5 minutes etc.


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Ketosis (ketogenic diet) What

Ketosis (ketogenic diet)

What exactly is ketosis? The metabolic state of ketosis simply means that the amount of ketones in the blood reached levels higher than normal. When the body is in a ketogenic state this means that we will use fat for energy. This means that the body will begin to break their own body fat to use as fuel. Energy for all body functions.

The classification of ketogenic diets attends the restriction on the amount of carbohydrates, fats predominate well or protein (diets low in carbohydrates) or because the total amount of nutrients is insufficient to provide the required energy (calorie deficit). So develop:

Low carb diets: Overall contribute less than 50 grams of Visual Impact Muscle Building carbohydrates and, in turn, are subdivided into:
Rich in fat: Generally high in saturated fat but can also be good fats and are classified according to the predominant type of fat (such as medium chain triglycerides or MCT) and the proportion of the other macronutrients.
Rich proteins (hyperproteinic): Although the predominant nutrient from the energy viewpoint is fat, in such diets increased proportion of proteins up to 30% of the energy. These are diets that are more designed for bodybuilders
Diets low in energy (calorie): Such diets provide insufficient amounts of carbohydrates and energy (not exceeding 1,000 kcal). They are used in the treatment of obesity and is not intended for bodybuilders.
The establishment of the metabolic state of ketosis, even for a short period of time has many outstanding advantages.

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Sometimes it can take a setback to wake you up to what is valuable and what isn't. I had been fighting an intense legal battle with devastating effects on my business and on my health. I had to face starting over again very late in life. I couldn't do much about the drain on my time and money; however, I could do something about the drain on my health. Thank God for qigong!


Paul D. Keller