Sunday, December 13, 2009

Kettlebells and Kung Fu

Well, I've been reading all about kettlebells and I've watched some video online. I'm getting more excited every day about getting started. However, I still don't have a kettlebell. That should all change tomorrow!

For now, though, I wanted to point out how much overlap there is between the rules of working with kettlebells and the rules of kung fu. By kung fu, I mean my limited experience with Wing Chun and Yang-style taiji.

* A solid foundation is vital. Without it, no progress can be made, and injury is possible.

* The core of the body is used for all basic motions. The arms may have their place, but everything is about the hips and waist. There is no body strength without a stable center.

* The centerline is key.

* Everything is based on making connections with the floor.

* It's all about the physics of the human body. Proper positioning of the joints creates strength and power. Incorrect body mechanics results in strain and injury.

* The kettlebell is gripped using the heel of the hand and forearm when held up, and by hooked fingers the rest of the time. Never in a death-grip. In kung fu, a tight fist means slow, stiff movement.

* A kettlebell, like an oppenent's fist, can cause damage very easily when in motion. A kettlebell swing packs more punch than any fist, and the same basic techniques apply to neutralizing that force in both disciplines.

* If you get hurt, you were doing it wrong.

* Both are practical. Most workouts and exercise equipment train muscle groups, but very few things teach the entire body to work together, and almost none directly duplicate physical actions people are likely to need to perform on a daily basis.

* Properly-executed movements keep everything close to the body. This is for balance and to keep all force under control with body structure, not individual muscles or joints. Over-extending is trouble.

That's all for now, although I could probably come up with more parallels. I'll be posting more once the workouts start.

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