Retsu Kaioh’s Training- Part 11
More of the 72 Arts today. At some point, we’re gonna actually get half way through this thing! Retsu Kaioh, if you mastered all of these things, you might just be the scariest guy in history.
#29: The Art of the Stone Padlock– The author goes to some pretty serious lengths, describing what a stone padlock is: a U-shaped bar attached to a stone padlock. It’s heavy and you lift it, and (by God!) it is pretty much the same thing as a kettlebell, so if you can’t (or don’t want to) create an exact replica of an old stone padlock, then you can very easily find kettlebells at most sporting goods stores and most definitely online. I won’t waste too much time with further description of the apparatus.
You’ll start with a kettlebell somewhere around the size of 10kg (approx 22 lbs) and then gradually increasing to 30-35kg (approx 66-77 lbs). The first start of the training is very simple. You will lift the kettlebell at arm’s length, and chest height and then bending at the wrist, much like doing a reverse wrist curl. The fist will start with the palm facing down and, as you lift, your palm will face out in front of you. Focus on keeping a tight grip on the weight. Repeat this exercise “many times” according to the author. That’s not exactly the most descriptive rep count, so I’ll just go ahead and say that you should do three sets on each arm until failure. Start on one arm, do reps until failure, and then switch arms.
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Then, move to the next phase of the training. (This is still the same level of training as the above prescription.) You’ll then start lifting the weights out in front of you in a vertical line, alternating arms, and stopping when your arm is even with the top of your shoulder. There is not a rep count or anything for this one either, so I will go ahead and say three sets to failure again.
The next part of the training, once you’ve gotten to a point where you are easily manipulating very heavy kettlebells, will be to start including “turns of you body and other movements simultaneously.” As this is very vague, I’m going to attempt to elaborate. What I suggest, is practicing lifting the kettlebells while doing a slow twist of the waist or maybe trying to walk forward, sideways, or backward. Eventually, you could try to coordinate yourself a little more with a crossover step or a squat or alternating leg lifts while you are lifting the weights. Essentially, what I gather from this training is that you should be able to move the rest of your body with relative ease while performing your repetitions. This will increase your balance immensely, as well as your coordination.
After you have gotten the hang of this, you should begin to include slight tosses of the kettlebells into your movements (I imagine you will not be able to move quite as fluidly while tossing a kettlebell). At first, just toss it into the air a little and catch it by the handle. After you’ve done this effectively for a while, try to get the kettlebell to make a single revolution when you release the handle and then catch it. Work toward increasing the number of revolutions with each toss. The author says, at this point, while you are manipulating a weight of about 22lbs, while moving, and tossing it into the air, you should be able to control how many revolutions the weight makes at will. This designates control over the weight.
Finally, you can begin “accepting” the falling weight. Essentially, after a great deal of training and where you are sufficiently comfortable (note, I say “comfortable,” because I don’t want you getting to the previous stage and then just jumping to this one) What you’ll do, is that on one of your tosses, where the weight will reach the height of the top of your head, you will catch the flat part of the kettlebell on the top side of your fist, while the other hand grabs the handle. It has the potential to be rather painful, so maybe start this with a lower weight and without the movement at first. The top hand is only for balance and the majority of the weight should land directly on your fist.
But, there’s more!! You can now begin tossing the weight up behind your back, turning your body, and then catching it with the opposite hand, sort of like a basketball player… but with a heavy piece of metal. The use of body movement will be very important in the execution of this technique. Remember to alternate sides and just practice until tired.
And… nope, we aren’t done, yet… this last part is not very clear, but what I can gather is that the weight should be held at your side and then, using the twisting of the waist and the movement of your arm, toss up the weight and catch it with your other arm. Alternate sides. This is supposed to increase the power of your mid-section.
Your end routine can start with some wrist work from the beginning, then the lateral raises while moving and tossing and spinning the weight randomly, then “accepting” the weight,and finally ending on the back and waist training.
And here’s the kicker– after you get to the end of this training with the lowest weight, you have to start over with a heavier one! However, I doubt you’ll spend as much time on learning movements as you did with the first one. Just make sure you are comfortable on each stage before continuing. The author says when you complete this training, you will be able to lift a weight of 50-150kg (approx 110-330 lbs… note he does not say with ease). Also, your punching, pushing, and throwing should show a marked improvement.
#30: “Skill of the Iron Arm” (Tie bi gong)– The first stage of this training involves striking at poles with the inside and outside of your arms. Every day, if you are not sufficiently bruised, you should increase the force of your strikes gradually. Eventually, you can move to harder poles and trees with rough bark, preferably uneven in some places.
After a year of training, you should be able to break wooden objects and some stone objects. You should strike side-to-side, downward, diagonally, and even upward into various uneven, hard objects. The ultimate goal is to be able to swing with full force with your arm into an object and, if it does not break, at least you will be uninjured.
This skill can be acquired in one year and mastered in three and you will be able to break bones with ease and push past your opponent’s defenses without regard for their set-up.
#31: “Fist Like a Bullet” (Danzi Quan)- This training method trains the joints of the second finger phalanges set in a flat surface. The fist is not completely closed, but the inside of the palm is a flat surface and your finger are bent at the first joint with the thumb placed on the outside of the hand, bent to the center of the hand. The first stage of this training is just forming the appropriate fist.
The next stage of the training is to deliver blows to a flat, wooden board. When you make contact, your elbow should still be bent. You will need to work up to delivering harder strikes, because you can really injure your hands. You should also use some form of hand salve or dit da jow. The first stage of training will be accomplished when you can make a depression in the wood. Then, you can move to a stone until it makes a depression in the stone. Finally, a piece of steel. The author says that it takes up to 4 or 5 years of “stubborn” training to achieve this skill.
At the end of your training, it is possible to deliver a fatal blow to an enemy with a strike like this. Your hand essentially becomes a bullet. If you acquire this skill, please do not employ with, unless absolutely necessary! You don’t want to kill anyone and have that on your conscience.
That’s all for today, guys! Until next time, good luck and train hard!