Here are the first five of the 72 Arts of Shaolin for Retsu Kaioh’s Training. There are a lot more, so be prepared to see Retsu’s name for a while (I’ll spare you from every post). Remember, the author cautions, these Arts are not to be used to harm, but to defend yourself and others. And I wholeheartedly agree.
1. Diamond Finger: Up first, we have the Diamond Finger. This Art is designed to turn the fore fingers of your hands into lethal weapons. The training is simple, but not easy. You’ll need to continually poke your finger into hard objects, such as a tree trunks or a wall. Various other objects can, and should, be used. If you have a spare moment, poke something.
You’ll have to start with light blows at first and build your way up to hitting harder. This training will take a long time and results will come slowly. Remember not to go too quickly or you may injure your fingertip and be unable to train for a short while, which can slow you even more. These Arts are not something acquired over night, so remember to be diligent in your training. Your fingers will be sore and you may find excuses not to train, but train every day even if it’s just lightly tapping objects.
It takes approximately three years, according to the author, to say that you have acquired this skill. That is not to say you have Mastered it, but you have successfully acquired it. When the Art has become your own, the author conveys that you have leave imprints in wood and cause serious harm to a human being.
2. Twin Lock: Twin lock is also a simple exercise, but painful and not easy to continue for long periods of time, both because it is painful and partially embarassing to practice in front of others. To begin, you simply strike your forearms together. You do this bone on bone, bone on muscle, and muscle on muscle. It will hurt and the process will be slow. However, after a year or so of purposeful training, you should here a hollow knock and feel very little to no pain and it is possible to move on to the next stage.
The second stage includes the striking together of the wrists, fists, palms, two fingers held tightly together, and your straightened forefinger. A similar hollow knocking sound and diminished pain should bring to conclusion the second stage– after approximate two years of total training.
The final stage includes striking at the feet and shins and upper legs with your forearms in the same fashion as the other stages of training. After at least another year of training, you’ll have acquired this skill.
3. Striking with Foot: This Art requires that you take an stroll in the morning and evening. That’s it… no, I’m kidding. You do take a morning and evening stroll, but on those walks, you go barefoot and kick at small stones or other small objects with your big toe. Gradually, you will work your way up to larger and larger stones and when you can toss a sizeable stone a fair distance, you’ll have achieved the first stage. This, of course, is rather vague, so when you can toss a stone around the size of (or maybe a little bigger than) your fist, then you can move on to the next stage.
The second stage of this art requires you to take aiming blows at stones. So, instead of just kicking a larger stone with your toe, you will attempt to kick it at something. If you can regulary aim a large stone with a kick, then you will see that your kicking skill has greatly increased and you will have gained the ability to move even a large opponent with a kick.
4. Pulling Out Nails: This next skill builds your finger, hand, forearm, and shoulder strength. You will take 108 nails that are about 4″ long (I suppose a 16d nail should work) and drive them part-ways into a thick board. You will then practice pulling all 108 nails out of the board with your thumb and forefinger. First focus on pulling out the 108 for as long as it takes you, even if it’s 6 months. Then, drive another 108 and see how long that takes you. When you can pull them out (on both sides) in a single sitting, you have mastered the first stage.
The second stage requires driving the nails, sprinkling them with water, and then allowing them to rust. So, you may want to have a second set of the nails already rusting, while you’re training your first stage. When you can remove all 108 rusty nails on with your left and right (108 each side) in a single sitting, you’ve gained this ability. The final stage of the training, and the one that leads to Mastery, is when you can pull 1,000 rusty nails on each side. I’m sure you could further complicate this training with thicker nails, but one thing at a time.
5. Ringing Round a Tree: This training requires you to hug trees. I’m not kidding this time. You’ll go outside and find a tree that you can reach your arms around and clasp them together. Then you’ll attempt to lift and pull with all of your might until you are absolutely exhausted. Do this several times throughout the day. After a year, you should be able to shake the tree.
After two years of training, you’ll find your body muscles becoming hard as stone and the tree will move more and more. After three years of constant training, the author says that you should be able to uproot the tree. This makes me believe that you are supposed to use the same tree for three years and it should be one you can easily grasp your hands together or grab your own wrists. However, I’m slightly skeptical of this, however other people have practiced trying to throw or lift trees and have become very strong as a result, so even if you never uproot the tree, you’ll build an amazing level of strength.
That’s all for today. Just 67 more arts to go! Hope you enjoyed this one. Until next time, good luck and train hard!
Stephen Ross is a Certified Personal Trainer with a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of South Carolina and author of Real Anime Training since 2007. He has been studying various modalities of fitness for 20 years and is greatly interested in helping people improve their lives, both in the gym and out.
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