Retsu Kaioh’s Training- Part 8
Yet more 72 Arts of Shaolin madness!
#20: Sluice Shutter Weighing 1000 JINs- This is a fairly simple, full-body exercise. The first stage does not require any equipment at all. To perform the first stage, you begin in a horse stance (like you didn’t see that coming), both hands lifted high above your head and your palms facing upward like you are holding something above your head (or starting an awkward, squatting Genki Dama). When you can stay in this stance for half an hour with relative ease, it is time to move to the second stage.
The second stage of this exercise, you will maintain the same stance, but this time you will be holding a 22-33lb (10-15kg) weight above your head. The author references a stone drum, but I imagine anything with sufficient width to be held with both hands at the same time will be effective. In the same fashion as before, when you are able to hold the position for half and hour with relative ease, you begin to add weight in increments until you reach 220lbs (100kg). When you are able to hold this weight in the stance for half an hour without “gasp[ing] for breath” and “not sweat[ing]” you may move to the third stage. However, I imagine it will be quite some time before you make it to the third stage.
In the third stage, the stone drum (or other weight) is replaced with a “sluice shutter,” which would essentially be something used to block off water in a sewer of some sort. In order to build this, the other says that slots should be put into two wooden posts and long rectangular slabs of stone weighing about 15kg a piece should be slid into them, along with the initial slab weight 100kg and gradually add the 15kg slabs to the 100kg slabs. The slab should be positioned above the ground in the slots about 1.3 meters above the ground, or about 4 feet. You squat underneath the weight and lift it up into our initial stance to continue training. However, this seems like an awful lot of cost and work to me, so I have another solution. Replace the “sluice shutter” with a Smith Machine (pictured below) and you get around having to figure out where you’re going to get slabs of stone and all that jazz… also, you’re less likely to kill yourself with home-constructed equipment if you aren’t used to it. In any case, eventually, after a long time of training, you should be able to hold a weight of 250kg (or about 550lbs) or more. The ideal point of this training is to get to be able to hold 1,000 JINs (500kg or 1,100lbs) in this fashion. This, I think is truly bordering on the limits of human capabilities and I think would take quite some time (and natural talent) to achieve.
#21: Covering with a Gold Bell- This is apparently the most important “hard” exercise of all the 72 Arts, according to the author. The author says you start hitting your body, front and back, with a mallet made of “stuff.” I have no idea what this is supposed to mean, so I imagine a softer rubber mallet will suffice. Eventually (the author says “a long time”), the pain of striking yourself with this should disappear and you can replace that mallet with a wooden one and repeat the training until you feel no pain. When this occurs, you can use an iron mallet and continue until you feel no pain from any of the blows. Apparently, if you practice for two to three years, your torso become strong like stone or iron and you can take attacks all day long. The author says to use tinctures to cure bruises of muscles and bones from training like this. He is probably referencing some type of dit da jow, but if you don’t have access to any herbal things like that, you can use things like horse liniment or Bio-Freeze if you start to feel banged up. Also, massaging bruised areas can help.
#22: Exercise “Finger Lock”- At the first stage of this skill, squeeze together two fingers- your middle and forefinger and press the tips up against your bent thumb tip. Your fingers should make a circle in this fashion. Press them together with “force like a cook taking seasoning” and keep them in that position for a little while and then have a rest. Repeat the exercise. This is one of the exercises that can be done in your spare time without any concern for limiting reps or anything. Think about using the strength of your whole arm in this training.
After a year of training, take a piece of wood 4cm (2.5 inches or so) and squeeze it between your fingers as if you are trying to press a hold through the wood. It can take up to two years to accomplish this in your training. After you are able to do so, move up to an iron plate. The goal of this is to be able to dent the metal with your fingers, which at this point, you’ve mastered the skill and should be able to severely damage an opponent merely by grabbing him.
That’s all for today. I hope you guys are enjoying all of the crazy Kung Fu exercises. Until next time, good luck and train hard!