I figured it’s time to throw another piece of the 72 Arts of Shaolin out here for you guys. Let’s go!
#23: Luohan’s Exercise- This is a kung fu skill used to build your eyesight. Before starting to train this art, the author recommends that the practitioner make a habit of staring at the moon while in a horse stance (called “Contemplation of the Moon.” Apparently, this is supposed to prepare your eyes for the beginning stages of Luohan’s Exercise.
So here’s the training– whenever you wake up, don’t open your eyes. Instead, rub your thumbs together until they grow warm and then rub your eyes with the back sides of your thumbs 14 times. Then, with your eyes still shut, roll your eyes seven time (from the left, going clockwise). After finishing this portion, do not open your eyes for a few minutes and then, open them only a little. Massage the point where your brows begin to come into contact with your nose with the bent portion of the backs of your thumbs 70 times. Next, rub your cheekbones with your hands and rub the lower part of the back of your ears 36 times with circular movement. Then, you will rub your forehead with your hands, starting from the center, moving along the eyebrows, “as if a hairdresser is combing or arranging hair,” until you reach the end of your hair at the bottom of your neck. Complete the forehead motion 72 times. Finally, swallow a great amount of saliva from your mouth. This should be carried out immediately after you wake up.
The next stage of the training involves a small lantern or lamp with a small flame. You place the lantern in the darkest part of the room, stand or stand about 20-25 feet from it, calm your mind and regulate your breathing and focus on the lantern. You are supposed to look at the flame through the shade and, when your eyes tire, you can open and close them several times and roll them as you would in the first part of this training. The training is supposed to be done for one our in the morning and evening.
After about three months, you can darken the shade a little and back up a few inches. You will gradually work down to a dark blue shade on the lamp or lantern and then work on increasing the distance up to 100 feet. Obviously, you will need a large room of some sort if you are going to continue this training to mastery. At the point you reach this stage of training, the morning session is increased to two hours. After you are able to train in this fashion, the author states you should be able to see many times better at night and be able to see a man in the dark at over 100 feet. The author also recommends eating some mutton liver every day, boiled in water. I’m not entirely sure why, because he doesn’t say.
This is a very specific skill and doesn’t do much for the body, so I would say if you are going to pick this skill to train, perhaps couple it with the beginning stages of another skill by practicing a horse stance.
#24: Lizard Climbs the Wall- This skill is for climbing and maneuvering along a wall. This is a very difficult art, says the author, in that “only two or three men out of a hundred who start to acquire the movements succeed in mastering the technique to perfection.”
For the first stage of training, you will lie on your back, facing upwards and then support yourself up on your elbows (and forearms, I believe) and then attempting to move and jump. The author does not say that the knees are bent, so I will assume that the legs are straight and the body is relatively straight as well. After you are able to move “like a snake” in this position, you move up to practicing against a brick wall, that is preferably not smooth. You press your elbows and forearms into the wall, and press your back to the wall “as if glued to it,” take in a deep breath and expand your stomach, trying to flatten your chest and attempt to move yourself. I’m sure at this point you are also suppose to move your feet. It takes a long time to acquire the ability to move up and down on a wall and even longer to move left and right. The author says that you can rub sand on yourself to make it easier, but I think you could probably use lifting chalk.
If you need to increase the difficulty, use a smoother wall. This skill takes ten years of diligent practice to attain.
#25: The Art of Lash- This exercise is similar to “Iron Arm” training, but it focuses on pressure on the forearms, rather than strikes. At the beginning of this training, you will lean with both forearms on a horizontal wooden stick at about just below chest height. You will press your forearms into it will all the strength you can, as if you are trying to life yourself off the ground. When you can lift yourself off the ground to where your waist is at the bar, you should work on holding it there for a moment and slowly lowering yourself. You will need to fix the stick in that position, either with wooden posts or fastening it to a couple of close trees or something of the sort. You will train yourself in the morning and evening, doing ten reps each time. Gradually the reps will increase, but you shouldn’t (my opinion) increase the reps you do until you can do all ten without stopping. It is recommended to use some kind of healing liniment in this training, as well.
After a year of training, you will move up to bamboo sticks that are bundled together in a line (like a raft). You stand in a horse stance and press on the bamboo with great force until tired, rest a little while and then continue. Repeat this process. After you are able to move the bamboo down 5 or 6 inches, you will place another bundle of bamboo on top of the first. You will continue this until you have up to ten layers of bamboo and the training is completed when you can move all ten layers a distance of about 2 and a half feet. This is supposed to take three or four years of training to accomplish. This training will allow you to apply a great deal of pressure with your forearms and you will take less damage from this pressing or hitting your arms.
That’s all for this installment of the 72 Arts of Shaolin. There’s a lot more of them on the way!
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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