This entry is part 2 of 11 in the series Training challenges

FWC Instructor Adam Prout likes a bit of extreme sport – 70kph down a black run anyone?  So once in a while he feels the urge to do a smidgen more than his regular training.  Here’s what happened last time….

“How fit are you?

 

You train with your instructor twice a week, you can hold iron bridge for 2 minutes, you’ve even braved Sunday class and only needed to hold the bannister once when walking upstairs on Monday (maybe going downstairs you hold it all the way).

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This entry is part 3 of 11 in the series Training challenges

 

If you read about FWC Instructor Adam’s attempt at Death by Burpees, then you know that he likes to do a bit more.  That was a bit easy, so instead of a bit of extreme training, how about a bit of extreme eating?  According to  Barbara Lewin, nutritionist, “one of the most common problems (endurance athletes) have is glycogen depletion – the result of not getting enough carbohydrates,”  Now you may not think that FWC Kung Fu is about endurance, but that kind of depends on how you’re doing it.  Ms Lewin was commenting on the reported competition training diet of Michael Phelps, the Olympic swimmer, in the run-up to the 2012 Olympic Games.  Next year is an Olympic year, so really we should be getting ready now.  Adam, how about eating like Michael Phelps for a day?  He did not need to be asked twice.   Read More

This entry is part 4 of 11 in the series Training challenges

Abs – that’s what everyone wants to show off these days. Haven’t we all wanted to walk out of the sea like Daniel Craig in Casino Royal or pound down the finishing straight like Jessica Ennis-Hill?

One instructors meeting (all right, lunch) we were discussing physique, male gymnasts in particular. The World Gymnastics Championships had just finished. Pommel silver medallist Louis Smith has the classic V-shape and rippling abs – and those shoulders!  Always impressive is that bit in the routines where the gymnast sits, lifts his straight legs back through his arms and goes into a handstand.

Now we do plenty of sit-ups and core strength in training, and were told that if you can do the sit-to-lift handstands then you have Ultimate Abs.  How hard can it be?  Instructor Adam Prout was (once again) our willing guinea pig. Read More

This entry is part 5 of 11 in the series Training challenges

Earthbound beings that we are, our hinge-like joints and large leg muscles allow us to defy gravity and reach new heights. In theory. Once we leave childhood behind, most of us stick to the earth as though it is a mark of adulthood.  But among us there are secret jumpers, people who try to rediscover the joy of transient weightlessness.

Here is one of them.

“A confession.

Er, hi.

My name is Dave, and I’m forty-four. And a quarter. Read More

This entry is part 6 of 11 in the series Training challenges

It’s not exercise but resisting gravity that gives us big muscles. That’s why astronauts can’t punch their way out of a paper bag when they land back on earth¹.  After a few recent adventures with FWC Hammersmith Instructor Adam Prout, I started to hear, “Ask Adam to do more crazy stuff”. Now, dear students, that is somewhat missing the point.  Adam is not a Crash Test Dummy, he’s a Kung Fu Instructor. Nor is he (totally) reckless. But he loves a challenge. And Britain has an astronaut in space. Let’s put Adam to the test again. Read More

This entry is part 7 of 11 in the series Training challenges

“Why can’t you stay rock-solid in a correct horse stance? It’s like a game, every time I turn around you all pop back up again!”  asks Chief Instructor Dennis. And here we go once more with the “how hard can it be?” question. How hard can it be to have an excellent horse stance and maintain it through an entire training session? Or a week-long Instructor Training Camp? As promised last week, Adam tells his story:

“How many times has your Instructor told you your stance is “not quite good enough” aka “rubbish”?

I’m betting not as often as mine. Chief Instructor Dennis has 18 years’ worth of telling me. Tired of correcting our stances (I’m including walking stance here), he told us Instructors to attach ropes to 2 sticks of bamboo about forearm length, and tie (tightly) the ropes around our ankles and the top of our thighs.  With the sticks tied in place you cannot stand up straight and you cannot squat. You have two choices, stay in horse/walking stance, or lie down. This device is why I am standing in the North Terminal of Gatwick Airport booked on a flight to Hurghada for the one week Instructor Training Camp, and wondering what I’m going to say if security ask what’s in my bag. It turns out that sticks with ropes are not on the banned list for Egypt. So now I can look forward to a week of self-directed learning. Read More

This entry is part 8 of 11 in the series Training challenges

It started with an exercise challenge from a sports magazine – “Wonder if Death by Burpees is as hard as it sounds?”.  A few months later and here we are in a cutting-edge facility in Cambridge University with Adam exercised to exhaustion, wired up to an ECG and having his blood pressure monitored whilst he does “cognitive” tests. What is going on? You see, there is nothing like ramping things up – we just can’t help ourselves.  It’s Kung Fu that does it – you start training after a bit of a confrontation or being bullied by someone, and before you know it you’re in an open category full-contact competition being disqualified for hitting too hard (we still miss you, Dave B).

But back to our very own lab-rat, FWC Instructor, Adam Prout. I was reading in the New Scientist about the brain’s ability to stop you trying before you’ve reached your full physical capacity for work. Hmmm, know that feeling, when you think you can’t take any more, give up and then realise you could have carried on.  Read More

This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Training challenges

It’s an Olympic year – hurrah!  Love all those fit muscular athletes gracing our screens – the tears, the triumphs, the upsets… “But you’re surrounded by fit muscular athletes all the time” complains a friend.  Well, yes I suppose so, sort of.  And what are fit muscular people obsessed by?  “What’s your VO2 Max?”  What is a VO2 max?” Read More

This entry is part 10 of 11 in the series Training challenges

You may or may not consider this to be good news but according to the British Medical Journal skinny thighs are bad for us¹. People with skinny legs have higher mortality regardless of other factors such as their BMI, whether they smoke, or have high blood pressure. As someone who struggles to find jeans that fit my horse-stance thighs without leaving a gaping space around my whip-power waist I realise that this may mean wearing unfashionable jeans for longer. But, as they say, “Size doesn’t matter, it’s what you do with it that counts.” So if you want to know what all that leg-strength can do, here is FWC Instructor Dave Courtney Jones with an update on what he’s been doing with his.

“Further to writing about my secret jumping habit back in January, I have been continuing my work on the Kung Fu Art of Weightlessness since. For you Fujian White Crane Kung Fu students, jumping will become a part of your daily life round about the point you learn fifth pattern (if not before), and is a major factor in developing that elusive weightlessness that every Kung Fu stylist wants to achieve.

This year I have (after two, or is it three, years’ work?) completed learning the Luohan Golden Staff pattern, and jumping features large in it. Realising that my pattern was never going to cut it unless I improved my leg spring power I started working on my jumps with renewed vigour Read More

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series Training challenges

The World Eskimo Indian Olympics: Event – Kneel Jump. The current World Records are 67 inches for men and 55½ inches for women.  Equipment needed to attempt World Record at Eskimo Indian Kneel Jump – masking tape, tape measure. Three jumps each. How hard can it be?

World Eskimo Indian Olympics? Missed it on the BBC this summer?

There’s Olympics and then there’s the World Eskimo Indian Olympics. Whilst many of the summer Olympics events appear far removed from their origins, the Eskimo Indian Olympics hold true to the many hunting and survival skills needed and valued by their community.  There are many to try, but this one caught our eye – the Kneel Jump. Described as the “Ultimate Test of Core Strength” – we could not resist.

Kneel jump – how do I do it?

The athlete kneels behind the start line, with the tops of their feet flat on the floor.  From there they lift themselves up and forward as far as they can go, landing flat on their feet. The distance is measured to the back of the heel closest to the start line.

First up was Instructor Adam Prout. Well-known amongst you as resident daredevil and tryer of training challenges, Adam was ready to have a go at that World Record. I laid out three sparring mats to provide some knee protection, a tape measure and taped a starting line, marked the World Record and the 2016 winning jump.

Go on then, Adam, jump.

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