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The Birthplace of Shaolin Kung Fu

The best place in the world to study Kung Fu is the Shaolin Temple in China. This temple is considered the birthplace of Kung Fu and its age-old training techniques are grueling and allow students to master the material and immaterial worlds. Read more to know about the birthplace of shaolin kung fu.



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Fifteen Little Known Facts About the Martial Arts

Each year in the United States, about 3.6 million people participate in martial arts classes. In fact, there are more martial arts schools in the U.S. than in any other country in the world. Read more to know fifteen little known facts about the martial arts.

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Meditation and the Quest for Wealth

Meditation means different things to different people. If you are searching for inner peace or personal wealth, the energy of Shaolin meditation as part of your Kung Fu practice can help you achieve that which you desire. Read to know about meditation and the quest for wealth

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Why Slow and Steady is the Way to Master the Art of Kung Fu

The title of Kung Fu Master is an impressive one. Who wouldn’t want to be one? Especially when you consider what a true Kung Fu Master is: an individual with great experience in skills, knowledge and perfection of the art.  Read more to know why slow and steady is the way to master the art of kung fu

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The Importance of Embryonic Breathing When Meditating

In many communities in China, meditation means to sit quietly and achieve a calm state. The goal of this type of meditation is to achieve, quite literally, peace of mind. Read more to know the importance of embryonic breathing when meditating.

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The Many Benefits of Martial Arts for Older Adults

Many senior citizens will tell you that it can be difficult to find new activities and interests after they retire. While many seniors believe that it is too late for them to begin any type of physical activity, nothing could be further from the truth.  Read more to know the benefis of martial arts for older adults.

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How Kung Fu Builds Family Unity

Today’s families are busier than ever and carving out time to be together can be difficult. This is especially true when parents and children each have their own unique schedules and activities. But what if there was an activity that all of you could enjoy and one which would benefit every member of the family?  Read more to know about  how kung fu builds family unity

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Five Ways the Martial Arts Increase Self-Confidence

It is very common for a person to feel insecure from time to time, especially during periods of extreme stress or when significant life changes are taking place. However, what is neither common—nor healthy—is for a person to always feel insecure or suffer from low self-esteem. In this article Reggie Zephyrin shows us how Martial Arts increase self-confidence in five ways.

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Martial Arts Enjoy Low Rate of Injuries

The benefits of the martial arts are well-documented. In addition to its many physical benefits, the martial arts also allows for greater mental concentration and provides stress relief.

When trained by an expert, there is a very low rate of injury associated with the martial arts, especially when compared with other contact sports. Further, most injuries sustained as the result of martial arts training are relatively mild. The most common injuries include the following:

  1. Cuts and bruises
  2. Sprains and strains
  3. Knee injuries
  4. Dislocations and fractures
  5. Overuse injuries

When trained correctly, these injuries are generally very avoidable. This is because a well-qualified instructor will take into account a student’s experience during training and would never recommend, for example, a hard-core workout to a beginner in poor physical condition. Further, since many injuries are caused by poor technique and use of excessive force or overtraining, a quality instructor will prevent such issues. Such an instructor also will guide you through proper warm up and cool down techniques.

However, there will be times when you are practicing on your own without your instructor present. During these times it is vital that you abide by the following safety precautions:

  • Always obey the rules of your particular martial art
  • If you believe your technique is wrong, don’t continue until you can seek the advice of an experienced instructor
  • Wear appropriate clothing and, if necessary, protective equipment
  • Use your peripheral vision
  • Do not try to train through pain

If you find yourself in pain or injured it is important to stop what you are doing so that you do not cause additional damage and then seek proper treatment. Remember, the earlier a sprain or strain is diagnosed, the faster it will heal and you can get back to training. Likewise, avoid resuming your training until you have recovered fully from your injury.

Most soft tissue injuries, including sprains, strains and bruises, can be treated with the R.I.C.E. method, or rest, ice, compression and elevation. For the first day or two following an injury it is important to rest the affected area. Forty-eight hours following an injury apply ice to the area for 20 minutes every three to four hours. Compress a sprain or strain using a bandage but never wrap it so tight as to cut off circulation. Finally, elevate the injured area higher than your heart if possible.

The martial arts are great for your mental and physical well-being. Thankfully, they also have a very low injury rate and when injuries do occur they are usually quite mild.




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Caring for Mind and Body Following a Shaolin Kung Fu Training Session

If you are interested in kung fu or have just begun training, you are likely excited about all this discipline has to offer. Unfortunately, many students get so involved in training to be the best martial artist possible that they fail to take proper care of themselves after each training session.

Mastering your kung fu skills is important, but equally important is knowing how to take care of yourself following a training session so that you remain as healthy as possible. And staying healthy is the only way you will continue to improve at kung fu.

What follows are some guidelines for caring your mind and body following a training session:

  1. Cool Down. After a training session you are likely to be sweaty and hot. At times like this a refreshing shower sounds ideal. However, a hot or warm shower is the best way to go since it will decrease the likelihood of catching a cold or some other illness. Immediately after training you should always dry your body with a towel and avoid fans or air conditioners. It also is recommended that you complete cooling down exercises at the end of a training session so that you can return your heart rate to normal and aid in your body’s recovery.?
  2. Rehydrate. Again, cold water is not recommended after a workout. This includes drinking ice water. Instead, opt for water that is at room temperature. While a tall glass of ice cold water may sound good, it is not best for your body because it can lead to colds or other illnesses. Don’t forgo water altogether, however. Your body loses a great deal of water during training so you need to replenish it.
  3. Relax and Reenergize. Training will sap you of a great deal of energy. Tapping on certain of your body’s acupoints is an excellent way to relax and reenergize. It also will allow you to regain some energy. If you are unsure what acupoints to concentrate on, you should ask your Shaolin Kung Fu instructor for guidance.
  4. Mediate. Meditation is an excellent way to calm your mind and increase awareness. Following kung fu practice, meditation will allow you to focus on your practice. Meditation is an essential part of kung fu, allowing you to banish negative thoughts and gain mental strength. If you have never meditated before, be patient with yourself as it takes time to be able to control your thoughts and get the most out of meditation.

Kung fu can do wonders for your mind, body and spirit. Make sure you get the most out of this practice by taking proper care of yourself following every session.


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Can the Martial Arts Help Combat Insomnia?

Sleep plays an important role in your mental and physical health. It’s a critical process that allows the body to function and remain healthy. In the short term, lack of sleep can affect your mind and thought-processes while ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease and stroke.

If you suffer from insomnia or poor-quality sleep, you may have tried everything from a new mattress to prescription strength sleep aids. One thing you may not have thought of, however, is the martial arts. While the martial arts may not immediately spring to mind when it comes to cures for insomnia, disciplines such as Kung Fu, can go a long way toward a better night’s rest. Here’s why:

  1. It improves sleep quality. Powering through your training allows you to push yourself harder—mentally and physically. Research shows that exercise helps you fall asleep faster and stay asleep.
  2. It increases energy levels. Regular and hard core workouts such as those performed as part of martial arts training helps to reduce daytime sleepiness and spikes energy levels. This means you will be less likely to require an afternoon nap.
  3. It reduces stress levels. It can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep if you are stressed out all of the time. Martial arts classes not only allow you to release any negative energy you have built up, it also boosts your body’s production of endorphins. Both of these things will help to relieve stress and get a better night’s sleep.
  4. It encourages healthy choices. When you are tired during the day, you compensate by eating fatty and sugary foods to try to get a boost of energy. Of course, as we all know, this backfires and causes you to feel more sluggish. It also sets up a vicious cycle. Studies show that individuals who exercise on regular basis are more likely to eat a well-balanced diet than those who don’t. And when your body is fueled by the right kind of foods, you sleep better at night.

Poor sleep is often a symptom of a larger problem of not taking proper care of your body. The martial arts are a wonderful way to make sure that you do just that. And that is certain to help you sleep better at night!



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Veterans Experience the Healing Powers of the Martial Arts

Helping veterans cope with the effects of war can be a daunting challenge. The Veterans Administration reports that every day in America, 22 veterans commit suicide. Many of these individuals are believed to have suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a condition that impacts a person’s ability to function and can lead to other psychiatric problems such as alcoholism and drug addiction. Researchers around the nation are looking for ways to help veterans deal with PTSD and other mental and physical issues related to their war-time experiences. One method that is gaining in popularity is the martial arts.

Medical experts admit there aren’t a lot of promising therapies out there. Intense therapy and medication are used but their success rates are low. That’s why medical professionals are excited about studies and anecdotal accounts that demonstrate martial arts to be a promising treatment.

One such study showed that the PTSD score of veterans suffering from the disorder who practiced martial arts improved considerably over traditional therapeutic methods. Many veterans report a reduction in headaches and insomnia when they consistently practice the martial arts.

Many martial arts instructors report that the veterans who come to their classes are able to achieve a balance and sense of mental and physical well-being as a result of training. Further, veterans—like any other martial arts student—experience a reduction in stress and anxiety. It also helps them to release aggression in a healthy and disciplined manner while providing a renewed sense of purpose.

Participating in the martial arts also provides veterans structure and a sense of camaraderie that was so much a part of their lives in the armed forces. Veterans who meet in martial arts classes are likely to form bonds in and out of class. They socialize after class, as well, often heading to a smoothie joint as opposed to a bar.

When veterans regularly attend martial arts classes, they report feeling better equipped to fight through hardships and focus on building a positive life. It also provides them with a feeling of pride.

Here are just some of the ways mental health experts and martial arts instructors believe the martial arts can benefit veterans suffering from PTSD:

  1. Allows veterans to express and process emotion
  2. Helps to establish boundaries
  3. Promotes relaxation
  4. Connects the mind and the body
  5. Encourages self-care
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Kung-Fu Helps Physically Disabled to Protect Themselves

Millions of Americans live with some sort of physical disability. Despite this fact, it wasn’t too long ago that a person with physical disabilities would have a difficult time finding a martial arts class that he or she could participate in. Thankfully, times have changed, and many disabled individuals are not just enrolling in martial arts training, they are excelling in it.

While the benefits of martial arts training are numerous, one of the most significant benefits is that it allows disabled individuals the ability to learn how to defend themselves. This is important in light of the unfortunate fact that many criminals see the disabled as easy targets for crime. According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice, men with disabilities are twice as likely to be attacked as men who do not use wheelchairs and women with disabilities are three times more likely to be attacked.

Martial arts, such as Kung-Fu, allows the physically disabled to be anything but targets! Kung-Fu helps individuals with disabilities gain the self-confidence and physical skills to deal with all types of hazards and risks.

Kung-Fu helps the physically disabled develop a keen understanding of prevention, psychological defense and assertive communication methods before they attempt a physical defense. However, it also ensures they do not underestimate their ability to physically protect themselves from attacks. Many disabled individuals can defend themselves with just one or two moves. By employing these moves, they have enough time to escape, secure help or alert others to their situation.

One reason Kung-Fu is ideally suited to helping the disabled protect themselves is its emphasis on outsmarting an opponent. Its routines also train the mind to instantly react to any situation while setting in motion physical patterns to thwart would-be attackers.

While in many cases, running away from danger is the best course of action, many people with physical disabilities—those in wheelchairs, for example—don’t have that option. Thankfully, Kung-Fu offers these individuals a way to protect themselves regardless of their disability.

Of course, marital arts for the disabled is therapeutic, as well. It helps to improve coordination, strength and motor functions. While it can take a significant amount of time, with commitment and dedication, the rewards are substantial. The martial arts develop new abilities, foster a positive outlook, increase self-control and reduce anxiety.





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Six Unconventional Ways to Combat Depression

More than 600 million people around the world suffer from depression and the World Health Organization predicts that by 2020, it will be the second overall cause of disability for individuals across the globe. And depression is nothing new. It is one of the oldest diseases classified in the history of medicine.

Of course, seeking treatment from a mental health professional is critical for an individual coping with the often-debilitating effects of depression but there are other unexpected ways to deal with the disease, as well. What follows are some unconventional, but promising, methods people have found to help ease depression.

  1. Animal Therapy. Spending time with pets has been shown to ease anxiety and emotional stress. Animal therapy has been recognized by the National Institute of Health as a type of psychotherapy for depression.
  2. Art Therapy. Artistic expression has been shown to help depression. The healing arts include things like drawing, painting, sculpting, as well as dance and music therapy. Art therapy allows people to connect with their depression and its underlying issues at a deeper level.
  3. Do Unto Others. It may seem cliché but finding ways to help others really does get your mind off of yourself. Volunteering at a homeless shelter is one example but it doesn’t have to be a formal commitment. Visiting with an elderly neighbor or calling someone you know that is having a rough time at work, for example, are simple and immediate ways to reach out.
  4. Journaling. Documenting feelings in a manner which is completely private can help a person to get their feelings out without worrying about being judged. Looking back on a journal also can help to pinpoint particular triggers that caused you to feel more depressed or things that lessened those feelings.
  5. Laugh It Up. Laugher really can be the best medicine. Medical experts tell us that laughter decreases stress hormones and increases immune cells and infection-fighting antibodies that actually improve disease resistance. So, watch a funny movie or call a friend who always keeps you in stitches.
  6. Martial Arts. Breathing techniques such as the Kung Fu method referred to as -chi kung, can help with depression. Such breathing techniques help those suffering from depression calm down and enter a relaxed state of mind.

Depression is a serious disease that needs to be addressed and treated by mental health care professionals. However, many in the health care industry and those who suffer from depression will tell you that there is more than one way to combat it. And sometimes a multi-pronged approach works best.


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Why Kung-Fu Self-Defense Techniques Come So Naturally

If you are considering taking a martial arts class to learn self-defense techniques, this is a great idea. In today’s increasingly violent world, it is important to know how to protect yourself. One of the most popular and effective ways to protect yourself is through the practice of Kung Fu.

Even if you have never stepped into a Kung Fu studio, chances are you know more about the discipline than you might think. In fact, many of the most basic self-defense moves have their roots in Kung Fu. That’s just one of the many ways you can be sure that if you want to learn how to defend yourself, there is no better way to do that than by practicing the art of Kung Fu.

So, what are the go-to Kung Fu moves that police and other self-defense experts use? Read on to learn about the four most popular ones. Chances are, you have heard of them or seen them in action yourself!

  1. Melon Eye-Gouge. Ever picked up a melon in the grocery aisle to check for ripeness? Then you have the basics moves down to stick your thumbs in a would-be attacker’s eyes.
  2. Push-Up Chest Strike. Push-ups are a great training ground for a chest strike. And when put into action with the melon eye-gouge above, you pack a one-two punch. If an attacker grabs you by the front of your shirt, use the eye-gouge technique. That will cause your attacker to grab his face while you do a push-up on his chest. The strength of your push-up blow will knock that attacker several feet while you run to safety.
  3. Seat Belt Elbow. You know how you reach across your body to grab your seat belt. That’s the same as throwing a right elbow. The key is to do it as quickly as possible. The faster you throw an elbow, the more force that blow will pack. Want to train your left elbow? Mimic the seat belt fastening move you make when you are riding in the passenger seat.
  4. Stair-Climb Groin Kick. Simply lifting your left as you would to climb a set of stairs and then knee your would-be attacker in the groin.

You may be surprised how ingrained these movements already are in your mind and your muscles. But it really shouldn’t come as any surprise at all since you do most of these actions on a regular basis without even noticing. Who knew they could help protect yourself, as well?

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