Internal Power and Cardio Health


Students regularly ask me if they have to stop doing cardio or strength training in order to gain 'Internal Power'.

This is an excellent question that touches on every aspect of our training. I'll be succinct.

Authentic Chinese Internal Martial Arts are battlefield arts. If you become winded on the battlefield, you're dead. This goes against the first principle of training for health and long life.

The question is then how to 'Maintain our anaerobic threshold and increase our physical capacities?'

Here's how I do it:

  1. Never Gas: The most important limit to respect with each cardio or strength training session is to stay below the anaerobic threshold. Only touch the envelope, never break through. Over time your limit will raise. Lactic acidosis and other effects of anaerobic training are not helpful for heath maintenance.
  2. Maintain Discipline: If you choose running, swimming or any other vigorous physical activity, focus on maintaining the specific sensations developed through practice. Keep in mind that running for heath, it has been found, is better in short bursts up to medium distances. Running long distances can have profound long term negative health effects.
  3. Partner Training: Find a partner who is willing to play. Carefully mind the anaerobic threshold. Stay as near the limit without moving beyond for as long as possible. You will eventually be able to play longer and without getting winded.
  4. Be Creative: Explore ways to test your limits. Use heavy weapons. Skip rope. Do bodyweight exercises. Labor. Work the heavy bag. Do drills and formwork fast with fajin. Plan for recovery. Enjoy life!


torso inside