The benefits of true Shaolin Kung Fu training are absolutely incredible. The key to gaining all these benefits, of course, are to do the training properly. After all, you could have the choicest hunk of meat in the world, but cook it improperly and you’ll have a charcoal mess.
When one is learning the movements one should make sure that the body is moved as one unit. Six Harmonies Boxing is fond of advocating that one should move the fist with the foot, the knee with the elbow, and the hips with the shoulders. This is sound advice, which tends to isolate body parts even as it brings them together.
As for the hands and feet, one should step or twist into a stance in conjunction with the starting and stopping of the hand movement. For the knees and elbows, one should properly align the body when doing any movement. For the hips and shoulderes, move them together and you will be putting all your body weight into whatever motion you are doing.
Second of the three points of Shaolin Kung Fu training is to use the waist when turning. This advice begins where the advice about shoulders and hips ends. The point here is to use the waist to turn the body, don’t turn the limbs first and expect the body to follow.
If you move the limbs first, the body weight is following, instead of projecting, and this tends to separate weight from action. Separating weight from action robs the strike or block of any real power. If one studies this concept, and applies it diligently, they will end up developing the chi power for which shaolin kung fu is so famous.
Last of the three advices has to do with proper breathing. There is a general rule that one should breath in when the body contracts, and out when the body expands, but there is more to it than just that. One must breath, and use that breath to guide awareness into the body part being used.
To make this happen one should ‘swim with awareness’ when moving the body. This means to push the hands as if moving great weights, sometimes looking like one is swimming through molasses. Of course, this last is more in tune with some of the internal manifestations of Shaolin Kung Fu training, but that is okay.
In conclusion, these are three very important items that many people neglect, or simply just don’t understand. Yet they are key to one’s real progress in the martial arts disciplines. Harmonize the body parts, use the whole body, and put breath awareness into your movements, that is the simple and obvious secret of true Shaolin Kung Fu Training.