Sunday, April 07, 2013

a silent strongman speaks out

this post is purely for the martial minded, highly energetic readers who don't mind subjecting themselves to some pain and don't find such indulgences sadistic.. just challenging.

its been in the dry docks for many hours together. hence ended up quite big. if readers get bored, head on to the last for some juicy philosophy instead :P

i wonder if people out there know these things or not. anyway i share what i know..

you ever tried punching walls? if so, have you reached a point where pain doesn't appear until a good amount of blows? and mind it, punch on the columns of the wall for your good and for the good of the building you are in(telling this based on some bad experiences).

well, you might observe that during and after these exercises your knuckles would get bigger and pointier. this is because the bone fractures inside on impact and then reforms as bigger formations with tighter connections. this makes your bones much stronger than their original form and often allows you to surpass the normal resistance levels obtained by natural properties. I have very pointy and tough knuckles, especially on the middle fingers.

a down side of these hard hands is that, it would become next to impossible to take innocent jabs at your friend's fat tummy without making them cry with serious pain. its really true what spiderman said about power. :( restraint and patience. you need to bring them along when imbibing such strength into yourself.

anyways, that part is always there for us strong men of the world to handle. lets get on with our stuff..

i don't know how many of us natural strong men go to gyms to maintain and condition the body. atleast those stuck in the lazy IT industry which involves almost no action should be continuously upto something to live our 'natural' lives. but I don't fancy gyms. i kinda feel bad being in there. maybe i didnt find the right reason or trainer yet. well, I haven't even tried to :) thats the least my ego can do for me :D

but its very necessary to not lose the various strengths of our bodies. it is not just about being presentable.  its about being comfortable, being full of our energies and upto the task when the time comes. and each one of us has a reason to stay strong. lets remember them as they are the flames of our passion for strength.

another key strength point is the forearm. it helps in our day-to-day tasks. strong hands help in umpteen ways. also the arms are part of the body that is mostly visible to others and people form impressions based on appearance of the upper body. but leaving the appearance part, a fully functional and powerful upper body is key to any practitioner. from power abs to help you balance weights and lift yourself ,to strong fingers for tight grips, each part along the upper body plays an important part.

sometimes you can't tap the complete potential of one part without developing another. to know of such key points and train accordingly is where you need expert support of trainer and equipments. but these need not come from traditional gym environment either. as I have been always looking for alternatives to a gym, I know quite a few stuff to train myself with ,without too much advice and equipments. thanks to the internet and random things all around us :)

there are lots of simple things you can do if you are lazy as I am. stretch a lot whenever you feel like. you should get back to your comfortable level after these stretches. they help relieving pain and stiffness caused by prolonged sitting, laying down etc, which is natural in our sedentary lifestyle. a series of air punches can return the life into your system anytime. punch walls if you have a chance, because they do more for you :D

frequently clench and unclench your fists to strengthen the wrists. check if you are automatically clenching and unclenching your jaws as well. this, as far as I know is a sign of aggression. if you observe such a relation, practice slow clenching of fists to get rid of the connection and after sometime you will yourself being calm even when you clench your fists. also when you get angry you would no longer clench your fists, the way normal people do. that way you suppress one obvious gesture that gives away your intentions. very useful during street arguments :) you obviously need every advantage possible to have.

and for the biceps, triceps and shoulders, all must be knowing the pushups and many such well known exercises out there. i love mixing them with some extra moves to make em difficult so that instead of repeating them, i end up exerting same effort by doing just a few. talk about laziness being the mother of innovation. but right now, I am not sure if repeating simple exercises is better than doing a few complex ones.

my understanding of the body, its functions and its limitations come from the Ayurveda and the Eastern martial arts areas. The modern workout practices, as with most things modern focus on exterior and individual aspects, without considering a holistic view. A select few trainers understand the body well, and they lavishly mix concepts from East and West to customize workouts as per individual person's body and character. I wish some such trainer would come by and make me a superhero martial artist.. sigh..

the various forms of Kung Fu use the knowledge of the body to train the various parts rigorously. Although the various styles differ in many aspects and you have to find the right style to suit your body and personality type, they all involve lot of common work outs. The same goes for Yoga, which has umpteen variations. Even all the well known and not-so-well-known martial arts and healing practices stem from the basic concepts. Knowing one allows you to tap into the larger cauldron eventually. I am sure not many are aware of such variations. Yoga is not just about stretching,bending and breathing on yoga mats with meditation. Kungfu is not just about flying,kicking and fast moves that take the breath away. There are lesser known forms of the two where the roles are reversed.

I realize this is such a vast topic and stuff keeps coming out of my head continuously. Alright, moving on..

Abs. Now there isn't a single part of the body more closely scrutinized and lauded than this in terms of fitness. Six packs and eight packs are the definitions for fitness nowadays. Nothing less matters. I say that is a bag of dogshit. Pardon my language, but such narrow views only damage the ability and motivation for many of us to remain healthy. Please don't follow wealthy celebs in building bodies. They get paid and their entire lives depends on their looks and appearances. Lets not get our heads too high. If you already have good abs, then its good for you. Focus on other aspects of health too :)

If your abs allow you to balance your upper body against the lower and perform movements and stuff you love to, you have done enough to strengthen it. Let another layer of fat remain on top of it, if you like. Don't you sacrifice your favourite dish for that. :-)

To strengthen it, do only the crunches of various kinds. Anything that places load and pressure on the abs point also helps. Its fun to exercise your abs. I am testament to the fact that you can have rock hard abs under layers of fat tummy :)

Next comes my focal point, the lower body. Starting with the strong thigh,stable knees,big calf muscles and flexible ankles plus rigid foot. Its a killer combination! Legs are everything. They propel, they balance, they give you poise, they help you climb over anything, kick open stuff, break things and what not!
A mountaineer lives and dies by the strength of his toes,calves and every single part of his legs. A wrong twitch can end everything for him/her. A footballer, a cyclist, a martial artist, a dancer, and what not. Everything we do involves our legs. Losing it, thereby is the largest blow that can be given to someone. Pray no one gets such a punishment.

As a mountaineer,hiker,cyclist and a martial artist, I too love my legs. Among the parts of my body, I have always been partial to my legs. Hence they are still strong after years of relative inactivity. Recent cycling adventures helped regain the lost endurance. But they need to be regularly used and kept well oiled like rifles for perfect action.

Weak points are the knees and the ankles. They get bent,sprained, broken or swollen easily with impact. Such injuries can render you useless and prone to mortal danger. Hence always take good care of your feet. Run, exercise, lift weights on your feet, stretch, kick, do whatever you want to keep them in good 'running' condition.

Stances which involve balancing your body weight on individual legs, the knees or the ankles and toes are some basic stuff which can significantly increase their reliability on the field. And you don't need special time or equipments for any of these. That is another reason why I fancy leg training. Even sitting in the traditional Indian way is very good for the legs.

You can walk on your toes occasionally for fun and training the tendons.
Run occasionally. Jog. Hang by your legs.
Take longer strides than usual while walking. Walk fast. Walk really slow.
Hop over tiles, jump over obstacles instead of climbing over.
Kick things at different heights, kick backwards, kick sidewards.
Bend you leg backwards, lying down and with your arms bring them over your shoulders.
Bend your legs and touch your shoulders with your knees.
Jump up so that you can hit your palms kept at face level with our knees.
Do splits.
Jump over low walls.
Sit on slightly tall tools by springing onto it than climbing.
Cycle. Climb rocks. Climb really tall peaks.
Climb a vertical wall use bare hands and foot..
Raise your right leg 90 deg to right and hold it for long.
Raise it forward and hold it longer.
and many many more :-)

phew. been writing this from morning! i think i had enough, and I assume that you too have. if you have read till here with interest, then contact me. We can train together :)

nowadays people don't respect strength. they only end up fearing strength. i hate the kind of strength that can only inspire fear and no respect. such a strength is caused not by pure strength, but when weakness causes you to use your only strength and impose your will upon people with lesser strength. I can only see the pure strength in select few, and the number of such people are dwindling. I think the older generation had more understanding of such a strength. I find such references in lots of characters and stories from various books etc.  and idolize them.

To be a real strong man, you don't just have to have large muscles and lots of physical strength. Even with a little less of it, what you need most is a large heart to accommodate people with all their imperfections and hateful views. A strong man should be able to take it all in and give out good vibes. He/she should be the filter that cleans things around them. It takes time to become one and the path is full of struggle, pain and isolation. I am on the way I believe and I have seen many others too. Believe we will meet up sometime :-)

PS: Here, by using the word 'strong man' , I don't intend to isolate women from this role. In fact strong women are more common than strong men.

Refer to this article from Lifehacker for some very useful follow-up information from a more credible source about things I have spoken about here  :-)

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