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Friday, 12 September 2014

Shaolin Warrior Workout: 2 Weeks Later

   The Shaolin Warrior Workout is amazing. As I said before I started, I didn't expect it to be easy at all, and I was right: it's not easy. But I didn't even expect it to be doable, and it was. It takes some concentration to make sure you maintain your form, and a little bit of flexibility, but after having started doing yoga several months ago, even before my month of Yoga Meltdown, I am a little looser and my legs are a little stronger than they would have been otherwise, and that's made learning, sinking into and holding the stances easier for me, too. So I do have a slight advantage, but that still only comes from about 4 months of casual yoga and 1 month solid.

   Having done kickboxing I've also found I have a slight advantage in the punches and kicks, too, but that's not to say that any of it is easy. The DVD is broken down into 8 sections not counting the warm up and the introduction, but so far I have only been able to use 3 of those sections - the stamina training, basic stances and punches, and combination training. I spent the first day alone going over the stances - like the Irish Stepdance workout I did back in June, this consisted of replaying the first 2.5-3 minutes of a single chapter. However, I gained a good workout from that alone, to be honest, and I'm quite confident in my stances now. I can only hold them for about a minute - some, like the ma bu and gong bu a little longer, and others, like the pu bu a lot less, but I am familiar enough with them.

   Once I had taken the time to learn the stances, I was able to move on with that same chapter of the DVD to the actual punches and body movement, and I managed to pull my left tricep immediately. Oops. It was my own fault and I knew it had happened the moment I threw a single awkward punch. Lesson learned. But suffice it to say that the punches certainly helped to raise the heartrate, and when I moved onto combination training I got an even better workout.
   The warm up also gets into more muscles than I knew I had, and while I would certainly recommend doing a little bit of cardio before the workout to make certain that your muscles are warm enough to do what needs to be done, the warm up really does loosen you up.

   I've been doing it for two weeks now, and I'm building my confidence with it. I certainly can't keep up with them all when they're speeding up their punches and body movements, but I'm quite proud of what I can do. I'm quite confident that, like a few of my DVDs, I won't make it to the end of this workout by the end of the month. I don't like to progress onto new chapters of the DVD unless I'm happy with what comes first. If I can't do it, I won't move on until I can, because it surely only gets harder from then onwards, unless the move is just impossible. There were a few jumps in the Irish Stepdance workout that I just could not figure out no matter how many times I tried and I had no choice but to move past those, but I'll only do that if I really must, and I can't get my mind to work over my body. However, at this point, while I've not yet encountered anything in the DVD that I've not been able to overcome (I'm still in the early stages, of course), I do believe that both of the other Shaolin Warrior Workout DVDs will serve to cover another month of workouts each - and they also lead me to believe that a few of the other Yan Lei DVDs I've been looking at might well be worth the time as well.

   Simply put: I love it. It's fun, it's different, and it gives me the cardio and body weight training moves I need. The Shifu's English isn't perfect, no, but you get used to it, and the more you use the DVD the easier it becomes, and because moves are demonstrated as well as explained. There are no problems, as far as I can see. At this point, I recommend it! But we'll see if any of that changes in the next two weeks...



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