Monday 1 September 2014

September: Shaolin Warrior Workout

Read Also: 2 Weeks & 5 Weeks

Fun Rating: ★★★★☆    Difficulty Rating: ★★★★☆     Results Rating: ★★★☆☆

   I'm returning to the more unusual workouts this month. I can't remember what made me think of it, but I've always loved martial arts, I find them so impressive, particularly Kung Fu, which is a form of martial arts based on the form of animals. That's enchanting, to me. I've wanted to learn it for so long but I've never been brave enough so I've never even tried to find a class even out of curiosity. I was interested in Karate too, but there was a girl in my high school who I didn't really like who did it and it put me off. She was so pretentious about it, and she actually used it, mind you, or at least the strength she gained from it. If you went to tease her by nudging her pencil case a little (yes, I know, it's extremely childish, but we were all good friends at the time and it was never meant in a mean way and I'm certain we all knew that) she would kind of chop at your arm, and it wasn't a playful, jokey chop either, there was force behind it and it hurt every time.
   Ahem. Yes, so she sort of put me off of that. I also admit, though, that I don't think I'd know karate if I saw it, there are so many different kinds of martial arts. Kung Fu, however, I think I would know a move or two if I saw it.

   Well, I was curious one day, so I went on amazon, not expecting to find anything remotely close to what I wanted in the DVDs section, so imagine my surprise when I came across a small range of workout DVDs called 'Shaolin Workout'.
   They're expensive, yes, but they all have pretty good reviews, and after a little bit of deeper research, my single concerned was alleviated: the instructor is a true Shaolin monk from China, Shifu Yan Lei. The reason this was a concern was because I didn't think it would be quite as accurate or authentic from someone from the West. Call me racist, but I don't mean it in any bad kind of way, like I said, with a true monk as a trainer the workout would be more accurate.

   Now, I know what you're thinking: this isn't going to be easy. Well, good. I don't want it to be. You're probably now thinking: no, seriously Kim, it really isn't going to be easy. I say bring it on.
   My new year's resolution was to find new workouts every month to stave off plateaus and to try new things, keeping working out from becoming a chore, and it's by embracing these kinds of interests that keeps it fun.

   I bought Shaolin Warrior Workout, Volume One: Beginner. It claims that you need no previous experience in martial arts, and the DVD is 60 minutes long, complete with warm up and cool down. Like I've suggested, I know it's going to be hard, I honestly do, but I want the challenge and the experience, I really want to give it a go, and this it the best there is without taking actual classes - though I think if it goes well I might consider that.
   There are two other Shaolin Warrior Workout DVDs - Intermediate and Advanced - and there are about 6 other DVDs from the same Shifu and production company, including Qigong - the slow form that helps to slow the mind - and DVDs specialising in punches and kicks. I'm hoping that I'll get on well enough with this DVD to try one of the other two levels at some point, but I'm not going to let myself race ahead with that yet. This is possibly going to be one of the hardest workouts I've chosen, so I'm going to be patient with it, too. Fortunately I've done enough yoga and strength training to make this a tiny bit easier for myself, and I'm hoping that some of the kickboxing from last month will help me out, too. But only time will tell.

   As always, I'll update in 2 weeks with my impressions and progress, and two weeks after that again.


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