Rami's Blog

Like the Yin-Yang, Eastern Martial Arts and Western medicine are two halves of a whole. My mission is to preserve the ancient mind-body tools, and pass them on to you.


Achieving Physical and Mental Balance, Part 3

Last week, we finished up the stretching portion of our Balance-centered mind-body prescription. If you aren't up to date, you can check out part 1 and part 2 here.

This week, we begin the strength portion of the routine with two classic exercises that work your leg and abdominal muscles. In tai chi, there is a key pattern that underlies all of the techniques and movements that we learn, which can be summarized like so:

Force is generated by the legs, directed by the hips, and manifested by the arms.

In the martial arts application of tai chi, a powerful punch is much more about how your legs and hips move than it is about the arm that actually delivers the punch. A truly powerful punch is always delivered from a stable and balanced base. That base is your legs and your hips (and your hips are essentially the point of connection between your leg muscles and your abdominal muscles).

So to develop a balanced, stable base for our body, we must strengthen the legs and the abdominals.

With that in mind, here are the first two exercises you should perform for the strength section of this routine:

  1. Up and Down - The key to this exercise, which helps to build bone density better than just about any other exercise, is to remember that there are two sets that you need to do. First with your legs apart, and then with your legs together. Build up to 30 repetitions of each kind, 3 to 4 times per week.
  2. Sit Ups - Begin with this exercise on a chair if you need to, and then work down to the floor version of the sit ups over time. Build up to 30 repetitions, once every other day.

That's it for this week! Look out next week for the second part of the strength routine.

Happy Stretching!