I thought of this TWICE – last night. And upon waking up too …
Since it’s that important, I figured I’d write to you about it.
In the hit movie Bloodsport, two of the final contenders – well, both of them – Jean Claude Van Damme’s “Frank Dux” and Bolo Yeung’s “Chong Li” are what you’d expect in a “fight to the death” martial arts, no holds barred “dirty” tournament.
Or “black” tournament as it were, held in Hong Kong’s Chungking mansions, in those days even the law wouldn’t go in there until absolutely necessary!
(it was basically a defacto border within Hong Kong – that belonged to china, except China never ever adminstered it, so there it remained, a “grey area” for years, and a den of spies and criminals – and the underworld – and plenty of normal folk as well).
(a place where the sunlight hardly ever permeated!).
Anyway – both impressively muscled, both super quick, with a barrage of different moves, trained in a variety of different fighting styles and arts … both flexible, lean, mean, strong without being bulky, and so forth.
But neither one of them is the BIGGEST – or strongest.
Or, necessarily the most flexible and agile (or well conditioned either).
The prize for “biggest” goes to a a huge mammoth man monster whose so huge he barely looks like a fighter, he lumbers around the ring awkwardly – kicks, punches etc have seemingly no or very little effect upon him – and the one thing you dont want is for him to get a hold to you.
JCVD’s character’s friend in the movie is also fighting in the Kumite, which is what it’s called – and he’s equally massive, and has literally no fighting skills other than his massive bulk to show off.
But when he gets a hold to you – he throws you straight off the tarmac hollering “go home!”
Conditioning and speed, flexibility wise, “monkey man” puts everyone to the shade, he’s a guy that shows up literally moving on his haunches the entire time like a monkey, never stopping for breath, never getting out of breath, and then suddenly exploding out of those positions to land a kick or punch – before back to the squatting position.
Monkey martial arts is hard as heck, my friends, believe me. Just MOVING in that position and jumping about is super tough, let alone fighting in it.
Reminds me of the conversation I had with my buddy from the Marines a while ago, “Rahul, you have these long, strong arms, you need to fight like a monkey!”
(which we were discussing pull-ups, admittedly Ive always had “monkey arms”) …
But neither of the man monsters, nor monkey man makes it to the finals of the tournament, though they get to the advanced rounds admittedly.
Monkey man is finally eliminated by man monster one who finally manages to get a hold to him and cracks his spine in a bear hug.
Bolo Yeung’s character eliminates man monster #2 with a nasty kick to the back of the head which puts him in the hospital.
(one aspect of the movie never explored is “what if the two friends make it to the final” and square off against each other! Which they do in a video game, but thats an interesting aspect I’ve thought of during the movie).
But anyway ….
The two that DO make it to the final – Bolo Yeung and JCVDs character.
Both strong without being “overly bulky”, both impressively lean, both moving around and loosening during their fights – tiger prowls, moving on one leg and so forth …
And the point I’m trying to make here is this.
“too much of anything” or an excess, an imbalance, is never good.
And not necessarily an advantage – often a disadvantage.
I remember a girl Carol once telling me about my many, numerous daily hill climbs…
“You need something else too”.
She wasn’t referring to conditioning etc. She was referring to … well, I dont know, I think she was saying “go swimming” or do other stuff too.
Which she was right in a way.
I admittedly took the hill routine to giddy limits which wasn’t a bad thing in and as of itself, its some of the hardest training you can do out there in the blazing heat, humidity – or freezing cold and rain, or just training wise, period.
But when I dropped down to do pushups, one fine day, which I had been ignoring, I was shocked and amazed to see I could barely do 10 or 15 without it making me super sore!
I got back up to speed quick, of course. That aint the point here though.
Point is, it isn’t the parts that matter, it’s the SUM (of all parts) that matters.
Extreme strength may overcompensate for weaknesses in other areas IF you get a hold of the guy, but you might never be able to do if he moves around and you can’t get a hold to him – and even if you do – if he’s well trained/conditioned, he’ll find a way to get out of the hold most likely.
Same thing for monkey man like extreme speed, flexibility and conditioning.
(while Im not saying this was the case with the character in the movie), its great to be able to move around like that, but if your strikes, punches and kicks dont have much power behind them, you wont do much damage to your opponent.
It’s about understanding that a BALANCE is what counts, that your BREATH is your power, its about understanding that its WHERE and how to strike, its about THINKING while fighting, staying loose, relaxed and calm …
You dont get that sort of fighting strength from sitting on an ass in a gym and pounding curls, my friend. You simply do not.
You get it from doing natural, explosive, ANIMAL like movements.
you get it from moving your body through space – laterally, vertically, and in every possible angle, direction and means.
You get it by understanding and applying the principle of “Your breath is your POWER”.
You get it by doing BODYWEIGHT exercises that build on all of that above and…
… most importantly?
You get it by STRETCHING, loosening and constantly doing it (and strengthening at the same time) – WHILE training, all day long, before, after, all the time.
It ain’t just a “train and forget it” thing.
To be truly lean and flexible, you have to bear the concept in mind ALL day long, and it;s not that hard to do.
The hard thing to do is to knock the concept into most people’s noggins – – that being “stretching and flexibility” ain’t just for Jane Fond and her tribe.
It’s for everyone, it’s HARD training too if you do it right.
Ask JCVD, the guy’s a world class martial artist.
Yet, according to him, the training he did for Bloodsport, which incorporated a HELL of a LOT OF STRETCHING (and conditioning) was some of the hardest training he ever did.
And that stretching and strengthening, along with proper application of your breath and other principles is really puts power behind those kicks, punches, and so forth …
Just doing 500 pushups a day won’t cut it, neither will just doing 100 pull-ups a day – both great goals, both goals you should aspire towards, but you need to remember – stretching and staying loose and limber is key not just to getting fighting strength and being “combat conditioned” as some people say, but to improving your overall health and sense of well being by leaps and bounds (which the last one is what YOU reading this email are most likely concerned with).
And thats why I have put out two great courses on it.
One, Isometric and Flexibility Training – a very well received course.
And one that is, “truly the missing link in your training”.
“Advanced, PROFOUND Isometric and Flexibility Training”
If you dont have either one of these courses, you’re missing out, pally.
You’ll want to get them now if you dont already have them.
And thats the lesson for this one.
Back soon – y’all have a great day!