Research page:Body exercises
- On this page you find a collection of exercises assembled or created by John Eagles. This research page was made in preparation for a regular ERW course. Although the title is 'Body exercises,' many of the exercises are in the field of martial arts. These exercises are however not only meant to increase normal fighting skills, but center on self-defense, general health of the body, and specifically to increase your spiritual fighting abilities.
Analyze your strength and weakness
Based on your experiences of training, make lists of the strong and weak points of your abilities. After this set up a training schedule with specific exercises to overcome your weak points and to maintain your strong abilities. Follow the program you made for yourself during a predetermined period of time.
Back to wall lower back stretch
Watch this video. Video description: One useful lower back stretch is the back to wall exercise. Learn how to do this exercise from a chiropractor.
Back twist stretch
Video description: The back twist stretch is great for the lower back and spine. Learn how to do this back exercise from a chiropractor.
Cat pose lower back stretch
Video description: Cat position is popular in yoga and works great as a lower back stretch. Learn how to do the cat pose from a chiropractor.
Video description:Calf muscle stretches can help leg muscles and back muscles. Learn how to stretch the calf from a chiropractor.
Chen tai chi joints exercises
Watch this video and do the exercises. Video description: Exercises to stretch and exercise many joints in your body, from a Chen style taichi teacher.
Children - The walking bridge
Lie on your back and place your hand palms on the floor above (behind) your shoulders, near your head. Walk your hands closer to your feet until your body makes a bridge with the belly upwards.
I cannot do this exercise myself but i sometimes try.
Watch this video and do the exercises. Discover qigong through: 1) an introduction to the history and scope of this ancient Chinese field of mind/body/spirit practices 2) detailed instruction in performing the Five Treasures qigong set of practices 3) practicing along with a group performing the Five Treasures set -with instruction and background music.
Effective kicks and punches
Practice diverse kicks and punches and do the following:
- Tighten your muscles only at the end of the movement
- Find the quickest and easiest path for the moving body part
- Keep your muscles relaxed
- Do it as slowly as possible
- Do it as fast as possible
- Concentrate on the technique, prepare in your mind what you are going to do and then execute
- Let your body move with the kick or punch for added speed and strength (shoulders, hips, turning of body)
- Let your standing foot give extra push and speed by lifting it up a little and pushing in the direction of the technique
Exercise to become aware of your own energy and that of the earth
These days i am practicing and teaching an exercise to learn to become aware of your own energy and that of the earth, and then to learn to use that earth energy. The exercise is done by walking, in a swift tempo and up to running. When you walk slower it is easier to concentrate on the energy, when you walk faster you can test if you can run on the earth energy and your own.
What is the form of your own energy? Concentrate on your own energy. Each person has a recognizable energy. So does each living being and even each thing. We may think of the energy in us as having the form of our body, but this energy also radiates and actually has more the form of a sphere.
Imagine yourself to be a sphere of energy, try to feel yourself as a sphere of energy. Now try to move, run on this energy. Let your energy move your legs and arms and entire body.
Now concentrate on the things around you. There may be trees, rocks, plants, other objects. Try to feel the energy in each of these objects and feel how that energy is different from yours. Go back and forth between feeling your own energy and the energy of the things around you.
Now imagine that you come from outer space and you are approaching the earth. Gradually you begin to sense the energy of the earth. You come closer and closer and now you come in the energy of the earth. This energy surrounds you. The energy of the earth is in the body of the earth, it is also radiating into the earth's atmosphere. It penetrates all trees and plants and objects on the earth.
Normally you cannot feel this energy very well because you are in it all the time. It is like when you have itching somewhere on your body. When you concentrate on it, the itching gets worse. But when you are distracted by something else, you don't feel the itching anymore.
To sense the energy of the earth you have to make yourself aware of the earth. You must feel how the earth feels. You step with your feet on the surface of the earth and underneath your feet is this gigantic mass of the earth. You have a relationship to the earth.
You have your energy and the earth has its energy.
Now focus on the center of the earth and try to feel its energy. Then focus on the center of your energy sphere, somewhere behind your belly button. Go back and forth between the center of the earth and the center of your body, and feel your own energy and the energy of the earth. Do you still feel the energy of each tree and objects that you are passing by?
Now try to feel that there is a connection between the center of the earth and your own energy center. There is this connection. Your body already lives in the earth's energy and could not exist without the energy of the earth.
Now try to pull up the earth's energy into your own energy center, and from there it wants to move to the parts of your body that are moving, your legs and arms when you are walking, because they need energy. You can also consciously move the earth's energy to your legs and arms.
You will notice that you can learn to move on your own energy and that your energy can be strengthened by the energy of the earth.
Repeat this kind of exercise hundreds of times and eventually you can feel the energy of each thing and each person that is around you. Once you can feel these energies, you can also learn to become more aware that everything has a spiritual reality. You can learn to live and move on the good energies that the earth and also other cosmic objects are giving you. But the earth is central for moving your body because your body lives on the earth.
Sit in position as shown, pull your feet as close to you as possible and flutter your knees up and down.
How to develop chi
Chi is energy of the body. Many martial artists focus on developing their chi more than on learning technical exercises. We find the word 'chi' in Chinese practices such as Qi Gong  and Tai Chi Chuan  and in the Japanese discipline Aikido  . These are only a few examples of martial arts forms (health practice forms) making use of chi.
We know that all matter can be brought back to energy. Chi is the energy of the living body. Because mind and body relate as subject and object partners, to learn about chi has more to do with your mind than with your body. Developing your chi can be done with exercises such as given in Qi Gong, Tai Chi Chuan and Aikido. It can also be done in many different ways.
You can develop your chi with many exercises. You'll often have more benefit from developing chi through simple exercises than through advanced ones. The important thing is to have the right thinking and feeling and concentration while doing the exercise.
The first that must be acquired is the awareness of chi flowing through your body. You can do exercises as physical actions of your body, you can also do them by being aware of the flowing of chi. Each movement can be made either as an ordinary movement of the matter of your body; it can also be done by guiding the movement with chi.
How to become aware of chi in your body?
Here are a few tips:
First, when you move, think of your body as being water. Water flows. When you think of your body as being water, your movements will become flowing and because of that chi will flow more easily. By being attentive you can discover the flow of chi in your body.
Another method is that when you move part of your body, try to feel the air through that it moves. Make slow and fluent movements and imagine that your body is floating in the air. Also in this way you can become more aware of chi.
Chi doesn't flow without your movement having purpose. This purpose is given by your heart and mind, not by your body. Therefore, when you exercise, be aware of the purpose of each movement. For example, you can imagine that you make a defensive movement against an enemy attacking you or your friend or child. It is by having such a purpose in your mind that chi begins to flow more than if you practice in mechanical ways.
How to set up your own training schedule
Here i shall give a few tips and ideas for how to set up your own training schedule for practice of body exercises.
Most important is to keep a daily discipline to exercise during some time each day. How to motivate yourself?
The first to do is to make yourself clear about the purpose and goals of your training. What do you want to reach eventually (purpose, more internal) and what you need to accomplish for that (goals, more external). For example, your purpose could be mind-body unity, or to become a champion fighter, or to learn using chi, or to learn dancing, or to get a healthy body. Once you are clear about the purpose of your training, why you want to practice daily, you can determine about short-time goals.
Human Weapon Kung Fu - Chain Punching (Wing Tsun)
Study this video shot on top of the Great Wall of China and learn about the art of self-defense of Wing Tsun . Learn to speed up the movements of your punching by relaxing your arms.
Sit with your back against a wall as if you're sitting on a chair but there is no chair. Hold it as long as you can. This exercise is used by ice skaters to strengthen their legs so they can hold the posture with bent legs for longer time.
Jet Li Conditioning and Training
Learn from Jet Li . View this video several times. Take out your favorite exercises from this video and practice this alone or with friends.
Knee high up
Stand in a normal position and lift up one knee as high as you can, in front of you. This is not really a kick but a preparation exercise. Do 50 to 100 to hundreds of reps depending on your level.
Learn to kick or punch with energy from your gravity chakra
- Stand in squatting position for a few minutes, concentrating on the energy of the center of the earth.
- In standing position, move your hands down to the earth as if you want to grasp the energy of the center of the earth and then bring your hands slowly up with your hand palms facing upward. Bring the energy of the earth into your gravity chakra. It is located in your belly with the center behind your belly button.
- In standing position, concentrate on the gravity chakra and align it with the turning center of the earth. When you do it correctly, you can feel that the energy in your gravity chakra will orbit around the center as well.
- Make punches or kicks and make sure that your arms or legs follow the energy that you send from your gravity chakra. The movement starts in your belly and always the flowing energy directs the movement. Keep your arms and shoulders or legs and hips as relaxed as possible.
- When you can manage to kick or punch in this way while keeping your concentration on your gravity chakra and the center of the earth simultaneously, energy can flow directly from the earth into your belly into your kicks or punches.
Make a circle of chi flowing through your hands
Hold your hand palms facing one another in front of you, belly height and send from your belly behind the navel energy into one hand, pick it up with the other one and let the energy go back. Change the direction of the flow of energy. Change the distance between your hands. Keep your shoulders, arms and hands relaxed but still with some strength in it.
In your belly is a chakra with chi that is used by many practitioners of martial arts. It is sometimes called the lower dantian or hara. In this chakra in your belly you can store chi and you can use that chi for your movements.
This is a simple exercise to get a first feeling for chi flowing through your arms and hands centered on the lower dantian. Read more about the dantian.
Movement nature meant, part 1
Please do the exercises as shown in this video: Video description: Ruthy Alon demonstrates the restorative potential of natural movement. (1) Introduction & (2) Lying to Sitting: Using the wisdom of the spiral to cope with gravity. Feldenkrais method.
Movement nature meant, part 2
Please do the exercises as shown in this video: Video description: Ruthy Alon demonstrates the restorative potential of natural movement (1) Folding In: The wisdom of stomach/back balance & (2) Safe Elongation: Variations on arching backward. Feldenkrais method.
Movement nature meant, part 3
Please do the exercises as shown in this video:
Ruthy Alon demonstrates the restorative potential of natural movement (1) Crawling: Reorganizing the back through primal locomotion & (2) Knees serve Spine: Undulation in primal swimming. Feldenkrais method.
Movement nature meant, part 4
Please do the exercises as shown in this video: Video description: Ruthy Alon, as shown in the photo above, demonstrates the restorative potential of natural movement. (1) Creeping: Healing neck-torso distribution of labor & (2) Rejuvenation through exploring non-habitual alternatives. Feldenkrais method.
Study this article Muscle contraction - Wikipedia about muscle contraction and apply this knowledge to benefit your training.
Normal knee kick
Standing in stable position, kick your knee out in front. Make sure that you add extra push from your standing leg. Let the energy flow from the earth through your standing leg into your kicking knee. Connect to the earth through your legs and feet. Feel the energy of the earth. Concentrate!
Repeat 10s of times for each leg. Don't ever do one rep without concentration. Each time that you exercise in concentration adds to your ability. Advance in this simple exercise by improving each aspect of it, fluency, energy flow, concentration, etc.
Move your leg as in a flow. Energy only flows through a current.
It's your thoughts that determine how much impact you're going to have.
Keep perfecting this movement by concentrating on energy flow, body posture, speed of movement, having the right thoughts, etc.
Standing with your feet on shoulders width, sink down through your knees and stand up again. Variation: Legs wider apart or closer together.
Variation: Stand-up but don't complete the entire movement, only repeat the first, the middle or the last part of the stand-up.
The strength of your legs is the base for power in all your fighting moves.
Variation: Do it very fast. Do it very slow.
Play darts to exercise concentration and purposefulness
I've often been playing this game with friends. It doesn't matter on which level you play, but practicing this game will increase your ability to concentrate and to aim on a goal.
When you can find partners to play competition it's more fun. Google 'darts' and you'll find a lot of videos showing how to do it.
I tried to show someone how to improve his technique and with my first throw i copied his style. Then i threw the bulls-eye shown in the picture above. So i stopped teaching him. I admit, i am only a beginner in this game. That invites more training and learning.
Repulse monkey tai chi
Practice the exercises given in this video:
Set a daily task for exercising
Think of a goal you want to reach through exercising. This goal can be a health benefit, or certain techniques you want to master. Then pray and meditate and think about which exercises you should do to reach the goal. You can determine how much time you want to spend or how many exercises you want to do.
Incorporate these exercises into your daily life.
Stand in a relaxed position, keep your shoulders relaxed and lift them up as far as you can, stretching them and then back to normal relaxed position
Do technical exercises of punching, kicking and defending extremely slow, as slow as you can. Imprint each stage of the movement and correct mistakes. When you are kicking in slow-motion, this is also a good exercise for balance.
Standard daily exercising
Often it needs to ask the right question to get a simple answer in prayer. I prayed and asked: What is the daily standard of exercise for all eternity, also when we live in the spirit world? The answer i received was:
- One hour exercise by moving, walking, physical activity, condition training, etc.
- One hour exercise to improve skills, for example martial arts techniques, gymnastics, dance, etc.
- One hour exercise to work with energy.
I understand these three hours to train three levels of our being:
- Exercise of moving: Body
- Exercise of skills: Mind
- Exercise of energy: Heart. This latter form of exercise is very important to keep a strong spirit body.
Stand-ups side to side
Spread your legs to about 1 1/2 shoulder width. Make sure your feet are parallel to each other with the toes pointing forward. Sink down, going down through one knee until your knee is bent and your body's weight is above that leg. Raise your body coming to a standing position with the weight between the two legs and then sink down through the other knee. Make 8-shaped movements with your hips and O-shaped movements with your knees.
Strength in your legs and flexibility in knees and ankles is basic for all martial arts.
Making circular movements (instead of just going up and down) enhances the effect of the exercise and keeps the energy flowing.
The rhythm of energy
Practice the rhythm of energy. All energy flows rhythmically. Each energy has its own rhythm. Compare sowing seeds for grass land. Learn to find the rhythmic flow of each energy. Bring your own body's functioning and moving in alignment with the rhythm of an energy you want to use. Bring harmony between the many energy rhythms that influence you simultaneously, air, sun, earth, blood flow, breathing, rhythm of your arm movements, leg movements etc. Compare African tribes doing land work while singing together. The rhythms are like a music composition, for example one beat goes ten times quicker than another. They have to come in unison to bring about harmony, in a constant relationship between the two, one to 10, or one to 3 etc.
I practiced this when i was a farmer, for example sowing seeds while walking and moving the arms throwing out the seeds, or working the soil with tools and trying to bring your body in harmony within itself and with the environment and the movements of the tool.
Throw and catch ball with closed eyes
This exercise is to train senses other than your eyes. It is very helpful for improving your defense capability.
Begin with holding a ball in one hand. Throw it to the other hand with your eyes closed and catch it, and so forth. Begin with keeping your hands closer together and gradually increase the difficulty. Try to throw the ball over your shoulder and catch it with the other hand behind your back. Practice with a partner throwing the ball back and forth.
Eventually you can learn to sense the ball wherever it is.
Standing on one leg, rise up as high as you can on your toes. Keep that position for some time.
This exercise is good for the muscles of your feet. It also improves your balance. You can increase the difficulty of the exercise by making movements with the leg that you lifted up.
Walk like a cat
Go on your hands and feet and walk like a cat. Think that you become a cat and draw the cat's energy into you and feel how a cat is entirely living and moving on the energy of the earth. Make this energy flow through your entire body. Don't just try to move as a cat, but try to get the cat's energy into yourself and express this energy and then you will feel and move as a cat and also acquire abilities of the cat.
Wheelbarrow partner exercise
Hold the legs of your partner who walks forward on the hands. Make sure that the person walking on the hands keeps the lower back straight, pushed upwards. Fun exercise for children and good for getting strength in the arms.