Category Archives: Health Benefits

Immediate and long term benefits of practice


When practicing some form of exercise there are immediate benefits that are the result of just one session and there are long term ones that manifest themselves after months and years of practice.

The immediate effects of a Kung Fu session can be compared to taking your car in for a service.  You may change the oil and filter, top up all the key fluids, and make sure there are no serious issues that need to be taken care of.  With clean oil and a new filter your car leaves the service feeling the best it can in its current condition.

The long term effects of Kung Fu training can on the other hand be compared to upgrading your car.  I used to own a Mitsubishi Eclipse some years ago.  It was a fun fast and relatively cheap car.  It came with 210 horsepower and could do 0-60MPH in around 6.5 seconds.  The crazy thing about that car is that it could be upgraded to over 600HP.  The engine remained the same, the main thing that changed was how much air was pumped through the system.  From the air intake, to the Turbo, all the way to the exhaust, the air flow was maximized.  Other components then needed to change to match the new system, such as the suspension, fuel injection, and electronics.  Additional instrumentation was added to see exactly what was going on to enable fine tuning the performance.

The cool thing about upgrading the Eclipse is that the fuel efficiency of the car was actually improved for regular daily use.

The parallels with developing a Kung Fu body are very interesting.  Breathing efficiency has the highest focus and the amount of oxygen flowing through the body is maximized.  Skeletal strength and stability while moving are next, this is like the suspension of a car.  The efficiency of the digestive organs which deliver energy from food, or our fuel, is also improved.  Kung Fu requires improvement in reaction times, this is our electronics.  Finally a deeper awareness is required to continue fine tuning and developing all of these aspects.

The result of continuously challenging one’s body and mind to develop it to its full potential is that regular daily life becomes easier and more enjoyable.

So try a session to experience the immediate effects.  When you get a taste you will then be able to imagine what the long term effects will be like.  Don’t waste your time, start today and enjoy them for yourself ASAP.

Progressive Training

When studying mathematics understanding basic operations such as addition and subtraction is just the first step.  After these are mastered the student moves onto multiplication, division and beyond.  Studying only addition and subtraction has very limited use.


The same thing goes for doing exercise.  With any art of movement it is first necessary to start with very basic exercises.  Once these are accomplished, it is time to move to the next level, one that builds on top of the previous one.  Then the next level, and so on.

Unfortunately today most people never experience this.  They go to a gym class, they follow a group.  They get some benefit, then progress slows down, then they get bored.  They may stick with it because they know it gives them some health benefits or they might try something else.  But they rarely go deeper and the benefits of the practice do not increase beyond a certain level.

Eventually old age sets in.  Maintaining a healthy active body becomes more difficult.

Ba Gua Zhang training takes a progressive approach that has been polished over millennia.  It challenges and develops every aspect of the body and mind.  These include flexibility, strength, coordination, speed, balance, awareness, and concentration to name just a few.  Each facet has corresponding progressive training that can start at your current level and will never stop changing.

The main benefit of this lifelong practice is optimal health throughout your lifetime.  So why not start today?

The secret of living a long and healthy life

In our society we accept that old age brings frailty. We rely on modern medicine to cope with the inevitable changes. Opiods are being commonly prescribed to deal with chronic pain. As a result painkiller addiction is reaching epidemic proportions. From CDC, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

“Drug overdose deaths in the United States hit record numbers in 2014. At least half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid.”

Current advances in medicine extend lives, but for most people the end of life is not healthy. According to research done by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME), in 2010 healthy life expectancy at birth was 10 years shorter than actual life expectancy.

The Figure below from the Harvard School of Public Health illustrates this trend.


Alarmingly this gap is actually widening and people are living with pain for longer. However, there are alternatives, it is well established that exercise is the best preventative drug.

The most advanced exercise knowledge belongs to a family of Chinese Martial Arts. These arts are known as the ‘Internal Martial Arts’. Practitioners of these arts stay active, strong, and healthy into very old age. Tai Chi is the best known of these arts. However, the art I practice and teach, Ba Gua Zhang, is even more effective. Masters of Ba Gua Zhang live longer and stay healthy to the end. Below is a picture of a famous Ba Gua Zhang master, Lu Zijian, who lived to the age of 118.


It is never too late to start.  Join me for a session and experience the benefits yourself.

What is Kung Fu?

To most westerners, the term Kung Fu means Chinese Martial Arts. The original meaning, however, is different. It can refer to any skill attained through hard work over a long period of time. To say someone has Kung Fu of a particular skill implies that they themselves have changed as the result of practicing that skill.

Most people know that practicing something for long enough changes them. The obvious example is going to the gym. People go to the gym to get fit which most equate with getting healthy.

It follows that someone can choose a skill to practice in order to change themselves. Kung Fu has become synonymous with Chinese Martial Arts because these arts are known to develop a person further than any other practice. Reaching the highest level in these arts requires the full realization of human potential; physically, mentally, and spiritually.

Physically this means having a body in which you are comfortable. The body becomes relaxed, well-coordinated, flexible, and strong. Reaction speed is improved. The touch becomes more sensitive. The body becomes better at fighting off disease. It ages slower. Practitioners of Ba Gua Zhang stay active and able into very old age.

Mental benefits include improved concentration. A more powerful supply of energy is available to your mind which allows a deeper level of observation of one’s surroundings and one’s self. Improved control over your mind means you can turn off the calculator in your head when it is not required and just enjoy the awareness of your experience.

The primary spiritual benefit that can be achieved is a mind that is at peace. A mind that is not disturbed by negative emotions. It is known in the west that such a mind indicates the highest level of emotional intelligence; what is less understood is how to get there.

Not all styles of Martial Arts and not all schools of a particular style can provide these benefits. Here Ba Gua Zhang shines. It is known to be the most advanced Martial Art in China. If you need to be convinced, watch a recent film called “The Grandmaster”. It is a story of Ip Man, a legendary Master of a very popular style called Wing Chun. He is humbled when he meets a Ba Gua Zhang expert.

Anyone can benefit from practicing Ba Gua Zhang. It should be obvious, however, that to gain enough knowledge of such an advanced art so that it can be passed on to the next generation requires serious commitment. This has always meant that these arts tend to be diluted over time as individuals start teaching without completing their training. Today it is very difficult to find a school that continues to develop the ‘state of the art’ and I feel very lucky to have been able to graduate from such a school.

If you are not near me, you can join my online class. It’s all free!