In Kung Fu we don’t run, we know Kung Fu why would we….
That being said, running is absolutely an essential part of Kung Fu training. Why?
Kung Fu like any other training requires hours of physical activity. In order to train at a higher capacity your body, and more specifically, your cardiovascular system needs to be able to withstand KF training. Additionally, the higher the level of Kung Fu the more demanding the training required. Building cardiovascular endurance can be done in a variety of ways; walking, running, cycling, rowing, and swimming are all examples of cardiovascular exercise. Keep in mind that training is specific; for example you wouldn’t find a cyclist swimming to train for a race (think muscle memory). So running is essential for training and running is the best activity that complements our Kung Fu training.
As many students I don’t like to run. As a matter of fact I don’t like to run unless I’m being chased. There was a time in my Kung Fu journey that I realized that I wasn’t able to train as hard as I wanted to, I was holding myself back and cardiovascular endurance suffered. It was decision time, either I just push forward with my Kung Fu training and not run and hope that the endurance will follow or I take the next step in my journey and start running. All of the excuses in the book were applied; I’m too busy, too tired, too fat, and too out of shape. My love for Kung Fu was and has been my motivation to run and get in cardiovascular shape; it is what drags me out of bed at 4 AM 4 to 5 days a week to run.
Where to start? Common question….. There are so many ways to go and so many things you can do. There are apps, websites, trainers, etc, etc, etc. Usually simple is better, especially when you are starting out. One of my favorites has been the couch to 5K program. The beauty of this program is that it is dead simple and provides direction as well. As you advance with the running you can add the Chi Running system which is a great complement. Benefits of cardiovascular training won’t be immediate but you WILL see the benefits. You will be able to train longer and train harder with your Kung Fu, you will feel better overall, you can eat more (my favorite), and you will fight better as well.
Keep in mind that cross training isn’t a bad thing. It can add some life to an otherwise mundane routine. Running should be the primary exercise modality but some swimming, cycling, rowing, or kickboxing thrown in can’t hurt. Additionally, weight training is helpful as well but that’s another post.
You can do this.