Dealing with pain barriers

article on dealing with pain barriers

Surpassing Pain.

I guess the reason I mention this is that I believe I feel as much pain when training or scrapping as the next guy, what it comes down to at the end of the day is how well you can deal with it.

I’m still very sensitive, and envious of those that are not, there is a type of strength in that insensitivity in regards to not only kung fu but life too.Those that have it perhaps don’t have to deal with their emotion so often, I’m not sure how that insensitivity might affect their pain level.

Those that have it perhaps don’t have to deal with their emotion so often, I’m not sure how that insensitivity might affect their pain level.

Those that have a lack of sensitivity perhaps don’t have to deal with their emotion so often, I’m not sure how that insensitivity might affect their ability to deal with pain.

My kung fu teacher Lou Dexiu has always been very practical and down to earth and is also an extraordinarily sensitive, to the point of being practically clairvoyant. When I was training with Lou in Taiwan he always seemed very tuned into everything and everyone around him.

I remember Lou telling me at a seminar we held in Bath what he thought of that type of insensitivity, and pointing to a student he said “him, not bad”, then with one quick gesture (like someone had suddenly flicked a switch), Lou mimicked the student’s character, as if suggesting that there was no emotion going on at all.I think it was a nod that one might be able to become a better fighter with less emotion, I guess the key is to remain sensitive but control your emotion.

I think it was a nod that one might be able to become a better fighter with less emotion, I guess the key is to remain sensitive but control your emotion.

Overcoming pain when training Internal Kung Fu.

Well, if you train Internal Kung Fu you’ll know what I’m going on about, I often have students question me “How is it that doing almost nothing at all be so exhausting?”.

Internal Kung Fu usually moves slowly and utilises good structure and repetitive movements, we only train with our own body weight when we’re not practising throwing people. It is the holding of extended postures and having your weight mostly on one leg or the other that begins the process of dealing with pain – it gets really difficult, very quickly.

To be honest, there are no quick fixes for this one or any easy answers, it might take years, hell, perhaps there’s no point talking about it at all, at the end of the day some will be able to do it and some won’t.

If you’ve trained kung fu for a while you might understand that all of your training is like meditation. When training Internal Kung Fu we consistently practise quieting the mind and maintaining good structure.

But then again, if you’re good and sadistic and enjoy pain, then what the hell are you reading this for; One thing to get to grips with first off is accepting the discomfort, that takes a really focused mind.

Another important thing is to understand that Internal training is also the key, the intention in movement and our mindfulness is equally important, as is doing the physically demanding training.

Don’t forget to breathe.

It might seem simple but put yourself in a physically strenuous situation, for example, try holding a low stance for two minutes whilst taking short breaths, then without stopping or changing posture begin another 2 minutes taking deep breaths.

Continuing after a short rest see how you feel after the second set, if you felt it just got harder and harder, try it again after a proper rest, but reverse the procedure, deeper breaths first and short ones second. I hope you find that the deeper, focused breathing was easier to cope with the pain.

 

Where there’s a will there’s a way.

Willpower is your friend, just refusing to quit is a sure-fire way to get over your pain barrier, that and ego, keeping up with others is a great way to overcome pain, and yes, I’m afraid that is ego (which is bad I think), failing that try a bit of loyalty. I would often find myself trying to prove myself to my teacher, that I could do everything he gave us to do without quitting in the slightest, I stuck to my postures and let that lactic acid course through my veins.

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