Selasa, 06 Desember 2011

Fix It With Massage

Babies need to be held and touched, when we become adults, we still hold and touch each other, whether that's hugging goodbye to a friend or shaking hands with a business partner.

When our body is tired, we want to be massaged. When we go to the spa, we step into the Jacuzzi to help our muscles relax. The need for touch and massage is instinctive. Massage is one of the oldest healing practices.

The Shaolin Temple has a long tradition of self-massage, using the bamboo Instant Health Massage Brush and progressing to the heavier metal brush. Shaolin disciples train as much as Olympic athletes but we don't have an army of massage therapists or physiotherapists, self-massage along with Qigong is the only thing we use to reduce the risk of injury and keep us fighting fit. 

The Qigong massage doesn't fit any types of massage that are given person to person, for example: sports, acupressure or deep tissue. It combines all of the above and even more, the end aim is to use the vibrations of the brush to penetrate and detoxify the bone. By doing this massage we feel empowered because we are taking charge of our health.

Because the self-massage is convenient and cheap - it's only the cost of a brush -  you can do it on a daily basis or at least a few times a week. The more you do, the more effective your massage will be.

When you do this massage,  don't be afraid to use power. You will feel a little pain but not too much. Each day you use it, your massage will get stronger and stronger. The aim of the massage is to keep the Qi and blood flowing properly, open the meridian channels, reduce any muscle tension,  detoxify the body, increase the immune system, and open the joints. 

In the UK, we don't have much sunshine and especially in winter, the cold can be a problem for people's joints especially when they get older.  Doing the Instant Health massage can help to reduce this problem.

The signs that you are doing the self-massage correctly is that your body skin will be incredibly soft. You will feel energized when you have done this massage. You will sleep better at night and have more energy throughout the day. You will get colds less often and you will feel stronger. 

I teach how to do this massage in all of my Qigong DVDs apart from Volume 1 and also in my book Instant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout For Longevity.
The massage equipment is available from my website.

Selasa, 29 November 2011

Activate Your Environment To Support Your Goals

It's a good idea to have some small things in your home to remind you that you need to train. Whenever I travel, I always wear a Jade Buddha amulet. This isn't just for good luck, this also reminds me to be peaceful. If something difficult happens, I tell myself to calm myself down. I also carry a small Buddha with me. Before any important decision, I meditate for twenty minutes to clear my mind.

I also take my Instant Health Massage Brush with me, and a skipping rope in case I can't find a place to run then I can find a small park to skip for half an hour. This means, I never have an excuse not to train. 

In my office I have a Jade Energy Stone and a  Wooden Star Palm Massager in front of my computer. When I work at the computer a lot, I stop and use this to massage my hands for a while.

These are all powerful things to remind myself to have a positive mental outlook and to keep training. These positive things I surround myself with, make me feel that I'm not even training, this is just my routine, this is part of my life.

Different things inspire different people, think about what inspires you. Can you see it every day? Small changes in our environment can help us to activate our health and fitness goals and make them real. Research has shown that even simple things like using a smaller plate helps us to eat less. 

If you're environment isn't positive then change it so it is.  Make sure that your environment is supporting and not hindering your goals.

Rabu, 23 November 2011

Body Conditioning & Qigong Self-Massage - Metal Massage Brush

For many years, my on-line students have asked me to provide them with the metal brush they have seen me using in my book and DVDs. I have been reluctant to do this without seeing the student first because this metal brush is not like the bamboo brush, if used incorrectly, it can cause damage to the body.

The person who uses this brush needs to be trained correctly and train with responsibility. But now that many of my students have followed all of the training from my first DVD through to my fifteenth, I feel, if their body is telling them they are ready to use this brush, then they are.

This is a professional brush, only to be used by highly trained martial artists, fighters, Qigong masters. It is not suitable for anyone under the age of 18, pregnant women, old people or health seekers. The Instant Health bamboo massage brush is perfect for most people and they should continue to use this rather than change to this metal brush.  The bamboo brush is safe to use for all people.

I had this metal brush hand-made to my specific specifications. It was difficult to find someone who could make it for me, and I only have a limited number available. This is a very heavy metal brush, it weighs about 1.6 kg and has 108 metal rods. Shaolin Temple is carved in Chinese on the end of the brush. If used correctly, it will last a lifetime.

Safety Guidelines for Using The Metal Massage Brush

1) The brush needs to be cleaned with a soft cloth before use. 

2) The brush must never be used on the head, face or any other sensitive area.

3) Keep the brush in a private place away from children and adults.

4) Never share the brush with another person.

5) Never use this brush without doing Qigong first. 

6) Warm up with the bamboo brush first then move onto the metal brush.

7) Do not use this brush for body conditioning unless you have had direct training from a qualified master.

8) Only use this brush for self-massage after the Qigong Forms that I teach on my DVDs.

9) Your body should feel happy when you massage. Listen to your body. If something feels wrong or there is any pain, stop immediately. 

10) Exercise extreme caution. Remember, this brush has the potential to damage your internal organs. Make sure you know and understand what you are doing. If in doubt, seek advice from a qualified instructor. 

I teach five Qigong forms that can be used with this brush. They can be found on the following DVDs:
The Way of Qigong Volume 1,2, & 3
Qigong For Upper Body & Lower Body
And in my book:
Instant Health: The Shaolin Qigong Workout For Longevity 

Apart from Qigong Volume 1, all of the above give precise instructions as to how to do the Instant Health Massage. The instructions are the same for the bamboo brush and the metal brush. If you are using the metal brush, warm up with the bamboo brush first. The metal brush gives a deeper vibration to the bones.

I've also made this video to give more clarification on the different uses of the brushes. This is only for a guide and is not a teaching video. Please refer to my teaching DVDs and books for correct instructions on the self-massage.

The metal massage brush is available from my website.

Rabu, 16 November 2011

Building The Stamina Of Your Mind

I recently had a student who was a chess player. He came to study Shaolin with me for two weeks. He asked me if he needed stamina when he played chess, I said, yes, it would help him,  because when you play chess, you need to be steps ahead, working out your moves and your opponent's moves. This is the same as fighting but every teacher or coach knows that if their student don't have stamina then it doesn't matter how good they are, they can't use their skills.  This means, you have build your stamina. Through building your stamina you build the strength of your mind.

When you're tired, you can't show your weakness, you have to pretend that you still have stamina. If your opponent finds out then this is your weakness and he can beat you. Sometimes you have to learn how to hide your feelings, it's the same when you have an injury, you have to hide your injury. This is the same as a chess player who makes a bad move, he can't show it or give up, he has to hide.

The warrior fights to the end. The warrior is really competing with him or herself. His competitor is his teacher

When I taught this chess player, I made him do a lot of physical exercise; running, punches, squats, press ups. All training that had nothing to do with the mind. He wanted to give up but I pushed him. He trained with me every day for two weeks. Towards the end of his training, I made his training plan a little easier and suddenly he found out he strong he was. Everyday he trained, I would do just 25 minutes of Qigong to show him how to balance his Yin and Yang. I didn't want to do too much because I didn't want him to think. 

He told me that the Shaolin training gave him a lot of confidence and he felt  stronger when he played chess because he no  longer cared whether he won or lose, he only thought how to  make a strong move and how to conquer himself. If he made a mistake, it didn't matter, he just kept going, sometimes he could change the situation from bad to good but the most important thing was that he always gave his best.

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Kamis, 27 Oktober 2011

How To Balance Your Yin And Yang For Mind And Body Health

When you watch my Qigong DVDs, I always start with a warm up, stretching or some physical training then I do the Qigong form. The reason I start this way is not only because this is the professional way but also because I've found many Western people believe Qigong is light training or very focused training, they believe it's about using the mind in a thinking way to control the body.

All exercise has internal and external, it's just we can't see it. For example, if you are running ten miles but at the beginning your pace is too fast then you won't be able to do ten miles. You need to understand how to pace yourself. This is the internal part of your training.

The Yin and Yang needs to be balanced and this is a combination of Qigong and physical exercise. When a person does personal training with me and I start with a warm up and stretching then the five basic stances, they find it hard.  A recent student who had been working with my DVDs, realised he was only using 20% of the strength he was supposed to be using for Qigong.  This is because he had a mistaken belief that Qigong was soft training. I told him, the training is not difficult, it's your body that is not strong yet.

Some fighters want to learn Qigong with me but they feel everything is too slow. They don't have the patience to learn it. I tell them, if you can't close your eyes and sit for five minutes to clean your mind, I guarantee you can never become a champion because you don't know how to calm yourself. Your body, mind and heart is not working together.
I am different from most Shaolin Masters because I don't just teach forms. I use my heart to find a way to help people achieve their health, fitness, martial art or fighting goals.

If you want to fight, Shaolin only give you a good foundation, you have to change and use modern techniques. If you think I'm wrong then you can research any kind of fight, K1 or UFC. Can you find any Shaolin traditional martial artists fighting there?

The world has changed. This is why I teach my fighters a fusion of traditional Shaolin with modern fighting techniques.

If you want to make your body healthy then you need a routine and a proper balance. For fighters, I recommend when they finish their training they do Qigong for half an hour.

If you are working with my DVDs and feel they are too hard this doesn't mean my DVDs are too hard, it means you are not strong enough yet and you need to build up your strength. Don't underestimate yourself.

You don't need to follow everything exactly. Learn from my DVDs then swop things around to make your own training programme that suits you and your lifestyle. 

For more information please visit
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Selasa, 25 Oktober 2011

The Shaolin Way To Train Mixed Martial Arts - Part Three

Every morning, I get up and train. My students see me do the same thing, year by year by year. It’s only when they go in the ring and fight that they understand why I do the same thing every year, every day. The simple things are the most useful but they take time and effort to master.

For example, I train my left leg to be fast and sharp. It’s not very powerful but it's fast. My right leg is very heavy and I use my left leg to attack, to break my opponents plan, any time I have the opportunity. I use my right leg to do the round house kick. If I get them with this kick then I know I will knock them out. I practice many years just for this one kick. I know I can do this kick from any angle, close or long distance. I have confidence because I've done this kick so many times.

I'm not very tall but I'm quite heavy. My opponent is always taller than me so they have a longer reach than me. This is why I need good body conditioning. I don’t have as much opportunity as them to punch and kick. I practice a lot of body conditioning so I know that my body can take their kick and punch.  When I get close to them, I can use my kick to finish this fight.

The important thing is you have to know yourself and know your body. Everyone is different. My technique wouldn’t work for you. Do you know what would? What do you want to do? Build up your punch or your kick? What are you good at? What are you bad at? How do you hide the things you're no good at? How do you use your good things? No-one can teach you. You need to find this out for yourself. You have to become your own teacher and teach yourself.

If you love martial arts then you need to be humble and lonely and simple. Try to make simple things not simple . Try to make lonely life not lonely. Try to make hard training easy. Once you have this kind of thinking you can become a good fighter because you have truly  conquered yourself.
Related DVDs:
Fighting Punches and Kicks Volume 1 & 2
Shaolin Bootcamp Volume 1 & 2
Shaolin Workout Volume 1, 2, 3
Kung Fu Ch'an 
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Rabu, 19 Oktober 2011

The Shaolin Way To Train Mixed Martial Arts - Part Two

If you want to become a good MMA fighter then you need to train with focus. You can't be the best at ground, punch, and kick. You need to choose one or two skills that you will become special at and focus on these then have the other skills as the extra things you can do.

I have many MMA students that want to study with me, they say they know Juijutsu, Thai Boxing, Boxing etc but when I see them train, I ask them, “Which  is your weapon? Your kick or your punch?”  Most people don't have a lethal weapon. They are not 100% in control of their punch or their kick. They have no weapon that can enable them to win.  This means they have nothing special.

I tell them, this means that every time you go to fight, you are hoping for luck. You don't know which skill will help you to win the fight:  kick or punch or ground fighting. When you become a fighter, you can’t live for luck, you need to have full confidence, believe in your punch or your kick or your knee or elbow. Know that when you have the opportunity, you can knock your opponent out.

Because you know you can do this, then you make a strategy to trap them, you are setting them up so you can have the opportunity to knock them out. It's only when you are at this level that you are a good fighter.

This is the reason why you need to be humble. If you have too much desire to have everything, you can't have everything. You can only have one or two skills. This is enough for you to win. Simplify your training and strengthen your skill.

But it's not easy. Because when you have a skill, you have to use your brain, you need to fight different kind of fighters so you need to be able use your weapon from different angles, you need to practice over and over again to make your weapon sharper and sharper. This humbles you. It’s boring. There’s nothing exciting. Where as when you learn different martial arts and different techniques, you feel excited and stimulated but the truth is, you can’t master them. You will always be an average fighter. This week I want you to find your special skill and train in it intensively until it becomes your special weapon
Related DVDs:
Fighting Punches and Kicks Volume 1 & 2
Shaolin Bootcamp Volume 1 & 2
Shaolin Workout Volume 1, 2, 3
Kung Fu Ch'an 
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Senin, 10 Oktober 2011

The Shaolin Way To Train Mixed Martial Arts - Part One

This is the first blog post in a series of three about how to train in Mixed Martial Arts. Each week I'll give you one training method to do and by the end of the three weeks, you'll have three new skills which will help you in your training. Remember to send me a message and let me know how you're getting on.  

How To Replicate Your Fight In Your Training 

Recently I've been asked to train MMA fighters. I know some martial artists are purest but I love not only martial arts but also the fighting arts.  I like to watch MMA fights because there aren't many rules and the fighter need to be able to use many skills. But I think that MMA fighters stay on the ground too long. Everyone knows that in any fight competition, if you can knock someone out as quickly as possible then not only will you win but you will become a famous fighter.

If it was a street fight and you had someone on the ground for a few minutes then you would probably be killed by someone else who is standing. A few minutes is a few minutes too long. When we train in Shaolin, in some ways it's similar to MMA because we practice punch, kick, and take-down. The only difference is that in Shaolin we don't train in ground fighting because Chinese culture doesn't allow us to fight on the ground. We don't see it as equal if someone is on the ground and we are standing. It's not wrong to fight on the ground, it's just different culture.

At the Shaolin Temple, we train our arms in many different ways to make our punch and arm become our weapon. When you do MMA, you need to train your arm to punch and wrestle. Wrestling takes a lot of energy and makes your arm tired more quickly than a punch. This means in your training, you need to replicate the different ways that you use your muscles.

In my Shaolin Bootcamp Training DVDs, we use our body weight to train our arms. The training doesn't look difficult but when you train like this, is the toughest workout you can do because we are constantly using our muscles in different ways. It gives you the strength to shift from punching to wrestling and back again. This week, I want you to challenge your muscles in every way, this will help you keep your training alive so it's similar to a fight.

Next week: How To Find Your Special Skill And Turn It Into A Weapon

If you like this post please share or tweet by clicking on the links below the related DVDs.

Related DVDs
Shaolin Bootcamp 1 & 2
Fighting Punches and Kicks - volume 1
Fighting Punches and Kicks - take downs
Kung Fu Ch'an - fighting combinations, blocks and pad work.

Senin, 26 September 2011

Your Personal Diet And Training Plan

Most people who want to lose weight, usually start by going to the gym or getting a personal trainer. These things can help but without controlling their diet, they will find it hard to lose weight.

The first thing that you need to do if you want to lose weight, get fit, improve your martial arts or look younger is check your life. Which of your habits are good and which are bad? Where are your weaknesses? Also, what about the weaknesses of your environment? You need to be aware of them so you can deal with them and not become a victim of them.  For example, if a person smokes or drinks and at the same time they want to lose weight and train, the first thing they need to do is stop smoking and drinking then they need to start training lightly to detoxify their body. 

Someone who eats a lot of junk food or cakes or drinks a lot of sugar drinks like Coca Cola needs to stop. A  person who has a very stressful job with a lot of responsibility, has to tell themselves worry can not change anything. They have to train themselves to be relaxed. Shaolin training helps us to relax and let go. It effortlessly shifts us into a positive frame of mind.

People are always searching for the best diet for health or to lose weight. They do the same with a training programme, how can I get maximum benefit for minimum effort? They spend hours on the internet researching but they don't realise that no one can give them an exact diet or training programme because everybody's mind and body is different.

For me, I listen to my body and follow what it says. If it tells me I need to eat apples today then I eat apples. Each person needs to try and find their own diet and their own training programme. I eat a high carbohydrate diet, this works for me, but for other people, low carbohydrate and high protein works better. Neither is right or wrong, they have found out what works for their body and I have found out what works for mine. 

The one thing I would say is that everyone should cut out sugar. This has no nutritious value and is not good for blood sugar levels.  The other rule is, always eat breakfast. People who eat breakfast tend to eat less throughout the rest of the day. Also, drink green tea. Green tea doesn't contain enough caffeine to spike cortisone levels but research has shown it helps boost metabolism.   

My advice when you embark upon a training , diet or health plan is don't be too ambitious. Start with a small step that is achievable then build on that small success. A diet and training programme is not just for eight weeks or 28 days, it is for the rest of your life so make sure it's one that is right for you and you can stick with it so it can become a part of you, enriching your life experience.  

For information on Shifu Yan Lei's training DVDs and books please visit

Selasa, 20 September 2011

Instant Buddha: Progressions On The Path Of The Warrior

It is vitally important that we train intelligently and with awareness, always keeping our beginner's mind. 

When you walk to your training hall or go home to practice your martial arts, do walking meditation. Walk at your normal pace and be aware of  your steps and your breathing. When thoughts come up, simply let them go. This walking meditation helps to ground and prepare you for your training.

When you start to do the Qigong and Kung Fu forms, you repeat them over and over again for years and years until they become a habit.  In the beginning, you have to think: where should I breathe? What is the next movement? Is my posture correct? This is a process we all go through. Then, as you progress, you forget about your practice and move into non-thinking. 

As martial artists, we use our body to abandon our body. We let go, forget the ego and follow nothing but the wisdom of the universe. Then the thinking comes from the body and no longer comes from the mind. When you experience this you experience freedom. 

If you open your hand you can take hold of anything, if you close your hand, nothing can enter. You need to open your hand and allow the practice to enter you. 

To enable this you need to have the confidence to commit fully and get out of your comfort zone. Stop saving energy for a future time. Only when you are empty can you be re-filled. 

You must concentrate 100% on your movement and your breathing. If you do that, your practice will remain fresh and not go stale. You must practice not only in your training but in your day to day life.

This is why the meditation aids I brought back from China are every day items like tea and key rings and Buddha bags. When I was at the Shaolin Temple, the environment was a constant reminder that I was on the path of the warrior but here in London, I can easily forget and I need reminders to come back to the now. Now never returns to us, now is all we have. The Warriors appointment with life is in the present moment.

When you practice in this way, your practice becomes The Way. Only then can it penetrate the marrow of your life. 

Kamis, 15 September 2011

Flowering Green Tea - Instructions On How To Use

Part of traditional Chinese medicine is the drinking of green tea, modern science has discovered that green tea is rich in antioxidants, aiding our path to longevity. Green tea also balances the metabolism, boost the immune system, and has anti-ageing benefits for the skin. 
If we drink our green tea mindfully then this has even more of a beneficial effect. Click here to learn  how to have a Zen Tea Ceremony in your own home. 

How To Use Flowering Green Tea
1) Put the tea ball in a glass cup or tea pot.
2) Pour boiling water into the cup.
3) Watch the flower blossom and release its fragrance. It usually takes about five minutes.

4) Drink and enjoy.

Do not throw away. As with all high quality green teas,  the tea can be used at least four times. Simply pour water over the blossomed flower and continue to enjoy.

A Zen Tea Ceremony

At the Shaolin Temple, novice monks are taught to be present in everything they do. In our fast paced modern life this is impossible.  If  we are always fully present then our mind will overload so we need to perform some actions automatically. But if we are always mindless and our mind is always on the run we will become increasingly burnt out, stressed and unhappy.
We rest and look after our body, so why do we not take as much care with our mind as we do our body? 
Bringing our heart and mind into the present moment is the Zen Masters secret to real happiness. There are many ways we can do this. And one way is to have a simple Zen Tea Ceremony.

Zen Tea Ceremonies, alongside calligraphy and martial arts are tools that Shaolin Temple disciples use to hone, focus, and sharpen their mind.

The Art of Tea was born in the Zen Temples of China. But you don't need to be a Buddhist or go to a temple to experience this profound art, you can have a Zen Tea Ceremony in your home.

It's good to do a drinking tea meditation on a daily or weekly basis. You can do it on your own or with other people.  If you do it with other people then practice in silence.

Six Simple Steps To Having A Zen Tea Ceremony In Your Home

Put aside a set time
If you're doing it every day then let's say fifteen minutes. Switch off or silence your phone so you will have no distractions.

Set your motivation

Tell yourself: For the next fifteen minutes every time I get distracted I'm going to bring myself back to the present moment.

Boil the kettle

You can use English tea but I use Flowering Green Tea. This is the tea we use in our tea ceremonies at The Shaolin Temple and the fragrance immediately invokes a feeling of well-being and wisdom.

Watch The Lotus Flower Bloom

Pour the water over the tea ball and sit with the tea in front of you.
As I watch the tea ball unfurl, I think of the lotus flower and the inner potential we all have to be peaceful urban warriors.
It takes about five minutes for the flower to unfurl, during that time, sit and watch your breathing.
Drink Your Tea Not Your Thoughts

Once the flower has blossomed, cup both hands around the cup, and drink your tea slowly.
Inhale the tea, taste the tea, feel the sensation of  the tea and what effect it has on your mind and body.
If you drink tea while thinking about your worries then you are not drinking tea, you are drinking your worries. Live only for this moment.

Once you've finished, as with any good quality green tea, you can continue to make at least four cups.
I always feel refreshed and at peace after performing this simple tea ceremony. I feel more connected to myself , the Shaolin Temple and the great Zen masters who even though I may never have met, I take as my masters, and hope they accept me as their disciple.

Try it and let me know how you feel. 

It's great to do at the end or beginning of your Qigong session.  
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Rabu, 17 Agustus 2011

The Truth About Fitness and Needs to be Done and is Prohibited

Everyone wants the body-conscious suits to the modern fitness equipment health, do to keep your body in shape. In modern life, people eat fast food, so I'll do some work. Now fitness equipment that is most suitable for the present life. In the gym, exercise is prescribed to people for their weight and physical condition of the person, and also show their age. Some use a wide range of fitness equipment and will soon violated and suffer great pain. You should be careful while doing this exercise because it is important to human health. Satisfaction obtained after training. People go to the gym or those who want to go to the gym, they know and do not do fitness.

Warm-up exercises:
People are starting to warm up for training only. While people need to exercise to warm up to people to avoid warm-up exercises. People can warm up your muscles. Make sure your muscles, you have to walk several steps, the size of muscles and exercises you can do with fitness equipment.

If the muscles stretching:
Stretching is an art. Stretch your muscles can help provide flexibility. Keeps muscles and tense muscles, but damaged. Person to stretch the muscles after training was completed.

Take a water bottle at the gym:
After exercise, thirst, and my throat is dry. So people should be wise to bring a water bottle. After exercise, drink water often thirsty after exercise.

Try to certain habits of fitness equipment (not supplied) to avoid:

The lifting of the load:
People need to find the fitness plan perfect. This should eliminate the coach must train the person. If you're lifting weights, would be to manage stress. You can easily lift the load from 12 to 15 times. This is another way to keep the body fit to make. After this step, you can use a little weight. If you lift weights that fatigue and provides exposure for the body and take care of his body exposed.

People should take over the machine:
People will think of fitness. The host clock, such as elliptical trainers, treadmills, fitness equipment elliptical trainers is different, it is used for the body lean and fit to open it. So that's the truth about the controls and prohibitions.
People should take over the machine:
People will think of fitness. The host clock, such as elliptical trainers, treadmills, fitness equipment elliptical trainers is different, it is used for the body lean and fit to open it. So that's the truth about the controls and prohibitions.