Fitness Tips To Keep You From Blobbing Out

ftsWho were the first Frisbee throwers? The ninja, of course. (Though if you tried to catch one of their “Frisbees” you might end up, Road Warrior–style, picking your fingertips off the ground.) Students at Ron Blackwood’s dojo in Orange, California, still train with shuriken, or throwing stars, even though, as Blackwood says, “they’re illegal as all get-out here in California.” The point is, once you’ve mastered the art of throwing the bladed shuriken, almost anything can become a weapon. “I’m sitting here looking at a coaster,” Blackwood says “That could he a shuriken A tin-can lid, a saucer, a CD–those could be shurikerz.”

A Frisbee-that could be a shuriker.

To strengthen and enhance the flexibility of their wrists–the better to throw at you with, my dear–Blackwood’s students do sets of pushups on their fists or their fingertips.

The throw itself marshals the principles of taijuisu, which literally means “body art” and practically means that every ounce of your weight and strength will be put into every punch, every throw. If throwing with your right hand, stand with your rightfoot pointed directly at your target, your knees bent, and your leftfoot behind you, pointed backward at a 45-degree angle. Start with your weight on you rear foot, your hand holding the Frisbee up near your left armpit. Then shift your weight to your right foot, moving your entire body forward and swiftly uncoiling your arm. “Imagine snapping a towel,” Blackwood says. “Imagine you’re taking your towel and throwing it out, but instead of pulling back at the end to the snap, just stop and release. Your index finger should be pointing at the precise point you want the shurike, to stick.”

Blackwood’s students practice throwing at a 24-inch-diameter slab of tree trunk nailed to the wall. Typically, half of them miss until Blackwood puts a small sticker in the center of the target. Then almost all of them sink their shuriken into the wood somewhere. “You need a focus,” he says. “Look at the bottom of the guy’s shirt and throw at that. So what if you’re 2 inches off!”

Clean Your Gutters

A good friend of ours suffered a fractured ankle when he fell off a ladder while cleaning his gutters. If only he,d known about the one-leg stance. It’s a tee kwon do technique designed to help black-belt students learn balance. Here’s how it works:

Stand on one leg, with your foot pointed straight ahead. Lift the other leg and bend it so the bottom of the foot is positioned directly in front of one other kneecap, without touching it. Black belts can hold this position indefinitely, while executing complex forms and elbow strikes. All you’ve got to do is hold the one-leg stance in front of the mirror while you brush your teeth. “It doesn’t have any extra time OUt of your day,” Moody says. “But doing it just that much will improve your balance tremendously”

Melt Your Love Handles

The classic recipe for trimming your abdominal beanbag is simple: Eat better, lose weight and strengthen your stomach muscles. If that fails, there’s liposuction or, if you’re too poor, loose-fitting sweatpants. But this tee kwon do exercise will help you by training the obliques, the muscles that run along the sides of your abdomen. Translation: No more love handles!

* Adopt a wide stance, feet double shoulder-width apart, with your knees bent. Envision an opponent lying on the ground under you and, using arch arm in succession, punch down and across your body toward your opposite foot. Your hips should rotate as you punch.

* When you punch, your first two knuckles should be leading the punch, so your arm twists inward as it descends. As you extend the punching arm forward, pull the opposite arm back for maximum hip rotation. Do three sets of 25 repetitions.

End-Back Pain

Lower-back pain is often caused by being weak in the midsection, not just in the back but in the front as well. Crunches work both sides of the midsection, strengthening the abdominals and safely stretching the lower-back muscles. At Moody’s gym, students do crunches with a tee kwon do twist: They punch the air at the top of each repetition.

“It’s a simple exercise,” Moody says. “Execute a textbook crunch: With your knees bent and feet on the floor, lift your shoulders and lower back off the mat, so your body is at no more than a 45-degree angle to the ground. At the top, either visualize a target over your knees or have a partner hold up a pillow, and punch three times, alternating arms. Don’t just flail, though. Take a full second for each punch, so that you’ve got to hold yourself up for three seconds on each crunch.”

Start with three sets of 10 crunches, and when you can handle that easily, add a few more punches at the top of each crunch. Ultimately, you should work toward completing l0 punches on each crunch, and 25 to 30 crunches per set. To work the obliques more, punch across your body.

Sneak Up on a Trout Stream

Five hundred dollars in fly-fishing gear and you still haven’t landed your first brookie? Maybe it’s not your presentation but your approach that needs work. Those native trout are easily spooked, especially by a clumsy galoot crashing through the brush. To sneak up on that running rivulet of mountain water, a man needs stealth.

Moody has a drill he puts his students through that might, admittedly, make you look a bit silly. What you do is balance a shoe on your head, and then you simply walk around the house. “This exercise forces you to be very careful about how you make each movement,” says Moody, a third-degree black belt. “It teaches you complete control over your body” Just the kind of stealth training that will allow even the clumsiest of fishermen to get an extra step on his prey.

If it seems too easy to you lengthen your stride. “The deeper your stance, the harder it is to keep your balance with a shoe on your head,” Moody says. And once that’s a breeze, start turning corners.

A few more pointers: Keep your body relaxed, particularly your upper body, and concentrate on using only the exact muscles needed to complete each step. “Once you can turn corners and he smooth about it, you should be able to precisely control how you move from step to step,” Moody says.

Oh, and before you start, we recommend checking the bottom of the shoe. It’s embarrassing enough walking around with a shoe on your head. It’s worse getting dog-do out of your hair.

Heighten Sexual Arousal

tsmWe’re not going to tell you that breaking cinder blocks with your head is going to turn your mate into a trembling sexual machine (although we’re sure there are some women out there who might like that). Instead, consider mastering the art of shiatsu massage, which has the magical quality of heightening arousal while nullifying anxiety

Shiatsu, like acupuncture and acupressure, focuses attention on “meridians,” the vectors that carry chi, or life energy, through the body. While acupressure stimulates specific points on those meridians, shiatsu works by massaging along the length of a meridian, heightening the energy coursing through your body. Although Holder teaches shiatsu for nonsexual situations to make people comfortable with their bodies, it can be a terrific slow Launch in sexual situations as well, the ultimate foreplay. “It creates a longer arousal period,” Holder says. “The idea is to really stimulate the body and prolong the event.”

You can pick up an acupressure chart–basically a map of the body’s meridians–in a bookstore to familiarize yourself wit best areas for massage. But a basic shiatsu massage would focus on the chest and the lower abdomen, the upper thigh and the area at the base of the buttocks, the soles of the feet and the spaces between the toes, and the five meridians that run down the back on each side of the spine. “Take your hands and place an index finger on each side of the spine,” says Holder. “Relax your hands and place your fingers down naturally–probably about an inch apart–and massage up and down from there. You’ll pick up the meridians.” The main thing is not to think. “We’re just trying to create stimulation in the body. If you’re thinking about it too much, your focus isn’t going to be on the other person’s body. Don’t make sex a job, make it fun.”

Psych Out the IRS Man

You’ve heard of hand-to-hand combat? In Karl Scott’s beginning karate classes at the Asian Martial Arts Shreio in Ann Arbor, Michigan, students learn eye-to-eye combat. “It’s called Tiger Eyes,” Scott says. “The whole idea is to unbalance your opponent psychologically.”

The goal is to overcome the social stigma against sustained, intense, unblinking eye contact, and thus disturb the person you’re staring at. Let’s say, for example, that the tax auditor is questioning whether the 17 cases of K-Y Jelly you boughs last year we really for business purposes. “What you do is Focus your eye contact like the eyes of a tiger into your opponent’s eyes,” says Scott. “If you’ve ever looked at a tiger–the way it focuses its eyes, especially when it’s about to go after prey–it’s pretty self-explanatory.” But since few of us have ever looked into the eyes of a coiled tiger, we’ll have to settle for what we’ve got. Your girlfriend’s cat, for example.

Next time the mangy thing comes around whining for you to fill the food bowl, engage it in a duel-to-the-death stare-down. “It takes incredible concentration to be able to hold that focused intensity for any length of time,” Scott says, “particularly once you graduate to the human level.”

Once you’ve mastered the Tiger Eye, it’s not something to use casually “It’s not really a socially acceptable way of interacting with people, because the whole idea is to destabilize and scare your opponent,” Scott says. “In a social situation or a business situation, where you’re negotiating things, you don’t necessarily want to do that, because people will say you’re weird.”

But if you’re dealing with the IRS, let’s Face it: Better weird than wiped out.

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