Photo Courtesy Of Dragon Door Publications

In the August 2006 installment of Legends of Kung Fu, I explained chin-na's three bodies of techniques, four situational levels and five target groupings. Those concepts provide a big-picture view of the art, but comprehension without application is hollow. The transition from mental mastery to physical ability requires specialized training methods.

The attributes required for proficiency at chin-na are:

• strength (grasping, pushing, pulling, twisting)

• speed (hand-eye coordination, timing, quick-twitch muscles)

• sensitivity (timing, tactile awareness). Strength is perhaps the most easily developed attribute. Although numerous methods of strength training exist, the goal is to develop a strong, powerful grip for manipulating an opponent into a position of inferiority or submission.

The most obvious way to build strength is through weightlifting. However, standard exercises may

When I first heard of kettlebell training for rehabilitation, I approached it with skepticism. I was looking at it as a means of strengthening my grip for chin-na and developing power for shuai chiao. However, I'd suffered numerous injuries to my wrists and shoulders thanks to boxing with improper form and the actions of a few overzealous training partners. For years, those injuries had prevented me from sparring or grappling at full bore. After a few months of training with kettlebell pioneer Pavel Tsatsouline, however, my wrists and shoulders became stronger than ever. I recently started sparring and grappling again, and I no longer have to stop because of shooting pains in my wrists or shoulders. —M.C.

not develop the grip strength that's crucial for the application of chin-na techniques. Supplemental methods that challenge the flexor muscles of the forearms are often necessary for success in the art.

Historically, weight training entailed manipulating heavy weapons. Handling a massive implement such as the Kwan do (halberd) or even the hardwood staff increased grip strength and built up other muscles. As the practitioner

Pavel Tsatsouline has created a kettle-bell workout that can help martial artists develop wrist and shoulder strength or rehabilitate injured body parts.

alternated between fighting against and flowing with the weapon's inertia, he also developed the muscles needed to push, pull, twist and hold an opponent.

Other devices were also used for strength development. The stone padlock and bricks were popular

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