The Art of Stone Padlock Shi Suo Gong

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"The Art of Stone Padlock" serves to strengthen the external power, brings strength to the body, like that one of the sun. This method serves to harden arms. It is especially suitable for lifting some heavy things. The efficiency of this art is not inferior to that one of the method of the "Iron Bag" (TIE DAI GONG). The shape and the outline of the "Stone Padlock" are similar to those ones of a common copper padlock. That padlock has a U-shaped bar and a barrel, but has no hole for the key.

It is necessary to take a stone MA (MA SHI) or a stone QING (QING SHI) to

acquire this technique. The weight of a small stone padlock must be 20 JINs at least and the weight of the biggest padlock may be 60 to 70 JINs19. At first, one has to learn to lift such a stone padlock with an arm and hold it suspended. The exercise is done with each arm in turn. Take a stone padlock with a hand and fix the hand at the level of your breast (the arm is straight in the elbow joint). Bend the arm in the wrist so that the fist that holds the stone padlock should be pointed up. Do the exercise many times. The aim of this exercise is to make the arm strong. After finishing this exercise, raise and lower the arm so that the fist should move up and down in the vertical plane (the arm is straight in the elbow). You may imagine a vertical line, for example, on a wall where you stare and move the fist with the stone padlock along that line. Stop the raising arm only when the arm and the shoulder will

Editor's notes: 18

JIN, a Chinese traditional measure of weight. 1 JIN is equal to 0.5 kg. Thus, the weight of the stone is about 10 kg.

19 That corresponds to 30 to 35 kg after conversion into the common measure of weight.

make one (horizontal) line. The arm must be as if hanging in emptiness. After assimilating and consolidating main principles, do the exercise with turns of the body in the region of your waist and other movements simultaneously. After that, start to throw up the padlock. Raise, lower and move up abruptly your arm with force. Try to achieve the stone padlock to fly up and rotate round its axis in the air, making, at any rate, two or three revolutions, then catch it for the U-shaped bar with your hand. It is necessary to achieve such a state when you are able to control the number of revolutions, increase or decrease their number (revolutions) by will. With time your arms will harden and the force in them will achieve a certain amount.

It is not worth trying to make too many revolutions of the padlock in the air at the beginning. You will be in perfect command of this art only when you have trained the rotation technique to the ideal level, then you will not be able to do harm to your body when training (further) this exercise.

After finishing with the rotation technique of a stone padlock, start to acquire the technique of "accepting" a falling stone on a stretched hand. When training that, learn to throw a stone up and catch it, its trajectory being a vertical line. The purport of the exercise is as follows. Throw up a stone padlock so that it should reach the level of your head crown, and then fall down vertically. Set the back of a clenched fist under the falling stone padlock as if you divided the stone into two halves (i.e. the fist must be under the center of gravity of the stone padlock), at the same time lower the palm of the other arm on the U-shaped bar from above and press it to the fist. Continue your work with the stone padlock in the same manner: throw it up at first, then catch it. Do not squeeze the stone padlock in your hand, but accept it on the fist. When your shoulders, elbow joints and fingers become strong, it will mean that you are on the way to perfection in this art. Now the execution of this exercise needs to be improved by multiple repetition of the learnt movements.

The back can be divided into two halves, the right one and the left one. Muscles of the left part account for the left arm and the right one for actions of the right arm. Take a stone padlock with the right hand, throw it up behind the back from your waist so that it could be caught on the level of the left shoulder, catch the stone padlock near the left shoulder with your arm stretched. Turn the whole body to the left at that. Do the same with the left arm. Do not apply too great effort in the process of strengthening arms. Take care of your sides and your waist. If you ignore that and apply too great force, you may feel pain in the body.

After finishing the work with back muscles, start to train the waist. This exercise can also be done to the left side and to the right side. Lift a stone padlock with your right arm, start the movement from the right part of the waist (small of the back) and from the left part to the left side to throw a stone up. The body should be also turned to the left and a thrown stone padlock be caught just in that position. Do the same with the other arm. After assimilating everything, finishing to learn the exercise and hardening the waist, it is necessary to unite both mentioned methods into one. In the process of exercising trainees may count movements to do them equally to the left and to the right.

When the first stage of training comes to the end, one may start to repeat all parts, gradually moving from the simple to the difficult and sparing a long time for it. At first, it is necessary to exercise with a stone padlock of 20 JINs (10 kg), then take a heavier one and gradually proceed to the stone padlock weighing 60 JINs (30 kg).

When learners assimilate this skill completely, they will be able to lift things weighing 100 to 300 JINs (50 - 150 kg). It is necessary to pay equal attention to both arms without leaving one arm inactive in the process of acquiring the skill. It will take about two years to acquire this skill. Only after that time you can be told to have attained a high level. It is easier to learn this art in childhood and later repeat and improve the knack of lifting, throwing up and pushing things of impressive weight easily.

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