When I was 19 years old, I started taking a martial arts class at the local community center. The instructor, Dale Freeman, was a top student of many “Kung-Fu” masters in San Francisco’s Chinatown in the 70′ and 80’s.
At the time, I took most of the things he taught and said for granted as I had no previous experience with martial arts to compare our class to. Most classes began with “stretching out.” He taught us The 10 Exercises. He also called them The 10 Buddhist Exercises as their origins are likely from Shaolin Kung-Fu (the Buddhist fighting monks of China).
Dale would often tell us that we owed him ten grand for teaching us these exercises as they would save our joints and keep us healthy into old age. At the time, I just thought it was another eccentric thing he would say. And, as a teenager, you don’t think too much about chronic injury, “worn out” joints, or ill health much at all. Seventeen years later and after treating thousands of patients with chronic pain, I think these exercises are probably worth at least $10,000.
Over the years I’ve been rock climbing, mountaineering, skiing, jogging, snowboarding, done a ton of manual labor (construction and landscaping), indoor soccer, wake boarding, surfing, etc. Despite lots of opportunities to twist an ankle, blow out a knee, pull a hammy, or screw-up my back like almost everyone I know who does these types of activities, I’ve managed to stay injury free. I’ve never had any pain, soreness, or muscle tension last more than a day or two.
The 10 Exercises are so effective because they:
- Increase Flexibility and Decrease Muscle Tension
- Strengthen the Small Muscles Around the Joints (which stabilizes and protects them)
- Improve Coordination and Balance
- Get the Body “Warmed-up” and Energized
- Increase Focus and Relaxation
- Are Easy to Learn and Do For All Levels of Fitness and Flexibility
- Can Be Done In a Small Amount of Time (30 minutes for the full set and as little as 5 minutes for the quick set)
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Photo by YoGeek Mami