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Reaching the Peak: Advice from Our Authors, Part III

April 19, 2010

Plateaus can be a frustrating but common issue in training. We asked a few of our expert authors to weigh in on what to do when you hit a wall in your training program, and how they’ve overcome them in their own journeys. Each week in April, one of our authors will offer insights and advice to help readers not only push through plateaus, but recognize what can be learned from the experience.

Rick Wing, author of The Classical Three-Section Staff and co-editor of Fu Zhen Song’s Dragon Bagua Zhang (written by Lin Chao Zhen and translated by Wei Ran Lin), gives his perspective:

I can only speak for myself, but if that happens to me, the answer is “Do something different.” Whether that be training less or training differently is up to the person. I know that I can’t keep improving at a high rate for a long period of time. If I start to get real good, then after awhile, I’ll probably get some type of illness, so it is better to back off for awhile. This is a situation that typically happens — slow improvement, then get either sick or injured, then slow improvement back, then, maybe slow improvement — the same old cycle has been repeated for years. I would prefer not to get injured or ill, but life happens. In this aspect, I would have to say that I am definitely not my teacher, because he seemed to be healthy pretty much all the time. For most normal people like myself, we just strive to be better over the long haul.

Read Walking the I Ching: The Linear Ba Gua of Gao Yi Sheng author Allen Pittman’s 8 point formula to breaking the plateaus here.

Find out what The Gift of Danger: Lessons from Aikido author Mary Stein believes can be learned from training plateaus here.

The Dragon Bagua Zhang system of third-generation master Fu Zhen Song was one of the most powerful martial arts styles to emerge from 1920s China. Fu Zhen Song’s Dragon Bagua Zhang presents this challenging system — known for its extensive catalog of whirling body movements and fighting techniques — in a step-by-step format, including palm forms, stepping patterns, and training methods. Originally written in Chinese by Lin Chao Zhen and translated by his son, Wei Ran Lin, this edition also features an extensive introductory section on the development of the Dragon Bagua form and lineage, along with 150 photographs and illustrated two-person practice sets for self-defense and sparring.

In The Classical Three-Section Staff, expert Rick Wing brings this ancient weapon into the light, breaking down the complex wheeling maneuvers associated with the three-section staff into easily understood, step-by step instructions. With some 500 photographs carefully depicting front and back views of techniques, this book shows multiple applications of the three-section staff, depicting a sparring set between the staff and a traditional spear. Wing demonstrates the dazzling versatility of the weapon, showing how to use it as a defensive wall, a club, a blunt projectile, a chain, and more. With a “learn at your own pace” approach and a solid foundation of descriptive text, The Classical Three-Section Staff makes using the weapon of “whirling fury” into an accessible and enjoyable art.

How do you push through plateaus? Share your personal experiences in our comments section of this post, and you could win a set of free books from Blue Snake Books!

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