When Mulan runs away from home to join Captain Shang and the Chinese army in her father’s place, she is a stranger to the rigors of boot camp and fitness. She is a veteran’s daughter, so she is not ignorant of what can happen in war. Her father is, in fact, injured from his service to the Emperor. But she truly has no idea what she’s getting herself into.
In this way, we have one up on Mulan. This is Week 4 of Disney Princess Boot Camp and while the workouts are revolving, the level of fitness and healthy eating has been maintained. But if you’re doing this Boot Camp and thinking to yourself “There’s no way I can dive into Chinese martial arts”…think again. Mulan did it and so can you!! And so could I!
Here’s a list of Chinese martial arts to choose from.
-Shaolin Kung Fu
-Karate (another form that has links to China as well as to Japan)
-Stick Fighting (Kendo and Bōjutsu are both Japanese forms of stick fighting, but Mulan and Co. do a lot of stick fighting in the movie. So if you have those forms available to you, even though they are Japanese and we are focusing on China, you can substitute them.)
-Sword Fighting (also look into stunt choreography to access the same kinds of skill building.)
Based on our location, what’s available to you may vary, but with the wonderful invention of the internet you have a lot more options than ever before. Take advantage. Here’s a look at what I did:
I found a posting in my local paper for a Tai Chi class run at a church close to me. It was only $8 for the class and the instructor really focused on core muscles and strategic, precise movements. It’s amazing how little steps can really challenge your body! I also found some great videos of Tai Chi on You Tube and did those as well. Here’s one to kick off your intro to Tai Chi:
In Orlando, we have a Kendo Club. To reiterate, this is a Japanese form of stick fighting. And I don’t like to mix around Asian cultures as they are all unique and different and incredibly interesting to learn about. But since there were few choices in my area regarding stick fighting, I went with the closest thing I could find which happened to be Kendo. I cannot stress enough that if you have the chance to take a stick fighting class of any kind, you should take it! Stretch your body beyond what you think it can do and surprise yourself!!
This should be the easiest for you to find in your area. Karate is another art that crosses the borders of Asian cultures. It has roots in Japan as well as in many other forms of Chinese Martial Arts.
Shaolin Kung Fu
This had to be my favorite thing this week. Shaolin Kung Fu is no joke and it is a purely Chinese martial art. Derived from the Buddist Shaolin temples in Henan province. Shaolin Kung Fu “combines Zen and martial arts.” I did these videos because I wasn’t able to get the Kung Fu classes available in my area on my schedule this week.
Here’s a really basic introduction:
Another great one that I enjoyed in the mornings:
This one is short, but this guy isn’t playing around!!
I hope you find time to enjoy challenging your body with these techniques. I know they challenged mine!