Move Slowly & Improve Your Health By Jason France on August 3, 2018
Special to RoadKing: Interview with Sifu Zhou Rong Jie
By: Siphiwe Baleka, Founder, Fitness Trucking
RoadKing readers know I’m keen on educating drivers about the importance of improving metabolism to burn fat and reduce the risk for a cluster of 60 medical disorders and 12 cancers known as metabolic syndrome. My book, 4 Minute Fit, instructs readers how to activate their metabolism by moving with maximum intensity for just four minutes before starting to drive. It also discusses how to keep your metabolism burning fat while driving by eating protein every three hours and limiting the intake of carbohydrates. This technique has helped thousands of drivers across North America to quickly reduce belly fat and a host of associated medical disorders in a safe, healthy way, without using any supplements or requiring a lot of time.
Tell me about your experience driving trucks. How long did you drive and what happened to your health?
Moving with intensity, however, is not the only way to drastically improve your health. You can achieve results by doing the exact opposite: move slowly.
Recently, I visited China and met 65-year-old Zhou Rong Jie, southern China’s top Tai Chi master. Tai Chi is a very old form of martial arts that is practiced using very slow, fluid movements. At 47 years old and being a US Masters Swimming national champion and national record holder, I’m very fit for my age. I was quite astonished, however, when I discovered how much stronger Zhou Rong Jie is. I was even more surprised when I discovered that he is a retired truck driver! Over five days, I spent a few hours each morning learning Tai Chi from this master. The following questions and answers are excerpts from one of my interviews with him.
Basically speaking, Tai Chi saved my life. I drove nearly 20 years. In the early years, to make money. I was very busy always driving trucks from city to city. This hurt my body a lot, especially my back. The perspiration is always in that location, so it is very bad. It creates a bad atmosphere in the body.
Did you gain a lot of weight?
My weight was okay, but I had a lot of problems in my back, bones, stomach, and kidneys.
Why Tai Chi?
Tai Chi is one of the best parts of Chinese culture. If you use Tai Chi, your whole body will move. Your blood, bones, they will work together with the heart and the kidneys and all the organs. But if you just go to the hospital for an operation or something, you can only fix one part. So, you can not fix all the parts. In traditional Chinese medicine, if you use a knife to make an incision, it will also hurt your body. The whole body will not function very well. So Tai Chi helps the whole body.
Were you an unworthy student?
Ummm, yes. You need a process to improve a lot. Learning Tai Chi is a very slow process. You can not just push it or try to possess it very quickly. You need many years. You can improve your health. You will have more power, and you will not need to go to the hospital.
Tai Chi is based on theories from the ancient philosophy of Taoism. One theory is the concept “from internal to external.” The other is “from the whole body to one part.” In many countries, people practice boxing. Boxing trains your muscles. But Tai Chi trains your bones, your blood, your brain, your muscles, your heart. Tai Chi is so important in China because every action is guided by this philosophy. [Master Jie demonstrates pushing]. When I push her, I don’t just push her directly. I use the internal to the external to make a circle or spiraling motion, and that can make a stronger power. It seems the power is small, but in fact it’s very strong.
Tai Chi is just like water. Water is not very powerful. A lot of water can make a flood. The flood can go into the doors, the windows, and even a very solid building. The water does not seem very big, but when you increase it a lot, it becomes very powerful, more powerful than machines like cars. Tai Chi is very similar to water. From very slow to very fast. From very small to very powerful.
A Short Tai Chi Overview
Master Jie himself was an example of this power, even at his age. And this inspired me to practice and to learn more about the health benefits of Tai Chi. I wanted to know the details of the physiological effects of performing Tai Chi. According to Peter Anthony Gryffin, PhD and author of Mindful Exercise: Metarobics, Healing and the Power of Tai Chi, “People who know and love Tai Chi, and understand Chinese principles of qi, need no other reason to do Tai Chi. But people who are confused about how and why Tai Chi could benefit anything, need an explanation which makes sense to them.
“I began researching cancer and found that hypoxia (oxygen deficiency) severely complicates cancer treatment. Knowing the literal translation of qi in the Chinese/English dictionary is air, or oxygen, I began measuring blood oxygen saturation during Tai Chi and other exercises. I found that during Tai Chi and other breath-focused relaxation exercises, blood oxygen and saturation increases, while during aerobic exercise, it stays the same or drops, depending on intensity. Oxygen diffusion in the tissues also increases.
“Later studies showed a huge momentary drop in oxygen saturation following Tai Chi, indicating that not only is blood oxygen saturation and diffusion enhanced during Tai Chi, but that the body is using the oxygen at a much higher rate. This increase would explain the benefits of Tai Chi for the wide range of conditions by hypoxia, including cancer, heart, lung and kidney disease; diabetes; arthritis; asthma; Alzheimer’s; multiple sclerosis and more.”
In other words, by practicing the slow moving Tai Chi, one can improve the circulation, use and benefit of increased oxygen in cellular tissue. Thus, whether you do short bursts of intense movement such as that recommended in 4 Minute Fit, or you move very slowly as in Tai Chi, you can reduce your risks for a lot of medical disorders. What matters most is that you make a commitment to exercise every day and stick to it.
To learn more, watch Siphiwe and Master Jie perform the Short Form Chen Style 18 Movement Tai Chi: https://youtu.be/qkn81dB6DkM.