What bicycling is teaching me about kung fu.

Posted Tue Jul 17, 2007, 10:38 AM by Tracy

For years Sifu (fill in name here) has been telling me to not let my energy drop when I’m doing a rep, a monkey line, a multi-person attack. Finish strong, don’t drop your energy, finish! Finish!

Since this is mostly a mental thing, it’s kind of hard to find ways to train this outside of class – short of getting into a bar fight.

This is where cycling to work is helping me out.

I like to say it’s uphill both ways. Only Sifu Chris has been clever enough to respond that means it’s also downhill both ways.

Suffice it to say, my route to work is hilly. Lucky for me, I’m going over a hump instead of down into a valley. The uphill is always at the beginning of the ride. Once I reach the summit I can coast home.

What does this have to do with kung fu? As I’m pedalling up a hill and the top comes into sight, I let myself slack off. I have found out the hard way that does not work! It just makes it more difficult and slower to reach the top. I have to keep pedalling at the same rate, even putting on a burst of speed to make it all the way to the top.

Cycling is helping me to train on a physical level the mental attitude I have to demonstrate in my street fighting. Don’t slack off when the end is in sight. Keep going, keep fighting and finish strong.


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About Mo Duk Pai

Mo Duk Pai kung fu is a modern American eclectic system of martial arts, combining hard- and soft-style techniques Mo Duk Pai, which translates to “Martial Ethical Way”, was founded by Professor Frederick D. King. For more information, to see photos or inquire about training, visit the Mo Duk Pai web site, which I also maintain. I have been training since 1996 and currently hold the rank of brown-black sash.


Sifu (pr. see-foo [Cantonese] or shur-foo [Mandarin]) is a Chinese term for Teacher. It also carries the connotation of Father (teacher-father), referring to a tradition of teaching martial arts within the family, as well as being a title of respect. In America the title sifu is given to both men and women. In Mo Duk Pai the title is awarded to 2nd degree black belts at their teacher’s discretion.


Qigong (pr. chee-gung) is the practice of Chinese exercises incorporating movement and posture, breathing and visualization. Qigong exercises focus on maintaining health by energizing and balancing one’s qi, or energy.