I want to try tabata some more after my initial experimentation with it seemed quite promising. However, I’m a bit concerned it could interfere with the goals of zhan zhuang and qigong. My simplistic understanding is that in zhan zhuang, I want to train my nervous system to be as calm and relaxed as possible, then be ready for everything to fire in concert, not necessarily explosively, but everything in between up to explosively – more likely the “continuous” power curve sought through bagua circle walking. Stillness in motion, constant power and movement, for standup or ground game.

Related to that I think part of qigong’s benefit as well as prerequisite is calming the nervous system. After doing tabata, everything was fired up. The HR stays up for a while. The hormonal effects seem at opposite extremes in these exercises. I imagine that getting better control over the gas/brake pedals between “fight or flight” responses and “rest and digest” responses is important. You want to be as relaxed as possible, “listening”, nothing firing, then be ready for sudden action/reaction.

To resolve or minimize this possible conflict, if it exists (maybe only for a beginner or someone more interested in zhan zhuang and qigong), I hope I can just do both extremes and balance them by doing relatively more qigong and zhan zhuang – it is so much more difficult to get some conscious mind/body regulation of a calming effect and “song” than a stress response effect – anyone can stress themselves out just by thinking stressful thoughts within seconds or minutes with no special training whereas probably no one can meditate or calm the system to the same magnitude with zero, or even significant, training. Probably need a ratio of something like 10:1.

Also, I think at first I might try only functional whole body exercises, such as bridging or snaking or rolling over, maybe squatting, and avoid too much nervous system firing localized to one small muscle group that would interfere with training the whole body connections, or add no particular functional training. The “muscle memory” from just 4 minutes of work seems so strong it could easily override all that other work that I’m not particularly good at. That would be bad to undo anything that takes much more effort (at least measured in time, not calories expended) to build up. But it should be fine if it’s all functional stuff, and only a few times per week. Plus, the promise of simultaneous anaerobic/aerobic training and fat-burning with such incredible efficiency and low time investment is too compelling not to figure out how to add this method.

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