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Health, Wealth, or Both?

“Those who are not good at relaxation will work inefficiently.”Vladimir Illyich Lenin.

Click Here for Mao's 1917 Article on Exercise in Chinese.
体育之研究 毛泽东 (一九一七年四月一日)

One of Mao’s earliest writings, published in 1917 at the age of 24, was “A Study of Physical Education.” From college days until his famous two mile swim across the Yangtze at the age of 72, Mao Ze Dong shared Ralph Waldo Emerson’s sentiments that “The first wealth is health,” and Mao would probably be nonplussed to see that wealthy Chinese now appear to be rapidly emulating Americans, of whom ½ are overweight and 1/3 are obese, and are now dying of “affluent diseases.”

Like Americans, Chinese are increasingly too busy to eat properly, exercise, and rest.

When I arrived in Xiamen in 1988, locals ate fresh foods bought daily at the markets. Today, Chinese’ fast lives are fueled by fast food, and home cooked meals are often little more than canned, dried and frozen foods popped in microwaves.

Exercise has deteriorated along with diet. While emancipation from heavy labor is a blessing, the increasing aversion to cycling or even walking is already taking a toll. In a few more years, Chinese may be like Americans, who drive a car even when their destination is simply a store 200 meters from home. No wonder a Xiamen friend who just returned from the U.S. exclaimed, “America doesn’t have pedestrians!”

Some Americans protest (a little proudly), “No time to walk! Time is money!” But those who don’t make time for exercise now will certainly make time for illness later.

This trend in Chinese’ health reminds me uncannily of Mao’s complaint in 1917 that, “The physical condition of the population deteriorates daily. This is an extremely disturbing phenomenon…” Mao warned that Chinese desperately needed to change their attitudes towards exercise, and fortunately for us today, unhealthy attitudes are under attack by a vanguard of fitness proponents that includes men like City Trend’s Zhang Ke (Ray).

Ray was a thin-as-a-rail 13-year-old until an older friend invited him to a gym. From that day on, Ray pumped iron while other kids played ball. He also studied all of the fitness literature he could lay his hands on, though materials were scarce in his Jiangsu hometown, and he virtually memorized every magazine he collected.

While in Fuzhou University, Ray worked part-time in a physical fitness center, where he met many Chinese and Western fitness experts. Ray was featured in magazines and on the Fujian sports channel, and became a consultant for China’s leading fitness website. After getting a degree in International Trade, Ray shocked friends and family alike by becoming a personal fitness trainer, but he says, “My college years were definitely not wasted. Theory and practice must be integrated, and university gave me the foundation for developing my own philosophy of fitness, nutrition, and training.”

Ray obviously views exercise as a mental as well as a physical activity. As my sons Shannon and Matthew strain, red-faced, at the bench press, he leans over them, his finger aimed at his temple, saying, “Think! Focus!”

A career in physical education may lack status but Ray says “A life of meaning is more important than status.” And Ray's convinced that the physical fitness field has a great future ahead of it once it becomes respectable in China, as it did in America after the 1977 documentary “Pumping Iron.” Ray said, “Until ‘Pumping Iron,’ which made Schwarzenegger famous, Americans thought of weightlifting as just a bunch of over-muscled men hefting chunks of iron in a smelly gym. Chinese still think like that, but this must change…The important thing is that we fitness experts don’t impose our own goals upon our clients, but understand their needs first, and then help them change their lifestyle. Because it’s not a matter of just exercise, but of changing ones whole lifestyle.” He added, “Someday, Chinese will flock to gyms instead of karaokes!”

Mao too urged that Chinese develop a healthy lifestyle—as young as possible. He lamented that “in the educational system of our country, required courses are as thick as the hairs on a cow”… and because of the neglect of physical education, “Children become ill, or even die young, because of studying.”

Mao wrote that people disliked exercise because they lacked self-awareness and were unable to change deep-seated habits. He also noted,
“Students feel that exercise is shameful. According to my humble observation, this is really their major reason for disliking exercise. Flowing garments, a slow gait, a grave, calm gaze — these constitute a fine deportment, respected by society. Why should one suddenly extend an arm or expose a leg, stretch and bend down? Is this not strange?”

But unless we use those bodies, we lose them. Thus Herbert Spencer wrote in 1861, “The preservation of health is a duty. Few seem conscious that there is such a thing as physical morality.”

For the sake of China and the Chinese, let us hope that physical education pioneers like Zhang Ke are successful in inculcating that physical morality.

Dr. Bill Brown
Xiamen University MBA Center
http://www.amoymagic.com
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Last Updated October 2006

Mao's Article in Chinese

体育之研究
毛泽东 (一九一七年四月一日)

国力恭苶弱,武风不振,民族之体质日趋轻细,此甚可忧之现象也。提倡之者不得其本,久而无效,长是不改,弱且加甚。夫命中致远,外部之事,结果之事也;体力充实;内部之事,原因之事也。体不坚实,则见兵而畏之,何有于命中,何有于致远? 坚实在于锻炼,锻炼在于自觉。 今之提倡者非不设种种之方法,然而无效者,外力不足以动其心,不知何为体育之真义。体育果有如何之价值,效果云何,著手何处,皆茫乎如在雾中,其无效亦宜;欲图体育之有效,非动其主观,促其对于体育之自觉不可。苟自觉矣,则体育之条目可不言而自知,命中致远之效亦当不求而自至矣。不佞深感体育之要,伤提倡者之不得其当,知海内同志同此病而相怜者必多,不自惭赧,贡其愚见,以资商榷。所言并非皆已实行,尚多空言理想之处,不敢为欺。倘辱不遗,赐之教诲,所虚心百拜者也。

第一 释体育

自有生民以来,智识有愚暗,无不知自卫其生者。是故西山之蔽,饥极必食;井上之李,不容不咽,巢木以为居,皮兽以为衣,盖发乎天能,不知所以然也,然而未精也。有圣人者出,于是乎有礼,饮食起居皆有节度。故“子之燕居,甲申如也,夭夭如也”;“食饐而餲,鱼馁而肉败,不食”.”射于矍相之圃,盖观者如墙堵焉“。人体之组成与群动无不同,而群动不能及人之寿,所以制其生者无节度也。人则以节度制其生,愈降于后而愈明,于是乎有体育。体育者,养生之道也。东西之所明者不一:庄子效法于疱丁,仲尼取资于射御;现今文明诸国,德为最盛,其斗剑之风,播于全国;日本则有武士道,近且因吾国之绪余,造成柔术,觥觥乎可观已。而考其内容,皆先精究生理,详于官体之构造,脉络之运行,何方发达为早。何部较有偏缺,其体育即准此为程序,抑其过而救其所不及。故其结论,在使身体平均发达。由此言之,体育者,人类自养其生之道,使身体平均发达,而有规则次序之可言者也。

第二 体育在吾人之位置

体育一道,配德育与智育,而德智皆寄于体,无体是无德智也。顾知之者或寡矣,或以为重在智识,或曰道德也。夫知识则诚可贵矣,人之所以异于动物者此耳。顾徒知识之何载乎?道德亦诚可贵矣,所以立群道平人己者此耳。 顾徒道德之何寓乎?体者,为知识之载而为道德之寓者也,其载知识也如车,其寓道德也如舍。体者,载知识之车而寓道德之舍也。
儿童及年入小学,小学之时,宜专注重于身体之发育,而知识之增进、道德之养成次之。宜以养护为主,而以教授训练为辅。今盖多不知之,故儿童缘读书而得疾病或至夭殇者有之矣。中学及中学以上,宜三育并重,今人则多偏于智。中学之年,身体之发育尚未完成,乃今培之者少而倾之者多,发育不将有中止之势乎?吾国学制,课程密如牛毛,虽成年之人,顽强之身,犹莫能举,况未成年者乎?况弱者乎?观其意,教者若特设此繁重之课,以困学生,蹂躏其身而残贼其生,有不受者则罚之。智力过人者,则令加读某种某种之书,甘言以饴之,厚赏以诱之。嗟乎,此所谓贼夫人之子钦!学者亦若恶此生之永年,必欲摧折之,以身为殉而不悔。何其梦梦如是也!
人独患无身耳,他复何患? 求所以善其身者,他事亦随之矣。善其身无过于体育,体育于吾人实占第一之位置,体强壮而后学问道德之进修勇而收效远,于吾人研究之中,宜视为重要之部。“学有本末,事有终始,知所先后,则近道矣。”此之谓也。

第三 前此体育之弊及吾人自处之道

三育并重,然昔之为学者详德智而略于体。及其弊也,偻身俯首,纤纤素手,登山则气迫,步(涉)水则足痉。故有颜子而短命,有贾生而早夭,王勃、卢照邻,或幼伤,或坐废。此皆有甚高之德与智也,一旦身不存,德智则从之而隳矣。
惟北方之强,任金革死而不厌;燕赵多悲歌慷慨之士;烈士武臣,多出凉州。清之初世,颜习斋、李刚主文而兼武。习斋远跋千里之外,学击剑之术于塞北,与勇士角而胜焉。故其言曰:“文武缺一岂道乎?”顾炎武,南人也,好居于北,不喜乘船而喜乘马。此数古人者,皆可师者也。
学校既起,采各国之成法,风习稍稍改矣。然办学之人犹未脱陈旧一流,囿于所习,不能骤变;或少注意及之,亦惟是外面铺张,不揣其本而齐其末。故愚观现今之体育,率多有形式而无实质。非不有体操课程也,非不有体操教员也,然而受体操之益者少,非徒无益,又有害焉。教者发令,学者强应,身顺而心违,精神受无量之痛苦,精神苦而身亦苦矣,盖一体操之终,未有不貌瘁神伤者也。饮食不求洁,无机之物,微生之菌入于体中,化为疾病;室内光线不足,则目力受害不小;桌椅长短不合,削趾适屦,则躯干受亏;其余类此者尚多,不能尽也。
然则为吾侪学者之计如之何? 学校之设备,教师之教训,乃外的客观的也,吾人盖尚有内的主观的。夫内断于心,百体从令,祸福无不自己求之者,我欲仁斯仁至,况于体育乎。苟自之不振,虽使外的客观的尽善尽美,亦犹之乎不能受益也。故讲体育必自自动始。

第四 体育之效

人者,动物也,则动尚矣。人者,有理性的动物也,则动必有道。然何贵乎此动邪?何贵乎此有道之动邪? 动以营生也,此浅言之也;动以卫国也,此大言之也,皆非本义。动也者,盖养乎吾生乐乎吾心而已。朱子主敬,陆子主静。静,静也;敬,非动也,亦静而己。老子曰“无动为大”,释氏务求寂静。静坐之法,为朱陆之徒者咸尊之。近有因是子者,言静坐法,自诩其法之神,而鄙运动者之自损其体。是或一道,然予未敢效之也。愚拙之见,天地盖惟有动而已。
动之属于人类而有规则之可言者,曰体育。前既言之,体育之效则强筋骨也。愚昔尝闻,人之官骸肌络,及时而定,不复再可改易,大抵二十五岁以后,即一成无变。今乃知其不然。人之身盖日日变易者:新陈代谢之作用不绝行于各部组织之间,目不明可以明,耳不聪可以聪,虽六七十之人犹有改易官骸之效,事盖有必至者。又闻弱者难以转而为强,今亦知其非是。盖生而强者滥用其强,不戒于种种嗜欲,以渐戕贼其身,自谓天生好身手,得此已足,尚待锻炼?故至强者或终转为至弱。至于弱者,则恒自闵其身之不全,而惧其生之不永,兢业自持。于消极方面则深戒嗜欲,不敢使有损失;于积极方面则勤自锻炼,增益其所不能。久之遂变而为强矣。故生而强者不必自喜也,生而弱者不必自悲也。吾生而弱乎,或者天之诱我以至于强,未可知也。东西著称之体育家,若美之罗斯福,德之孙棠,日本之嘉纳,皆以至弱之身,而得至强之效。
又尝闻之:精神身体不能并完,用思想之人每歉于体,而体魄蛮健者多缺于思。其说亦谬。此盖指薄志弱行之人,非所以概乎君子也。孔子七十二而死,未闻其身体不健;释迦往来传道,死年亦高;邪苏不幸以冤死;至于摩词末,左持经典,右执利剑,征压一世,此皆古之所谓圣人,而最大之思想家也。今之伍秩庸先生七十有余岁矣,自谓可至百余岁,彼亦用思想之人也;王湘绣死年七十余,而康健矍铄。为是说者其何以解邪?总之,勤体育则强筋骨,强筋骨则体质可变,弱可转强,身心可以并完。此盖非天命而全乎人力也。
非第强筋骨也,又足以增知识。近人有言曰:文明其精神,野蛮其体魄。此言是也。欲文明其精神,先自野蛮其体魄;苟野蛮其体魄矣,则文明之精神随之。夫知识之事,认识世间之事物而判断其理也,于此有须于体者焉。直观则赖乎耳目,思索则赖乎脑筋,耳目脑筋之谓体,体全而知识之事以全,故可谓间接从体育以得知识。今世百科之学,无论学校独修,总须力能胜任。力能胜任者,体之强者也;不能胜任者,其弱者也。强弱分,而所任之区域以殊矣。
非第增知识也,又足以调感情。感情之于人,其力极大。古人以理性制之,故曰“主人翁常惺惺否”,又曰“以理制心”。然理性出于心,心存乎体。常观罢弱之人,往往为感情所役,而无力以自拔。五官不全及肢体有缺者,多困于一偏之情,而理性不足以救之。故身体健全,感情斯正,可谓不易之理。以例言之:吾人遇某种不快之事,受其刺激,心神震荡,难于制止,苟加以严急之运动,立可汰去陈旧之观念,而复使脑筋清明,效盖可立而待也。
非第调感情也,又足以强意志。体育之大效,盖尤在此矣。夫体育之主旨,武勇也。武勇之目,若猛烈,若不畏,若敢为,若耐久,皆意志之事。取例明之,如冷水浴足以练习猛烈与不畏,又足以练习敢为。凡各种之运动持续不改,皆有练习耐久之益,若长距离之赛跑,于耐久之练习尤著。夫力拔山气盖世,猛烈而已;不斩楼兰誓不还,不畏而已;化家为国,敢为而已;八年于外,三过其门而不入,耐久而已。要皆可于日常体育之小基之。意志也者,固人生事业之先驱也。
肢体纤小者举止轻浮,肤理缓弛者心意柔钝,身体之影响于心理也如是。体育之效,至于强筋骨,因而增知识,因而调感情,因而强意志。筋骨者,吾人之身;知识,感情,意志者,吾人之心。身心皆适,是谓俱泰。故夫体育非他,养乎吾生、乐乎吾心而已。

第五 不好运动之原因

运动为体育之最要者。今之学者多不好运动,其原因盖有四焉:
一则无自觉心也。一事之见于行为也,必先动其喜为此事之情,尤必先有对于此事明白周详知其所以然之智。明白周详知所以然者,即自觉心也。人多不知运动对于自己有如何之关系,或知其大略,亦未至于亲切严密之度,无以发其智,因无以动其情。夫能研究各种科学孜孜不倦者,以其关系于己者切也,今日不为,他日将无以谋生,而运动则无此自觉。此其咎由于自己不能深省者半,而教师不知所以开之亦占其半也。
一则积习难返也。我国历来重文,羞齿短后,动有“好汉不当兵”之语。虽知运动当行之理,与各国运动致强之效,然旧观念之力尚强,其于新观念之运动,盖犹在迎拒参半之列,故不好运动,亦无怪其然。
一则提倡不力也。此又有两种:其一,今之所称教育家,多不谙体育。自己不知体育,徒耳其名,亦从而体育之,所以出之也不诚,所以行之也无术,遂减学者研究之心。夫荡子而言自立,沉湎而言节饮,固无人信之矣。其次,教体操者多无学识,语言鄙俚,闻者塞耳。所知惟此一技,又未必精,日日相见者,惟此机械之动作而已。夫徒有形式而无精意以贯注之者,其事不可一日存,而今之体操实如是。
一则学者以运动为可羞也。以愚所考察,此实为不运动之大原因矣。夫衣裳襜襜、行止于于、赡视舒徐而夷犹者,美好之态,而社会之所尚也。忽尔张臂露足,伸肢屈体,此何为者邪?宁非大可怪者邪?故有深知身体不可不运动,且甚思实行,竟不能实行者;有群行群止能运动,单独行动则不能者;有燕居私室能运动,稠人广众则不能者。一言蔽之,害羞之一念为之耳。
四者皆不好运动之原因。第一与第四属于主观,改之在己;第二与第三属于客观,改之在人。君子求己,在人者听之可矣。

第六 运动之方法贵少

愚自伤体弱,因欲研究卫生之术。顾古人言者亦不少矣,近今学校有体操,坊间有书册,冥心务泛,终难得益。盖此事不重言谈,重在实行,苟能实行,得一道半法已足。曾文正行临睡洗脚、食后千步之法,得益不少。有老者年八十犹康健,问之,曰:“吾惟不饱食耳。”今之体操,诸法樊陈,更仆尽之,宁止数十百种?巢林止于一枝,饮河止于满腹。吾人惟此身耳,惟此官骸藏脏络耳,虽百其法,不外欲使血脉流通。夫法之致其效者一,一法之效然,百法之效亦然,则余之九十九法可废也。
目不两视而明,耳不两听而聪,筋骨之锻炼而百其方法,是扰之也,欲其有效,未见其能有效矣。夫应诸方之用,与锻一己之身者,不同。浪桥所以适于航海,持竿所以适于逾高,游戏宜乎小学,兵式宜乎中学以上,此应诸方之用者也。运动筋骸使血脉流通,此锻一己之身者也。应诸方之用者其法宜多,锻一已之身者其法宜少。
近之学者多误此意,故其失有二:一则好运动者以多为善,几欲一人之身,百般俱备,其至无一益身者;一则不好运动者见人之技艺多,吾所知者少,则绝弃之而不为。其宜多者不必善,务广而荒,又何贵乎?少者不必不善,虽一手一足之屈伸,苟以为常,亦有益焉。明乎此,而后体育始有进步可言矣。

第七 运动应注意之项

凡事皆宜有恒,运动亦然。有两人于此,其于运动也,一人时作时辍,一人到底不懈,则效不效必有分矣。运动而有恒,第一能生兴味。凡静者不能自动,必有所以动之者,动之无过于兴味。凡科学皆宜引起多方之兴味,而于运动尤然。人静处则甚逸,发动则甚劳,人恒好逸而恶劳,使无物焉以促之,则不足以移其势而变其好恶之心。而此兴味之起,由于日日运动不辍。最好于才起临睡行两次运动,裸体最善,次则薄衣,多衣甚碍事。日以为常,使此运动之观念相连而不绝,今日之运动,承乎昨日之运动,而又引起明日之运动。每次不必久,三十分钟已足,如此自生一种之兴味焉。第二能生快乐。运动既久,成效大著,发生自己价值之念。以之为学则胜任愉快,以之修德则日起有功,心中无限快乐,亦缘有恒而得也。快乐与兴味有辨:兴味者运动之始,快乐者运动之终;兴味生于进行,快乐生于结果。二者自异。
有恒矣,而不用心,亦难有效。走马观花,虽日日观,犹无观也。心在鸿鹄,虽与俱学,勿若之矣。故运动有注全力之道焉。运动之时,心在运动,闲思杂虑,一切屏去,运心于血脉如何流通,筋肉如何张弛,关节如何反复,呼吸如何出人。而运作按节,屈伸进退,皆一一踏实。朱子论主一无适,谓吃饭则想着吃饭,穿衣则想着穿衣。注全力于运动之时者,亦若是则已耳。
文明柔顺,君子之容,虽然,非所以语于运动也。运动宜蛮拙。骑突枪鸣,十荡十决,暗呜颓山岳,叱咤变风云,力拔项王之山,勇贯由基之札,其道盖存乎蛮拙,而无与于纤巧之事。运动之进取宜蛮,蛮则气力雄,筋骨劲。运动之方法宜拙,拙则资守实,练习易。二者在初行运动之人为尤要。
运动所宜注意者三:有恒,一也;注全力,二也;蛮拙,三也。他所当注意者尚多,举其要者如此。

第八 运动一得之商榷

愚既粗涉各种运动,以其皆系外铄而无当于一己之心得,乃提挈各种运动之长,自成一种运动,得此运动之益颇为不少。凡分六段:手部也,足部也,躯干部也,头部也,打击运动也,调和运动也。段之中有节,凡二十有七节。以其为六段,因名之曰“六段运动”。兹述于后,世之君子,幸教正焉。
一、手部运动,坐势。
1.握拳向前屈伸,左右参,三次 (左右参者,左动右息,右动左息,相参互也)。
2.握拳屈肘前侧后半圆形运动,左右参,三次。
3.握拳向前面下方屈伸,右左并,三次 (左右并者,并动不相参互)。
4.手仰向外拿,左右参,三次。
5.手覆向外拿,左右参,三次。
6.伸指屈肘前刺,左右参,三次。
二、足部运动,坐势
1.手握拳左右垂。足就原位一前屈,一后斜伸,左右参,三次。
2.手握拳前平。足一侧伸,一前屈。伸者可易位,屈者惟趾立。臀跟相接,左右参,三次。
3.手握拳左右垂。足一支一揭,左右参,三次。
4.手握拳左右垂。足一支一前踢,左右参,三次。
5.手握拳左右垂。足一前屈,一后伸。屈者在原位,伸者易位,两足略在直线上,左右参,三次。
6.手释拳。全身一起一蹲,蹲时臀跟略接,三次。
三、躯干部运动,立势。
1.身向前后屈,三次(手握拳 下同)。
2.手一上伸,一下垂。绷张左右胸肋,左右各一次。
3.手一侧垂,一前斜垂。绷张左右背肋,左右各一次。
4.足丁字势。手左右横荡,扭捩腰胁,左右各一次。
四、头部运动,坐势。
1.头前后屈,三次。
2.头左右转,三次。
3.用手按摩额部、颊部、鼻部、唇部、喉部、耳部、后颈部。
4.自由运动。头大体位置不动,用意使皮肤及下顿运动,五次。
五、打击运动,不定势 (打击运动者,以拳遍击身体各处,使血液奔注,筋肉坚实,为此运动之主)。
l.手部。右手击左手,左手击右手。
(1)前膊。上面、下面、左面、右面。
(2)后膊。上面、下面、左面、石面。
2.肩部。
3.胸部。
4.胁部。
5.背部。
6.腹部。
7.臀部。
8.腿部。上腿、下腿。
六、调和运动,不定势。
1.跳舞,十余次。
2.深呼吸,三次。

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