Thanks, guys. With the responses received, I felt that I better give a little more clarification.
For some time now, my primary goal has been aesthetic; and it still is. However, as I’ve gotten older, I have come to realize that there are some VERY important keys to longevity that can’t be overlooked. If we focus just on any one, then we most likely will sacrifice a life that is a long AND HEALTHY one. (Spending the last 30 years of one’s life immobile and/or bedridden, with great looking pecs, would not be much of a life). Those keys appear to be:
1)Diet, diet, diet
2)The maintenance of muscle mass and strength
4)Mental focus and acuity
5)Relaxation, Joy, Happiness, “Spiritual Enlightenment”, etc. (By the way; “Church” is NOT the way many people reach these goals).
The latter is VERY individual. The first four may vary in the WAYS we reach them, but eventual outcomes are relatively the same.
For the longest I’ve struggled with “How do I incorporate strength training?” “What about flexibility?” “What about mental focus?” Then I realized that they ALL can be incorporated in the right form of Martial Arts. Thus my question. Now…a little insight.
In the Chinese martial arts world, there are two broad “streams”: 1) The “hard” school (exemplified best by Shaolin Style Wushu (“wu” meaning the ART of fighting and “shu” is the SKILL of fighting) and 2) The “soft” school (exemplified best by Tai Chi). Shaolin Style Wushu (although not totally a correct term), is commonly known as “Kung Fu”.
The “Hollywood” guys (Bruce Lee, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, Et al) tend to have “mixed” styles (“Jeet Kune Do” in the case of Lee), and these mixed styles can only come about by having a LOAD of experience. By the way; for you “purist” who stick your nose up at guys like Lee, Chan and Li; they can kick most people’s ass in a street fight and then some. Don’t let the “Hollywood” fool you).
So Chin…based on MY research, I think you’ve probably confirmed (and maybe solidified) my thoughts on the direction to go. IT APPEARS THAT IF ONE COULD INCORPORATE THE HARD PUNCHING, FAST KICKING STYLE OF “KUNG FU” WITH THE SOFTER STRETCHING, INTERNAL STRENGTH STYLE OF TAI CHI (WHICH THE BEST PRACTIONERS RECOMMEND), THAT MAY BE WHAT I’M LOOKING FOR.
So…Chin and others. What do you think? Do you know of books, videos, schools, etc. known for this approach? My knowledge is “book/research” knowledge. I need the experience and knowledge of you guys that are the actual Martial Artist. With your input, I think I’m getting close! THANKS!