Show Link: Up/Lifted Podcast #14 Guest Dr. Mark Cheng

Welcome to Up/Lifted Words. This is what I’ll be calling the blog version of the Up/Lifted Podcast. If you have not heard Up/Lifted yet, it’s available on iTunes, Google Play Music, Stitcher Radio, and the YouTube ArinTV channel. All links are available above from the Media drop-down menu.

With every show we do, I’ll be following up a blog with my thoughts about the guest, a brief summary of what was discussed, and any other applicable show notes. No, you didn’t miss numbers 1 through 13. We’re starting the literary element of the Up/Lifted Podcast right here at show #14.

This past weekend I had the privilege of speaking to Dr. Mark Cheng. I met Mark about ten years ago at a Gray Cook FMS convention in downtown Los Angeles. He was an awesome instructor teaching us the fundamentals of the movement screen. He, Dr. Lee Burton, and Gray Cook made for a great team.

Since then, Mark has played a steady influence in my own development as a strength coach from the way we teach to the way we train and even the way we conduct ourselves on the gym floor. But Mark’s qualifications go much beyond that of a strength or kettlebell instructor. Mark has extensive studies in Chinese medicine, martial arts (mainly tai chi, as he put it the gateway to everything else he’s done), and rehab/prehab research. To say Mark is just a coach is putting is lightly.

One of the highlights from this show was finding out Dr. Cheng’s relationship with the great Guru Dan Inosonto — Bruce Lee’s training partner and protege. As Mark put it, he was fortunate enough to be surrounded by so many highly-regarded individuals throughout his career including Guru Inosanto, Pavel Tsatsouline, Gray Cook, and many others. During our podcast, he still seemed genuinely awe-stricken at how a small Delaware boy of immigrant parents was able to have such important, long-lasting relations with the cream of the crop in fitness, movement, and martial arts.

Mark’s father played a crucial role in his exposure to tai chi. This later led to his own development of Tai Cheng — Mark’s tai chi program launched with the help of Beachbody (the folks who brought you P90X). The story of how Tai Cheng was created was interesting enough to profile on the podcast.

I do regret not having the time to discuss some other things that I wanted to bring up. We didn’t discuss some of his Chinese medicine studies/PhD nor go over some supplement talk. I was going to bring up Onnit supplements (a popular nootropics/wellness brand) that he has been using. I was also going to bring up more detailed questions about his work for the US national speed skating team.

Below are the show topic notes:

Personal growth and awareness (2:00). Raising children, immigrant parents, culture clash (6:30). Born in Dover, DE/parents and roots (10:20). More awareness and control (12:00). Martial arts background, father’s Tai Chi influence. Story with father/Tai Chi as gateway (17:40). Tai Cheng and Beachbody (24:00). Kettlebells, good mentors in Dan Inosanto and Pavel Tsatsouline (32:40). Gray Cook/FMS (38:30). Learning from the best of the best (41:20). Coaching the US Olympic speed skating team (43:00). Travel and jet-lag (47:00). “No pain no gain” mantra vs. the ego (51:00). The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck (54:40). Long hair philosophy (56:00). Parity-parents giving “trophy to all” both winners and losers (1:04:30). Violence on the street and self-defense (1:10:05). Social media isn’t all bad, who you follow matters (1:16:00).


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