Should Changes be Made to the Rites?
10/12/08 (updated 10/14/08)
Some people, upon discovering the Five Rites, immediately make changes to them. It's
as though they believe that they know more about the Five Rites than Peter Kelder,
Colonel Bradford or the ancient Tibetans who created them in the first place. To me,
this is simple hubris. It is unwise and will likely reduce the benefits they will realize from
The changes people make generally fall into two categories: changes to the Rites
themselves and changes to the procedures for performing the Rites.
Perhaps the most frequent change people make to the Rites is with breathing. Neither
the 1939 nor the 1946 editions of the Eye of Revelation make any breathing
recommendations at all. None. Yet now there are all sorts of books which have added
breathing instructions to the Rites. (The lack of breathing instructions in the Five Rites
will be a topic of another article.)
Perhaps the most common procedural change people make is to ignore Colonel
Bradford's very clear instructions to gradually increase the number of repetitions over a
ten week period, until a maximum of 21 is reached. This apparently is a very important
part of the Rites because Colonel Bradford also makes it clear that when beginning to
practice the Rites twice a day, you should again gradually build up to 21 repetitions for
the second set of Rites.
Colonel Bradford states: " They [the Rites] can be used either night and morning...in
the morning only, or just at night, if it is more convenient. I use them both morning
and night, but I would not advise so much stimulation for the beginner until he has
practiced them for a number of months. At the start he could use them the full
number of times in the morning, and then in the evening he could gradually build up
until he is doing the same amount of practice as in the morning."
The justifications for making such changes are often based on emotional reasoning, or,
on preconceived notions from yoga or other forms of physical culture. They say, "I feel
that this will work better for me." Or, "This is the way it has been done for generations
Common sense will tell you, however, if you don't practice the Rites as prescribed you
can never know how well they actually work (or don't work). Make changes if you will,
but do not blame the Rites if you are dissatisfied with your results. And if you justify
your changes by saying, "Well, they work well enough for me," then explain to yourself
how it is that you know your changes work better than the prescribed procedures.
I know of no system of exercise that works as well as the Five Rites. No system of
calisthenics. No system of yoga, Tibetan or otherwise. No system of weight training. No
system of aerobics. Nothing.
With just five simple exercises, the Five Rites do the seemingly impossible. They roll
back the odometer of the years. With just five simple exercises, mind you. Name me
one system of physical culture that does as much as the Five Rites, and as quickly and
as easily, with just five simple exercises. Name it.
Name one system of exercise that has spawned the incredible comments found about
the Rites on Amazon.com. Name one system of exercise that, by word of mouth alone,
came back from near extinction to what is now a world-wide phenomenon. Name it.
It would appear to me that any rational person would conclude that the Five Rites are
genuine. It is as obvious as the sun shining in the night sky that the Five Rites are an
intellectual achievement of the highest order. Somebody figured the Rites out and it is
obvious that they knew what they were doing. They represent a fundamental
understanding of human physiology that we do not have today.
If you are not smart enough to create the Five Rites in the first place, what on God's
green earth makes you think you are smart enough to make changes to them? If you
do make changes, that's your business, and I will defend your right to make whatever
changes you wish. But don't complain that something doesn't work if you're not
following the instructions. And, why would you think that your changes will somehow
improve your results when you don't even know how or why the Rites work?
Want to make changes to the five Rites? Want to do them your way? Be my guest.
But not me. I am not smarter than Kelder or Colonel Bradford or the Ancient Tibetans
who developed the Five Rites. I want to study the Five Rites to learn how and why they
Do you look at Einstein's famous formula, E=MC^2, tilt your head and squint a little,
then say, "You know, this would look better written, E=MC^3?" What's the difference in
making changes to the Five Rites and that? You probably know as much about
Einstein's Theory of Relativity as you do of the inner workings of the Five Rites. At
least that's where I'm at.
When Colonel Bradford wrote that Rite 2 should follow Rite 1, I can only assume that
he knew what he was talking about. When he wrote that you should work up to 21
repetitions over a period of ten weeks, I can only assume that he knew what he was
talking about. When Colonel Bradford wrote that he would not advise a "beginner" to
practice the Rites twice a day "until he has practiced them for a number of months . . ."
I can only assume that he knew what he was talking about.
Those who make changes to the Five Rites must either believe that the Rites are just
another system of exercise (and probably one that just accidentally got it right), or
they must believe that they are smarter than the Ancient Tibetans who created them.
Again, if you want to make changes then by all means do so. However, I think you
have about as much chance of improving the Rites as you would if you tinkered with
Einstein's formula or the inner workings of an antique watch.
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