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March 2021 Personal Progress

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  • March 2021 Personal Progress

    Dear family,

    Please take a moment to reflect on your practice and share whatever you like about it how it's going. Here are some questions to consider:

    * How do you currently feel about your practice?
    * What progress have you noticed recently?
    * Has your practice caused any notable recent changes to your daily life?
    * Has your practice brought you any notable insights recently?
    * What are your current objectives/goals? How is your progress going on them?
    * What have you been practicing?
    Chris Didyk
    Shaolin Wahnam USA


    Thank You.

  • #2
    Dear family,

    My practice has changed recently. I have had some cleansing through my neck and shoulders, so I adjusted my practice to be mostly chi kung and gentle flowing force training. It is getting better all the time, and I am gently and gradually starting to ramp my practice back up, making sure to stay well within my means (i.e. raising the floor rather than the ceiling). My current primary objective is to help this cleansing pass. I will re-evaluate my objectives when I am ready to resume full training.

    Before that, I started to work on the plum flower sabre. It has been some time since I did weapon practice, and, other than learning and practicing the set itself, I haven't done much with the plum flower sabre. So I started re-claiming the first half of the set, and have been tinkering with one-step applications to form a sort of "8 basic sabre patterns" like how we have the 8 basic hand patterns in Shaolin Kungfu. For fun and balance (and because I'm left-handed), I've been practicing the sabre on both sides

    I have also learned that 15 minutes of One Finger Shooting Zen everyday is too much for me right now. After maybe three days in a row, I consistently start to feel uncomfortably charged up, and my intuition and body tell me I should back off. Managing my force-training with a balance of flowing and consolidated methods has worked well, though, as I've been able to practice consistently without over-training.

    I have found it helpful to think in terms of low-speed, half-speed, and full-speed rather than threat levels 1, 2, and 3. Especially when doing flowing force training or applying the flow method. If I always build up to flowing as fast as I can, it is easy to over-train. But by regulating the amount of flow by setting my intention to low-speed, half-speed, or full-speed, I can practice within what I can handle. I use this when doing sets like the Wudang Three Harmony set or sequences. While the over-training by doing everything full-speed might be obvious, I have also noticed that doing too much low-speed training and not enough at full-speed sometimes leads to my general chi flow becoming a little sluggish/stagnant. Doing a little bit of full-speed training then really gets it flowing nicely

    In terms of what I have been practicing leading up to this cleansing episode, it has mostly been:
    - 16 basic Shaolin sequences
    - 12 basic Taijiquan sequences
    - Cloud Hands + Grasping Sparrow's Tail (and the Cloud Hands set)
    - One Finger Shooting Zen a couple of times a week
    - Zhan Zhuang cycle once a week
    - Baguazhang Circle-walking/8 Mother Palms
    - the first parts of some of the Four Gates sequences
    - Wudang Three Harmony set
    - Plum Flower Sabre
    - Small Universe
    - Green Dragon Shoots Pearl and Fierce Dragon Across Stream many times in-place and/or while moving around
    - Walking forwards and backwards in 4-6 with Single Palm Changes/Four Fingers to Sky
    - Chi Kung/Standing Zen


    Everyday, my kungfu feels a little bit more alive, a little bit more fluid and powerful, and a little better, so regardless of my progress on individual objectives, I am happy with my progress.
    Chris Didyk
    Shaolin Wahnam USA


    Thank You.

    Comment


    • #3
      Dear Sisookgung, dear family,

      than you very much for persistently sharing your insights and giving us the opportunity to share. I always learn from reading your posts and often find interesting similarities to my own experiences.

      My current practise has remained Dragon Strength with added staff training a couple of times a week. I am very happy with my progress. What is most noticable for me is a greater ease, flow and enjoyment of daily life. Of course, during formal practise my form, flow, force and speed get better. I also notice that my footwork has improved and I am more flexible (both physically and mentally).

      But even more importantly, I begin to have an idea of Sitaigung's comment that "Dragon Strength is very useful not just for kungfu but for daily life." (https://shaolin.org/general-2/dragon...trength08.html). Where I tended to get stuck - mostly mentally - in the past, I now find it easier to let go and flow. Smiling from the heart feels even more relaxed and natural. In dealing with others, I now prefer to softly flow along rather than being confrontational. This makes things easier for both myself and others and is especially useful with our two year old toddler. Last but not least, my speed at work and the results have improved.

      Another interesting insight has been a deeper understanding of inter-being. It used to be an abstract concept for me which I supposed to be true but found it hard to understand by experience. As my mind becomes a bit more calm, I realize how much my own happiness and wellbeing depends on the happiness and wellbeing of those around me. This is something very concrete and a useful guideline for choices in daily life.

      As for my current objectives and goals, I aim to smile more and follow the Three Golden Rules as best as I can. As someone who used to be quite goal driven in the past, this is a wonderful remedy for traits of bull headedness I tend to exhibit.

      How about others? Please also share and don't be shy. We can all learn from each other!

      With a big smile,
      Steffen
      May all beings be happy

      Thank you.

      Comment


      • #4
        Dear Shaolin Wahnam Family,


        Thanks for sharing your Personal Progress. It serves as great inspiration. :-)

        * How do you currently feel about your practice?

        I feel much more balanced in comparison with previous years. I reduced significantly the intensity of my training and I feel much better. I found to be useful the advice of "Less is more".

        * What progress have you noticed recently?

        The progress I feel more significant I attribute to my weekly Cosmic Shower practice. I notice that I am more connected with the Cosmos and my intuitive mind feels more alive. Because of that, I also feel more connected with my heart.

        Another aspect that I feel significant is my mental clarity. I can see things of myself that I could not see before. For example, areas that I need to work on and also the good things in me.

        * Has your practice caused any notable recent changes to your daily life?

        Because of those significant changes, I have noticed that the way I interact with others and the world has changed. I feel that my righteousness is more alive. Meaning that I do the right thing because it is the right thing to do. Even if that means that some people around me might not agree with what I do. I have more courage to follow what my conscience dictates.

        * Has your practice brought you any notable insights recently?

        In Sifus's words: "When one is accomplished in the genuine Shaolin arts, it is better than changing stones to gold by touch".

        * What are your current objectives/goals? How is your progress going on them?

        Become very confident with the 12 combat sequences. Meaning that I want to know them very well so I can start some training practice doing variations (Like adding patterns, subtracting patterns, ...)

        Training Form-Flow-Force. I notice that my movements are still a bit clumsy and are not following the 6 harmonies.

        * What have you been practicing?

        Regarding my practice. It hasn't changed much in the past 3 months.

        I practice Chi Kung every day in the evening. Usually 18 Lohan Hands and then vigorous Chi Flow. On Sundays, I practice Cosmic Shower and Saturdays sometimes I train Mental Clarity.

        Regarding Tai Chi Chuan, I practice 2-3 times per week and I focus on Grasping Sparrow and the 12 Combat Sequences. I practice once or twice a week the art of flexibility in order to keep more agile and flexible.


        With Love, Care and Shaolin Salute,

        Santi

        Comment


        • #5
          Dear Family,

          My usual pracitse of the 12 Tai Chi Chuan sequences and five elemental fists Xingyiquan for the moment has been put on hold.
          Due to an accident I had with my bike and an injury I got from it.

          So for now I am only practising Self Manifested Chi Flow.
          To which I can happily report a very speedily recovery. So will be back to my usual practise in the coming days.

          Thanks to everyone who has shared what they're are practising. It's always lovely to read other peoples experiences here on the forum.

          Happy training,

          Shaolin Salute,
          Brendan

          Comment


          • #6
            Dear Brendan Sisookgung,

            all the best and a speedy recovery for you! I am sure everything will be fine again very soon.


            Dear Santi Sisookgung,

            thank you for sharing your insights. I especially enjoy your nice instagram-Account https://www.instagram.com/sifu_santi/ and the wonderful reminders for us to smile from the heart.


            Kindest rergards from Germany,
            Steffen
            May all beings be happy

            Thank you.

            Comment


            • #7
              Dear all,

              Thank you brothers for sharing your inspiring posts, it is great to know about you and your training. My best thoughts to your fast recovery Brendan.

              My practice of Cotton Palm has continued along these months in relation with Dragon Strength and Small Universe which was my main practice before i started Cotton Palm Training last August. Every training day is different and the arts are very versatile so i can adjust different approaches and enjoy different benefits in relation to daily, monthly and yearly needs.

              Some months ago i re-started the practice of Iron Plank Bridge. Even at the first stages it feels very powerful so I'm taking this training gradually to avoid overtraining.

              Since February Paz and i are training together a selection of the 16 Shaolin Combat Sequences and 12 Taijiquan Combat Sequences. Some days we include in our practice a combat sequence from other set or style like Wuzuquan. Again, it is very interesting to see how everyday is different and offer different ways to improve and enjoy the practice. It's really a blessing, i can feel how our practice protect and enrich us in multiple ways.

              My current goals are to continue deepening in the selected arts via daily practice and to enrich daily personal, profesional and social life.

              Warmest regards,

              Ángel




              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Steffen View Post
                Dear Brendan Sisookgung,

                all the best and a speedy recovery for you! I am sure everything will be fine again very soon.


                Dear Santi Sisookgung,

                thank you for sharing your insights. I especially enjoy your nice instagram-Account https://www.instagram.com/sifu_santi/ and the wonderful reminders for us to smile from the heart.


                Kindest rergards from Germany,
                Steffen
                Thank you Sijatsoon for your kind words. I am glad that you like the posts reminders of Smiling from the Heart :-)

                With Shaolin Salute,

                Santi

                Comment


                • #9
                  Hi Chris,

                  You have a great routine, very inspiring!
                  I have been feeling unproductive and lacking focus , the last few day. So, I have been practising the Dragon Strength Set each morning. The turn around was immediate, from the first day, I rolled through the day getting through things i need to get done, one after the other in a relaxed focused manner. Of course still energised at the end of the day. I have recently stopped my nightly Chi Kung practise as I find it hard to get to sleep.
                  It is such an incredible set!

                  Blue Skies,
                  Steve.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi Steffen,

                    I totally relate to softly flowing being gentler on those around us, especially toddlers! For some reason yelling direct, logical solutions at them doesn't work so well!

                    We've probably all noticed that we have to control our force when dealing with others. When I use too much force, I find that it often comes across as abrasive. It usually results in me getting "my way", but it comes at the cost of leaving others feeling resentful, as though I have forced them into it. This is especially problematic when what I really want is to collaborate on the best solution we can find, which certainly isn't always the one I initially suggest. If I lower my force to an appropriate level (usually "gently flowing"), I find it becomes a more collaborative "we're all on the same side" approach resulting in better outcomes that all parties support and are invested in.

                    Who knew that people naturally respond better to a Taijiquan approach than a Triple Stretch one?

                    --

                    Hi Santi,

                    That Cosmic Shower practice sounds awesome! I don't often practice Cosmic Shower intentionally, but I find it naturally happens in my practice quite regularly where my chi flow is more flowingly still and my body is completely filled with what feels like a gentle drizzle of chi. So nice! With your skill level and experience (and from your description), I'm sure your Cosmic Shower is incredibly powerful!

                    I would love to hear how you like to practice the 12 basic Taijiquan sequences. Would you mind sharing?

                    --

                    Hi Brendan,

                    How is your healing going? Have you been able to resume your regular training?

                    --

                    Hi Angel,

                    Cotton Palm plus Dragon Strength, Small Universe, and Iron Plank sounds really powerful! It's great that you have found ways to focus your training on a handful of things while still finding ways to keep it fresh and alive. Would you mind sharing a couple of examples of the ways you change up your training?

                    --

                    Hi Steve,

                    I have also had to reduce my practice to one session a day or it gets to be too much. Interestingly, it doesn't much matter whether that session is morning or evening, but when it's in the evening, I naturally tend to keep my session smaller than in the morning.

                    How do you like to practice the Dragon Strength set? Do you just do the set once or are there other ways you like to train it?

                    --

                    Isn't it interesting how all of us report significant spiritual progress? I have noticed this in my students, too. I have a hypothesis that in our school, progress in the Shaolin Arts requires that we also progress as people. Maybe it is because triple cultivation is so ingrained in how we practice or maybe there's another reason. But I have observed many instances in myself and others where hitting a plateau in training is only bypassed after making a deep change as a person (i.e. making progress on a spiritual blockage).

                    One of the many beautiful aspects of the Shaolin Arts is that it gives us both the force and the tools to make such changes in the first place. Another is that we can make the change in our daily lives and let it affect our kung fu or we can make the change in our kung fu and let it affect our daily lives.


                    Chris Didyk
                    Shaolin Wahnam USA


                    Thank You.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Grimlock View Post

                      Hi Santi,

                      That Cosmic Shower practice sounds awesome! I don't often practice Cosmic Shower intentionally, but I find it naturally happens in my practice quite regularly where my chi flow is more flowingly still and my body is completely filled with what feels like a gentle drizzle of chi. So nice! With your skill level and experience (and from your description), I'm sure your Cosmic Shower is incredibly powerful!

                      I would love to hear how you like to practice the 12 basic Taijiquan sequences. Would you mind sharing?

                      Dear Chris Sidai,

                      I have always loved Cosmic Shower. For whatever reason, I always felt at home. I remember that the first Cosmic Shower course with Sifu was life-changing.

                      When I first had "that feeling," I thought to myself that I have felt that before when being a child. I remembered then that, when being a child, Cosmic Showers were coming to me often. I didn't know what it was by then but I remember the feeling. I could then connect the dots when I first attended my first Cosmic Shower Course with Sifu.

                      Though I practice it every week I don't practice it to my full potential. I intentionally lower the level a lot. Usually down to 30%. Otherwise, I might feel a little bit spacy. I prefer to be more grounded. It just feels better.

                      Regarding the 12 Taichichuan sequences I am just going one by one and try to perform the techniques to the best of my ability. Usually, I am focusing now on flowing more so as to not look like a Robot practicing Tai Chi.

                      I love practicing the Combat Sequences. It brings a lot of wisdom into my Tai Chi Chuan practice. It is just the way they are designed. I think that it is fantastic. They flow so naturally and patterns perfectly complement each other.

                      With Love, Care and Shaolin Salute,

                      Santi

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Santi Siheng,

                        What a beautiful story! My experience with learning Cosmic Shower is almost the opposite of yours. It was the second course I ever took from Sifu (after Generating Energy Flow the day before), a few months into my training, and I just didn't get it. The following day I learned Dan Tian Breathing from Sifu, and, if it's possible, I even more didn't get that! On reflection, it's likely that me "not getting it" was a combination of trying too hard and not having the awareness yet to feel the effect.

                        It was clear that there was something to it, though. I still had some nice benefits from the sessions, and some of the other participants, including Sifu Anthony K. and Eugene, had powerful experiences. My Sifu (Anthony) advised me to not worry about it and just try it every once in a while, but otherwise, continue with my practice as normal. I did as instructed, and sometime later, I took another Cosmic Shower course with Sifu, and it was amazing!

                        If there's a lesson in that, I guess it's that even if something doesn't come naturally, if you train diligently and follow instructions, you will still eventually arrive.

                        I agree wholeheartedly about how wonderful the 12 basic Taijiquan sequences are. I resisted learning them for quite some time due to fatigue from learning a lot of specialized sets and sequences in a relatively short time. (If I sound spoiled, it's because I am!) Everything happens at the right time, though, and I find myself marveling at their design. As a bonus, they complement the 16 basic Shaolin sequences quite nicely. Learning them has already brought greater insight into some patterns I first learned as part of Shaolin as well as the Wudang Three Harmony set I so dearly love to practice. They are a nice bridge between the two while also being complete in their own right. I know we say it a lot, but all the same: we are so very lucky!


                        Happy training!
                        Chris Didyk
                        Shaolin Wahnam USA


                        Thank You.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Dear Chris,

                          With Wudang Cotton Palm Set and Dragon Strength Set I maintain a holistic regular practice to cover fixed aims and objectives and listen to my jing, chi and shen to find good opportunities to train and improve specific skills as breath control, flowing movement, exploding force, different ways of striking, speed, specific sequences, etc...

                          When the opportunity arises I focus on this opportunity or opportunities. Sometimes is a shorter time like one session or some days and sometimes is a longer time like months. After this special training is finished I find that all the other aspects have been improved by themselves. One example with Dragon Strength was last December, I started to feel very well just practicing the set or selected parts of it as Dragon Chi Kung, so I spent the next month and a half focusing and enjoying this apparently soft and light force training method that brought more benefits than would have been expected. Another example was in June 2020, I practiced almost every day for about one month and a half the complete Dragon Strength Set nine consecutive times to improve breath control and stamina. It was very rewarding.

                          Small Universe is very powerful and versatile, normally I practice the Gentle Small Universe and sometimes I practice the Forceful Small Universe. Sometimes I use the chi generated with this art to perform other basic, intermediate and advanced chi kung skills, but most of the time the skills activate by themselves when needed.

                          I like to train Iron Plank in the mornings as the last exercise of the whole training because it makes me feel very centered. As I wrote in my last post i'm approaching this training slowly, at first the changes where to separate the two benches, but now, that I can maintain the full separated posture the training is always the same, the only variations are the time and the internal feelings .

                          Thank you for asking these interesting questions.

                          Best regards,

                          Ángel



                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Dear Chris Si Jat, is this the correct term to use?

                            If I learnt from Sifu as in Sifu Wong and you learnt from Anthony?
                            my apologies if this is incorrect.

                            As for your question regarding me healing from my injury. My healing
                            was very quick thanks to self manifested chi movement it healed soft tissue
                            damage to my hand and I also put my back out and it was superb in in fixing this.

                            My practise is irregular due to many reasons but one of them been here in Ireland we recently eased travelling restrictions.
                            So I've been visiting family and spending time with them. Another is starting a new job and the different work hours it brings.

                            So, my practise has been Chi Kung for the most part with some sequences now and then from the 12 T.C.C. syllabus or some
                            from Xingyiquan. Over the coming weeks my practise should be back on track.

                            Thanks for asking and thanks also to Steffen Sijatsoon and Angel (not sure of the correct term Siheng/sidai maybe?) for
                            your kind words and every one for sharing their experiences, much appreciated.

                            Shaolin Salute,
                            Brendan

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Hi Angel,

                              It sounds like you do a great job of going with the flow in your practice while steadily working towards longer-term goals. Well done! I'm sure it will only continue to make for greater rewards and fun in your practice

                              Originally posted by Angel View Post
                              Another example was in June 2020, I practiced almost every day for about one month and a half the complete Dragon Strength Set nine consecutive times to improve breath control and stamina. It was very rewarding.
                              As I say to my kids, "Holy guacamole!" Working up to consistently doing the complete Dragon Strength Set nine times in a row is incredible! For me, the Dragon Strength Set brought about a big reduction in the quantity of my practice, but, while jarring at first, I didn't mind so much, once I realized the large increase in the quality of my practice. For instance, I went from consistently practicing a 15-20 minute horse-riding stance (usually with One Finger Shooting Zen or force-training from Triple Stretch, but sometimes Golden Bridge) and sometimes additional force-training down to a 5 min. horse-riding stance. Interestingly, my application practice wasn't affected as dramatically. I remember coming home from the course and having grand plans of training sessions that started with doing the Dragon Strength Set once for force-training followed by focused practice on selected patterns/sequences from it. I was typically done by the time I got through the set once, though! Ultimately, I mostly left it aside to focus on "lower" level practices I could do more repetition with, although I do still sometimes practice the Dragon Strength version of Grasping Sparrow's Tail. You guys all talking about practicing Dragon Strength has me thinking about bringing it back now!


                              Originally posted by Angel View Post
                              Small Universe is very powerful and versatile, normally I practice the Gentle Small Universe and sometimes I practice the Forceful Small Universe. Sometimes I use the chi generated with this art to perform other basic, intermediate and advanced chi kung skills, but most of the time the skills activate by themselves when needed.
                              This has been my experience with Small Universe, too. When I first learned it, I spent quite a bit of time explicitly practicing it. Now, it's just kind of always going, and sometimes I notice it more after force-training, in chi flow, or in standing zen, and I can choose to keep my awareness gently on it or not. I believe it has been a major reason for other chi kung skills, like Cosmos Shower, spontaneously happening. The lines between Small Universe, Big Universe, and Dan-Tian Breathing blur more and more to where they all seem to be happening at the same time and feeling one more than the others is a matter of where I place my awareness.

                              I haven't learned the method, but Iron Plank training sounds interesting and like a nice balance to Dragon Strength and Cotton Palm.

                              Chris Didyk
                              Shaolin Wahnam USA


                              Thank You.

                              Comment

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