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2021 Q2 (April - June) Personal Progress

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  • 2021 Q2 (April - June) Personal Progress

    Dear Family,

    I'm going to try something a little different this time: a quarterly progress thread. I don't want to clutter up this section of the forum with small progress threads, and, for me personally, just when I'm ready to respond to others' wonderful posts, I find a month has somehow slipped by! I'm hoping that a quarterly thread will give us more of a chance to converse, while also making our progress over time clearer.

    --

    For my own practice, first I should clarify that I don't practice all of the things I mentioned in my previous post every day -they are the pool of Things I Practice that I tend to draw from the most. My daily practice is anywhere from 10 - 60 minutes. My 10-15 minute practice is a Chi Kung or Sinew Metamorphosis session. Or sometimes I do kung fu for my chi kung, like flowing through the 12 basic Taijiquan or 16 basic Shaolin sequences (or one or two of them several times), a short set, or some footwork or individual patterns. My 30 - 60 minute practice is one where I generally shoot for 15 minutes of Chi Kung/Zen (throughout, not all at once), 15 minutes of force-training, and 15 minutes of combat application.

    Sometimes, I can take my time and train whatever I want to in that session. This is how I have trained historically, and I miss the days when I could do this everyday. Nowadays, life is busier (especially with kids!), so I often have to more forcibly create the time in my day to train. Thinking of the things I practice in 15 minute chunks makes it easier to create the space for it. Sometimes, I use a timer to stay on target: either a single 15 minute one or one broken into three 5 minute rounds. When I say "stay on target", what I mean is, "not train too long" based on my time constraints. As a bonus, it can be good shen training to decide what I'm going to do, then stay fully focused on each piece of it for the duration of the round before immediately moving to the next piece.

    I haven't resumed plum flower sabre training yet, but I think I will be able to do so soon. As is often the case, my shoulder and neck blockages have a strong emotional component, so I am in a cycle of releasing it, having an emotional release soon after, and it slowly creeping back up. With each cycle, the pain and ensuing releases are less intense, which tells me I am doing well in letting it go. I am continuing to adjust my practice to flow with and support this cycle.

    As I feel better, one of my goals will be to train more applications at half-speed. It seems like a natural progression now that I feel quite proficient in training at low-speed. When I train at high-speed, my tendency is to go more or less all-out, which is fun in short burts, but I'm not sure it will ever be sustainable. I suspect that training at half-speed will lead to greater fine-grained control of the amount of force I apply. As I build more force, my half-speed will naturally increase noticeably more than it does at low-speed while allowing me to practice more/longer than at full-speed. I guess we'll see!
    Chris Didyk
    Shaolin Wahnam USA


    Thank You.

  • #2
    Dear family, dear Sisookgung,

    thank you for your persistence in offering us to share our insights from our practice. June is almost over, so I will hopefully kick off some more responses with my post.

    These past few weeks have been very useful for me in two aspects: moderation and balance. While we always aim for yin-yang-balance, sometimes I find it hard to resist the temptation of doing more force training than combat application. As you yourself stated in a different thread, the two pillars of Shaolin Kung Fu are force training and combat application, not force training and force training.

    So, I have dialed back on my Dragon Strength practice and increased my application work. The results are better in every category - better health (especially emotional health), better vitality, better zest for life.

    In addition, I have rediscovered an old romance, my first love in Kung Fu: Zhan Zhuang. The reintroduction of regular stance training into my schedule has helped in the two aspects mentioned above. It gives me more calmness, clarity and a greater capacity for anything. It also helps to re-align some structural problems in my body, thus increasing the quality and quantity of Chi Flow.

    While I could go on with some more points, I would like to hear what the last few months have done for others.

    How are you progressing? Let‘s continue to share and liven our lovely Virtual Kwoon!

    Kindest regards from Germany with a smiling heart,
    Steffen
    Our beloved Grandmaster has made it very simple for us:

    Don‘t worry,
    don‘t intellectualize,
    just enjoy your practice.

    May all beings be released from all suffeing!

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