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My Ongoing Journal: the Intersection of Shaolin Arts and Life

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  • #31
    Dear Fräänz Siheng,

    I'm glad that you find my writings useful.

    ~ Mind Matters I ~

    It seems a lot has already happened in just few days. I am more perceptive of energy, flowing better, have shed about 80% of the tension around my eyes and face, and since yesterday I realized that my mind has descended from my head down to the level of the physical heart. However, I am still quite tired and not feeling very productive, so the show goes on for the time being.

    I am still learning to utilize the mind effectively. Yesterday's Taijiquan lesson was very nice as I felt using much less effort than previously. It still took me a while to realize that I can and should use my mind to direct my footwork if I wanted to get the best out of myself. It's very effective and superbly fun! I wish I could train more, but I am still taking it very easy as in not to intervene with the cleansing process.

    Currently I'm just hoping that I could arrive to Guildford fully cleansed and with healed Heart, so that I would be in the best possible position to let Sigung's marvellous teachings soak in.

    With sincere respect,
    Olli

    Comment


    • #32
      ~ Heavy Duty Cleansing ~

      The past week has been interesting. On wednesday (when I last wrote) evening I experienced some awful sensation during chi flow as if I was stalked by some unseen sentinence. There had been about a dozen experiences like this before throughout my stay with Shaolin Wahnam, but this time it was really strong and would persist even after finishing up with practice. Initially I was concerned and consulted Sigung about the possibility of a spirit encounter, but the more likely answer is cleansing negative energy. I would like to offer my thanks to Sigung for being so kind and helpful once again. My kidneys would then experience some cleansing next morning and feel particularly refreshed, even though they are still sore, so it seems to be connected with some traumatic or fearful kidney energy. On many days I have also had momentary of aural hallucination such as waking up to non-existent bell ringing. Ears are connected to kidneys in Chinese medicine, so no surprise there that something like this would happen.

      My hands have been experiencing very intense whirlwind motions during last two weeks. Sometimes my arms just start doing a very fast figure eight or circular pattern and I can feel a huge mass of chi packing into my hands which then feel hot, painful, and heavy. Hopefully my hands and palms will be fully cleansed and open before the Wudang Cotton Palm course! Generally speaking the last two months have brought wonderful lightness and flexibility to my hands, so the trend is promising.

      Today I experienced the wildest chi flow I have ever had. WOW! It was like my sense of limited body abruptly vanished and was replaced with pure energy, and all that was left was a raging torrent of whirlwind chi that just tossed the body around. It was very enjoyable and liberating fun while it lasted.

      ~ Heart Matters I ~

      For few days now I have had a growing sensation of having an innocent Heart like a newborn child would. Yesterday I was walking home from our student organized evening training and I heard plenty of bird singing. At that moment I understood that it's not only birdsong, but that the birds really sing from their hearts.

      I have been reciting mantras "Guan Shi Yin Pu Sa" and "Namo Amitabha Buddha" every day for at least as long as I have prayed. It's usually maybe a dozen times per day, I guess. I find it very natural to focus on heartfelt dedication and allowing silence to set in afterwards rather than saturating the mind with repeating recitation. However, with the recent innocence of the Heart I have found myself spontaneously recite more of these without conscious initiation, like a child would sing short rhymes or hum. Would it be surprising that Amitabha Buddha's mantra has then grown to evoke hints of powerful energy that seems to resonate in the Heart?

      A heartful to be grateful for sure enough!

      With sincere gratitude,
      Olli

      Comment


      • #33
        ~ Mind Matters II ~

        My progress has been pleasantly steady. The best thing so far is that in Wednesday my mind started to descend further down from the heart level, and I think it found a stable and comfortable home in the dan tian yesterday. My shoulder and overall posture has also improved noticeably. Energetically this descend has correlated with an increased vitality and having the kind of stable and refreshing work drive that I have been waiting for, although the volume could be a bit better. I still have bouts of tiredness, but they seem much easier to deal with.

        Since my last post I've had some very wild chi flows. On two occasions the chi flow felt distinctly as if someone had grabbed me and tossed around. It was very powerful and liberating. I've also experienced several glimpses of my physical self subsiding and just feeling myself as unbounded and continuous flow of energy. Good stuff!

        With sincere respect,
        Olli

        Comment


        • #34
          Life after Guildford

          ~ Slightly Overdone ~

          So what happened to the Hundred Punches and Kicks program of mine in the beginning of the year? It was a tragic failure. I was too eager to get results, and the forcefulness of the practice resulted in overcleansing already in January. I tried scaling down and doing much less, and eventually I ended up with the Art of Flexibility which was also too much. I had to discontinue it and lay off further Kungfu for quite a while.

          I still want to do continuous 100 days of Hundred Punches and Kicks, but it's not the time yet.

          Why am I writing this now? I had been quite low on energy earlier this year, so I wasn't contributing regularly. Now that I am starting to feel full of energy, it's just natural that I have some catching up to do. (Everywhere OlliOlliOlli, hearts and kisses to Parveen! And Joel )

          ~ Bad Boy ~

          I can't recall if I had ever been taught that there's a rude manner of performing the Shaolin salutation, but of course I had to show such "Dragon's Belly" not only once but thrice to Sigung. He was kind enough to correct me every time, though I kept repeating the mistake because I didn't quite understand what was the error: it was slowness of my wits and closedness of Heart that I couldn't distinguish the correct form. It was interesting to experimentally observe how doing the subtle variation to the salutation actually does affect the Heart in closing manner. Thank you Tim Sipak and Jonathan Sisook for correcting my mistake for good!

          One of the more unusual expriences in Guildford was that my face got hit by a very gentle tap by Sigung during the last demonstration. It felt a bit weird, so I did very gentle chi flows twice while listening the last instructions to the soon-to-be-finished Fundamentals of Kungfu course. Of course it couldn't be over like that.

          I paired up with Jonathan to do our last session, but then suddenly I started to feel really awful. My consciousness was fading to black, I had trouble coughing up words, my scalp was getting numb, and I was at loss what to do. The right solution was again to perform vigorous chi flow to clear the unintented internal injury. It was a bit scary but very educational experience. After all that crying and coughing was finished, Uncle Barry was on the spot to check up with me and offer some good instructions. Then there was also my good friend James who clearly saw how shaken I was and offered shoulder to cry when I needed someone for support. James Siheng is such a lovely fellow, he has that good charming sensitivity and gentleness what a true gentleman should have and which I have been wanting to exhibit in my own behavior all my life. It's very good that I have a such exemplary Siheng.

          Even though I recovered very well from the internal injury, somehow I felt unreasonably sulky, edgy, and snarky for the rest of the event. To anyone concerned: I apologize if my behavior seemed a bit odd or unwarranted. Really sorry.

          It has been my long term goal and dream to get rid of all these edgy and sarcastic tones in my thoughts, speech, and behavior, but unfortunately change doesn't happen overnight. Recently I've done quite good development in this regard though.

          ~ Heart Matters II ~

          I experienced a significant opening of my Heart since returning from Guildford. This time it really seems to stay around only deepen with time, so that now I have experienced another big opening.

          I had written about some virtues earlier in the thread Heart thinks events materialize.

          To be repentant is a wondefully therapeutic sensation of bitter sweet joy, not uncommonly accompanied with weeping. It makes the Heart feel fresh and pure, so that Smiling from the Heart feels more natural and effective than ever before. Regarding this cleansing bitterness, I am wondering if it has anything to with the view of Chinese Medicine that bitter flavors are good for the heart.

          How incredible and meaningful it is to feel the depths of humility as if one becomes the least significant speck imaginable, but in contrast the whole world around turns lofty and grand; there is an overwhelming sense of love, charity, and grace that is suddenly flowing abundantly everywhere from without to within me. I recall an old Sci-Fi movie classic The Incredible Shrinking Man which had a very beautiful ending, but now after having dipped my feet into humility I find it even more stunning in its spiritual resonance.

          As a consequence of these spiritual and moral developments, I have begun experiencing a new level of stillness and non-judgemental observation. Everything we perceive is energy; who am I to judge whether any of the immediate sensory phenomena or arising individual thoughts are good or bad as such? Further, if the world is a subjective construct, wouldn't I commit to wanton self-condemnation if I immediately dealt with phenomena with disaffection? The more I get into it, the more apparent it becomes that making any verbal disction would detract from the unfathomable which the deepening spiritual experiences offer.

          Interestingly enough, even though I have engaged in these simple virtues very steadfastly outside of the regular Shaolin training and feel fantastic for it, there have been no traces of overtraining. I wonder if these provide some complementary type of benefit that trains the mind (or the Heart) instead of energy.

          ~ Back to Training ~

          After Guildford I soon had a season's final session with Sifu and Sipak where they put us through some quite intensive stance training. I thought I would start collapsing again just as during the Fundamentals of Kungfu course, but instead in the critical moments I started to relax more and I did surprisingly good. Then I really started to feel the need for break, so I only continued with regular Kungfu training again in early July.

          It escapes my memory when exactly I had the idea to just practice Immortal Waves Sleeves to perfection: form emphasized for easy waist rotation, flowing movement, separation of yin and yang, stability (center of gravity stays with the spine), rootedness, alignment of feet (which Sigung graciously corrected!), staying low and staightness of the spine, and so on. I just started doing it for about 30 to 50 repetitions per side among other things exercises, but this is the one that I have kept constant and have enjoyed the most. I paid attention in Guildford what was said about the rotation of pelvis nourishing kidneys, and now I can confirm it true: on thte top of aforementioned benefits, 80% of my back and kidney soreness is gone, my waist movement much more fluid and flexible, and I feel emotionally and physically balanced unlike before. Then I also had some Cloud Hands while walking in stances, which was great, but then for the time being I wanted to focus on Three Levels to Ground to treat an accidental hit to my knee and thus continued with that.

          It was actually very fortunate small accident that introduced a good change of focus. I started to gain prompt results for my knee circulation, then gushing chi sensations to my calves and feet, and now Three Levels to Ground itself is also becoming much more expanding and energetically involved practice than before. The rootedness and gracefulness in my movements and walking about are suddenly keenly apparent. I am enjoying all this very much and the state of training seems just right. I am a bit uneasy however, since I wish I could do more set practice. More on that later on some other occasion.

          My current plan is to continue with the Immortal Waves Sleeves. Actually it was first just dropping the front hand and turning the waist to the side, and then return with warding, but early this month I changed it to the "proper" Carrying Cosmos retreating pattern, which has unexpectedly introduced extra gracefulness, a new depth of force to my warding, and my arms becoming vessels of flowing energy as if it was the Cloud Hands or Cotton Palm that was taking over these less majestic patterns.

          In the future I plan to continue reintroducing the remaining Art of Flexibility, Cloud Hands while moving in stances, a short repeat-sequence* of felling and gripping patterns, and then some day, finally, proper stance training.

          *Black Bear Sinks Hips, Old Eagle Catches Snake, Heaven Dragon Descend

          With sincere respect,
          Olli
          Last edited by understanding; 13th August 2017, 08:38 PM.

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          • #35
            When Was the Last Time You Said "I Love You" to Someone?

            ~ Changes for Better ~

            Going to the UK Summer Camp this year was extremely important for my training. Not only were all the courses even better than last year, Developing and Deepening the Fundamentals of Chi Kung was perhaps Sigung's best I have witnessed so far in terms of combined pedagogy and Chi Kung. He transmitted the tools for adjusting our training for getting not the most, but the best benefit for our needs. His detailed deconstruction of the basic skills he has learned during his life really cut deep into my practice and enabled me to establish a comfortable Kungfu regime last month. When I do Kungfu, I just get into business without entering silence, and after each separate exercise I have a brief chi flow and immediately walk around. Only for the finishing exercise, which at the moment is Three Levels to Ground, I perform the routine completely: stand upright (no Smiling from the Heart), visualize gently that I only get enter 20-30% of my maximal Chi Kung State of Mind, do the exercise, enjoy a chi flow, think dan tian, enjoy silence, think dan tian again, and do the finishing sequence of facial massage, point massage, and heavenly drums while affirming gentle visualizations of health, prayers, and blessings. The recent sesseions have simply felt so refreshing and satisfying that I can hardly believe my fortune.

            All I can say at this moment is thank you Uncles Tim and Barry and Mark for being such upstanding and wise organizers and Sigung for bringing forth more treasures for everyone's benefit.

            During the Cotton Palm graduation dinner I was nervous and couldn't really come up with a good speech other than thank the organizers and Sigung. With that I would like to offer my apologies for forgetting to mention my dear Shaolin Family during the speech and correct it now by stating that the course wouldn't had been the same without you all. Andy's speech was especially heartmoving, and I almost felt shamefully inadequate in comparison. Special thanks to Christian for sharing a room with me and James and Jas for being good friends to me once again. It was also my pleasure to share a lunch with Min and Matthew plus we had other fun conversations. Of course Reija and Jordan were also essential parts of me enjoing my stay at the holiday inn. A deep bow to everyone I mentioned or omitted, it's an absolute honor to be a part of the same loving Family!

            While sitting on a bus and returning from a month's visit to my birth town earlier this month there was a quite serene moment when I suddenly experienced that something subtle changed quite remarkably. After that when I repented, I have been actually feel and realize that there are in fact individual strains of thoughts, habits, and energy that are let go by these virtues. About a week later I would experience a powerful healing moment when I consciously repented my "gravest sin", whatever that might be. There was a clearing of energy in my stomach, followed by freshness and relief. I think it was the next day that I would start to experience spiritual expansion while praying, blessing, repenting, or humbling myself. I am not sure where this moral cultivation is leading me to, but I do sure like the consequences so far.

            On the other hand, while I have been getting healthier, it's becoming more and more apparent how much pain I have been hiding in my Heart and there is no more any shadow for all that hurt to hide. I must figuratively ask it stop covering and come to daylight and then nurture it as I may. Liberating and healing, yes, but sometimes almost crushingly painful.

            Yesterday I experienced something powerful move at my solar plexus when I by accident for the first time tried Smiling from the Heart together with repentance and humility. However, it soon turned out that Smiling from the Heart enhances the effects to the degree that it becomes uncomfortable to sustain it. Too much energy and too much benefit. Luckily, I can easily keep these wonderful practices separate and get the best benefit for my needs by choosing the right one for the moment.

            With sincere respect,
            From the Heart,
            Olli
            Last edited by understanding; 16th August 2017, 09:47 PM. Reason: grammar

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            • #36
              An Entry on Persevering in Correct Practice and Developing Skills

              ~ Sounds of Unexpected Progress ~

              Since beginning with my Immortal Waves Sleeves practice in early July I have probably done about 10,000 repetitions so far: 2x2x50x50 which is for twice a day on both left and right side, and 50 repetitions for fifty days (I can't recall exactly when I begun). I am being generous with the 50 reps because I got to it reasonably fast and I feel having been doing even more for a while. Recently my stance started relaxing and sinking down more and my thighs are becoming less tired with all the moving around. My waist rotation is starting to be quite formidable and very enjoyable, yet I am far from satisfied: I am still bit behind of the flow, ease, and gracefulness that I set myself to reach.

              I had earlier caught an anticipation of excess flowing internal force being generated with the smooth and continuous movement, but now it became so strong that by the end I started to fajing spontaneously. I didn't plan to introduce internal force like this, so I have to either do less repetitions or change the exercise or focus on fajing since my form is getting near fine. As Immortal Waves Sleeves is not the choice pattern for fajing anyway, I decided to change my original plans and start practicing Open Window to Look at Moon instead, which would also compliment my recent training in Cotton Palm. I just tried doing the pattern a few times, and I was really suprised about how easy it was to generate a windy "whoom" sound. How exciting, it seems I am doing something very well! My plan is still to continue focus on waist rotation, but it might open new windows of development really soon.

              Our classes are returning next Wednesday with level 4 Taijiquan. Sifu had emailed us and said that among other things we would focus on fajing. I guess my diligence is paying off at the right time and I am naturally prepared. From you-wei to wu-wei.

              With sincere respect,
              Olli
              Last edited by understanding; 20th August 2017, 07:35 PM. Reason: tested Open Window to Look at Moon

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              • #37
                Transfer of Skills is an Interesting Topic!

                ~ Waist is not Waste ~

                On Monday I first time had a moment that my kidneys were not aching anymore. It may take more time before all my symptoms related to kidneys and nerves vanish, but I have attained a major milestone that I set to achieve with my current regime that began with Carrying the Moon, cleansing Cosmic Shower, and then continued with Taijiquan's waist rotation. I can sincerely recommend practicing some simple waist rotating Kungfu or Taijiquan patterns for very efficient kidney cleansing and nourishing, although necessarily with a master's guidance to correct the fine points of mechanics and chi flow. The eventual healing of the kidneys system will signal the beginning of another regime which will focus on my spine and correcting remaining postural defects, which means that I am not giving up on Carrying Moon anytime soon but adding Turning Head and the rest of Art of Flexibility. I forgot to mention in my last post that I had already added Dancing Crane, and it was simply delightful how effortless and natural it felt this time!

                I tried to jumpstart into doing Open Window to Look at Moon, but that turned out unwise. There is a reason for the principle of gradual progress, even though I wasn't pushing it too hard. Starting it slower and getting the form correct in minute details actually made flowing movement readily generate an energy flow. I also realized sooner this time that it would serve me better if I did the pattern in conjunction with another pattern. This is its natural predecessor from Grasping Sparrow's Tail, namely Black Bear Sinks Hips. This dual-pattern enables me to practice sinking down more efficiently and thus gain additional proficiency, but currently it's rough enough to my undertained thighs that I need to separate left and right side to with additional chi flow. I also started again from 30 repetitions and let it naturally rise back to 50. Once I am able to master this new dual-pattern's flow and effortlessness, I will continue to other more dynamic practices, combat sequences and sets in particular, and others that I have mentioned earlier, so that I can train more demanding and natural waist movement while moving around more freely.

                On Wednesday our Taijiquan class resumed, although I began having cleansing (definitely not overcleansing!) cold symptoms in the morning. To show my gratitude for the new season I brought Sifu a small jar of the same rose petal jam that proved popular in Guildford; I am hoping her family likes it as well! We began with Lifting the Sky and then holding Three Circle stance for 10 minutes. That had to be the easiest stance training experience I've ever had and I enjoyed it very much, but still I wasn't feeling particularly charged afterwards. I'm not sure, but I suspect that my recent disturbing dreams and involuntary lack of sleep are not conductive for force building. We progressed to once more going through the first three Taijiquan combat sequences and then recalled the fourth that we learned before summer break. It proved an interesting and useful trial for me to measure my success in waist rotation in practice. Sure enough, I could perform every Immortal Turns Sleeves very well, but the skill didn't just leak into other patterns without any effort, which hurt even doing the Immortal Turns Sleeves. Therefore I need to systemically exercise each of the combat sequences' patterns. I have done the ground work with a select pattern already, so it should be a mere matter of having enough routine to make the skill seep over. Once all the individual patterns are good enough, I would begin chaining two patterns as units to perfect my transitioning footwork (defender's response from right Black Bear Sinks Hips to left Immortal Waves Sleeves in the end of combat sequence 2 is particularly demanding) and to retain a skillful, smooth flow all the time. Eventually, I could just let my waist loose and any combat sequence should be unleashed as one unending flow.

                My health seems getting better every day. A lot of right moves must have happened that I finally have a training routine that doesn't lead to overtraining and I am reaping increasing benefits instead of being dumbfounded over what I could do right. Even though everything does not seem quite clear and perfect all the time, the increasing moments of happiness, clarity, and freshness gained from Taijiquan training and Art of Flexibility remind me that there is plenty to be grateful for. Thank you!

                With sincere gratitude,
                Olli
                Last edited by understanding; 25th August 2017, 07:36 PM. Reason: dancing crane

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                • #38
                  ~ Diversifying Training ~

                  By Wednesday's weekly Taijiquan class I had reached a point that I felt really comfortable with rotating my waist and easily issuing spiral force. Indeed, by the end of 50 repetitions I had again started to feel like I could issue fa-jing spontaneously and the flowing force was very thick or solid (consolidated?). Hurray. Now I can advance to back to moving in stances and practicing combat sequences physically and focusing on picture perfect form. At first the sequences felt like a chore and not so pleasant to be honest, as I still experience some discomfort from the remaining internal injury, but already on the second day I got a hang of it and it started to feel more than just alright. It's actually very enjoyable to do forms without energy flow because now even in the form level there is a subtle energy flow and sense of healing involved. It wasn't like this earlier. If some people say this isn't magic, then they are lying through their teeth.

                  We had a really interesting stance training session on Wednesday. Somehow I expected Sifu to have us in stances for three times longer than we actually did, so the session felt really strange and unsatisfyingly easy. Maybe I should take this as a sign and encouragement that I should start adding stance training next week? We also learned Taijiquan combat sequence 5 which became my new favorite because of its pressing footwork and changing sides.

                  There have been quite a number of small developments. Relaxing makes dan tian spread energy everywhere in a manner which wasn't obvious earlier. If I initiate movement from waist, it stimulates the dan tian like I just mentioned and especially directs energy to legs.

                  Speaking of relaxation, I started doing the rest of Art of Flexibility early this week. On Wednesday I complained to a Sisook that the three stretching exercises weren't an instant hit and pleasure to perform unlike Three Levels to Ground and Dancing Crane. Today gave me a breakthrough, as I could finally accomplish the same sense of relaxation and spiritual expansion and not rushing with physical exertion. It's almost contradictory that such physical exercises are to be performed with heart and mind completely open or otherwise they provide little improvement. There's a qualitative difference between pushing to your limits and pushing yours limits further: most athletes and competively minded people turn stretching into a bitter struggle that closes the Heart instead of embracing its natural elation and expanse. So simple, yet so profound. Now I am fully expecting that focusing on the good form and expanse during the Art of Flexibility will help me further my mind training in Kungfu and Taijiquan more elegantly and effectively than before.

                  My sleep has been getting much better after a bout of disturbing dreams and sleepless nights. Quite remarkably I didn't feel much ill effects for missing much sleep, which I attribute to my successful Chi Kung and Taijiquan practice. After consultation I stopped doing two sessions of Kungfu and just condenced my practice to a morning session. Then a priceless advice was to perform Lifting the Sky 10-15 times and hit the hay immediately (without chi flow), which has made my nights very peaceful and restful. Enjoying the rest, and not worrying nor intellectualizing makes even sleepless nights better if they should return. Thank you Sifu and Sigung!

                  Currently my morning Taijiquan schedule is (with a gentle chi flow between each section):
                  1. Rotating Knees
                  2. Moving in stances (with and without Cloud Hands)
                  3. Sequence training
                  4. Art of Flexibility (with gently entering to Chi Kung state of mind)
                  5. Standing meditation and the usual closing sequence

                  During the day and evening I should also practice some special Kungfu sets' routine (not even form yet). Then before five o'clock in the evening I would have a gentle Chi Kung session. There are four different exercises from 18 Lohan Hands (Carrying the Moon, Turning Head, Presenting Claws, Deep Knee Bending) that I would love to do for one reason or another, but currently I keep favoring Deep Knee Bending (and Rotating Knees) until my ankles and knees feel substantially stronger.

                  I am on a thankful mood once again, so thank you... for reading this training log, or for just being.

                  With sincere gratitude,
                  Olli

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    ~ A Taste of Breath ~

                    Sifu and Sipak offered us all a free Chi Kung class on Wednesday. We had exercises concerning breathing and Zen as a relatively low-level taster of the forthcoming Winter Camp in Lapland. We performed Pushing Mountains and then our own selection (Carrying the Moon) with visualizing breathing in good energy and out bad energy. Then we had a traditional "Six Gates to Zen" type meditation and finished with gentle Abdominal Breathing. My experience was that the breathing exercises are terrific for smoothening energy flow, which is something I also recall from Dragon in Zen course early this year. The meditation was just great and I felt much more ready for it than during the Dragon in Zen when I had a lot more anxiety and restlessness.

                    After a rest of half an hour some of us continued with Taijiquan. When we practiced combat sequences solo and paired up, and moving about in proper stances, it was as if I was riding effortlessly on the crest of an incredible chi flow. Some of that still carries on, so maybe the breathing practices helped me to realize a new level of development.

                    Even though I have practiced relatively little stances overall, they have gotten much better recently. The only drawback is that I need to keep checking my form after moving my feet because the sense of proper alignment is not yet quite hardwired. Fixing this is my priority now. I wish I could practice more static stances and so forth, but unfortunately again on Tuesday I started experiencing slight discomfort from what I assume as overtraining. It apparently was a wrong move to include Cloud Hands in moving about stances and the gentle evening Chi Kung was also unnecessary. I need to cut it all and just focus on form, form, and form. Picture-perfect form is the key to many beautiful things.

                    ~ Essence of Shaolin ~

                    After the conclusion of the wonderful Cotton Palm course I talked briefly to Simon Sisook (Sifu Simon). He suggested that I asked Sigung how he had enjoyed the rose petal jam that I had brought as a gift. (Many instructors had complimented it already.) To my surprise the discussion turned almost immediately to the Essence of Shaolin. Sigung thought I had been on enough Kungfu courses already, twice on Fundamentals of Kungfu and once Cotton Palm totaling eleven six hour days for the record, and I would qualify for the once-in-a-lifetime special course in Malaysia. For a moment I was thinking if this is really happening. Thanks again Sisook, a Cotton Palm high five!

                    I had purposively left without making a big deal about this because I wasn't sure yet if I could secure funding. Now that it is covered I can speak with clear conscience. It's really happening.

                    I felt so very lucky as I had been secretly wishing that I would be good enough to join in, but of course it would had been very silly to talk about it to anyone: I could just imagine Sifu with a gentle smile shaking her head slowly in response of such thought. I even consulted Sigung and asked whether I should go for the Essence of Shaolin or the Glory of Shaolin Kungfu course if I had to make a choice, he gave a definite answer after a moment of reflection. Essence of Shaolin. The fact remains that going to Malaysia means that I will be among the most junior Kungfu or Taijiquan students, if not the most junior. I have had no prior martial arts experience and my health hasn't fully recovered still. Yet I am not worried at all: my circumstances may be what they are at any given moment and I will give my best regardless. My experience in this year's Fundamentals of Kungfu course was simply very relaxed and focused and I thought I improved already a lot in terms of flowing with the teaching and letting it sink in despite difficult moments. A Malaysia special intensive course should prove an even better opportunity for personal progress, and I have improved quite a bit already since returning home and finding a good regular practice.

                    Reflecting back to mid June, it could have been training in frustration and futility if I had attempted back then to train the more technical patterns of Essence of Shaolin set. The training I have done with waist rotation was really essential in that I have now improved in my basic form and stances. There is no other way about it, although it is mildly regrettable that I couldn't jump to it straight away.

                    Currently my plan is to first go through each of the patterns and their transitions, then memorize the entire routine in six segments of 18 patterns, and finally focus on fine tuning the form and trying to figure even rudimentary applications to every pattern. To be honest, I found some of the patterns so strange that so far I am just scratching my head. My Kungfu and Taijiquan applications learned so far are really basic and my little exposure to Tiger Claws and Chin-na are proving effective limitations to my insight. Or maybe I am just a bit slow. However, there certainly is something magical about the set which I cannot put into words, but I am antipating that keeping my cup empty and having more practice will open the doors to some wonderful applications before December.

                    I was planning to familiarize myself with 18 patterns each day, but in practice some of the patterns are technically so demanding that I have to practice them extensively before moving on in order to get even a rudimentary grasp how they are performed smoothly.

                    Stretching has been a whole new experience to me after I grasped how to expand and open into it. I'm just hoping that my groins and legs will not take long time to get even a bit limber because I could really use that for practicing kicks. Especially the rudimentary side kick (Lazy Tiger Stretches Waist) is currently very difficult for me... It was truly great to discover early with the set training that I have some technical inadequacies that need directed practice before the event. Training Art of Flexibility has been good enough so far, but I will add daily 100 Kicks once my ankles, knees, and groins are not so tender from all the new training. Hopefully I am able to progress in sensible pace, so that I can carry on to kicks with force and confidence.

                    ~ Seeing Light ~

                    Few nights ago I had a strange experience that I was first skeptical about. I thought I had started seeing a new type of luminosity while trying to fall asleep, but I tried to dismiss that as imagination. Then later as I kept doing my moral cultivation of repentance and humility (it's almost a subconscious habit now), it started to become oddly familiar. I recalled something similar from my early childhood when I knew nothing of internal practices: I would feel soothing light cover me and keep me well when I was in my bed. I had completely forgotten about all that. After a while something purified in my Heart and I felt a relief.

                    Now my moral cultivation seems to easily lead into increasing mental clarity and a wonderful subtle joy arising from the Heart. It's very delicate and beautiful, sometimes even moving me to tears, and unlike any energy or spiritual practice I have experienced so far with Shaolin Wahnam or anything else. In fact, it barely feels like energy training at all, which certainly is most suprising considering I have learned to associate mental clarity with intense energetic sensations that are absent now.

                    With sincere gratitude,
                    Olli

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                    • #40
                      ~ To Sifu ~

                      You are so kind to me, even though sometimes I must be a bit (ahem ) annoying with all my questions and some weaknesses that aren't yet completely subdued. I so hope and desire to live up to all the standards of a good and deserving student.

                      I love you Sifu! That is all I could really say after yesterday evening when I was about to get to sleep, but then out of nowhere I was overwhelmed with immense gratitude and care for you.

                      I just wish to do my part in making the world better place for you and your family. While it might take more than one lifetime to repay my debt for the lifesaving teachings you, Sipak, and Sigung have given me, I am on my way to a brilliant start. It wouldn't be so without your kind help!

                      ~ Small Success with Less ~

                      Learning the Flower set has been relatively easy and fun. Of the released Sipak's slow demonstrations everything except Leak-Hand Hand-Sweep is quite readily digestable. I will have to stich the segements together with proper transitions, but that shall remain for the next week.

                      There is a new and invigorating sense of softness and suppluness in my body. As I have started to gain small success in stretching, my chi flows have suddenly gained characteristics of Deer Play. I recalled and double-checked that liver is indeed related to tendon and joint health, so it seems that the physical aspects of training are brining more benefit rather unexpectedly.

                      Even though the last Wednesday's training session was very powerful, I have felt no signs of overcleansing or overtraining by simply dropping out Cloud Hands and some very minor Chi Kung. Training forms of sets and combat sequences simply makes me immensely refreshed.

                      With sincere gratitude,
                      Olli

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                      • #41
                        Oh No!

                        ~ Cold and Fatigue Strike Again ~

                        Yesterday evening I started to feel surprisingly tired and odd in throat. Surely enough I have now another cold in short period.

                        This time it doesn't feel like overcleansing or overtraining related because I feel superb. Instead I might have gotten some autumn wind for brief period or germ somewhere, and that together with my sleeping troubles that have continued are the probably at the root. Anyway, I feel tired enough that I will reduce the time of my training by half approximately.

                        I wish I knew how to specifically target my sleeping problem because the holistic benefits could be really remarkable. It's hard to believe that I have gotten this far with so little improvement in this. If I had some extra money I would definitely consult Sifu Andrew, but I have already extended all the loan I can and still need to scrape a few hundred more for Essence of Shaolin. Maybe I should sleep on that and see what advice comes to mind next morning?

                        Today in Helsinki University I was attending a particular lecture and my head kept sinking down towards my chest practically all the time. This is embarrassing. I want to be a good and deserving student (both in university and in Shaolin Wahnam), but how can I show my respect and keep studying when I cannot help such fatigue that I all but pass out? The prospect of employment doesn't look too good either from this perspective. Maybe there is a positive angle to all this, but I am having hard time finding any other than enjoying forced rest.

                        With sincere respect,
                        Olli
                        Last edited by understanding; 12th September 2017, 06:54 AM. Reason: about daytime fatigue

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                        • #42
                          Leaving

                          Dear everyone,

                          I am no longer a student of this school.

                          An ongoing overtraining experience since Thursday has been too uncomfortable that I would ever wish to experience anything like that again.

                          Certainly I am not fit for Shaolin Wahnam teachings. Nevertheless, I am deeply grateful for all the good I have received and learned.

                          I wish everyone good fortune and blessed journey on your life! Let's still be friends if we meet by some chance.

                          With sincere respect,
                          Olli

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                          • #43
                            Dear friends,

                            Please do NOT send me any blessings just in case. I am again starting to feel more charged and uncomfortable.

                            With sincere respect,
                            Olli

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              This is very sad. I liked reading your forum posts.

                              https://shaolin.org/general-2/cleans...eansing12.html
                              "No matter what you do, you must be clear in your conscience." - Sitaigung Ho
                              "Goodness begets goodness." - Sigung

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                              • #45
                                Perhaps eat some ice cream, do just Golden Bridge very low and as physically as you can manage, and some seated meditation as appropriate for your abilities, take a bath and reconsider after that.

                                Each of those actions help me when I happen to get a huge influx of energy for some reason, like visiting a temple, other sacred place, or have been ignoring one of the divine beings trying to communicate. Other, more temporary solutions include massaging the feet, hugging a tree, or standing barefoot on some clean stone or soil. I must stress the clean part of that statement. Alternatively, put your palms on the ground, and let the excess drain into the earth.

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