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My Ongoing Journal: the Intersection of Shaolin Arts and Life

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  • #46
    Not Feeling Well

    Dear friends,

    Thank you for your kind thoughts everyone. The last twelve days have sure had many difficult moments, so I am grateful for your concern.

    I am still repeating my last request to not send any energy or blessings. However, if you wish for me to receive benefit, you can pray Buddhas, especially the Medicine Buddha, to bless and heal me. I think there is a real difference between the healing energies of the Buddhas and common mortals such as us.

    Today morning I tried Shaolin Cosmos Chi Kung for the first time since the morning of November 16th. I felt that the leg stretches were in order because not having done those had reintroduced extra stiffness to my lower back. I did it very physically and everything appeared fine -- until the point I entered gentle chi flow. Suddenly my head started to ache (pins and needles, numbness) and the subtle pain spread to my neck that became slightly stiff. I felt disoriented, sick, and weak again. That was the point that I discontinued practice immediately and started to walk about to disperse chi.

    The symptoms were the same that I had encountered with the overtraining I experienced on Nov 16th and the days after, but they had gradually dissipated until no obvious symptoms remained except some tiredness which I associate with the sleeping issues I have discussed earlier. The re-emergence of such symptoms is extremely alarming because the pain obviously is not of good type and self-manifested chi flow is supposed to clear illness. Now the very much opposite happened and I am completely lost why and how this could be.

    The overtraining symptoms were too uncomfortable for me to continue, especially when considering my fairly frequent encounters with overtraining, so I left the school with the acknowledgement that this type of training is not for me. While such symptoms persist, it would have definitely meant that I would at the very least suspend all training and become an inactive student. Maybe leaving completely was an unwise and hasty decision, but the newly discovered immediate re-emergence of pain when returning to gentle practice has brought a question if I can or should ever again practice self-manifested chi flow or these arts at all. It doesn't feel safe anymore.

    I might write later to update whether to problem has resolved. Meanwhile I am wishing everyone extreme moderation and safe training.

    With sincere respect,


    • #47
      Hello Olli!

      Nice to read your post.
      What did your Sifu say about the symptoms?

      Kind regards.
      "No matter what you do, you must be clear in your conscience." - Sitaigung Ho
      "Goodness begets goodness." - Sigung


      • #48
        Want the benefits? Follow the instructions.

        For any Shaolin Wahnam student reading this thread who might now be wondering whether or not our arts could really be ”dangerous” or potentially harmful, I would say this: you’ll have no problems as long as you follow your Sifu’s instructions, and the three golden rules of practice:

        1. Don’t worry
        2. Don’t intellectualize
        3. Enjoy your practice

        This not only is a great way to safeguard against any difficulties that might face your training, but especially to enable you to get the best benefits from your practice.

        Olli’s (aka. ”Understanding”) former Sifu gave him very good advice, but he chose not to follow them. If this pattern repeats with any student, they’re eventually given a simple choice: follow the instructions, or go find something else to train. This is not unreasonable - a student of any art cannot expect good results or the continuing contribution from his teacher if he doesn’t follow what he’s taught.

        In any case, Olli himself made the choice to resign our school and to request for a full refund of his current course fees, both of which we were glad to handle immediately. Keeping students who don’t want to be in our school is certainly not the Shaolin Wahnam way; however, making it very easy for these kinds of students to leave, even happily giving them a full refund, and sincerely wishing them well on their way, is.

        So Olli, I really do wish you all the best. However, whatever you now may or may not practice is no longer our concern.

        Best wishes,
        Markus Kahila
        Shaolin Nordic Finland


        • #49
          The Last Journal Entry for the Time Being

          Dear Bernhard,

          I don't have anyone to call as Sifu at the moment. I left the school, do you remember?

          Even though I did not consult anyone, the reply would still be the usual: don't practice when overtrained, and spend energy in physical activities.

          Dear Sifu Markus,

          It's nice that you had made a clear statement and overview, as it gives an additional perspective to what I had already written for my latest journal entry below.

          Originally posted by Markus Kahila View Post
          However, whatever you now may or may not practice is no longer our concern.

          It is, however, still my concern to recover and get rid of the overtraining symptoms and cool down the "meltdown". Some people have also expressed their concern privately, so I feel it's only good that I have kept updating my situation. It has started improving in the last weekend, which may be of interest to some.

          Can every story have an ending that satisfies all? We are still ordinary beings with ups and downs, which is part of the human condition. We might not be in a student-teacher relationship anymore, but for even more the reason I hope that we are still in good terms and can relate to each other with dignity and not be complete strangers.

          There are quite a few people posting here that I met specifically through this school or this forum. Even though I left the school, it is likely that I will keep dropping by the forum as a visitor I now am.

          Dear everyone,

          It is time that I review my own fitting with the school's teachings.

          ~ Faults in the Student ~

          1) Learning my first internal art proved to be a completely new frontier. It probably was a bit of loadstone that I kept expecting clear health improvements to come about in frequent periods, but unfortunately this didn't happen. Sifu Nessa gave a direct recommendation that it's unwise to learn other internal arts while still mastering the first. My experience is that it takes a lot of time to fully mature into the Shaolin Cosmos Chi Kung because the art is nuanced and offers a lot of depth via systematic training. Nevertheless, sometimes I couldn't help but keep wondering how is the grass on the other side of the fence.

          2) Sleep and fatigue were the issues that I began with, and in the end they still persisted. Good sleep would have been essential for recovery, but it simply didn't develop consistently through practice. This was probably a significant reason why I ended up overtraining often even with little training. When the healing of my fatigue and sleeping issues were delayed, it started to wear me down both physically and psychologically. I probably should have taken Sifu Nessa's suggestion last year already when she wrote to me that sometimes it might be a good idea to try something else if it would fit better and not practice Shaolin arts then. Unfortunately, it would've been difficult and time consuming to find proper alternatives then because nothing appeared as complete as what this school taught nor addressing the sleeping issue.

          3) Emotional and psychological burden had become high at times. Sometimes the cleansing moments surfaced very strong psychotic tendencies. Particularly prominent have been fear, paranoia, and mania, sometimes mild depression, and on one occasion I even experienced complete loss of conscience and other psychic shadow sides emerging. Recovery from these was very dispiriting and alienating. Again this makes me wonder if the healing process is anything similar in other traditions.

          Maybe I didn't empty my cup well enough. Eventual good results is why anyone practices Chi Kung, but it definitely disheartened me that there could be so many instances of overtraining and its discomforts, and not enough simple bliss and well-being. My heart keeps saying that another road will take me there...

          If I had been a much healthier student from the beginning, it would have been a much easier and effortless journey. In the end I couldn't satisfy the second Shaolin Law that requires the student to be physically and mentally healthy. It's disappointing that our ways diverted as a consequence of a very bad experience, but I believe it was a true call to change course and seek help from other sources.

          What I loved most about Shaolin Wahnam was its systematic Kungfu and Taijiquan training, and there were certainly many very good experiences with that. The philosophy of Shaolin Kungfu and its different styles has been clearly and expertly explained by Sifu Wong, which was a constant source for inspiration. If I ever again study Kungfu in another school, I will certainly hold the high level of organized teaching I received here as a measuring stick. Yet it would undoubtedly be a very rare to find similar scholar-warrior attitude anywhere else.

          ~ Towards a New Beginning ~

          I am still looking for something that solves my sleeping problems. I believe there are Chi Kung systems out there that will deliver excellent results and provide a style of training that is throughout enjoyable.

          Today the Internet abounds with hundreds, if not thousands, of different Chi Kung systems. What factors make different types of Chi Kung relevant to my interest and condition?

          1) Historically proven ones that consistently bring benefits. Preferrably traceable lineages going back hundreds of years.
          2) I have no interest in investing into complicated or forceful programs. Anything I try has to be reasonably simple and easy, with as little visualization as possible, and absolutely no forcing of chi to accomplish any cultivation attainment.
          3) It must guaranteedly address the issue of overtraining and chi overdose in some manner.

          This is my last journal entry for the time being. If I post something within two years, it will almost certainly be on the "Other Chi Kung Styles" section when I am ready to review other styles.

          I thank everyone for reading my journal and pray you all stay well.

          With sincere respect,
          Last edited by understanding; 4 December 2017, 07:03 PM.


          • #50
            Hello everyone!

            First of all i want to apologise for my unclear question. I meant What did your former Sifu say? Nevertheless Olli you answered my question.
            Even though I did not consult anyone, the reply would still be the usual: don't practice when overtrained, and spend energy in physical activities.
            Thank you for your answer.

            I want thank Markus Sipak for mentioning this important point.

            Now i want to share my experience of overtraining because i think it is beneficial for readers of this thread. Right now I am still at the overcoming illness stage. In the past i had overtrained regularly or I thought I would be. One important point which helped me was to realize why I practice the Shaolin Arts. I want to be happy, health and have a meaningful life. I was not happy, healthy nor had I a meaningful life during overtraining. Internal Force is a means to this ends not the end itself.
            The second point is connected to the first point. Kai Sipak mentioned somewhere in the forum that he only practices when he can smile from the heart. After that I read a post from my Sifu where stressed how important it is to enjoy the practice. To smile from the heart and enjoy the practice is certainly happier, healthier and more meaningful than not smiling and not enjoy.
            The third point is asking your Sifu. For example my Sifu told my a phrase I should gently think of at the start of the practice. Not only it worked fast it was simple, direct and effective. It is connected to Markus Sipaks post. But sometimes I may not be obvious what is the best way for yourself that's why it is important to ask your Sifu.

            Thank you Sifu, Sigung and Shaolin Wahnam Family
            Kind regards
            "No matter what you do, you must be clear in your conscience." - Sitaigung Ho
            "Goodness begets goodness." - Sigung