How My Body Reacted To Everyday Kung Fu Training – Ch.5
When I arrived to Qufu Shaolin Kung Fu School my body was in a good condition. I didn’t have any pain or injury. I was pretty flexible, meaning I could almost do full splits.
MUSCLE SORE & FLEXIBILITY
The muscle sour was the strongest in the first month of kung fu training. At this time, I have to admit, I had even enjoyed it. I felt that I was training and this was what I dreamed about.
The only thing I didn’t like was that my flexibility worsened. I couldn’t do splits anymore, the distance from the ground increased twice or three times. After a week or two it was better. But each hard muscle training was equal with my flexibility being worsened and stretching being more painful.
At the end of the first month at school, on Saturday, some of the students, including me and Sif, took part in the running competition.
The day before I felt very tired and sick. My head was heavy and I had cold sweats. I took one morning class off. I fall asleep immediately. Resting a little bit was very helpful. This was the time, when I noticed the intensity of the training and how much my body was exhausted. Nevertheless, the next day I was ready and happy to take part in the running competition.
It was a long distance run. The first part of the path was through the light hills – up and down – maybe around 5-8 km. The second part was running (for most of us, including me – walking) up the stairs to the top of the Shimen Mountain. All of it without break.
It was a tough run. My legs and throat were painful. My heart was racing like it was going to beat out of my chest. But I had done it.
I won 7th place competing against girls. There were around 300 participants, from which maybe 20% were girls, meaning there were more or less 60 girls. In the eyes of my school, I was the last one. However, that gave me not bad 3rd place as we were only three girls competing – Sif, Anna and me. I am not counting guys.
Tired, but happy, I returned to the school with a reward of a big thermos, which proved to be useful in winter time.
As I mentioned before, during the first month of training I had a huge muscle sour every single day. Each warm up was dealing with stiffness. My legs were at most pain. It was difficult to stand up from a chair, sit on it or go up the stairs. With the time this muscle soreness was replaced with constant ”joint pain” around the knees.
Daniel, my boyfriend, who was already four years at school, recommended pills containing Glucosamine, Chondroitin and MSM to help recover the joints cartilage. He alone was taking this medicine. Also, some of his friends benefited from using it.
Since I remember, I was always reluctant and in many cases disapproval of any unnatural medicine. Accordingly, I searched through internet in order to get more information about the pills. My research didn’t lead me to any clear conclusion.
Many scientific studies couldn’t prove that glucosamine had any positive effect on joints. However, there was also no information about any negative reactions. My knees were not so bad, but the pain was enough to make me do sth about it. I am a curious person and an empiricist. I had to check it out.
Suppl. 1 Glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM.
SUPPLEMENT FOR KNEEs
I started to take GLUCOSAMINE, CHONDROITIN AND MSM
– two pills a day – in November 2016 and I stopped at the beginning of March 2017. This means, I had four months to verify how it works. My experience showed that the pills didn’t make any visible change to the condition of my knees. The pain differed depending on the way I trained and was not connected with the intake of Glucosamine.
One of the factors crucial to my knee condition were Tai Chi classes. At the end of December my knees were swollen most of the training. I couldn’t do frog jumps or pubu position, or anything connected with bending knees deeply down.
In the Christmas time Tai Chi Master went for holidays and till the middle of February we didn’t have Tai Chi classes. In this time my knees got much much better. I could clearly feel the difference. I didn’t have almost any pain after the break.
The second factor was stretching. If I gave a proper time to the muscles around the knee, I could go into pubu position (see chapter 2) much easier. The pubu position was the indicator of my knee condition. If the joints were strong and without pain, I could easily go down and stand up from pubu. However, when my knees were painful, bending one leg with the other leg straight was almost impossible and I had to support myself with hands.
ALL DISASTERS TOGETHER
In winter time my right hamstring was getting tight and painful. Its range of motion in the sagittal plane, which refers to the flexion, was no more than 90°.
Trying to go further was equal with an irresistible pain. It triggered the urge to pee, and was spreading inside my organs, and was horribly uncomfortable.
I needed a good warm up till I could actually kick with bearable pain. However, there was not enough time for it and the weather didn’t help either.
Therefore, each Basics class, when doing front kick, I squeezed my teeths in order to blaze the pain away. Sometimes, I felt my eyes filling with tears. But, I never cried. Sometimes, I had to sing or make jokes to release the tension and be able to keep going.
Power stretching was a big disappointment. Each time I lay down on the back and lift my right leg straight up. I could only go till 90°. Left leg was all right. I could stretch it till my thigh touched the upper body. Before, there was no big difference between the two legs.
The tightness in my right hamstring was affecting my right knee. I could distinguish two muscles, which were causing the trouble – semimembranosus and semitendinosus – two muscles originating in the ischial tuberosity of the pelvis and ending in the medial side of the knee. This backfired in the popliteus muscle – a small muscle located behind the knee. All that was causing pain in the fossa poplitea (back of the knee joint).
Jumps and Rolls class triggered the pain behind my knee the most. The joint felt uneven and strange. My jumping technique was very poor. When I have done kick up or front handspring, I couldn’t keep my legs slightly bend, instead I was landing with fully bend legs so that my butt sometimes touched the ground.
I knew that learning a proper technic was crucial and would fix the problem. Nevertheless, it required time and individual focus of the Master on me. This was out of my reach. Many students means dealing with „ we do everything quick, we throw our body, we don’t waste time, we move on !!! Eventually we learn and improve”. It worked among real shaolin monks, it should work here as well.
I wasn’t convinced.
There were no many students at school anymore. Many left to visit their homeland. We were between five to twelve people training. After Christmas and New Year 2017 all of us was longing for a longer break. It was to be soon. We had four days off due to Chinese New Year at the end of January 2017.
Meantime my SHIFU left the school
Before the upcoming break, on 20th of January my Shifu – Master Yu left home and never come back. Master Du become my new Master.
At first I was very upset. But, it was only a matter of time that I realised how much Master Yu was neglecting us. Master Yu was an impressive Kung Fu performer and a good teacher. But, somehow you could tell, he didn’t care about his students anymore. During the classes he seemed engaged with his own thoughts and you could read from his face that he was not happy at school.
The difference between the Master’s attitude towards the students was quickly noticeable. Master Du spend more time correcting us and focusing on details. It was thus not a long time that I entirely accepted the change of the Masters. After all, Master Du was my first Shifu.
The time Master Yu left, was the time, when my body and mind were on the edge. I was super tired. Each day was a big struggle to motivate myself to train. On Thursday, 26th of January, the Chinese New Year break – the expected longer break – began.
I could breathe a sigh of relief.
In the first day of much-needed rest I went to the nearby mountain. Climbing didn’t prove to be the greatest idea. I felt nausea, weak and dizzy. These symptoms of exhaustion accompanied me already since few days. But … I didn’t want to admit that there was something wrong going on with my body.
With an effort I come back to the school and fell down on my bed. Staying there till the next morning.
I woke up with a strong nausea. But, I couldn’t vomit. I couldn’t eat much either.
Whole day I spend in bed. I was wearing three sweaters, laying under the cover and blanket, hugging a warm bottle and I still had strong chills. In the late afternoon I was sweating. I didn’t have any device to check if I had a fever. Probably the answer was YES.
Three days later I woke up in the middle of the night feeling that my belly would explode. I was unable to throw up. I was scared. The feeling was super uncomfortable.
I tried to reach my family and Daniel, who was at the time in Colombia, visiting his family. In Poland was a middle of the day. In South America the beginning of it. It was my sister, who first answered my message. She could only comfort me with words, advising to go to the hospital as soon as possible.
I stayed awake whole night. Writhing in pain. Thinking, this was the worst moment in my life.
In the early morning I talked with Daniel. He come up with the idea to drink water with salt – a good source of minerals. I had a good quality salt left by my dad. After taking the only „medicine“ I had, I went to the toilet immediately. I had strong water diarrhea.
It worked!!! The nausea was reduced.
I felt better.
I went to the hospital at 8 o’clock.
Was it a mistake?
Well, everything is an experience. The visit cost me some money and didn’t help at all. Saying at all, I mean it. They took a blood sample, which showed that I am perfectly fine. The doctor advised me to take a better care of my diet and keep my body warm. Both things were impossible in the school environment. Laughing at the whole situation, I felt hopeless.
I wanted to help my body, but I didn’t know how. The next day was again a training day. The break was over. Used to not skipping any classes, I decided to train.
Well, of course I felt weak and dizzy. But in comparison with last few days I was much better. I decided to keep it easy, not strain myself too much. Still, I participated in all classes.
On the third day of training I was feeling much better and motivated. „Finally“ – I thought – „I am getting on my feet“.
How wrong I was.
On Sunday in the middle of the night I woke up with a strong nausea. I vomited few times in a row.
In the morning I was exhausted, but the feeling to throw up was gone.
That day I felt really hopeless. I didn’t know how to heal my body. It lasted just too long. Every time I felt better and thought it was over, the sickness comeback. Resting and doing nothing was out of the question.
On Tuesday, I was in the training hall again. I decided to do only light exercises and stretching. I didn’t go to the afternoon classes. At that day I received a package from my mum with all minerals and supplements I needed. This dispelled my worries. A new hope appeared.
According to my mums advices the next week I allowed my body to rest, doing only minimum training.
SUPPLEMENTS MY MUM GAVE ME
Vitamin C, Alkaline powder, Vitamin B12 (methylcobalamin) and Baker’s yeast (natural source of Vitamins from B group)
READ THE ARTICLES to understand the influence of the SUPPLEMENTS my mum gave me.
It worked. The next week I felt much better and I could train with full power.
This was the last incident at school with my digest system. After it, I experienced stomach pain from time to time. The intake of the supplements was very irregular. One month later I realized I have to be consistent with taking care of my body. Consequently, I started to take pills with more attention, trying to do it everyday. I am not sure if that helped or it was the weather getting warmer or Daniel coming back. Maybe all together contributed to the improvement of my well being.
Hard days are the best, because that’s when the CHAMPIONS are made.