Story of Oleg "How to stay healthy" (2010)
Sometime in the early July, I came home, as always troubled by shortness of breath. My general well-being was once again suggesting, yet again, a visit to the doctor. It was going to rain outside and the clouds began to cover the sky – needless to say, the weather matched my mood. I fell exhausted on a chair and thought: "I don’t want to live like this, I don’t want to die slowly ..." I realized that only I could save myself, that it was all about me, that I must start taking much better care of myself- thus began the story in which “Golden Dragon” School of Traditional Kung Fu played the main part.
I’ll begin by saying that currently I’m 40 years of age. I've pretty much has seen it all and has long since ceased to believe in fairy tales. If you have time and you wonder about your health, your life, then you’ll be interested in my story.
I’ll begin by describing the state in which I was in, about my health conditions, in short – there was no health:
A bunch of diseases, my general condition was awful and heredity was so-so. Second degree hypertension: I would take about 16 pills a day from just one illness, and almost the same amount from the other illnesses. Two hernias in the spine, lower back pain radiating to the leg - the foot would constantly get numb. In fact, I could barely lift the leg and started seriously considering buying a cane. In general, it was hard to walk even short distances ... Shortness of breath, heart failure, serious insomnia – sometimes it was impossible to fall asleep, and to top it off- migraines. Symptoms of diabetes. I cannot even recall the full list of diseases, there were so many, here are just a few of them: arthritis, steatosis, pancreatitis, gastritis, hypertension, tachycardia (110 beats per minute at rest), ischemic heart disease. I would take 8 pills of Renee just to get rid of heartburn ... it helped for only 2 hours. I ate full spoons of soda. Ulcer with gastric hemorrhage. Well, to complete the picture, I weighted in excess of 300 lbs.
The last time I visited a doctor was back in 2001. After that, I simply stopped going- it was useless. They do not treat you, they make a note in a register that you have a chronic disease and that’s it. If you want to stay in the hospital, you are welcome, just don’t forget to bring your own medications. The question arises "Why should I go to the hospital in first place?" They say that the walls will heal you. As goes for the spine – they said that a surgery had to be performed to treat the intervertebral hernia. In addition to that, there is a very long and strenuous recovery period, the person becomes disabled and automatically gets a second degree handicap right after surgery. I won’t be able to walk, to sit, I’ll basically have to do everything vertically or horizontally. The success of surgery is 50%.
Do you still have questions? Believe me, I am not exaggerating, you can visit us at "Golden Dragon" and talk with me personally.
I always had health issues. I had hypertension since I was 12-14 years of age. While serving in the armed forces, my physical condition was more or less normal, but I already needed to take medicine. Army was tough. After demobilization, I worked in transportation; days were very tiring; I almost did not move – driver’s reality, you know. But I did get a bunch of diseases that came with the job: spine problems, hypertension, gastritis. I got a hernia – because I was always sitting, combined with the heavy lifting - sometimes I had to change the tires, to carry different objects. It got to the point that I couldn’t even tie my own shoe laces.
There was a lot of stress which I was relieving in a traditional way, ie, to eat a tasty meal and pour all of that down with some alcohol.
Actually, I’ve changed a ton of jobs. I worked as a subway train conductor, a bus driver, then, as an accountant - again a sedentary position. Then as a company's director, sedentary work again and again-stress. Logical outcome of such a life - the weight creeps up and my health down. Then I took on all sorts of fancy stuff, decided to do the “healthy” things - bought a training bike, you know like the ones you get in a gym, except that there isn’t much benefit from them. At some point I realized that the issue should be approached more systematically.
At one point in my life I worked in security services, that is when I came in contact with martial arts - we had to practice kyokushin karate. During the training, a few pounds would go down. But I didn’t get any pleasure from those lessons, of course- during the first day we were put in contact sparring, complete stupidity that’s what it was if you ask me: you’d get the same effect from fluttering your arms in front of a beer stand. However, the effects of such training on health were evident, and years later, I started thinking about martial arts again. However, it was not clear exactly which martial art I should go with. I thought I'd take up taekwondo, but it was too far to travel, eventually I found a "gymnastics" Tai Chi – because it was close to home but the training didn’t give me the results I was looking for. The majority of students didn’t even sweat during the training, and besides, everyone was fixated on some chakras, some channels, something high and very distant from me. I remember, during the very first day I was given a sword. Just imagine- a small room and about 20 people with swords, you can imagine what happened next. Everyone tried to portray something. No, of course there were some positive aspects from practicing Tai Chi, but eventually I had to let it go for personal reasons.
But I didn’t want to completely stop training, thus, have decided to study by myself, and finally bought training CD’s, including "Golden Dragon"’ training CD’s . I thought that it was the same gymnastics, since it was named- Tai Chi Chuan. So I watched the video – it looked the same, just that it was made more properly then all other videos. I thought that if I try, I won’t strain myself too much. So I called “Golden Dragon”. Valery Prosvirov, head of school, picked up. "Tomorrow at seven.", he responded immediately.
When I first came to practice, it turned out that this was no gymnastics – it was much worse then during the kyokushin karate training. If I knew what I was getting myself into I would’ve stayed home. But then realized, that if I quit these classes too, then I’ll never do anything like this ever again. I've seen enough people die of stroke, I don’t need that, so the question whether to attend the training or not didn’t even stand. I wasn’t a young man and my weight troubled me – I refused to risk my life any further.
I felt the positive effects immediately after the first workout, I felt relief. Although it was hard for me to do even the most basic exercises - I could not bend, do the rotations, squats, the list goes on. Everything looked very simple, but it was painful even to move and the leg would go numb. I approached the instructor, asked for some special exercises and he sent me to Anton. Then Anton and Valery gathered to decide what to do with me. As a result, I began to train according to the individual program with Anton in his rehab room.
The result didn’t keep itself waiting, toward the end of the month I lost astounding 30 pounds; then another 5 the following month, and that’s without any strict restrictions in food. I only had to watch my diet, but not the amount of food. The pain went away, hernias disappeared - before they could be palpated directly. Before, I was offered to go under the knife by my physicians, but they[hernias] went away by themselves. The cardiovascular system began to work properly. I began to sweat less, the endurance enhanced, and my sleep improved. Generally speaking, I began to feel much, much better. The headache was gone, it used to be very strong, half of my head would go numb, eyes were sore, now there is no such thing. I felt 20 years younger. And this is after only one year of proper training. Now I weigh about 250lbs. But that tells you nothing - muscle mass increased while much of the fat content decreased. My stomach started to look like a stomach, finally. We didn’t target loosing 100 pounds. I'm sure all these programs that advertise rapid weight loss can only bring harm to your body, but I do not need that.
At this point, I got training 6 times a week. I have an individual program. We have various manuals. First, there was the preparatory work for the first 9 months, mainly general physical training: one day of physiotherapy, and the next day training, the last three months we focused on technique.
There are a lot of various exercises, the whole group of them, which were developed for me. Manuals included exercises for your back and neck and also exercises with the barbell. It was difficult to do exercises on various slopes. Also I had to spend at least 25 minutes on a treadmill. It was terrifying for me. Walking for 2 minutes was difficult for me, and when I heard about the 25 minutes on a treadmill- I was sure that it was simply impossible. Some time passed, and the training manual became even more severe. Dumbbells were added plus some different pole twists. In total, the training now lasts for more then 2 hours. Qigong is mandatory now, namely the complex of Ba-Duan-Jin. In short, Anton is “entertaining” me as hard as he can
Frankly speaking, the training manual was very difficult for me, even too difficult. Then, when it all started to come together, the feeling of satisfaction came. I understood that I even had some room to grow. Push-ups could’ve been done better, the squats- lower, therefore there was no time to get bored.
During this time, much has changed in my life. First of all, I quit smoking. Previously, I never drank tea; Chinese tea is all that I drink now. And of course the change of priorities, if I have something to do, training comes first, everything else can wait.
Now I can get more things done in less time. I've got power to do many things. If I were not in "Golden Dragon" , I would not have had this energy. Currently, I'm enrolled in the daytime department of RGGU, an international magistrate. Another thing is evening classes at the Institute of St. Thomas at the Department of Religious Studies 5-6 times a week. To top it off, I am still working full time.
From the old familiar daily pile of pills only a few against pressure remained. High blood pressure is still a problem – I even had 210/110. Very high blood pressure. Constant stenocardia. Sometimes the pulse at rest would be as high as 120. I would take the maximum dose - 16 tablets of Аnарrilinum, and that would not always help. After some time, the pills stopped helping completely.
Now the pressure returned to normal - 120/70. At this point, pulse at rest is about 80 -70 beats per minute. I don’t really need to take any more pills. But Аnарrilinum must be given up in a certain way, gradually – you can’t just stop taking it. I had a dosage which could knock a horse down, now I’m slowly decreasing it.
For me, martial arts - is a different way of life. I used to think that it was a sport, but it turned out to be quite different. You may say: "You're doing pushups, squats, you run, do the exercises with dumbbells, is that not a sport?" Certainly a sport it is. Sports- is attaining the result at any cost, while martial arts is self-development. Comprehensive self-development. The meaning of martial arts is difficult to express in words. You just have to do it, and do it properly. The result does not even matter - the process is important. I am absolutely sure that martial arts - is my life, my foundation and I am going to do until the very end, which is what I wish to you as well.
Commentary by Anton:
When Oleg stepped on a the treadmill the first time, I got really scared. I thought that he was going get very sick and that I will need to call an ambulance. I was ready to dial 911. The whole time Oleg was sweating excessively, panting and flushing, but persevered. And then, sometime the following week, we got the first glimpse of a change for the better, and next month-an even greater change, etc. I realized that the human body must be forced to work properly. Even from a very difficult condition it ¬can be swayed to take the right path to self rejuvenation; by the right exercises and not by pills and surgical interventions. Oleg – is a vivid example of a fact that even with lots of diseases and an excess weight, you still can correct the situation by proper exercises. Recalling what Oleg was like a year ago, I can say that he’s totally different today. A different level of physical fitness, a stronger immune system; his cardiovascular and musculoskeletal system are working properly.
By looking at him, everything becomes crystal clear.
I wish you health and peace of mind!