Yusup Surkhaykhanov from LA
I am 66 years old and it’s been five months since I became a student at the Golden Dragon. I did not come here with a purpose to learn fighting, but in order to master the breathing exercises of Chi Gong. Now I work on both Chi Gong and Tai Chi. In the process of training I feel a lot of gradual changes within me, and all of these changes make me very happy. My muscles are strengthening and slightly increasing in volume, all the joints are being worked thoroughly. I cannot do the splits (...just yet!), but my progress in flexibility is gradually taking place. I can run up to my apartment on the fourth floor quickly and without stops to catch my breath. All these results are expected and natural, but the most surprising and completely unexpected thing for me personally is something I could have never dreamed of: I stopped slouching!
I have always had a slouchy back (since elementary school). All my life I tried to improve my posture, trying out various methods recommended in the appropriate literature or in classes. But with much disappointment I came to the conclusion that it”s absolutely impossible. One who tried to do it probably understands what I am talking about. After the first three or four classes at the “Golden Dragon,” when I was just walking along the street, so unexpectedly I noticed that my posture has completely changed! The slouchiness has left! The most interesting thing is that the rescue came through the lumbar / mid-section region, and not the shoulders. It was always recommended to me: straighten your shoulders, stand with your back pressed against the wall for 3 - 5 minutes, and then go. It never worked, because the first thing I wanted to do was to relax into my comfortable usual slouchy self. Now I know for myself: the healing comes through working on the spine together with the lower back. However, I don’t think it’s one specific exercise that helped me, but most likely a combination of several different techniques that I’m learning at the school.
This change in my posture gives me such great pleasure - the body feels almost ecstatic and itself reminds me how to carry on, and I am so grateful for all of this. I no longer need to keep in mind the task of correcting the posture, while in the past it was doomed to fail, as it would inevitably be forgotten. This new form of relationship between body and mind is also a discovery. Now the signal comes fr om the body - from the lumbar region to straighten itself! The quality of life changes: you walk down the street and you realize that you have become a different person!
To learn something well, the main thing is to get yourself a real Master for a teacher, and you start understanding that in the process of learning. I will give a simple example. During the first warm-ups we were working on breathing exercises involving squats, when Valery pointed out to me the wrong position of my feet. It turns out that the feet should be placed strictly parallel to each other, and not slightly outward. it turns out that there is a serious danger: as explained by the Master, in this incorrect position of the feet, there will be serious problems with the knee joints, and to cure this disease is not only difficult, but not always possible, while most people squat in that exact incorrect way. It was’t the only correction in the first exercise: my daily routine way of breathing was also wrong! I am making mistakes in the usual daily movements. Only the true Teacher will see and correct all your mistakes, will help working through the tiniest nuances, taking into account your unique qualities that are visible to him alone - of all this I am now convinced at each and every session.
After each lesson at the School, I feel a powerful burst of energy. I remember the familiar energy excitement from a few cups of coffee during the work day. The excitement that is eagerly seeking an outlet, until it is wasted away, leaving behind lethargy, drowsiness, low mood, and it would require to be raised with a new dose of caffeine. And then - quite another: comes a stable state of inner strength, true energy, and you decide when and how much it is used for those or other actions, and enough charge for the whole day. Now, during the day, I get energy by performing one, two, three breathing exercises.
I could have started lessons at the ”Golden Dragon" four years ago because I often passed the school door, stopped for half a minute, looked through the glass - with much interest! I knew that it was the school of the well-known Russian Master Valery Prosvirov, he is also known in other countries wh ere the school's branches are open. However, I never thought about practicing martial arts. I am a former smoker and needed breathing exercises, I did not think about anything more. The fact that Chi Gong is taught here I learned quite by accident in a conversation, and as it turned out there are no age limits for martial arts at all. I was delighted, of course, but there was a feeling of initial embarrassment because of my age - 65 years at that time, so I had to overcome it. Already during my studies I learned that there are those who are much older than me, for example, a very nice lady named Fleurette who is in her eighties, has been actively participating in these lessons for 4 years. I see students of all ages: there are groups of kids, ranging from five years to teenagers. Most recently I was surprised to find out that there is even a special program for expectant mothers.
I believe, that the changes within my body that are gradually taking place are the result of my training at the Golden Dragon. I could compare it to a musical instrument: I am going through a fine tuning, or harmonization of body and spirit.