You teach so many people, have written books, taught other masters, attained such a high level of awakening, what is your greatest wisdom from all your knowledge and experience? What would your fundamental message be to our readers?
Thank you for your compliments.
Once I asked my teacher, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, what he considered the highest attainment in our training. He thought for a while, then replied.
“Sum seong si seng.”
This is Cantonese, the language my teacher and I used. Word by word the phrase means “heart thinks events materialize”. What your future is going to be is what you conceptualize it to be!
Although I was not matured enough then to grasp the deep meaning and full significance, even at that young age I could see this great wisdom rightly described all important aspects of my life.
When I was a small boy in primary (elementary) school, I heard of a great secondary (high) school called Penang Free School, described by its headmaster as the best school east of Suez. I was so fascinated that with a friend of my age we took a bus to have a look at this school, which in my boyish mind seemed so far, far away from my house.
I was not outstanding in my studies then and there was nowhere I could be admitted to this prestigious school. But I made up my mind to study there. Just before an important common examination for all primary schools, I was sick with influenza, which was uncommon for me since practicing Shaolin Kungfu two years ago from my first teacher, Uncle Righteousness.
So I could not attend kungfu classes, which I loved, nor go out to play. I was confined to my bed. But I could study my school lessons, which I hardly did before. Miraculously, what I studied came out in the important examination and I was graded to be among the top students of the state, and thus gained admission to the fabulous Penang Free School.
Although I was not studious in school, I had a very happy and colourful school life. So I wanted to be a teacher. While I was undergoing teachers’ training at the Malayan Teachers’ College in Kuala Lumpur, I met an exceptionally brilliant student who became my good friend at the college.
I knew my limitations, knowing that there was no doubt my friend would be the best student of the collage, I wanted to be the second best. And it turned out to be. When the final examination results were out, my friend and I were the first and second topping the list of all students.
Later when I continued my studies at university, while my university mates studied very hard, I spend most of my time playing Chinese chess, reading on books not related to my university studies and helping a childhood friend, who was then a famous kungfu master in Kuala Lumpur, teaching kungfu and Lion Dance. But I still want to do well in my university examination. I scored all As in my results. Heart thinks and events materialize.
I wanted to have a good and beautiful wife, a lot of lovely children and a happy family. I did – of course, I still do and will always do. Heart thinks and events materialize.
When I found that kungfu had deteriorated to a ridiculous level, I wanted to preserve its glory and greatness and spread its wonderful benefits to deserving students all over the world irrespective of their race, culture and religion. I made this wish at a time when it seemed impossible to do so. Now I am glad and grateful that I have succeeded.
Traditionally high-level chi kung, or nei kung which means internal art, is taught only to selected kungfu students who have proven their worthiness after many years with the master. I found that this traditional manner of teaching could not help those in need of it to overcome their so-called incurable diseases.
I wished to help these people, irrespective of their race, culture and religion, to regain good health. So I did the unthinkable, much to the opposition and chargin of many traditional masters. I opened high-level chi kung to the public and unlocked its secrets. Today, countless people have overcome their so-called incurable diseases after learning from our school, Shaolin Wahnam.
All these events illustrate the great wisdom taught to me by my teacher, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam – heart thinks, events materialize.
This great wisdom is also taught by ancient great teachers, and confirmed by the latest science.
The Buddha, for example, teaches that the most important cause of karma is thought. In other words, what your future will turn out to be is most influenced by what you think. In fact, the phenomenal world is the result of thought. Not only your future is the result of your thought, the phenomenal world itself is the result of what people think it to be.
This great truth is confirmed by the latest science. A famous scientist puts it in an interesting way. If you put a cat into a box with deadly poison, and close the lid of the box, whether the cat is alive or dead depends on whether you think the cat is alive or dead.
Another famous scientist asserts that when you see the moon in the sky, it is because you conceptualize the moon in the sky; if you do not think of it, there is no moon in the sky.
Scientists have confirmed that an electron is where it is because we conceptualize it to be where it is. Otherwise it is nowhere or everywhere – again depending on how we conceptualize it.
This great wisdom points to a greater wisdom. As heart thinks, events materialize, it is of utmost importance to think only of noble thoughts. This is not just for altruism, it is for your own sake.
When one thinks of bad things, bad things will happen to him. When he thinks of good things, good things will happen to him. When he thinks of evil, be becomes evil. When he thinks nobly, he becomes noble.
This is not superstition, and has nothing to do with religion. It is karma, which means cause and effect. Goodness will always result in goodness, evilness will always result in evilness, and the most important cause is thought.
This wisdom has been validated throughout centuries, and is now confirmed by science. If you want good things to happen to you, think of good things. If one has bad thoughts, even when he does not want bad things to happen to him, they will happen. It is not that he is punished by God or whatever term he calls the Supreme, but he gets the result of his evil mind. After all, the whole world is a result of mind.
This is the greatest wisdom from all my knowledge and experience – that the phenomenal, including the world we live in and various heavens many people aspire to go to in their afterlife, is a function of mind. The Supreme Cosmic Realtiy is undifferentiated, infinite and eternal, called by different peoples by different names, such as God, Brahman, Tao, Suchness, Original Face or the collapse of particles into universal energy.
But “greatest” is relative. What is greatest to some, may not be greatest to others. For those who want to live a happy, healthy, long life, which in practical terms means all people except fools and saints, the greatest wisdom is always to have noble thoughts for themselves and other people.
Evil or bad is what brings harm. Noble or good is what brings benefit.
When a friend is sick, for example, if you think, or worse, tell him that he has to resign himself to a life of taking medication, it is having evil thought. If you tell him that he can recover, it is having noble thoughts.
Please note that you are not telling him a lie. It is true that he can get well. A lot of people suffering from so-called incurable diseases and are supposed to die, have recovered and now lead healthy lives after learning chi kung from me or my certified instructors or chi kung healers.
Please also note that telling a person that he can recover does not necessarily mean he will certainly recover. In the same principle, everyone in our modern society can become a millionaire, but not everyone will certainly become a millionaire.
If you are not as happy as you feel you should be in your workplace or family life, and think it is your destiny, it is having an evil thought. If you think that your boss or your spouse, and not you, should improve your work or family life, it is also having an evil thought. If you think you can have a happier workplace or family life, and you, not your boss or spouse, are going to do something about it, it is having noble thoughts.
This is the fundamental message I would like to share with our readers. Regardless of whether we are a pauper or a king, living in a desert or a crowded city, just coming out of school or entering retirement, we have a choice. We can choose to have good thoughts or bad thoughts. Good thoughts will result in good things happening to us, bad thoughts will result in bad things. The choice is yours.
The above extract is reproduced from “Your True Nature: Wisdom of Living Masters” by Natalie Deane and Damian Lafont.
Wishing You Happiness, Prosperity and Longevity for 2020 and Beyond!
(reproduced from https://shaolin.org/answers/ans18b/oct18-1.html)
Is it alright if someone does not perform chi kung perfectly?
— Charlie, United Kingdom
Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
Yes, in our school it is alright if a practitioner does not perform perfectly in his chi kung practice.
In fact, it is recommended not to practice perfectly in order to prevent over-training! That is why we recommend that our students practice at 30% or less of their potential. In other words, they purposely do not perform their chi kung perfectly. If they perform perfectly, which is at their potential, they may over-train.
This paradigm may appear strange to many people. Many people, if they are dedicated to their practice, perform perfectly, or attempt to perform perfectly even if they actually don’t. In our school, students are recommended not to perform perfectly!
Why is this so? We really do not mean to belittle other schools, nor glamorize ourselves, but most other schools do not practice chi kung even when they honestly think they do. They perform their chi kung techniques as gentle physical exercise, not as chi kung or energy exercise. Hence they do not derive chi kung benefits. Even when they perform their chi kung techniques perfectly as gentle physical exercise, they will only get physical benefits, and not any chi kung benefits.
On the other hand, we have become so ridiculously effective that we have to purposely not to perform our chi kung techniques perfectly as chi kung so as not to over-train. Two excellent ways to avoid over-training are to cut down the time of practice or the intensity of practice. As we practice our chi kung for only about 10 minutes, we cut down our intensity by not going deeply into a chi kung state of mind.
It is worthwhile to mention that we may not practice perfectly, but we practice correctly. We use chi kung techniques to practice chi kung. Many other people may practice perfectly but not correctly. They use chi kung techniques to practice gentle physical exercise, just like many people use Taijiquan techniques to practice external Taiji forms.
If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org stating your name, country and e-mail address.
Enjoy your holidays!
(reproduced from https://shaolin.org/answers/sp-issues/hoffman.html)
Effective combat is the basis of any kungfu
I will first of all state that it is an honor to correspond with you. I have been practicing Kung Fu of several styles both for performance and application sparring for a little over 14 years now.
— Hoffman, USA
Thank you for your kind words.
I am glad that you practice combat application in your kungfu training. Without combat application, kungfu ceases to be kungfu. It becomes gymnastics or a demonstrative sport, which has its benefits too, but it ceases to be a martial art. Unfortunately the majority of kungfu practitioners today, including masters, are incompetent in kungfu combat application, but they lack the honesty and courage to admit it.
Many resort to borrowing techniques and methods from other martial arts, like Taekwondo and Kick-Boxing, to rectify their lack of kungfu combat application. Some may have become formidable fighters using these borrowed techniques, but they still cannot use kungfu for combat. Some even go to the ridiculous extent of saying that kungfu forms cannot be used in combat, and that using Kick-Boxing is kungfu.
Though you have not stated it, I suspect that you are one of those who use other martial art techniques, probably Kick-Boxing, instead of kungfu in your sparring. Your attempt to rectify the inadequacy of kungfu combat application is admirable but your action is mis-directed. You should attempt to use kungfu forms for sparring instead. You have spent 14 years practicing kungfu forms. It is worth to spend one whole year to learn and practice genuine kungfu combat application, so that what you have learnt all these years will not go to waste.
I have posted a lot of videos on my website , not only showing but also explaining secrets that masters in the past kept only for their top students. By following and practicing the examples shown in the videos, you can attain a reasonable level of kungfu combat application.
I would like to share a very important point that kungfu practitioners who attempt free sparring may not know. They think that by attempting free sparring, they can defend themselves. They don’t. They may be able to hit others, but they still cannot defend themselves.
And many have the perverted view that one must be willing to take some hits and kicks to learn a martial art. It is certainly not true. In fact a main reason why any person learns a martial art is not to be hit at all. The big irony is that not only many martial artists cannot defend themselves despite their training, they become more unhealthy due to sustained injuries in free sparring.
The above is taken from Question 1 of January 2008 Part 3 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.
Shaolin Wahnam Kuala Lumpur wishes all Muslims and friends a blessed and joyous Selamat Hari Raya Aidilfitri.
(reproduced from https://shaolin.org/answers/sp-issues/sparring.html)
Tom applying what he has just learnt in the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course in June 2007 against a Boxer posed by Chris in free sparring
Is it really possible to teach the combat applications of Shaolin and Taiji in an intensive course? I know many people have asked the same question on the Qigong (Chi Kung) course, and you have replied that “Its purpose is to equip you with fundamental skills and techniques so that you can competently practice on your own after the course. You need to practice for at least a few months before you can have lasting good results”.
— Kaiwan, Singapore
Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
Yes, it is really possible, and it has been amply confirmed by practical experience of those who have attended my course. In the first place if I myself have doubt whether the course participants will get the benefits as promised in the course objectives, I would not offer the course.
For example, many people have requested me to offer an intensive course on the “Small Universe”, but as I am still unsure whether I could help the course participants to acquire the benefits of the “Small Universe” — not just the techniques — within the time frame of an intensive course, I have refrained from offering it. I am making progress in the methodology of teaching the “Small Universe”, and when I am sure of the result, I may offer the course in the future.
( Editorial Note: This was written in April 2004.)
What I have said about the Intensive Chi Kung Course concerning fundamental skills and practicing on their own, also applies to the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course and the Intensive Taijiquan Course. If course participants practice on their own for a few months what they have learnt in the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course and the Intensive Taijiquan Course, they can apply their techniques and skills effectively in combat. Even when they spar with their friends or students immediately after their return from the course, the latter will be amazed at their rapid improvement within such a short time. After a year, the latter would have no match at all.
There is nothing mysterious or mythical about it. It all boils down to vision, direction and systematic training . Both my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course and my Intensive Taijiquan Course focus on internal force training and combat application. A course participant has about 6 hours of systematic sparring a day, which means he has about 30 hours of systematic combat training from the course.
Most kungfu students do not have any systematic combat training at all. Many may have engaged in free sparring, but free sparring is not systematic combat training. In fact, the way they approach free sparring is counter-productive. Not only they sustain a lot of internal injuries, they condition themselves to fight in a way where they never apply their kungfu techniques and skills effectively. In principle, it is like training in football but playing hockey instead.
Let us take a scenario. Suppose you are trained in a way of a typical kungfu school today. To learn fighting, you and a partner practice free sparring. You stand in a typical kungfu stance using a typical kungfu pattern. Your partner charges at you and rains blows on you. You start to think to yourself: “Now what kungfu pattern should I use to defend against these blows?” Before you could even finish running your thought in your mind, a few blows have landed on your face and body.
After some time (which can be a few seconds, days or weeks later) you become smarter. As your sparring partner charges at you, you start to move back to avoid his blows. But because you stand at a deep kungfu stance, your retreat is slow, and your partner still rains blows on your face and body.
After some time, you discover that if you abandon your kungfu stances and bounce about, you can move faster, but your partner also charges in fast and rains blows on you. Soon you discover that you have no time to think of which kungfu techniques to use, so you just block his blows instinctively. You also discover that you can also rain blows on him.
Your sparring partner has become smarter too. He discovers that he can kick you or grab you or throw you onto the ground. He also learns that he may use some tricks. For example, he may pretend to strike you with a blow, but as you block or dodge the feign move, he kicks at you. Such free sparring may go on for years.
If you are tough like a buffalo and didn’t chicken out even after receiving a few broken jaws and broken bones from the blows and kicks, over the years of free sparring you may discover some special ways of counter-attacking. For example, when your partner strikes you with a blow, instead of blocking or bouncing away, you may move to his side and strike his ribs before he has time to pull back his attacking hand. You may also discover that if you are skilful enough, you can apply this counter-attack even if his initial blow is a feign.
An invaluable photograph showing two combatants in an annual grand free sparring competition of Grandmaster Ho Fatt Nam about 40 years ago, following the tradition of the southern Shaolin Temple. Notice that they used typical Shaolin kungfu patterns, which were the same as what our Shaolin Wahnam kungfu students use today, and which were also the same as those used by Shaolin disciples in real fighting a few hundred years ago, as revealed in written records and illustrations.
In a year of free sparring, there may be many occasions when you can use this counter-attack. But these occasions occur so fast that you are usually unprepared for them. Hence, in practical terms you may actually use such a counter-attack a few times in a year of free sparring, and you may be successful only once or twice. Most of the time you would only say to yourself, “Oh, I could use that special counter-attack”, but your hands and legs are too slow for your intent.
Why are you too slow? And why can’t you use the kungfu techniques that you perform in solo forms? The reason is that your free sparring has been haphazard and unmethodical.After 10 years of free sparring you may not be more efficient than when you were in your first year!
Now, take another scenario. You stand at a typical kungfu stance using a typical kungfu pattern. Your training partner rushes at you to rain blows. But he couldn’t. As soon as he makes his first move, irrespective of whether it is real or feign, you intercept it with a tiger-claw, using a tactic called “one closes two”, in such a way that he cannot continue his other hand attack without making an adjustment. But before he can make the adjustment, you drive a palm strike with your other hand into his ribs to fracture them, had you wanted to, using a Shaolin pattern called “Dark Dragon Draws Water”. But of course you stop just short of target with your trained control.
Will this scenario happen? It never will, if your “training” is haphazard. It surely will, if your training is methodological and systematic.
At first your partner does not rush at you. He moves in at a comfortable speed for you to execute your counter-attack. How did you discover this counter-attack? You didn’t. It was evolved from centuries of actual fighting, and is taught to you by your master who has inherited this technique. You and your partner would have to practice just this sequence of attack and counter-attack 50 times a day. In three months, you and your partner would have practiced it a few thousand times, compared to only a few times in 10 years had you been doing haphazard free sparring.