Monthly Archives: April 2015

ON FORGIVENESS

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/discussion-2/christina02.html)

Christina Didyk

Sifu Christina Didyk


Sifu Christina Didyk

Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam USA

23rd December 2012

On Forgiveness

Since our Festival in St Pete, I continue to receive reports from many of my patients and students who attended on how profound their experience was during one of the sessions in which Sifu asked us all to forgive.

I myself have experienced how amazing this can be at many courses but now it seems I am experiencing it from all these new eyes and once again it has touched me deeply.

At the course itself there were multiple folks in tears after the forgiveness exercise, but amazingly as I looked around they were all clearly tears of joy. Many people came up to me to give a hug after – in particular one of my patients and my good friend from Europe. I didn’t know what either of them had forgiven but I did know that they both were radiating love and happiness and a sense of weightlessness that made my heart feel lighter and full of joy.

This post is being written because at least for my patient that single act of forgiveness in class has led to some amazing real life results. She gave me permission to relay the result here.

Mrs M. had a long and incredibly destructive relationship with her long time boss. She felt she had been passed over for promotion many times because her boss disliked her even though her performance was always top notch. She felt angry and unsatisfied every morning going to work and every evening coming home. In retrospect she realized that her relationship at home with her husband suffered because of her anger and her many illnesses may have been a way to get out of going to work.

She told me that during the class with Sifu when he asked her to forgive her boss immediately flew into her mind and for a moment she felt all of her anger and hatred for this man fill her up until she felt like she would throw up. All at once she decided to just follow Sifu’s instructions and let go, forgive, release all that pent up anger. She stated that it was if in a moment she had lost 100 lb weight that had been sitting on her heart. She felt filled with peace.

Mrs M said the last few weeks she has been able to be friendly and cordial with her boss and even enjoyed going to work each day. Just two weeks ago her boss came to her and let her know that she would be up for promotion soon and that he intended to help her get it!!

Perhaps most amazingly Mrs. M has decided to forego her promotion and in fact is resigning from her job to become a full time painter instead. She told me that painting is what saved her time and again from her anger and is her greatest joy in life. She has already landed a large commission for a group of paintings and will be making more from them than her promotion would have given her!!! Astounding!

It never ceases to amaze me how profound the lessons Sifu gives us can be if we relax, don’t worry, don’t intellectualize and just follow his instructions!

Not only did Mrs M forgive, release her potentially illness causing anger and create a better relationship with her boss. She also gained the courage to realize that she is in control of her destiny and there is no one but herself who can stand in her way!

I am constantly amazed at the students of Shaolin Wahnam and eternally grateful to be a part of such a courageous and loving family.

From the Heart.

Christina.


Chris and Christina

Sifu Christina Didyk and her husband, Sifu Chris Didyk


The above discussion is reproduced from the thread On forgiveness in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.

THREE LEVELS OF SPIRITUAL FULFILLMENT

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/general-2/wisdom-of-living-masters/wisdom06.html)

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

Grandmaster Wong



Question

How would you define spiritual fulfillment?

Answer

Spiritual fulfillment is self-explanatory. It is fulfilling spiritual needs.

The difficulty faced by many people in understanding what spiritual fulfilment is, therefore, lies not in its definition but in what actually is meant by spiritual. Spiritual is non-physical, it has no form. Your spirit is the real you. The real you is not your body.

Your spirit may grow and develop, but it does not change. Your body is changing all the time, though the countless changes, like the constantly changing cells that make up your flesh and bones, are so minute that you normally do not see them with your naked eyes.

Indeed, scientists have estimated that the body you have now is totally different from the one you had just seven months ago. Then why do you look the same? It is because the changing cells that constitute you body maintain the same appearance of the previous cells they replace. It is like a flowing river. The water in the river is changing all the time, but it maintains the same appearance.

Depending on various factors, like different education, environment and developmental stage, different people have different spiritual needs to be fulfilled. But all our spiritual needs may be classified into three levels:

  1. To be happy, peaceful and free here and now.
  2. To go to heaven in the afterlife.
  3. To eventually return to our Source, called variously by different peoples as God, Tao, Buddhahood or Supreme Reality.

If these needs are not fulfilled, your spirit, i.e. the real you, will not be at ease, and may be manifested in your physical body. The process works both ways. If your body is dis-ease, you will not be well.

For example, at the fundamental level if a person’s spirit is frustrated, agitated or restricted for a prolonged period of time, he may become unwell and it may be manifested as cancer, cardiovascular disorders and depression. On the other hand, if harmful micro-organisms attack his body, it can also make his spirit unwell, manifested as being gloomy, stressful and depressed.

Hence, to fulfill the needs of his spirit so that he can be happy, peaceful and free again, he has to overcome the causes that bring about the dis-ease of his spirit. If he just removes the symptoms manifested on his body, like taking out the cancerous parts, rectifying the cardiovascular disorders or taking pills to neutralize his depression, he can only succeed in temporary relief. As his spirit is still dis-eased, its symptoms would surface again.

On the other hand, if spiritual dis-ease is caused by physical factors, like harmful bacteria attacking his body, he can regain his spiritual well-being by overcoming the physical cause, like taking appropriate antibiotics.

At the intermediate level, people aspire to go to heaven in their afterlife. This is actually simple, though it may not be easy for some people. Avoid evil and do good. If you avoid evil and do good, you will be sure to go to heaven. This is taught in and guaranteed by all the greatest teachers of all the world’s known religions.

If a person did a lot of evil things in his past in this present life or his previous lives, even he does good now, he may not go to heaven in his immediate afterlife. But as long as he starts to avoid evil and do good, no matter how much evilness he did in the past, he will still inevitably go to heaven.

Is heaven real? It is like asking is the world we now live in real. The answers are the same. Yes, heaven and our phenomenal world are real – relatively real but not absolutely real. Heaven and earth are real relative to our mind. In other words, how that tiny part of Cosmic Reality we currently exist in will appear to us, depends on our mind. At the present stage when we exist in this world, how this world appears to us depends on how we perceive it. That is why it is called our phenomenal world. The adjective “phenomenal” comes from the noun “phenomena” which means “appearances”.

After leaving this world, how the afterlife appears to us, whether it is heaven or hell, also depends on our mind. If a person has avoided evil and done good, he has cultivated his mind with good thoughts, often described as having good karma. He will experience his afterlife as heaven. If he has done a lot of evil, described as having very bad karma, he will experience his afterlife as hell.

Heaven and hell, as well as the world we now live in, are in the phenomenal realm. How we experience our living in it depends on our karma. Its reality is relative to how our mind perceives Cosmic Reality, and is conditioned by karma. If we can break down these conditions and go beyond karma, we go beyond the phenomenal and realize transcendental Cosmic Reality. This is the most supreme and noble of all spiritual cultivation, described differently by different peoples as returning to God, attaining the Tao and seeing the Original Face.

Although our spirit, not our body, is our real self, while our spirit is housed in our body it is important to keep our body healthy and strong. When a person’s body is sick or weak, he may overcome his sickness or weakness by cultivating his spirit, but it is faster and more effective by working on his body directly. An effective way is through the practice of chi kung, spelt as “qigong” in Romanized Chinese. Chi kung is the cultivation of energy, or life force, which links the body and the spirit. In our school, Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan is also chi kung, as they also cultivate energy besides the body and spirit.

When a person’s body is healthy and strong, he is more efficient in cultivating his spirit. There are many different methods of spiritual cultivation. The following are some of the methods we use in our school, Shaolin Wahnam, and they have been proven to be very effective.

To be happy, we smile from our heart, which is a skill we practice every time we start an exercise. To be peaceful we stand in meditation and enjoy the stillness and experience inner peace. To be free we expand our spirit using techniques like Separating Water and Flicking Fingers.

A sure way to go to heaven is to avoid evil and do good. We aspire to this high moral living by following our Ten Shaolin Laws, which is an essential requirement for anyone who wants to learn from us. .

We are not in a hurry to return to our Source yet. We know the world we now live in is phenomenal, and we ensure our time here is well spent – for ourselves as well as for other people. We often have a glimpse of our Source while in deep meditation in such advanced arts like Cosmic Breathing and Expanding into the Cosmos. When we are ready, we can cultivate to return to our Source, using methods like Zen and Taoist meditation.

In all the arts practiced in our school, chi kung, Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan, we are keenly aware of triple cultivation, namely cultivating jing, qi and shen, which means body, energy and spirit. We do not merely talk about spiritual cultivation, not even just practice spiritual cultivation, but ensure we have spiritual fulfillment, i.e. enjoying the benefits of spiritual cultivation in our daily life.


The above extract is reproduced from “Your True Nature: Wisdom of Living Masters” by Natalie Deane and Damian Lafont.

You can order this book from here or here.

INTRODUCTORY OR TRY-OUT 3 DAYS QI GONG HEALING COURSE.

banner-welcome

COURSE TITLE: INTRODUCTORY OR TRY-OUT 3 DAYS QI GONG HEALING COURSE.

DATE: 11th – 15th JUNE 2015.

VENUE: HOLISTIC HEALTH CULTIVATION CENTER (HHCC)

                    5-1 & 5-2, JALAN 1A / 114,

                    OFF JALAN KUCHAI LAMA,

                    58200 KUALA LUMPUR,

                    MALAYSIA.

CONDUCTED BY: SIFU DR. FOONG & SIFU WONG CHUN NGA

COURSE FEE: USD 800.00

SUPERVISED BY: GRANDMASTER WONG KIEW KIT

WHO SHOULD ATTEND: For those who wish to know more about Qi Gong healing, and to experience for themselves Qi or Energy. He or she can then decide to choose what the most suitable Qi Gong healing program for itself. Our Qi Gong healing is non – religious irrespective of race or culture.

REGISTRATION: If you are interested in joining the course please write directly to either Sifu Dr. Foong (drfoong@holistic.com.my) or Sifu Wong Chun Nga (wcn@holistic.com.my).

Here are the aims and objective for the 3-days introductory or try-out Qi Gong healing course.

AIMS:

– To provide an opportunity for students/patients to feel for themselves and understand about what is Qi Gong healing.

– To give them an opportunity to appreciate it is only 10 – 15 minutes of practice a day, and it is full of fun to get healed!

– To enable them to decide and select the best possible method of healing to overcome their diseases.

– To enable students/patients have confident to commit themselves at the center for a healing program for one year or as soon as they recover from their illness.

– To enable students/patients to have a choice to choose for a money-back guarantee USD 30,000.00 one year program or attend a 3-month healing program for USD 6,000.00 non-refundable in HHCC.

OBJECTIVE:

– Teach students/patients the most suitable level of Qi Gong so that they will recover from their pain and illness.

– Educate students/patients to understand the importance of supervision from a qualified healer in HHCC so that they will practice correctly rather than just practice on their own at home.

– In order to ensure recovery or overcoming their diseases it is best for students/patients to attend classes every day from Monday to Friday at HHCC.

– Any doubt and uncertainty in their practice can be readily rectified, when meeting with the qualified healer.

– When necessary the healer may help students/patients to open their energy points and transmit Qi to them as part of the healing.

COURSE SCHEDULE:

11th JUNE 2015

Arrival

12th JUNE 2015

8.00AM – 10.00AM Qi Gong Healing

11.00AM – 3.00PM Complimentary Tour

5.00PM – 7.00PM Qi Gong Healing

8.00PM – 10.00PM Welcoming Dinner

13th JUNE 2015

8.00AM – 10.00AM Qi Gong Healing

11.00AM – 3.00PM Complimentary Tour

5.00PM – 7.00PM Qi Gong Healing

14th JUNE 2015

8.00AM – 10.00AM Qi Gong Healing

11.00AM – 3.00PM Complimentary Tour

5.00PM – 7.00PM Qi Gong Healing

8.00PM – 10.00PM Graduation Dinner (Possibly meeting with Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit in the dinner getting advise and guidance)

15th JUNE 2015 Departure

15th JUNE 2015

9.00AM – 11.00AM

For those who are interested to know and understand more about Qi Gong healing, a 2-hour workshop will be held on the 15th JUNE 2015 to help students/patients see for themselves actual healing conducted for patients at the center and possible interaction with students who are currently under the healing program, registration (recommend for hotel & accommodation) if required.

DECEIVING HEAVEN TO CROSS SEA

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/discussion/36-strategies/strategy09.html)

Xie Ren Gui

A picture of the famous Tan general, Xie Ren Gui, reproduced from http://people.chinese.cn/en/article/2010-11/23/content_192809.htm


Question Which of the Thirty Six Strategies do you personally find the most beneficial and effective in term of profundity in simplicity, in order to enrich private and business life?

Sifu Roland Mastel


Answer

The strategy I find most beneficial and effective is the first one, Deceive Heaven to Cross Sea. It is simple. Basically it consists of making a feint move to accomplish a desired result. Actually all other strategies are covered in this strategy. All other strategies consist of making feint moves to accomplish desired results. Hence it is very profound.

A special feature of this strategy is that the deception does not appear to be very special. In fact it looks common, so that the enemy will not suspect the deception. Kungfu classics are a good example. A lot of secrets are hidden in the open, but unless they are initiated, people will not realize these secrets.

Hiding secrets in the open is found not just in classics but also in practice. Wuzuquan and Xingyiquan are good examples. When I first learned Wuzuquan more than 40 years ago I did not know how to use its patterns for combat. I believe many Wuzuquan practitioners today, despite having practiced for many years, are in a similar situation. But I am sure those who attended the recent Wuzuquan course in Penang are amazed that the patterns from San Zhan, the fundamental set of Wuzuquan, can be used to counter any attack! It is an excellent example of profundity in simplicity.

Another excellent example of profundity in simplicity is Xingyiquan, known to be the kungfu for generals. I knew for a long time that of all the kungfu styles, Xingyiquan is the closest to Western Boxing, and thus will be very helpful to those who want to win free sparring competitions as most competitors today fight like Boxers and also that most competitions follow rules closely related to Western Boxing.

But in terms of techniques, I did not know what a Xingyiquan practitioner would do if an opponent went beyond the simple techniques found in Boxing and Kick-Boxing and used sophisticated techniques like those found in the Shaolin Seventy Two Chin-Na Techniques or the little know felling techniques of Taijiquan. I reckon that the Xingyiquan practitioner would compensate his lack of extensive techniques with his tremendous force, for which Xingyiqaun as well as Wuzuquan are famous. (In my case, it was not a big concern because I could always fall back on my Shaolin and Taijiquan counters.)

Yet, as in the case of Wuzuquan earlier, when I went deeper in both the practice and philosophy of Xingyiquan in preparation for teaching the course at the UK Summer Camp, I found to my delight that even leaving aside internal force, simple looking Xingyiquan techniques do have counters for sophisticated attacks! Xingyiquan is not just bulldozing into opponents, as many people mistakenly think, but incorporates covering opponents adequately in its apparently straight-in advance. It was an aha experience for me to discover why this simple-looking style is regarded as kungfu for generals.

I am not sure whether the early Wuzuquan and Xingyiquan masters used this strategy of Deceiving Heaven to Cross Sea to hide secrets in the open. Personally I do not think so. The profundity in the apparently simple-looking arts evolved spontaneously. But I am sure that knowing this strategy by reading the answer here, or better still attending the course in Ireland, will enhance our ability to go deeper and obtain more benefits not just in kungfu and chi kung but in whatever we do when most other people merely skim the surface.

There is a lot of depth and benefit in the kungfu and chi kung we practice. For those who have not practiced Wuzuquan or Xingyiquan, let us take an example of Single Tiger Emerges from Cave from Shaolin Kungfu and Immortal Waves Sleeves from Taijiquan, and Lifting the Sky from chi kung.

The form is simple, and most other people merely practice their form. Any benefit they get is incidental. For us in Shaolin Wahnam, not only we know that the form is only a means to obtain benefit, but we get benefit deeper than what its surface suggests.

Single Tiger Emerges from Cave or Immortal Waves Sleeves is not only a counter where we can use minimum force against maximum strength, but is also applicable against any attack, be in striking, kicking, felling or chin-na! Lifting the Sky not only generates an energy flow, but gives us benefit ranging from just being relaxed to expanding into the Cosmos.

The past masters did not use the strategy, Deceiving Heaven to Cross Sea, but understanding the strategy enables us to see depth beyond surface.

An American businessman used this strategy to save a lot of money, as well as make a lot of money – legally. He probably had not heard of Deceive Heaven to Cross Sea, but what he did was applying its philosophy.

To protect local industry, the United States imposed a lot of tax on foreign imports. A lot of American women loved elegant French gloves but they were expensive because of heavy import tax.

A smart American businessman thought of a way to save a lot of tax and also make a lot of sales. He bought 100,000 pairs of these expensive, elegant gloves from France. But he did a strange thing. He unpacked them and sent only the left gloves to the United States, with a clear indication they were left gloves.

When the 100,000 pieces of left gloves arrived at United States, he did not claim them from the customs and therefore did not pay any import tax. As it was the practice, unclaimed items after some time were auctioned away. No one would bid for only left gloves without the right gloves. So this businessman could buy back his left gloves at a very low price.

The customs officials were alerted. They kept a close track on this businessman. They paid special attention to any future consignment of right gloves. Soon a consignment of 50,000 pairs of gloves arrived. They were normal, with left and right gloves. But the custom officials were careful. They still checked the consignment thoroughly to see if any right gloves were hidden. But they found nothing wrong. The businessman dutifully paid the tax and claimed the gloves.

The businessman sold the expensive, elegant French gloves below normal price. As it was a bargain, many people bought the gloves and the businessman made a fortune.

The customs officials continued to look out for any consignment of right gloves. The police and immigration also helped to ensure that no right gloves were smuggled in. But nothing of that sort happened.

Did the businessman get the right gloves, and if so, how did he get them? I would let you have fun working out the answer, which will be provided later.


Xingyiquan, Hsing Yi Kung fu

Xingyiquan looks simple, but is very profound


The above discussion is reproduced from the thread 10 Questions on the 36 Strategies in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.

HOW TO PLAN A TRAINING SCHEDULE

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/sp-issues/training-schedule.html)

Combat Sequence

Students, expecially at beginners’ level, should include stance-training, including moving in stances, in their daily training schedule

Question
I believe I heard somewhere that you prefer to have a structured, daily schedule. Can you please talk about the importance of having a daily schedule and any tips that may help us successfully implement and stick with our own (especially tips for handling disruptions such as travel or unexpectedly having to work late)?
Chris, USA
Answer
Yes, having a structured daily schedule will help to save much time as well as to get maximum benefits from the practice, both in the practice session itself as well as the general programme of training.

Experience has shown that many students waste a lot of time thinking of what to practice next after they have completed one aspect of their training. Because they lack a clear cut schedule, they often practice haphazardly, spending too much time on what is relatively unimportant, neglecting crucial aspects as well as training redundantly.

For example, many students spend years on practicing kungfu sets, without developing force and practicing combat application, which are the two twin pillars of any kungfu training. Yet, after many years of practicing forms, their forms are not correct because they failed to master the basics like how to co-ordinate their body, feet and hands, and how to move with grace and balance.

Having a structured schedule will overcome these setbacks. But before we attempt to work out our schedule, we must have a clear idea of what the art we are going to practice is, what our aims and objectives of practicing are, and what resources we have to work on. Without such preliminary understanding, many people end up with form demonstration or Kick-Boxing though they originally aimed to practice Shaolin Kungfu or Taijiquan. Some of them, including instructors, have invested so much time and effort in their deviated practice that they even think or argue that form demonstration or Kick-Boxing is Shaolin Kungfu or Taijiquan!

Setting aims and objectives are important when constructing a daily practice schedule. It helps to make your practice very cost-effective. To set aims and objectives wisely, you need to be clear of not just what you wish to achieve but also what the art has to offer. Then you select from within the art the relevant resources for practice that best help you to accomplish your aims and objectives. Arranging this material into some systematic ways for practice makes up your daily practice schedule.

Allot time, say half an hour or an hour, for each training session, and give yourself, say, six months as a package to achieve your objectives. Your daily practice schedule may be the same every day if you have sufficient time in the session to complete the chosen material, or you may vary your daily schedule if you have a lot of material to cover.

Naturally, because of different needs and aspiration as well as developmental stage, different practitioners will have different schedules. Let us take an example of a student who attends regular classes from a Shaolin Wahnam instructor. He aims to have good health and vitality as well as combat efficiency. A good daily schedule is as follows.

Start with about 5 minutes of “Lifting the Sky”. Then spend about 10 minutes on stance training, followed by about 5 to 10 minutes of gentle chi flow. Next, spend about 10 minutes on the Art of Flexibility, alternating with the Art of 100 Kicks on different days, followed by about 5 minutes of chi flow.

Then practice a kungfu set. If he has learnt many sets, he may vary the set on different days. Depending on his needs, aspirations and developmental stage, in his set practice he may focus on correctness of form, fluidity of movements, breath control or explosion of force. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes.

For the next 10 or 15 minutes, he should practice his combat sequences. He may go over all the sequences he has learnt or select those he wishes to consolidate. He will practice them at the level he is at, such as merely going over the routine so that he will be very familiar with them, using steps like continuation and internal changes, or varying them in sparring with an imaginary opponent. He will conclude his training session with 5 or 10 minutes of Standing Meditation where he enjoys inner peace or expands into the Cosmos.

Combat Sequence

If your objective is to prepare yourself for an Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course, you should include combat sequences in your daily schedule

Another student who does not have the advantage of learning from a regional Shaolin Wahnam instructor, may have a very different daily schedule. Suppose he wants to attend my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course, but could not learn kungfu, even only outward forms, from a local teacher. So he has to learn the forms from my books, and familiarize himself with the combat sequences from my webpages.

His main aim is to prepare himself so that he can qualify to attend the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course. He has three main objectives — to be able to perform basic kungfu forms so that he can follow the course, to be familiar with the routine of the 16 combat sequences so that he can focus on developing combat skills instead of wasting time learning the sequence at the course, and to develop some internal force, especially at his arms, so that he can be fit for a lot of sparring. He allots half an hour a day for three months to achieve these objectives.

He should spend the first month focusing on the basics, i.e. the stances and footwork and basic patterns, and the other two months on familiarizing himself with the 16 combat sequences. Force training, including the Art of Flexibility, should be carried out throughout the three months.

He spends about 5 minutes on “Lifting the Sky” which he can learn from my books. He will probably not have any chi flow. For the first two weeks, he focuses only on the stances. He spends about 20 minutes learning how to perform the various stances correctly. At this stage, he needs not, and should not, remain at each stance for any length of time. In other words, this stage is not for zhan-zhuang, or remain at a stance for some time. His task is to be able to perform a stance, for a few seconds, correctly. Within two weeks he should be able to learn the correct positions of the stances quite well. For the remaining 5 minutes, he practices the Art of Flexibility.

For the next two weeks he focuses on moving in stances and performing basic patterns. By now he should be able to move into any stance correctly, though he may not be able to remain at the stance for long. He begins the session with about 5 minutes of “Lifting the Sky”. Then he spends another 5 minutes on performing all the stances correctly. The emphasis is on correct form, and not on remaining at the stance to develop force. Next, he spends about 15 minutes to learn how to move correctly in stances and to perform basic patterns. He should pay careful attention to waist rotation and body weight distribution so that he can move gracefully and without hurting his knees. He concludes the session with the Art of Flexibility. By the end of the month, he should be able to perform basic patterns in proper stances correctly.

For the next two weeks, he focuses on familiarizing himself with the 16 combat sequences as well as developing some internal force. He starts his session with stance training. Now, as the postures of his stances are correct, he focuses on remaining at a stance for as long as he comfortably can. This will take about 5 to 10 minutes. For the remaining 20 minutes, he practices the 16 combat sequences, starting with one and progress to all the others. He needs not worry about force and speed. His concern is to remember the routine of the sequences and perform the patterns correctly.

If he takes three days to learn and practice one combat sequence, he can complete the 16 sequences in 48 days, giving him a few days for general revision. He should learn and practice the sequences progressively, not individually. In other words, by the sixth day, he should be proficient in sequences 1 and 2, and by the ninth day be proficient in sequences 1, 2 and 3, etc.

Hence, if he follows these schedules for three months, he will be well prepared for the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course even though he might not have any kungfu experience before. On the other hand, someone who may have learnt kungfu for many years, where he only learns external kungfu forms, is ill prepared. This is a good example of cost-effectiveness. The smart student knows what he wants and plans his practice accordingly, whereas the mediocre student practices haphazardly without direction.


The above is reproduced from Question and Answer Number 1 of the May 2007 Part 2 issue of the Question-Answer Series.

Please e-mail your questions to Sifu Wong Kiew Kit stating your name, country and this webpage for reference. E-mails without these particulars may not be answered.

CHI KUNG AND ACADEMIC EXCELLENCE

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/discussion/academic-excellence.html)

Alex, Englandstanding meditation Mind training is an essential aspect of genuine chi kung. Here during a review course in Malaysia in December 2004, students entered Zen, where they attained a one-pointed mind, then let their mind expand.


The following discussion is reproduced from the thread Chi Kung and Academic Excellence posted by Alex in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum on 7th January 2005.


Chi Kung and Academic Excellence

I used to be a slacker but now I’m not.

I would aim for the minimum pass mark at University of D (40%) and often I would fail and have to redo the module.

I would look at other students and think, ‘How can you be bothered to go to the library’ and ‘How can you be bothered to send e-mails to companies to get some information?’ Now I’m the one going to two libraries just to find some help for an answer that’s worth 5%. Now I understand why they do it, it’s because they have the desire to.

Now I look at a question and I can see exactly how I can answer it.

Before I may not have understood a question, now not only do I understand it. I see the faults in it.

Sifu says with Chi Kung we can reasonably expect academic excellence. I still have a way to go to be an A student and if I were to start the degree again I wouldn’t be surprised if I did become one.

My role has changed in the class. I find my friends coming to me for help rather than the opposite.

People at University will understand that you have a lot of time between semesters. The summer holiday is around 5 months. This large break means I can clearly see how my Chi Kung in those months has improved myself.

I would leave my work as late as possible and feel very rushed in the last few weeks. This semester was different. I started as early as I could and even came in extra days. I finished the modules early and had lots of spare time at the end. Only certain classes appealed to me previously, now every class is interesting. Even now I’m looking forward to the next semester in February. A friend said to me ?Don’t you think this is semester is really hard?’ I didn’t know what to say.

My desire to learn and educate myself has increased massively. I now read as much as I can, broadly and deeply. I try and learn as much as I can, filling all the gaps in my education. Even these words are written with my touch typing skills I learnt from a website.

A while ago I thought, I’m not getting smarter, I’m just working harder because we have more work and everyone changes. But my friends are still the same. The B students still get Bs and the D students still get Ds.

Without Chi Kung this post would have been unorganised and brought my points across unclearly. I look at my posts on this forum a year ago and I can see the change I’ve made. Now I understand why the instructors and students can write so clearly.

How long have I been practising Chi Kung?

One year.

LOOKING AT DISEASES FROM THE CHINESE MEDICAL PERSPECTIVE

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/sp-issues/chinese-perspective.html)

It may sound ridiculous to many people but according to the chi kung perspective all diseases are caused by energy blockage. Hence, when the blockage is cleared the patient will regain health as a matter of course. High-level chi kung is excellent to generate chi flow to clear blockage.

Question

Further tests and detail examination have failed to identify a correctable cause for my patient’s illness. Sifu’s reply is indeed very much welcome and has restored our hope in helping him.

— Dr Lim, Malaysia

Answer

I have many successful cases of helping patients to recover from diseases where conventional medicine could not identify the cause or site. This in fact is common.

If the cause or site of a disease can be identified, and if a remedy is available, conventional medicine is usually more effective, or at least speedier. But when the cause or site is unknown, chi kung provides an excellent alternative.

You would probably have read my explanation on why chi kung can succeed in overcoming such diseases when conventional medicine may not. Nevertheless, I shall explain it again here.

From the Chinese medical perspective, there is only one disease, called yin-yang disharmony. There may be countless symptoms, and conventional medicine names the disease, or its many manifestations, according to its symptoms.

Chinese medicine also names the various manifestations of the one disease, but the names are given not according to its symptoms but to its cause according to Chinese medical philosophy. Hence, while conventional medicine calls such disease manifestations as high blood pressure and bronchitis, traditional Chinese medicine calls them as “rising yang energy from the liver” and “excessive heat in the lungs”.

This difference of perspective gives traditional Chinese medicine a big edge over conventional medicine. When the cause of a disorder cannot be determined, or when there is no known remedy as in the case of viral infections, conventional medicine is quite helpless. It is not a question of conventional medicine being less effective; it is a situation where conventional medicine becomes a victim of its philosophical limitation.

Basically the therapeutic principle in conventional medicine is to define the disorder according to its cause, then prescribe the appropriate remedy. Such a philosophy works well when the cause is known and where a remedy is available. But when the cause is unknown or where a remedy is unavailable, treatment becomes impossible according to this philosophy.

Such problems become irrelevant in traditional Chinese medical philosophy. This is because traditional Chinese medicine (1) defines a disorder by its cause, and (2) all causes are correctable as their reference points involve the known conditions of the patient’s body. The following example may make this philosophical discussion clearer.

Suppose a patient suffering from what in conventional medicine would be referred to as high blood pressure, consults a traditional Chinese physician. After a thorough diagnosis, the physician concludes that his patient suffers from “rising yang energy from the liver”.

Why does he call the disorder “rising yang energy from the liver”? The answer is straight-forward. He finds yang energy rising from his patient’s liver. Had his finding been different, say excessive dampness in his patient’s stomach or insufficient heat in his patient’s gall bladder, he would define the disorder as “excessive dampness in the stomach” or “insufficient heat in the gall bladder”.

Now, when a disorder is defined as high blood pressure, a conventional doctor only knows the symptoms of the disorder; he has no clue to what the cause is or what a possible remedy can be. Hence, he does his best according to his philosophy and training, which is to relieve the high blood pressure.

High blood pressure is actually not the disorder, it is only the symptom of the disorder. The patient therefore has to take medication for life.

When a disorder is defined as “rising yang energy from the liver”, or “excessive dampness in the stomach” or “insufficient heat in the gall bladder”, a traditional Chinese physician knows exactly what the cause of the disorder is and how to remedy it. If he can lower his patient’s rising yang energy at the liver, or reduce dampness at the patient’s stomach, or increase heat at the patient’s gall bladder”, his patient will recover. The physician can achieve these objectives with the use of herbs, acupuncture, massage, chi kung exercises or other means.

Hence there is no such a thing as an incurable disease in traditional Chinese medical philosophy. One major objective in my writing “The Complete Book of Chinese Medicine” is to convey this philosophy to conventional medical scientists, in the hope that it may help them to overcome their present philosophical limitation.

This point is not generally realized. Most conventional doctors today interested in traditional Chinese medicine, only seek to borrow suitable therapeutic techniques from traditional Chinese medicine, such as what herbs, acupuncture points or chi kung exercises may be useful to overcome what disorders. They do not usually appreciate that major break-throughs in conventional medicine can be made by overcoming their philosophical limitation in viewing disease.

There is, however, a big problem traditional Chinese physicians have to face, that is, their diagnosis must be accurate. If their diagnosis is incorrect, such as mistaking “excessive fire in the liver” to be “rising yang energy from the liver”, their treatment logically would be wrong.

Hence, I believe medicine is more of an art than a science. It is the skill of a doctor or therapist in making right judgment and winning the patient’s confidence that are often more crucial than the knowledge of anatomy and pathology he has.

Chi kung does not even have this one big problem. There is no need for diagnosis in chi kung! This is simply because chi kung works on the most fundamental level, the level of energy flow. Other medical or healing systems work on higher levels.

When we define a disorder as high blood pressure or “rising yang energy from the liver”, for example, we operate at the levels of organs or systems. From the chi kung perspective, whatever factors that cause high blood pressure or “rising yang energy from the liver” are intermediate factors. The ultimate factor or cause of disorder is disrupted energy flow.

In other words, to a conventional doctor or a Chinese physician, his patient may have taken too much alcohol or has been exposed to too much anger. Due to his excessive alcohol or anger, he has high blood pressure or “rising yang energy from the liver”.

To a chi kung master, the excessive alcohol or anger may (or may not) have caused the high blood pressure or “rising yang energy from the liver”. But as a result his energy flow is disrupted.

It actually does not matter if the cause of the patient’s disorder may not be alcohol or anger but something else. It is also not relevant, according to this chi kung perspective, whether the patient has high blood pressure, “rising yang energy from his liver”, “excessive dampness in his stomach”, viral attack in his spleen, certain chemicals lacking in his system, or other pathogenic factors. All these are intermediate causes. The crucial point is that one, some or all of these intermediate causes result in his energy flow being disrupted.

In other words, a chi kung master has only one consideration, that is, whether the energy flow in his patients or students is harmonious. Harmonious energy flow is a Chinese medical jargon. In simple language it means the energy that flows to all the cells, tissues, organs and systems is making all the cells, tissues, organs and systems working the way they are supposed to work.

This energy flow may be interrupted by intermediate factors like excessive alcohol, anger, virus, inadequate chemical supplies, etc and the disruption or blockage may occur at the liver, blood system, a minute cell deep inside the body, or anywhere else. But irrespective of the intermediate causes and sites, once the energy flow is restored to be harmonious, all the cells, tissues, organs and systems will work the way they are supposed to work, which means the person will regain his good health.

How does the energy flow know the blockage is at the liver and not at the stomach, or in one particular cell or not in another? It is a natural characteristic of energy flow, like water flow, to flow from high levels to low levels. Areas of energy blockage are areas of low or no energy levels. If one practices chi kung sufficiently and regularly, energy flow will clear all areas of blockage, starting with the most serious areas (lowest or no energy levels), then the next, and so on.

This takes time, and the energy flow generated must be adequate. This explains that chi kung is not suitable for acute illness, but excellent for chronic disorders where the cause or sites may not be known.

Good health

Practicing chi kung and kungfu generates a lot of chi flow. Hence chi kung and kungfu practitioners exemplify good health.

GRANDMASTER WONG KIEW KIT’S SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS APRIL 2015 PART 3

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/ans15a/apr15-3.html)

Bodhisattva Guan Yin

A beautiful statue of Bodhisattva Guan Yin, a gift to Grandmaster Wong from Gloria of Madrid

Question 1

You said that past masters took years to attain chi flowing at various levels. Why is it that we could achieve this in just a day?

— David, UK

Answer

It is just ridiculous but true that past masters took years to attain chi flowing at various levels, but our students can achieve the same result in just one day! It is understandable of others do not believe what we way, but there is no doubt that all the students present today (9th June 2014) on this Bone Marrow Cleansing Course know this is true.

How do we know it is true? It is like someone asking you how do you know you are now sitting on a chair. In both cases, you know from direct experience. You know you are sitting on a chair because you are sitting on a chair. You know you can direct chi to flow at the levels of your skin, muscles, meridians, organs and bone marrow, because you can clearly feel chi flowing at all these levels.

Now the question. Why did past masters took years to attain these skills whereas you take only just one day? There are a few reasons, like we understand the underlying philosophy of the art, we are generous to teach it, and our methodology is very cost-effective, but the most important reason is that I transmit the skills to you from heart to heart.

An analogy is becoming a millionaire. If you work to become a millionaire, you will take many years to succeed, if you ever will. But if a benefactor transmits the money to you, you become a millionaire immediately. If you train to have chi flowing at five levels, you will need many years to succeed, if you ever will. But if master transmits the skill to you, you have the ability to have chi flow at the five levels immediately.

On the other hand, when past masters as students learned chi kung they had to practice appropriate techniques for many months or a year or two to develop the necessary skills. Normally they were unaware of the skills though they had developed the skills through dedicated practice. With the skills chi first flowed at their skin level. This development was spontaneous.

As they continued their dedicated practice for many more months or another year or two, chi next flowed at their muscle levels. In the same way, after may years chi flowed at the levels of their meridians, organs and bone marrow.

It should also be noted that these students did not learn these advanced techniques of chi flow at various levels at the start of their learning career. It was only after a few years when they had won the trust of their masters that their masters taught them the appropriate technques.

Secondly, not all those who learned the techniques would developed the skills and eventually succeeded in the art. Only a small percentage, probably less than 10%, would succeed and eventually became masters themselves.

Question 2

I remember reading some years back a Taichiquan book that stated whilst practicing you must concentrate on breathing, body weight, points on the body and the self defence aspect.

— Wiliem, Zimbabwe

Answer

It is helpful to know that different advice is applicable to different people or to the same person at different stages of his development.

If you practice on your own without a teacher’s supervision, it is best for you not to worry about breathing, body weight, points on the body, and self-defence aspects. Just practice whatever you can in a relaxed manner without any intellectualization.

It is unbelievable but students at this one-day Bone Marrow Cleansing course can direct chi to flow at different levels of their body

Question 3

I am from a small town in Zimbabwe, have tried some Karate which is not for me and am looking for some simple, practical exercise to do as my work involved sitting by a computer all day. I found a detailed simple 18 form Shibashi Taichi exercise which I am learning at “Everyday Tai Chi” and was wondering if you have some advice on application. I have included the chart.

Answer

“Taiji Shibashi” means “Taiji 18 Forms”. It is a set of chi kung exercises invented by a modern chi kung master from China, Sifu Lin Hou Sheng, in the 20th century. For a time, it was widely practiced n Southeast Asia. One could find Taiji Shibashi groups in most public parks, and any person could just walk in to join a group to practice. Instructors taught without charging fees.

Despite its name “Taiji”, these exercises are not related to Taijiquan or even to Taiji dance. In fact, Sifu Lin Hou Sheng practiced Shaolin wushu before. I guess that the term “Taiji” is used because the exercises are meant to be performed flowingly in a relaxed manner like what Taijiquan should be performed.

As a type of chi kung, Taiji Shibashi works on a physical level to generate energy flow. Students have to performs many forms for a long time, usually about an hour. However, most students perform Taiji Shibashi as gentle physical exercise, and not as chi kung. Like most other chi kung practitioners, they do not realize this fact because they do not know the difference between chi kung and gentle physical exercise.

Taiji Shibashi was not meant to be a martial art. Hence when Sifu Lin Hou Sheng invented the exercises, he did not have self-defence aspects in mind. It is therefore unwise of you to try to find combat application in these exercises where combat application was not there in the first place. You would have done extremely well if you could perform Taiji Shibashi as chi kung, which would then place you at the top 20% of Taiji Shibashi practitioners anywhere in world, even better than most Taiji Shibashi instructors. You would have a chance to achieve this feat if you follow my advice of performing Taiji Shibashi exercises in a relaxed manner without any intellectuzlization.

However, a genuine kungfu practitioner may still be able to use the Taiji Shibashi exercises for self-defence, although these exercises will not be his first choice for the combat purposes. For example, “Rase Arms” in Exercise 1 may be used to release grips on his wrists, “Open Chest” in Exercise 2 may be used to release a body-lock, and “Paint a Rainbow” in Exercise 3 may be used to deflect a shoot from a arestler.

If you want to learn self-defence, you should learn it from a competent teacher. Like most other people, you will probably be surprised that genuine arts of self-defence are rare today. Most martial artists today, including black belts, do not know how to defend themselves. They just hit and kick each other in free sparring. Worse, and usually without their conscious knowing, their training is detrimental to both their physical and emotional health.

Question 4

Next I am contemplating a 36 sword form to compliment my tonfa katas.

Answer

Frankly I believe you would spend your time better by taking your wife out for a walk, or getting a wife if you haven’t one yet.

But if you still want to learn a sword set, perform it in a flowing and relaxed manner. Remember that performing with a sword is different from performing with a tonfa. They have different nature and characteristics..

Taiji Shibashi

Taiji 18 Forms is not a martial art but a master can use any of its patterns for combat

Question 5

I had an experience today I would be gracious for your feedback. I was riding in a car with a friend and her young child. Upon thinking of the child, I saw in my mind a red energy flow linking us together. This energy flow ran from my lower back and to the child. Upon observing the flow, I became aware that I could use this flow to direct energy from me to the child, or draw energy from the child to me. I could also direct blockages to or from the child in the same way. My initial reaction to this awareness was concern over the ability to potentially cause harm, as the last thing I would want to do is harm the child. So I did my best to let go of my focus on the energy flow.

Shortly after, I was driving home by myself several miles from the child and became aware of the energy flow connecting us again. This time, I felt the energy pressing into my lower back as if it wanted to flow into me. I resisted the flow and did my best to let it go (worried that I might be inadvertently taking his chi), but ultimately felt that I should stop resisting it. When I did this, I sensed energy flowing into me and instantly felt sick. I immediately began coughing out bad chi. However, after absorbing the energy the tension in the flow disappeared and it returned to the usual loving, positive feeling I always have toward the child.

During both moments of sensing this energetic connection with the child, I had a sense that the energy flow was a karmic connection. It felt very similar to when I sense chi blockages in myself; emotionally overwhelming and turbulent. I believe that in my becoming aware of this karmic connection, I may have unknowingly drawn bad chi out of the child and into myself as a sort of karmic balancing/cleansing between the two of us. I have felt the blockage in my lower back periodically throughout the rest of my day, and have also coughed out some more bad chi. But overall I feel fine, and the blockage seems significantly diminished after doing chi kung this evening.

— Ryan, USA

Answer

Chi, or energy, is connecting all of us. Everything is connect is not just poetically but factually true, but most people are unaware of it, and their mind power is not strong enough to cause much difference.

However, some rare people with miraculous abilities, like you having practiced high-level chi kung from our school, may see this connection and have influence on it. As I mentioned in my previous reply, you must also use this miraculous ability with great responsibility. We do so due to righteousness.

Even if we leave out righteousness and consider only self-interest, it is also to your self-interest that this miraculous ability must never be abused. Goodness always bring goodness, and evilness always results in evilness, is a universal truth. Many psychics leading miserable lives is clear evidence of this truth.

On the other hand, there are what are called in metaphysical circles as “heaven secrets”. You should not reveal or interfere with these heaven secrets indiscreetly. For example, at your mortal level, you may think that clearing somebody’s blockage is doing a service for him. But at a cosmic level, which most mortals do not realize or understand, this action may be a big disservice.

Then, what about patients seeking treatment from chi kung healers, who help their patients to clear blockage? Can that be doing a disservice to the patients? This is a different issue, and here heaven secrets are not involved. Here, helping patients clear their blockage and restore good health is certainly a blessing.

Here the patients ask for help. It would be different if the patients did not ask for help but the healers impose their healing on them.

What you did in the case of the child, i.e. to let go, was correct. When you feel some bad energy entering you, like in the case of the child, you can direct it to a plant or tree instead of taking it in. What is bad energy to the child or to you, is good energy to the plant or tree. Similarly, when you enter a cave and feel the energy there detrimental to you, the same energy is beneficial to other creatures like bats and insects.

Question 6

I had one other experience similar to this several weeks ago with our family pet dog. I had a sense of “something wrong” with the dog (which was sitting near me as I practiced chi kung), then felt negative chi pushing into me from the dog which in that case I resisted the entire time. I also had a sense that it was a karmic connection between myself and the dog, and that the experience was somehow related to karmic cleansing. I have spent many, many hours with the dog since and have not had any other experiences like this.

Answer

Yes, like in the case of the child above, you have some karmic connection with the dog. And like the child too, if you feel the energy from the dog that enters you is negative, you can direct it away to plants or trees instead of taking the negative enrgy in. This negative energy to you and the doy will be positive energy to plants and trees.

chi connects everything

Chi connects everythiung. The snow in Alaska is connected to the sunny beaches at the Equator

Question 7

Is it possible in rare cases to sense karmic blockages between two beings, and for my chi to cleanse these blockages by momentarily linking my energy flow with them? This is what these experiences have felt like. It was just like when my chi works on blockages in me, except I had another being momentarily as an extension of myself that was also a part of the cleansing.

Answer

Yes, it is possible to sense karmic blockages between tow beings. The connection is there all the time but most people are unaware of it.

When you emphasize on the link of energy between you and another being, you may cleanse blockages or cause them. Healing others by cleansing their blockages, or alternatively hurting them by causing blockages in them, require special skills. As you are not trained in these matters, it is unethical to do so. Even when you are trained as a healer, it is also unethical to impose the healing on a person if he does not ask for it.

Question 8

I have prayed to Gaun Yin on what I should do about these experiences, and the answer was clearly “Let it go” so that’s what I will do However, any input you have on how to best handle these experiences in the future would be most appreciated.

Answer

Praying to and asking advice from Guan Yin Bodhidattva is excellent.

My supplement to Guan Yin Bodhidattva’s advice is described above, and may be summarized as follows.

Heaven secrets are not to be disclosed indiscreetly. What mortals think is a service may be a disserve at a cosmic level. Healing another person by clearing his blockage requires specialized skills, and should be performed only when one is properly trained, and when it is requested by the patient.

SHAOLIN WAHNAM KUNGFU — COMBAT SEQUENCE 6 “DARK DRAGON DRAWS WATER”

(reproduced from http://www.shaolin.org/review/dark.html)

Dark Dragon Draws Water

Dark Dragon Draws Water

Reducing Movements and Increasing Speed

In Combat Sequence 5 all the attacking techniques are the same as in the previous four sequences, namely middle punch, low punch and horn punch. However, the right Bow-Arrow Stance, instead of the left Bow-Arrow Stance, is used in the attacks. This right-leg mode makes a difference.

Besides enjoying some other advantages, being able to use the right-leg mode efficiently enables the combatant to change or continue easily from the previous four combat sequences to other new sequences. Before this, his techniques are limited. Combat Sequence 5 marks the first step whereby he can expand his techniques remarkably.

Combat Application Combat Application
Poise Patterns Fierce Tiger

Before this, he might move into a right-leg mode accidentally, or forced to do so to his disadvantage, often without his conscious knowing. Now he moves into a right-leg mode artfully and purposely, usually to his conscious advantage. Herein lies a crucial difference, and it is one of many points why many students may remain at the same standard after many years of free sparring, whereas you may improve tremendously after a few months of systematic training.

Once you can change artfully and purposely from a left-leg mode to a right-leg mode, and vice versa, even if you do not learn any new techniques, you have expanded your techniques two fold relative to an opponent who, often unconsciously, use only one favoured leg mode.

Combat Application Combat Application
Dark Dragon Big Boss

If you observe exponents of Western Boxing, Karate and Taekwondo spar, for example, you often will notice that they use only either the left-leg mode or the right-leg mode, but seldom both modes equally well. If, for instance, both of you have 25 techniques, now because you can use both modes well and he can’t, you will have 50 techniques whereas he still has 25.

Your advantage does not end here. Not only you can change your leg-mode, you can also change your stances to your best advantage, whereas most other martial artists pay little attention to stances. Moreover, you can change your hand forms, but most others don’t. For example, instead of striking with a level punch, you may change it into a phoenix-eye fist, a willow-leaf palm, a leopard punch or a tiger-claw, but most other martial artists seldom do so. Hence, from your basic 25 techniques, you can have literally hundreds of variations, even without learning new techniques!

Combat Application Combat Application
Enter Well Golden Dragon

But you must not rush into these hundreds of variations. They are mentioned here to remind you of the great variety and potential in store for you when you have mastered your fundamental skills. Now we still have to pay a lot of attention to skill development. If you are not skilful, knowing a lot of techniques is a liability, not an access. This is a main reason why many kungfu and wushu students, despite knowing many techniques, are no match against exponents of Karate, Taekwondo, Kickboxing and Western Boxing

Combat Application Combat Application
Precious Duck Golden Star

Yet, from Combat Sequence 6 onwards, you are going to learn some useful combative techniques. Two attacking techniques are introduced in this sequence — a left hand palm strike in “Dark Dragon Draws Water”, and a top-diagonal palm chop in “Chop the Hua Mountain”.

“Dark Dragon Draws Water” provides a good opportunity for you to practice applying your internal force. Focus your chi at your dan tian, then “sink” down your Bow-Arrow Stance as you channel your force from your dan tian through your left palm into your opponent.

Combat Application Combat Application
Green Dragon Poise Patterns

“Dark Dragon Draws Water” also provides a good opportunity to apply the principle and develop the skill of progression in techniques and speed. At first you use three moves for the attack — tiger-claw, cover elbow, and palm strike. Next, you reduce to two moves — tiger-claw cum cover elbow, and palm strike. Then you perform the same attack in one move — palm strike which includes tiger-claw to cover elbow.

A helpful way to train is to count the moves. At first you count “1 2 3” as you perform the three moves of the attack. After some time of training you count “1 2” for the two moves. Then you just count “1” as you attack. If you train this pattern 50 times a day for six months, you may be able to break the ribs of an average attacker as soon as he moves in to attack with a right punch.

OVERVIEW

Combat Application Combat Application Combat Application
Poise Patterns Fierce Tiger Dark Dragon
Combat Application Combat Application Combat Application
Big Boss Enter Well Golden Dragon
Combat Application Combat Application Combat Application Combat Application
Precious Duck Chop Hua Mountain Green Dragon Poise Patterns

CAN WE LEARN CHI KUNG AND KUNGFU FROM BOOKS, VIDEOS OR AN E-MAIL?

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/general-2/books.html)

chi kung, qigong

Practicing chi kung is not merely performing chi kung form



Can we learn chi kung and kungfu from books, videos or an e-mail? The answer is yes, no, or yes and no. There is no play of words, but it depends on an interplay of the following three factors:

  1. the type of chi kung or kungfu exercise
  2. the book, video or e-mail
  3. the person learning the art or exercise

If the chi kung or kungfu exercise is just a simple form, it can be readily learnt from a book, a video or even an e-mail. This is what most people have in mind when they think of learning chi kung or kungfu from books or videos.

Interestingly, they do not realize that even when they have learnt these chi kung or kungfu techniques correctly, they have not learnt chi kung or kungfu! For example, they may have learnt the techniques of the “Eighteen Lohan Hands” correctly, but they may still not have good health, which is an inevitable benefit of chi kung. They may have learnt the patterns of a kungfu set correctly, but they may still be unable to use these patterns for combat.

More than 80% of chi kung and kungfu (including Taijiquan) practitioners fall under this category, and most of them do not realize it. Some vehemently, and to them righteously, insist that what they practice is chi kung or kungfu.

All chi kung and kungfu techniques involve skills, though many people may overlook these skills. One may perform the outward form of “Lifting the Sky” correctly, but if he is tensed or intellectualizing, he is not performing it as chi kung. One may perform a kungfu technique beautifully and even theoretically know its application, but if he does not have good spacing and good timing, he would not be able to apply if for combat.

When an exercise involves some specific skills, it is difficult, if not impossible, to learn it from books, videos or an e-mail. For example, in Abdominal Breathing, one needs to breathe energy (not just air) into and out of the abdomen. In One-Finger Shooting Zen, one has to channel energy to his index finger. These skills need to be learnt from and practiced under the supervision of a competent teacher.

The second factor is the book, video or e-mail involved. Obviously, if the instructional medium presents its material clearly and systematically, it is easy for a practitioner to learn it, unless the techniques are complicating or they involve specific skills. But if the instructional medium is concise or arcane, as most chi kung and kungfu classics are, it is difficult, if not impossible, even for seasoned practitioners to learn from it.

Shaolin Kungfu

You may learn kungfu form from books or videos but you may be unable to apply it for combat

Following Dr Damian’s famous rule of three, we may classify instructional media into three categories:

  1. Teaching Manuals
  2. Review Material
  3. Records for Posterity

Please bear in mind that the classification is for convenience; there is often much overlapping.

The videos in my websites showing kungfu sets and combat sequences for students to learn before they attend respective courses are good examples of teaching manuals. Our students would have no difficulty learning them as they have the required skills.

Other people outside Shaolin Wahnam will also be able to learn these sets and sequences if they want to. But, unless they are already masters, they will not be able to attain a similar level as that of our students. It is because not only they are unlikely to appreciate the functional beauty of the sets and sequences as our student do, they also lack skills like energy flow and heightened state of mind that are characteristics of high-level kungfu.

Videos shown after some particular courses, like the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course and the Flower Set Course, are good examples of review material. Those who have attended the courses, will find the review material very useful.

Some of the review material, especially videos showing early lessons of the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course and Intensive Taijiquan Courses, can also be used as teaching manuals, including by people outside our school. If people can learn from the review videos, does it follow that they do not need to attend the courses?

No, it is not so. If they can learn from the videos or other teaching media, they will have more benefit from their kungfu training. But this benefit is nothing compared to the benefit they would get had they attended the courses. Even leaving aside a lot of material covering close secrets not shown to the public, but focusing only on public videos, other people only learn the form (including the form of combat application), but course participants not only learn but actually practice the skills, application and philosophy. You would have a better idea of the comparison if you consider that despite literally a sea of public material on kungfu application on the internet, most kungfu practitioners today cannot use their kungfu techniques in combat.

Books, videos and other media that are meant to be records for posterity are not suitable material for self-taught training, unless the practitioner is already a master. What many students do not realize is that many chi kung and kungfu classics belong to this category.

Let us take the often-mentioned classic, “Shaolin Seventy Two Arts”, as an example. The first art from my copy (in Chinese, reproduced from the Shaolin Temple) is known as “Art of Six-Word Stance”. I translate the instructions as follows:

  • What are the six words? They are ho, shi, fu, si, chu, hi. Everyday at mid-night and noon, sit in meditation, gently bite teeth and swallow saliva. Say these six words. This can erase illness of the five organs. Strengthen inner membrance. Necessary to say gently. Also necessary to complete in one breath. Results are marvellous.

The instructions are accompanied with a poem, translated literally as follows:

  • Green shu brightens eyes wood the liver
    Summer sun ho heart fire spontaneously lights
    Ho si stabilize and keep gold nourish lungs
    Winter chu water abundance organs at peace
    Triple-warmer long organ hi removes heat
    Four seasons fu spleen nurtures above
    Should not be audible to two ears
    Its benefit superior to nourishing spirit elixir

Please note that the spellings of the sounds are in Cantonese pronunciation, which is closer than Mandarin to Chinese spoken in the past. Even if the sounds are pronounced correctly, which is unlikely, there is the question of tone, which baffles most Westerners.

Hence, learning the “Art of Six-Word Stance” from books is out of the question. On the other hand, unless one has received direct oral transmission from a competent teacher on this ancient art, he should not teach it to others. Worse, bogus masters who have not learnt this art correctly may try to impress others by citing the relationship between these sounds with colours, seasons and internal organs, without actually knowing what it means.

Small Universe

Specific skills, like activating a small universal chi flow, need to be learnt personally from a master

You can also find some records for posterity in my website, such as the list of 72 Shaolin Chin-Na Techniques at http://www.shaolin.org/shaolin/chin-na.html and the poetic couplet of the Flower Set at http://wongkiewkit.com/forum/showthread.php?t=9496&page=10 , which is reproduced below:

  • Blossoming like plum flowers in full gear
    Swift wind rain storm clouds forming here

The third factor in the interplay deciding whether one can learn chi kung and kungfu from books, videos, e-mails and other media is the practitioner himself. Again using Dr Damian’s rule of three, we may conveniently classify practitioners into three categories:

  • Beginners
  • Intermediate Practitioners
  • Advanced Practitioners

It is difficult, if not impossible, for beginners to learn chi kung or kungfu from books, videos and other media. They may, with some effort, learn chi kung or kungfu external forms, but not the real art. In other words, they may know the techniques, and sometimes even perform them beautifully, but they would not obtain the benefits these arts or exercises are meant to give. Even students learning from live instructors miss the essence of chi kung and kungfu, what more will be those who learn from books or videos.

Intermediate students should have no problem learning chi kung or kungfu exercises of basic to intermediate levels from books, videos and other media, but they may have some difficulty learning high-level chi kung or kungfu that require special skills. For example, students in our school can learn most chi kung exercises from books or the internet, and probably perform them better than practitioners of the respective schools themselves.

Other people may think we are boastful making such a statement, but it is true. This is because most other practitioners practice these techniques as gentle physical exercise, but our students practice them as chi kung. Similarly, our students can learn kungfu sets from books or other media, and can apply at least some of the kungfu patterns in these sets for combat, whereas other practitioners who attend regular class may perform the external forms of the sets more beautifully than our students do, but they cannot apply them for combat.

However, if the chi kung exercises or kungfu sets require specific skills, our students may not be able to perform them well, though they may easily learn their outward form. An example in chi kung is the “Eighteen-Lohan Art”. If our students want to use the “Eighteen-Lohan Art” just to generate an energy flow, which is practicing chi kung at the basic level, they can readily learn it from books, videos or other media. But if they want to use the “Eighteen-Lohan Art” to develop internal force or to explode force in various ways, they will have to learn it from a competent teacher.

An example in kungfu is “San Zhan” or “Three Battles” of Wuzu Kungfu. If our students or other people want to learn the external form of the set, they can readily do so from books or videos. But if they want to use the set to develop internal force, or to appreciate the profound secrets hidden in its stark simplicity, they will have to learn it from a competent teacher.

Advanced practitioners, like our instructors, would not have such problems. If the secrets are revealed to them, they would be able to apply the secrets to the chi kung or kungfu exercises which they learn from books, videos or other media, to derive the desired benefits. This was why secrets were greatly sought after and highly valued by masters in the past. Once they knew the secrets, they could practice on their own to derive the desired results.

This also explains why our instructors can much help our students in their selective sets, even when the instructors themselves might not have previously learnt the sets. Because of the instructors’ scope and depth in understanding and practicing chi kung or kungfu, they are able to view the sets in ways their students are unable to.

Does this mean that advanced practitioners do not need to attend special courses? No, by attending special courses, not only they will obtain the results faster but the results are also better. Indeed, the more advanced they are, the more benefits they will get from the courses.

The flow method

From books or videos, one may learn the form, but not the skill in generating internal force

28th May 2011, Sungai Petani.