(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/ans15a/may15-1.html)
Sigung has attracted thousands of people around the world to build Shaolin Wahnam into one of the most successful and biggest martial arts school today. I believe this is in part due to Sigung’s tremendous internal force, sincerity and charisma.
Charisma is a great asset to have in order to advance oneself professionally in the business world, and I believe the underlying factor is having a lot of energy.
Could Sigung kindly share some techniques to increase one’s personal charisma using internal force or chi?
— Stephen Chang, USA
Thank you for your kind works.
Yes, internal force, sincerity and charisma are important factors for the success of our school. There are also other important factors, two of which are the wonderful benefits of our arts, and our dedication in preserving them.
Although they are not the same, internal force, sincerity and charisma are related. A person may have internal force and sincerity but not charisma. On the other hand, having internal force and sincerity strengthens a person’s charisma.
The following aspects increase one’s charisma:
- Good health and vitality.
- Confident posture.
- Assuring voice.
- Benefit and interest.
Good health and vitality are necessary to be charismatic to people. No people will find a person charming if he is sick or feeble. A charismatic person must poise himself confidently to his listeners. His voice should also be assuring. A person who mumbles or whose voice is hard to be heard is never charismatic. What a charismatic person says is beneficial and interesting to his audience. His body expression and voice should convey sincerity.
All these five aspects are the direct and indirect results of developing internal force. Internal force directly gives a person health and vitality, confident posture and an assuring voice. Health is a direct result of harmonious chi flow, vitality a direct result of vigorous chi flow, confidence a direct result of chi strengthening the gall bladder, and good posture a direct result of chi strengthening bones. All these are the direct results of increasing internal force.
It is worthy of note that these attainments are intrinsic. In other words due to the increase of internal force, these attainments naturally happen. There is no need for practitioners to worry about how to have good health when their chi flow is harmonious, etc. Good health naturally occurs when chi flow becomes harmonious. These worries or questions are academic, i.e. they occur to people who have no internal force. Those who have internal force will experience these intrinsic results.
In the same way there is no need for people to worry about how to increase their purchasing power when their cash flow increases. Due to the increase of their cash flow, their purchasing power will naturally increase. Asking how an increase of cash flow will increase purchasing power is an academic question, i.e. it occurs to people who have no increase of cash flow. Those who have an increase of cash flow will experience the intrinsic result of an increase of purchasing power.
The fourth aspect, making his interaction with others beneficial and interesting to them, has to be learned, and having internal force gives him the mental clarity to accomplish the learning task more efficiently.
Which one of the following three statements is most beneficial and interesting to your audience?
- I wish to start a chi kung class.
- I shall teach genuine chi kung which is rare today.
- Practicing genuine chi kung gives you good health and vitality.
Those with little mental clarity will have to learn, sometimes the hard way, that the third statement is the most beneficial and interesting to their audience. With mental clarity you will learn it quickly.
Sincerity, the fifth aspect, is also much enhanced by internal force, though some people with some internal force may be insincere, especially when they lack moral cultivation. When your bones are strengthened by chi as an indirect result of developing internal force, you will not only have good posture but also be sincere.
If a chi kung teacher tells his students that practicing genuine chi kung will give them good health and vitality, but he is actually more interested in starting a class, he will be less charismatic than another teacher who is sincere in helping his students attain good health and vitality.
Our school is very special, probably unprecedented in the whole history of chi kung and kungfu, in the extensive range of techniques to develop internal force. We are also probably unprecedented in cost-effectiveness. You can choose any one or more of the following techniques, but more important than the techniques are the skills involved.
- Lifting the Sky
- Pushing Mountain
- Reverse Hanging of Double Hooks
- One-finger Shooting Zen
- Three-Circle Stance
- Golden Bridge
- Lifting Water
- Grasping Sparrow’s Tail
- Triple Stretch
- Iron Wire
Internal force will provide you with the essence, or foundation, which is most important.
You may also apply the following specific techniques:
- Stand upright and be relaxed.
- Face your audience at a comfortable spacing.
- Talk to your audience, not to a wall, pillar or floor.
- Let your voice come out from your dan tian, but do not strain your vocal cords.
- Believe in what you say.
I had a couple of days when I was completely charged with chi and I just ‘knew’ that practicing chi kung could make me healthy, and that kung fu could overpower any other martial arts, and streetfighters.. I felt no aches and pains in my body, no tiredness, no stress, which is not typical for me, and instead I felt blissfully happy and had the sensation that anything is possible.
I also had a couple of combat experiences where I simply allowed myself to relax and flow. On one occasion I subdued two opponents using moves I had never actually learned.
When I have had the experience, it felt like this mental, physical and energetic state would last forever, but it never did. I tried to repeat whatever I was doing when it happened in the hope of reviving the experience. For example: when it happened on courses with you, I tried to do more courses. Sometimes it happened when I had been training things like stances intensively, so I practiced more and more stances to try and repeat the experience, but without success. Sometimes it was the opposite, and happened during a period when I only trained lightl, so I tried to keep training lightly to revive the experience, but again without success.
Sifu, I feel as if I have had these glimpses of something marvelous. Is there a way to keep my practice at a level where I will experience this all the time? Do I need to train more, train less or rain differently, or should I treat these as glimpses provided by heaven to remind me to keep training normally until one day I reach the level where I have this fantastic physical, mental and energetic state all the time?
— Paul, Ireland
Your experiences are not uncommon with some of our students.
The best approach is to follow the three golden rules of practice as follows:
- Don’t worry.
- Don’t intellectualize.
- Enjoy your practice.
This means you should not worry whether these experiences will happen again to you or how you can make them happen again.
You don’t intellectualize why they happen or don’t happen, and what must you do to make them happen.
Just practice, and enjoy your practice. You can practice in whatever ways you like. You don’t worry about or intellectualized on how you should practice. Just practice and enjoy it.
You also don’t worry about or intellectualize on whether it is heaven’s reminder for you to train. Irrespective of whether it is heaven’s intention, you train and enjoy your training. If you follow the training you have learned from me, you will certainly be a good martial artists, including be able to handle our martial artists in sparring or fighting. More importantly, you will be happy and healthy
I am training Xingyiquan as my main training. Also our core from our Shaolin Kungfu, mainly footwork and our core sequences.
I have a problem with the Santi Stance. In Santi Stance, with the right arm outstretched, force automatically flows up to the right side of my hand and base of the middle, ring finger and pink fingers. This hurts very badly.
It also makes me aggravated, so that I have a hard time relaxing. Usually I need to stop and step out of the stance, or I’ll ruin my practice session altogether.
In Santi Stance in the left arm, the force is at the palm, and everything is in harmony. I can either expand or let it flow or both. My arm is also fully stretched and my stance is good.
— Tim, Belgium
This is not usual. Probably you did something wrong, or there was already something wrong inside you, and the strong chi flow is clearing out the blockage.
But whatever it is, you need not worry. Just follow the three golden rules of practice of not worrying, not intellectualizing and of enjoying your practice.
This is one of the best advantages in our school, which is not available in other schools, and which causes some people, especially Chinese, afraid to train internal arts.
In other schools, if something goes wrong and practitioners do not know what it is, or do not know hoe to remedy the problem, they may be in big trouble, especially if the force training is powerful.
This is also the reason why many Chinese dare not train internal arts. They are afraid of deviation, which is given a frightening name in the Chinese language, namely â€œchow fo yap moreâ€, or â€œescaping of fire and entering of monsterâ€.
But this is not a problem in our school! It is almost ridiculous, but true. Deviation is not a problem because of our chi flow. Our chi flow will wash away any deviation unwittingly caused, and still give our students a bonus. Because of our cost-effectiveness, the bonus is quite substantial. Students of other schools do not have this great advantage of chi flow.
With my problem in the right arm, it get’s better if I don’t make my arm fully stretched. This way I can have more control.
Sifu, is that okay? I have a mental blockage wanting to do everything right from the start, but it’s so powerful sometimes that I get aggravated. I actually still feel good afterwards, but hot tempered.
Yes, it is okay. You don’t have to worry and don’t have to intellectualize. Just enjoy your practice.
You can easily clear your mental blockage. You don’t have to do everything right from the start. Our training is so powerful and cost-effective that even if you attain only 30% of the potential, you still have good results. If you attain 100%, it would be over-training. As I have said, it is ridiculous but true.
Mistakes here which result in you having only 30% of the potential benefit are due to carelessness or forgetfulness. It is not purposefully going against instructions, which of course is foolish.
I am practicing my Kungfu now every day from now on, especially combat sequences. I focused some time on just Chi Kung, but got cleansing symptoms, rashes, that didn’t go away. I foolishly though to postpone Kungfu untill everything got cleared but the cleansing just kept coming. Even when working or doing activities the cleansing stayed.
Now that I practice sequences much more, the rashes actually went away in just a couple of days! I can’t believe how foolish I was. Sifu told us all this time, and still I was so foolish to keep on doing only light chi kung.
Chi kung students are advised to practice for only 10 to 15 minutes per session, whereas kungfu students may practice for an hour although the chi kung exercises in kungfu are more powerful.
This is because of the dynamic nature of kungfu training, like in set practice and combat sequences. These mobile aspects of kungfu training spread the force developed in static training, like in zhan zhuang. Unless he has progressed gradually, if a person were to practice just zhan zhaung for 15 minutes, it would be over-training.
Sifu, my main point of focus is still our basics, our core sequences and footwork, and Xingyiquan, but I’m very curious what would be the best for me to specialize in, of the material I have learned so far.
I like Xingyiquan a lot, and also the Drunken Eight Immortals and the Triple Stretch. But I also like Baguazhang very much. I would like to train Baguazhang at times together with the Wudang Sword. All these styles and sets I would like to become good at.
Sifu could I ask what would be best for me to specialize in?
The basics are very important. When you are good at your basics, you can specialize in any of our arts. Again we are unprecedented. No schools in the whole history of kungfu and chi kung provide such a wide range of arts for specialization as we do.
You can choose to specialize in Xingyiquan, Drunken Eight Immortals or Triple Stretch. Personally I feel that Drunken Eight Immortals would be your best choice for specialization. You can practice Xingyiquan and Triple Stretch as supplementary arts, and the other arts like Baguazhang for fun.
This does not mean that the other arts have not been useful. They give your breadth and depth. As I mentioned in one of the courses on our selective arts, even if a student in our school were to attend just a course on a selective kungfu style, and then totally forget about it, that kungfu style will still tremendously enhance whatever other styles he chooses to practice or specialize in.
What would be the most cost effective force training method for me? I learned the 18 Lohan Arts, our core stances, the Triple Stretch Set, Santi Stance, and the Iron Wire which I learned from two of my sihengs.
It is simply amazing that we have a very extensive range of internal force training methods, ranging from the very soft Yang Style Taijiquan to the very hard Iron Wire. This is unprecedented in kungfu history. Most schools have only one or two force training methods.
They are not just ordinary force training methods. All the force training methods we have are legacies from great masters.like:
- Sinew Metamorphosis of Bodhidharma,
- Flowing force of Bai Yi Feng (the founder of Wuzuquan),
- Crushing force of Yue Fei (found in Xingyiquan),
- Eighteen-Lohan Art of Northern Shaolin,
- One-Finger Shooting Zen of Southern Shaolin,
- Exploding force of Zhang San Feng,
- Double Worshipping of the Buddha of Ng Mui,
- Triple stretch of Hoong Hei Khoon
- Iron Wire of Thiet Kiew Sam
On top of this, we believe we have followed the training methods correctly. How do we know? We may not know for sure whether the way we train is exactly the way the past masters trained, although the methods are the same, but we know the results are the same, or at lease similar, even though we may not be at their levels. Most importantly, the internal force derived from training these methods gives us good health, vitality, longevity, mental clarity, peak performance and spiritual joys.
You can choose any one of the methods you have learned as the main method, and other methods as secondary. If you intend to specialize in Drunken Eight Immortals, an excellent choice is the flowing force of Wuzuquan. If you have not practiced Wuzuquan, you can substitute with the flowing force of Taijiquan. If you have not practiced Taijiquan too, you can use One-Finger Shooting Zen.
Suppose you are not familiar with One-Finger Shooting Zen. You can then choose an exercise from Sinew Metamorphosis or Eighteen-Lohan Art. Even if you had made what to other students of other schools the worse choice, Iron Wire, your result will still be many times better than other students making their best choice, which often is their only choice.
Other people, as I have often mentioned, may think I am arrogant for making these statements, and that is their business, but I am stating the truth which any member of our Shaolin Wahnam Family can readily verify from his own experience. How many other kungfu students, for example, have your internal force that enables you to enjoy your work and play wholesomely? Indeed, and it is actually sad, most other students would be lucky if they do not suffer silently in pain and anguish from their deviated training and perverted views.
Why is it that even if you had chosen the worst method (to most people in general) in your training, you still have better result than other people who have chosen the best method? It is important to note that “worst” and “best” here are relative.
In this case, using the Iron Wire method to develop internal force for application in Drunken Eight Immortals is a worst method to most other people, but it is still a very good method for us. On the other hand, without meaning to be vain, the “best” methods used by other people are bad methods to us!
Why is this so? Why the “worst” method is still a very good method to us, and why other students’ “best” method are bad?
A “worst” method can still be a very good method to us because of the magic of chi flow. We can readily employ chi flow to convert the consolidated force in Iron Wire training to flowing force in Drunken Eight Immortals application. Most other people can’t do this. The consolidated force they have will be a deterrent in their Drunken Eight Immortals application.
The “best’ method of other students are bad because it brings adverse effects. Even when it works correctly for a small percentage of these students, it takes them a long time to develop some internal force. How many students, for example, have internal force? Many of them have internal injury instead.
One suggestion is to practice your main training method on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On the other days, practice the other force training methods you have learned on rotation. You can have other arrangement if you like. As long as you train, you will have wonderful benefits.
But don’t over-train. Indeed, a common advice in our school nowadays is not to train more, but to train less. Our training is to enrich our life, not to enslave us. Use the extra time as well as mental clarity and enrgy to get yourself a good wife.
May I also ask how I could include in the best way the Small Universe and Big Universe in my training please?
My chi flow usually ends or slows down with Big Universe flowing spontaneously. I was wondering how to include the practice without overtraining. I’ve heard some say it is best to practice the Small Universe every day, and others say it is too powerful to practice it every day.
The Small Universe and the Big Universe are real treasures, more valuable than gold. The Small Universe will enable you to live beyond a hundred years. The Big Universe will enable you to realize that you never die!
All people never die but most people do not realize this cosmic truth. Our body may change and decay, but our spirit, our real self, lives forever until we return to transcendental Cosmic Reality, called by different names by different peoples.
Most other people may think I talk non-sense. It needs some cosmic wisdom to understand what I say. You and all other members of our Shaolin Wahnam Family understand the truth of my statements. The Big Universe enables us to directly experience, not just read about, our spirit expanding beyond our physical body.
Both statements that the Small Universe should be practiced everyday and that it is too powerful to be practiced everyday, are true. It depends on various factors like the development stage of the practitioner, his needs, his aspirations and sometimes his whims and fancies.
For you and all other students and instructors in our school, it is not necessary to practice the Small Universe everyday, though you can do so if you want to.
It is not necessary because we have so many other arts that give us wonderful benefits. Although the other arts may not have the specific benefit of enabling practitioners to live beyond a hundred years, most of our Family members have not reached 60. When they reach 60 they can reconsider their training schedule.
“Not necessary” does not mean “not beneficial”or “not desirable” . It is not necessary to earn a million euros to live happily, but it is beneficial and desirable to earn a million euros. Obe notable benefit which many students have reported to me, and which is not mentioned in chi kung classics, is that practicing the Small Universe brings good luck in both their personal and professional life. This should be no surprise to us, as the Small Universe is excellent in ensuring a good circulation of energy, and a “good circulation of energy” is “hou yun qi” in Chinese, which means having good luck.
Practicing he Small Universe the way we do may be too powerful to some other people. But for those in our Family who have been invited to learn this art, it is not too powerful even when they practice daily.
A good procedure when you practice various arts is to practice the Small Universe at the end of your training session. Even if you do not practice the Small Universe formally, it is often that your energy will flow in a small universal pathway when you have completed other exercises. The small universal chi flow at normal times without special practice is a clear indication of radiant health and vitality, and promising longevity. If you energy flow takes the big universal pathway, it is even better.