(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/ans15b/jul15-1.html)
Chi kung works on energy resulting in good health, vitality and longevity, whereas gentle physical exercise only works on the physical body, like loosening joins and muscles
I’m writing to ask about the combination of Chi Kung practice and recreation in China.
On your site I’ve seen information about certified instructors and heelers in different countries, but there’s nothing mentioned about China.
— Svetlana. Russia
I am sorry I would be unable to give a satisfactory answer on the combination of chi kung practice and recreation in China for the following reasons.
Our view of chi kung is quite different from that of most chi kung practitioners in China. We consider what they practice as gentle physical exercise, and not chi kung. Chi kung is an art of energy, but what most practitioners today in China do is to work on their physical body, like loosening joints and muscles, and not on their energy.
As an analogy, which may give a clearer picture, what most Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) practitioners today practice is external Taijiquan movements and not Taijiquan. Taijiquan is an internal martial art, but there is nothing internal, and nothing martial in what most Taijiquan practitioners today practice.
In both chi kung and Taijiquan, the forms used by most other practitioners and by us in our school, Shaolin Wahnam, are the same. The difference lies in how we practice the same forms. Most chi kung practitioners in China practice the chi kung forms as gentle physical exercise; we practice the same forms as an art of energy. Most other Taijiquan practitioners all over the world practice the Taijiquan forms as external movements; we practice the same Taijiquan forms as an internal martial art.
This is our view. You should also get the views of those whom we consider practice chi kung as gentle physical exercise, or Taijiquan as external movements.
Nevertheless, there are masters in China who practice chi kung as an art of energy, and there are masters in the world, including in China, who practice Taijiquan as an internal martial art. But they are few and rare, and may not be interested in teaching their arts.
On the other hand, I am competent to give a satisfactory answer on the combination of chi kung practice and recreation in our school. While there are many other benefits, like good health, vitality, longevity and peak performance, we take our chi kung practice as recreation, and not as endurance as many other chi kung practitioners may regard their practice. If you learn from us, you will soon discover that the three golden rules of practice in our school are (1) not to worry, (2) not to intellectualize while practicing, and (3) enjoy your practice.
This difference between recreation and endurance is more noticeable in the various styles of kungfu practiced in our school. In most other schools, kungfu training is characterized by endurance, epitomized by the term “ku lian”, which means “bitter training”. In our school the key word even in kungfu training is “enjoy yourselves”. It is almost a joke.
Chi kung, but not gentle physical exercise, is excellent for therapy. Many of our students overcame their so-called incurable diseases, like cancer, heart problems, diabetes, chronic pain, depression and addiction, by practicing chi kung learnt from us. Those who are already healthy prevent these so-called incurable diseases from happening, and are daily full of joy and vitality.
Please take note that “therapy” here means healing yourself, not healing others. In other words, our chi kung practice enables our students to heal themselves if they are sick, and remain healthy if they have no illness. If they want to be a chi kung healer to heal others, they must first become a good chi kung student, then be selected to attend special courses on chi kung healing.
My website contains information about activities, including certified instructors and healers, in various countries but not in China, because it describes activities as they are, and we have not expanded to China. If people in China believe that they can benefit from our activities, we shall gladly expand there. It is worthy of note that the expansion of our activities worldwide is spontaneous, initiated by dedicated people in the countries themselves.
I would like to combine recreation, therapy, relaxation with Chi Kung practice. Is it possible to do in one of your health cultivation centres. I have recently come across the book by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit, “The Art of Chi Kung”, and I’ve realized that it’s exactly what I need.
If you like to combine recreation, therapy, relaxation with chi kung practice, I would recommend that you attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course. You may also be amazed at the many other benefits that you may not even dream about. Please see my website for details, and apply to my secretary for registration.
Thank you for the kind words about my book. Many people have kindly told me that it is the best book they have read on chi kung.
Kungfu is for fighting — using kungfu techniques, not kick-boxing or techniques of other martial systems
I want to learn kungfu.
— Ali, Pakistan
Many people want to learn kungfu, but end up learning kungfu forms or kick-boxing instead. Learning kungfu fomrs or kick-boxing is fine, but it is different from learning kungfu.
Before you learn kungfu, or any art, it is wise to know what that art is. This may sound trite or unnecessary, but it will not only save you a lot of time but also prevent you from much injury.
For convenience we may classify kungfu into three types: ordinary kungfu, good kungfu, and great kungfu.
Ordinary kungfu is for self-defence. There are also other arts of self-defence, like kick-boxing, karate and taekwondo. The main difference is their forms. Kick-boxing uses kick-boxing forms, karate uses karate forms, taekwondo uses taekwondo forms, and kungfu uses kungfu forms.
There are different styles of kungfu, like Shaolin, Taijiquan, Praying Mantis and Baguzzhang. Praying Mantis kungfu forms can be very different from Baguazhang kungfu forms.
About 90% of those who say they practice kungfu only perform kungfu forms. Strictly speaking they do not practice genuine kungfu because they cannot apply their kungfu forms for fighting. Many of them may not admit this fact. Some may not even realize it.
Of those who practice only kungfu forms and cannot use their kungfu forms for fighting, 70% of them perform their kungfu forms for demonstration. Past masters referred to such demonstrative kungfu forms as â€œflowery fists embroidery kicksâ€. 30% of them use kick-boxing or other martial techniques, but not kungfu, for fighting.
I would like to clarify that personally I have nothing against them. What and how they choose to practice is their right and business. Actually many of those who practice â€œflowery fists and embroidery kicksâ€ are very nice people â€“ the type of people I would like to have tea with, though I disagree with their concept and practice of kungfu.
So, kungfu is quite rare. Kungfu is for fighting. But the great majority of those who say they practice kungfu, cannot use their kungfu for fighting, though some of them are good fighters using kick-boxing or other martial techniques.
For every 100 persons who say they practice kungfu, only about 10 can use their kungfu for fighting. In our classification, we call this ordinary kungfu.
But kungfu is not just for fighting, though combat efficiency is its most basic requirement. Good kungfu contributes to health, vitality and longevity. While the percentage of those who practice genuine kungfu is low, only about 10%, amongst those who practice genuine kungfu, the percentage of good kungfu is high, about 70%. So about 7 out of the 10 practitioners of genuine kungfu have good health. They also have high moral values.
Amongst those who practice â€œflowery fists embroidery kicksâ€, the percentage of good health is also very high, about 90%, or about 63 of 70 practitioners. But they cannot be said to practice good kungfu, not even ordinary kungfu, because they cannot use their kungfu for combat.
Why is the percentage of good health amongst â€œflowery fists embroidery kicksâ€ practitioners, 90%, higher than that of genuine kungfu practitioners, 70%? It is because genuine kungfu practitioners engage in combat where they may tense their muscles to generate mechanical strength. Those who practice kungfu forms but use kick-boxing or other martial techniques for combat do not have good health because they sustain a lot of injury which is routinely left unattended to.
Great kungfu, which is not only for combat and good health but also for spiritual cultivation, is very rare. Only 1% of those who say they practice kungfu may have a chance to practice great kungfu.
Please take note that spiritual cultivation is different from moral cultivation, though they are closely related. A morally cultivated person is kind and considerate, but he may or may not believe in his own spirit. He may think that he is only a physical body. Spiritual cultivation is the cultivation of the spirit. A spiritually cultivated person is relaxed, peaceful and happy, and at high levels may have glimpses of Cosmic Realty.
Please also take note that spiritual cultivation is non-religious. Any person of any religion or without any professed religion can cultivate spiritually. Spiritual cultivation will enable a religious person to be a better follower of his own religion because it makes his religions teaching come alive.
To sum up, kungfu is rare. Most people practice only kungfu forms, and use kick-boxing or other martial techniques when they have to fight. Genuine kungfu may be ordinary, good or great. Ordinary kungfu is for fighting. Good kungfu is for fighting and good health. Great kungfu is for fighting, good health and spiritual cultivation.
It is a golden opportunity to be able to practice great kungfu. But because kungfu today is so debased, the public generally does not have a good impression of kungfu practitioners. They think of them as rough and aggressive. In fact it is the resvers. A genuine kungfu practitioner is gentle and considerate to others, relaxed and happy to himself.
I often feel more powerful after training a Small Universe session rather than an Iron Wire session.
— Steven, USA
If all other things were equal, Iron Wire will produce more internal force than Small Universe. On the other hand, Small Universe will give better health benefits than Iron Wire. This is relative. Iron Wire, when practiced correct, also gives very good benefits for health. Small Universe also produces internal force.
But many people practice Iron Wire wrongly. They perform it as isometric exercise which also produces much strength. But it produces big muscles which are detrimental to health.
For you other things are not equal. You have learned both Iron Wire and Small Universe, and can perform them well. More significantly, you gain the benefit of breadth and depth, which enhance both your Iron Wire and Small Universe as well as all other arts. Hence, different from the norm, your Small Universe generate more internal force for you than Iron Wire.
There may be various reasons which we donâ€™t need to worry about, but will discuss here for intellectual pleasure. A likely reason is that having learnt Iron Wire, you know how to develop internal force using the force method. When you practice Small Universe, your flow method enhance the internal force earlier created by your force method, making you more powerful than had you employed only the force method.
A Small Universe Course in Penang
Can Small Universe be used as the sole method for training internal force? If so, is the internal force generated from Small Universe classified as flowing force?
Yes, you can use only the Small Universe to generate internal force. But because you also know other methods, it is wise to use the other methods too, even once a while.
Yes, the internal force generated from Small Universe is classified as flowing force. Because of our benefit in breadth and depth, we can convert the flowing force into consolidated force, and vice versa, if we like.
You need not worry whether which method will give you the optimum benefit, because even if, without your knowing, you have chosen a relatively less effective method, you will still produce a lot of internal force and other benefits.
As an analogy, if a man uses method A he earns 4 million dollars a month, but he uses method B he earns only 3 million dollars a month, which is by proportion considerably less. But he needs not worry and makes himself stressful which method to use. Even if he earns only a million dollars a month using any method and performs below par, he still has more money than his needs.
But if he earns four thousand dollars a month using method A, and only three thousand dollars a month using method B, he needs to be sure he uses method A. Earning 25% less income in this case makes a difference.
By practicing the Small Universe daily and training Iron Wire once in awhile, does my Iron Wire force dissipate from the circulation from Small Universe? I believe the answer is no from personal experience, but I would be very grateful if Sigung could confirm.
You are right. The answer is no.
For other people without our benefit of breadth and depth, not only the Iron Wire force will dissipate, it may interfere with his Small Universe training.
This is because of the magic of chi flow that we have. We can convert flowing force, or a portion of it, into consolidated force, and vice versa.
An Iron Wire Course in Lisbon
I’ve been trying to slowly incorporate Iron Wire back into my training regimen by practicing every other day. However, I find that the force generated from Small Universe often spills over into my Iron Wire practice, making the Iron Wire sessions too powerful.
This is quite normal in our school because of our benefit of breadth and depth. Yours and many other people’s examples in our school answer a question some of our instructors initially asked, which was whether they should focus on what they already knew or learned new material.
Our advice to students, which is quite ridiculous to other people if not a joke, is to tell our students train less, not more. Don’t over-train. Use the time you save and the internal force and mental clarity you gain from your training to get a good girlfriend.
Could Sigung kindly provide training advice as to how to proceed with Small Universe and Iron Wire?
If you earn a million dollars a month when your needs are ten thousands, you need not worry about the best working procedure. Just carry on working the way you have been doing, with the three golden rules of working, namely don’t worry, don’t intellectualize, enjoy the work. Even if you earn only one tenth of your potential, you still earn ten times your needs.
This is the same as internal force training. You change â€œdollarsâ€ to â€œunits of internal forceâ€. If you generate a million units of internal force a month when your needs are only ten thousand units, you need not worry about your best training procedure. Even if you generate only one tenth of your potential, you still have ten times more force than your needs. Just continue training the way you have been doing, but taking care not to over-train, following the three golden rules of practice, namely donâ€™t worry, donâ€™t intellectualize, enjoy your practice.
Is it fair to say that you can generate a million units of internal force? Let us do some comparison. Suppose a student in another school is lucky enough to train internal force, and he develops 20,000 units of internal force a month. You develop 1,000,000 units, which is 50 times more. So the question is whether it is justifiable to estimate that you are 50 times more efficient.
You develop so much force in just one session. From practical experience of students training internal force, it is reasonable to say that he does not develop a similar amount of force in 50 days. So the estimate is justified.
Is it reasonable to say that a person’s needs to carry on life healthily are 10,000 units of internal force? By leading a healthy life is meant that he is not sick nor in pain, he can eat and sleep, and do his work and enjoy his play. We assign 10,000 units of internal force to carry out such activities.
Not many people have a change to train internal force. We assign 20,000 units to a person who has genuinely and successfully trained internal force. In other words, a person with internal force will have double the amount of force to carry out the normal life of a healthy person. From everyday experience, this is a reasonable estimate.