(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/ans15b/aug15-3.html)
Cosmic Shower is an advanced chi kung art
I did not realize that Cosmic Shower was more advanced than Bone Marrow Cleansing.
— Sifu Angel Perez Oliveras, Puerto Rico
There are five levels in Bone Marrow Cleansing, so it takes two courses, Part 1 and Part 2, to complete the programme. These five levels range from basic to advanced levels. I can adjust the level I want to teach.
When I first taught Bone Marrow Cleansing, I taught its highest level, the level of cleansing nerves, which was higher than Cosmic Shower when the latter was initially taught. I have since lowered the level of cleansing nerves.
Meanwhile, the level of Cosmic Shower, which initially was just cosmic energy showering down the body, has been raised due to improvement of my teaching methodology. Now I teach Cosmic Shower for strengthening too, strengthening at all levels, i.e. the physical,. emotional, mental and spiritual. As a result, in general Cosmic Shower is now of a higher level than Bone Marrow Cleansing.
Nevertheless, this is relative because we can vary the level on which to operate the art we are practicing. In other words, not only I myself can vary the level of the exercise we practice, I also teach students how to do so. This is a master’s ability. Actually even many masters cannot do so. These masters practice the art at the level when they first learned it from their teachers. They may become more skillful at their level, but they do not go beyond the level of the exercise they learned it.
As an analogy, if a student learns and relearns his secondary school material, he may be very good at his secondary school material, far better than other secondary school students, but he won’t be able to deal with university material.
But our students are different. They are taught how to use their secondary school level at university level. They not only learn that Puerto Rico is part of the United States, which secondary school students learn, but also how this relationship can benefit both Peurto Rico and continental United States, material that university students would discuss.
In Cosmic Shower, which actually is university material in chi kung as not many chi kung practitioners have a chance to learn such a skill even when they may have practiced for many years, our students not only learn how to let cosmic energy flow through their body, but also how and why the cosmic flow can clear their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual blockage to enrich their daily lives in all aspects.
Is it alright for beginning students to take Bone Marrow Cleansing after Generating Energy Flow, and skip Cosmic Shower and Cosmic Breathing? Can they take all the chi kung courses offered if they want to?
Yes, students who are fresh beginners can take the Bone Marrow Cleansing course after taking the Generating Chi Flow course, and skip Cosmic Shower and Cosmic Breathing.
In fact they can take all the qigong courses as long as they have taken the Generating Energy Flow course. The Generating Energy Flow course is fundamental, which means not only basic but also very important.
It is basic because without generating an energy flow, one is not practicing chi kung even when he performs chi kung techniques. He performs the chi kung techniques as gentle physical exercise, and may not realize the fact. More than 80% of all chi kung practitioners in the world fall under this category.
Some people may be angry at this statement, and that is their business. But if those in this category take heed of the advice and do something about it, but not necessarily learning from us, they will start to get chi kung benefits which they have missed despite all those years of dedicated training.
Our chi kung programme where even fresh beginners can take all the chi kung courses offered is actually quite ridiculous — in a good sense. Students progress form a fresh beginners’ level to a masters’ level in just two days.
Even genuine masters, who are rare and have dedicated their lives to practicing chi kung for more than 20 years, may not have the skills of Bone Marrow Cleansing, Cosmic Shower or Cosmic Breathing. They are masters of the art they practice, which, honestly without being disrespectful to them, are relatively of a low level, consisting of repeating chi kung techniques many, many times to generate some energy flow.
Most other masters are, strictly speaking, not even genuine chi kung practitioners because they perform chi kung techniques not as energy exercise but as gentle physical exercise. They cannot generate an energy flow. But we still call them “masters” out of respect.
Isn’t it ridiculous that fresh beginners at our chi kung courses can learn not only techniques but more importantly skills that even masters may not learn? But our students do not become masters in two days. They still need time to practice their techniques and skills to master them.
But our students do not need 20 years to become masters, they need only 2 years. Why do our students need only one-tenth the time? It is because we understand the underlying philosophy and our training is systematic and progressive.
Generating Energy Flow is sufficient to fulfill the needs of most people
What advice should I give the students?
Some good advice to tell beginning students is for them to focus on Generating Energy Flow, and to practice the more advanced exercises like Bone Marrow Cleansing, Cosmic Shower and Cosmic Breathing only occasionally to maintain the skills and techniques. They may practice these more advanced exercises later on when they have become more proficient in chi kung.
For people who want to overcome pain and illness and to maintain well-being, it is not necessary to learn the more advanced exercises. Generating Energy Flow is more than enough to fulfill the needs of most people.
But “not necessary” does not mean “not beneficial”. As an analogy, if one is prepared to walk, it is not necessary to own a bicycle, a car or take a flight on an aeroplane. If he is to see a friend on the next street, it would be easier to walk.
But he has to walk, if he remains in his house he would not see his friend. In the same way, if he wants to overcome pain and illness, he has to practice Generating Energy Flow. If he does not practice, he will not get well.
If he has to go to a faraway place, it would be faster and more comfortable to take a car or an aeroplane. The car and the plane are not necessary, though very beneficial. The Polynesian people, for example, reached the East Indies before cars and planes were invented, though their journey took much longer time and was less comfortable, besides being more risky.
So, although the more advanced chi kung courses are not necessary, they are very beneficial. Indeed, it would be unwise if beginning students do not make full use of this opportunity to learn these courses, as the present plan is that I visit Puerto Rico only once in two years to teach the techniques and transmit the skills of these courses. This will be good advice to them, i.e. don’t miss the opportunity when it is available.
In the pattern, “Immortal Emerges from Cave”, which part of the hand should make contact with an opponent’s arm?
I normally use the outer edge of the palm and sometimes the base of the palm.
— Sifu Leonard Lackinger, Austria
In “Immortal Emerges from Cave” the outer edge of the palm should make contact with an opponent’s elbow or forearm. This may result in dislocating the opponent’s elbow or fracturing his forearm. It is a strike, and not a block.
However, if you wish to be merciful, you can use the base of your palm to stop his attack, instead of dislocating his elbow or fracturing his forearm.
Editorial Note: Sifu Leonard Lackinger’s other questions are found at August 2015 Part 2 issue of the Question-Answer Series.
A well executed “Immortal Emerges from Cave” can dislocate an opponent’s elbow or break his arm in just one move
Would you regard this pattern as a direct counter or only as a floating defence movement?
This pattern can be used as a no-defence-direct-counter, or as a floating movement.
The reason why I ask is because it is one of the hardest of the basic patterns, causing much damage on the opponent’s arm if done with some force.
The harder an opponent attacks you, the easier it will be for you to dislocate his elbow or break his arm. If you do not want to hurt him, you can float his attacking movement.
Grandmaster Wong demonstrating “Fierce Tiger Cleanses Claws”
Thank you for providing the ranking of chi kung techniques in your great 10 Questions Series on the Five-Animal Play.
As the art of Bone Marrow Cleansing consists of 5 levels, I tried to put them into the list separately.
Self-Manifested Chi Movement
5 Animal Play
18 Lohan Hands
18 Shaolin Wahnam Chi Kung Techniques
Bone Marrow Cleansing – Skin Level
Grasping Sparrow’s Tail
18 Lohan Art
Bone Marrow Cleansing – Flesh Level
One Finger Shooting Zen
Bone Marrow Cleansing – Meridian Level
Bone Marrow Cleansing – Organ Level
Bone Marrow Cleansing – Bone Marrow Level
Phenomenal Big Universe
Cosmic Breathing (Transcendental Big Universe)
Merging with the Cosmos (Transcendental Big Universe)
Would you regard that list as correct?
The listing is subjective, and may vary according to some factors, like different practitioners, different times even for the same practitioner, state of mind, level of focus and relaxation, and developmental stage.
Generally your list is correct.
Provided they suit to this list, where would you put Iron Wire, Fierce Tiger Cleanses Claws and Forceful Big Windmill?
I would place Iron Wire after Golden Bridge, Fierce Tiger Cleanses Claws after Bone Marrow Cleansing Organ Level, and Forceful Big Windmill after Bone Marrow Cleansing Flesh Level.
I know that it’s mainly a mind play and that the true ranking depends on the skill and focus of the practitioner, but the list is a good guideline for selecting the program for current and future advanced chi kung classes.
You are right. The mind set, skill and focus of the practitioner are very important.
One main reason why we have remarkable result is because we operate at the mind level. This explains why past masters mentioned that the greatest kungfu was at the mind.
Operating at the mind level does not mean visualization, as some people wrongly imagine, though visualization is sometimes employed. In fact, one can obtain tremendous result by keeping the mind clear, i.e. without any visualization.
Operating at the mind level generally means how deeply a practitioner enters into a meditative state of mind while practicing his art.
Skill is of course very important too. It is another main reason why we can obtain remarkable result.
Most people, including many masters, think that by practicing the right technique they can get the desired result. In my earlier years, I thought in this way too.
But it is so clear that this is not so, though most people fail to realize it. But once we realize it, it can become quite shocking. More than 80% of chi kung practitioners do not derive chi kung benefits although the chi kung techniques they employ are correct. More than 90% of kungfu practitioners cannot use their kungfu for combat although their kungfu techniques are correct. The reason is that they do not have the required skills.
Focus is related to mind, though it is possible to be focused yet not in a meditative or chi kung state of mind. Of course, when one is in a chi kung state of mind, he is focused.
Being focused is not the same as being concentrated in a stressful manner. Due to the limitation of language, some people may have this misconception. That is why they wonder, wrongly, how one could be focused and relaxed at the same time.
If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at email@example.com stating your name, country and e-mail address.
(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/general-2/chi-flow.html)
Students at a regional chi kung course in Austria generating a chi flow from their chi kung techniques
Why do many chi kung practitioners not get any health benefits even when they have practiced chi kung for many years? It is because they do not have chi flow.
This question and the answer are very important. If only hundred of thousands of chi kung practitioners have asked this question, and understand the answer, they would not have wasted a lot of time, in matter of years.
Indeed, chi kung is chi flow. If there is no chi flow, the practitioner is only performing chi kung patterns as gentle physical exercise. This, in fact, is what hundreds of thousands of chi kung practitioners all over the world are doing.
It is chi flow, not the chi kung exercises, that gives the chi kung practitioners health benefits like good health, vitality and longevity. This truth is so important that I would like to repeat it:
It is chi flow, not the chi kung exercises, that gives the chi kung practitioners good health, vitality and longevity
As an analogy, it is cash flow, not the job you do, that enables you to fulfill your economic needs, like paying for your house and food, going for holidays, and buying a car. Even if you work very well as an executive, a doctor, a businessman or on any job, if your job does not bring you cash flow, you would be unable to fulfill your economic needs.
In the same way, even if you perform your chi kung exercise, like Lifting the Sky, Carrying the Moon, Flicking Fingers, Grasping Sparrow’s Tail, or Golden Gridge, very well, but if the exercise does not result in chi flow, you will be unable to fulfill your health needs.
Hence, it becomes quite clear that it is sheer folly when practitioners try their best to perfect their chi kung form but do not pay any attention to chi flow. It is like someone doing very well in their job but is not paid for the work.
This does not mean that we can neglect our form. Just as a job shabbily done does not generate good cash flow, a chi kung exercise badly performed does not generate good chi flow. But it is important to realize that it is the chi flow, not the exercises themselves, that give good health, vitality and longevity.
Why does good chi flow give us good health, vitality and longevity? It is like asking why good cash flow gives us good economic benefits.
Good chi flow will give us a good life, with good health, vitality and longevity, because life is a function of chi flow, just as good cash flow will give us a good economic life because economic life is a function of cash flow. Just as our economic life is based on cash flow, our health, vitality and longevity are based on chi flow.
Life is a meaningful flow of energy. When the energy flow of a person is blocked, the quality of his life is affected, manifested as pain and illness. When his energy flow clears the blockage and resumes its smooth flow, he regains good health. When his energy flow becomes vigorous, he has vitality. When he has more energy than he needs, it is stored in his dan tian and side meridians, giving him a good supply of energy flow, which means that his energy flow will go on for a long time resulting in his longevity.
Students at an Intensive Chi Kung Course in Sabah enjoying energy flow
Many people would be surprised when told that it does not matter what illness they may suffer from, and it does not matter what intermediate factors have caused their illness, but when their blockage has been cleared and their chi flow resumed, they will regain good health. This fact has been confirmed again and again in our chi kung classes.
There are many students suffering from different diseases in a class. We do not even have to ask the students what diseases they suffer from, or what have caused their diseases. We teach them the same chi kung exercises and ensure they have good chi flow. Soon they report that they have recovered from their diseases.
Again it is illuminating to compare chi flow with cash flow. Suppose you earn 3000 euros a month, which is just enough to pay for your house rent and food with a little left for some pleasures like dining in a good restaurant or spending a weekend by the beach.
For some reasons, this month your cash flow is blocked; you only have 1000 euros flowing through you. You will not only be unable to dine in a good restaurant or spend a weekend by the beach, but also have difficulty paying for your house rent and food. The intermediate cause may be your boss not paying you in time, or you having lent some money to a friend, or you overspent the previous month.
Irrespective of the intermediate causes and their resultant symptoms, like being unable to pay for your house rent or spending a weekend at the beach, the fundamental cause is a blockage of cash flow. If you can clear the blockage and resume the cash flow of 3000 euros a month, you can resume your normal economic activities, including overcoming whatever economic needs like paying your house rent or spending a weekend at the beach.
Better still, if you can make your cash flow more vigorous, like increasing a cash flow of 3000 euros per month to 30,000 euros per month, you can not only fulfill your normal economic needs but also do things that you previously wanted to but could not, like going for an oversea tour, buying a new car or buying an apartment for your parents.
It is the same with chi flow. Suppose your normal chi flow is 3000 units of energy per month. If for some reasons your chi flow this month is blocked with the result that you have only 1000 units of energy flowing through you, not only you may be unable to enjoy the little pleasures like playing tennis and climbing hills, but also unable to perform normal life activities like clearing pollutants from your lungs and harmful viruses from your body, resulting in you suffering from asthma or viral infection.
Better still, if you can make your chi flow vigorous, like increasing your chi flow from 3000 units of energy per month to 30,000 units of energy per month, you will not only be able to carry on your normal life activities but also do things that you previously wanted to but could not, like enjoying your work and play, having mental clarity and internal force, and experiencing spiritual joys.
It is also worthwhile to note that the intermediate causes of your illness may be stress, a drastic change of climate, or eating wrong food, but the fundamental cause is energy blockage. Irrespective of the intermediate causes and their resultant symptoms, if you can clear your energy blockage and resume your normal chi flow of 3000 units of energy per month, you will not only be able to play tennis and climb hills but also resume your normal life activities, including clearing pollutants from your lungs and harmful viruses from your body, resulting in your overcoming asthma or viral infection.
Actually it doesn’t matter what the intermediate causes and resultant symptoms are — i.e. it doesn’t matter whether the intermediate causes are stress, climatic change, wrong food, pollens, viruses, bacteria, negative emotions, etc, and it doesn’t matter whether the illness is asthma, viral infection, diabetes, chronic pain, depression, phobia, etc — as long as you restore your meaningful energy flow, you will have good health, which means you will be free from pain and illness.
In the same way, it doesn’t matter what the intermediate causes and resultant symptoms of economic ills are — i.e. it doesn’t matter whether the intermediate causes are that your boss failed to pay you, your client’s cheque bounced, your lost money in an investment, etc, and it doesn’t matter whether your economic ills are unable to pay rent, dine in good restaurants, buy expensive presents, go for holidays, etc — as long as you restore your cash flow you will have economic health.
Just as it is cash flow and not the job you do that enables you to enjoy economic benefits, it is chi flow and not the chi kung exercises you perform that enables you to enjoy good health, vitality and longevity.
The chi flow at a Shaolin Kungfu course can be quite spectacular
You can also read more delightful stories, or order the special edition directly.
Please enjoy one of the memorable stories from my Sifu’s book below:
MY LOVING MOTHER AND MY LOVING FATHER
(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/general-2/way-of-master/way26.html)
My father, my mother and me in the 1940s
An unforgettable incident, which had much effect in my healing of other people years later, happened one night when I was alone, as my usual friends for some reasons or others were not around to play. I went out of the New World Park and looked around at a hawker selling a variety of fruits. I had twenty cents in my pocket, given to me by my father. Twenty cents was quite a lot of money at that time, especially for a small boy of eight. One could buy a bowl of noodles, which could fill up one’s stomach as lunch or dinner, with twenty cents.
Although my mother did not know much about science, she was to my young boy’s mind quite a dietician. Like most Chinese, she conveniently classified food into two types – hot food and cold food. Hot food was her favourite, and cold food was strictly forbidden.
“Mama,” sometimes I would beseech, “Can I have a slice of orange, just a slice?”
“Oh no, my dear,” my mother would sweetly persuaded, “Oranges are too cold for you.”
“How about a banana, mama?”
“Bananas are cold too. Fruits are cold food. They will make you sick.”
It is enthralling that now, sixty years later, I can eat bananas like a monkey and drink fresh orange juice like a horse, and become healthier.
So that night I was just curious, besides being tempted to have a taste of the forbidden fruit to find out whether bananas could make me sick. I saw a long, big banana known locally as an elephant’s tusk in a transparent ice box. It was quite expensive, costing 10 cents per banana, compared to a bowl of noodles costing only 20 cents.
Well, ten cents for a taste of a forbidden fruit, I thought, was quite a bargain. So I paid ten cents and had the banana.
It was exquisite and delicious, sweet and fragrant in every bite. It was not only the first time I ate such a sweet and fragrant elephant tusk, it was the first time I ate any fruit. I was discreet enough not to mention this to my parents.
But my secret did not last long. Soon after midnight, I started to have stomach ache. At first, the pain was mild but it quickly became terrible, causing me to roll wildly in bed. I had no choice but to tell my parents about me eating a forbidden fruit. My parents were very caring and loving. Instead of scolding me, they were decisive and acted immediately to ease my pain.
There was no time to take me to see a doctor or to the hospital. Even if they had time, it might not be a right choice. Their method was extraordinary – at least to Westerners, though it was a folk practice amongst the traditional Chinese. My parents had me lie comfortably in bed. Then my mother placed a 20 cents coin on my naval, dropped some wax of a burning candle on the coin, and stood the candle on the flat coin. Then they inverted a small glass over the candle.
My sister, my mother, my father and me in the 1960s
You can read more stories at our Discussion Forum. Here are details to order the special and limited edition. This edition will not be reprinted once it is sold out.
(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/video-clips-11/uk-summer-camp-2015/fa-jing.html)
Fa-jing means exploding force. There are two fundamental requirements:
The exponent must have sufficient internal force to explode
He must have the right mechanics
An effective way to develop internal force is zhan zhuang or stance training.
Past masters have provided an excellent way for exploding force, namely to start from the back leg, rotate the waist, and complete at the hand.