Category Archives: Courses

FIVE FACTORS FOR CONSIDERATION WHEN MOVING IN STANCES

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/discussion/taijiquan2008/taijiquan2008-04.html)

Students will find the below discussion useful for reviewing Moving in Stances in our Shaolin Wahnam Kung Fu Level 1 syllabus.

Adrea and Sifu Jeffrey Segal

Intensive Taijiquan Tai Chi Chuan

Grandmaster Wong explaining the various factors one can consider when moving in stances


The following discussion is reproduced from the thread Intensive Taijiquan in Malaysia September 2008 started in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum on 14th September 2008.


Andrea
Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland
21st September 2008
Andrea

Dear Jeffrey Sipak,

Originally Posted by Jeffrey Segal
What are the five factors to take into consideration when we are training moving in stances?

A big thank you for posting these question. There was so much material on the course, I probably would not have gone back to these points any time soon. And while doing so I realized how much of a treasure, they will be for my practice.

Why? Because one of the difficulties I had when practicing “moving in stances” was that I “ran out of ideas” where and how to move. These factors and the way Sigung taught them, make it easy to first select where I want to be at the end of the move and how I will be moving. Amazing . I will definitely spend time practicing moving in stances over the next few weeks. But first let’s see if I did get the 5 factors correctly. Here is my answer:

  1. Directions : as given away by Hubert Sisook on his post above. Thank you.
  2. Leg mode : Left to Right, Left to Left, Right to Left, Right to Right (I just saw Ade Sisook added this one allready while I was writing this post)
  3. Reference point : Front leg, mid point, back leg.
  4. Yin-Yang approach to leg movement: Inside-out (Yin approach), outside-in (Yang approach) or straight
  5. Body movement : Clockwise or anti-clockwise

Are they correct? If so I feel confident about 4 of the 5 factors. The one I am still not very sure I understand correctly is the reference point. My understanding is that whatever we choose as the reference point is where the movement is started. If we turn to another direction this is also the rotation point. Is it? I think what confuses me is my understand of a reference point as a “fixed point” – i.e the point that does not move, while here it is the point that moves first.

If my understanding as explained above is correct, what does it mean for the mid point? Is it just the “rotation” point? Where does the movement start? I tried to review the video about this part (MOV05870 disk1) but however hard I try, I fail to see the link between the mid point and the movement sigh . I would be very grateful for any comment and help.

Warm regards from cold little Switzerland (4 degrees C yesterday in the morning)

Andrea
__________________
“If you let go a little, you will have a little peace. If you let go a lot, you will have a lot of peace.
If you let go completely, you will have complete peace.” (Venerable Ajahn Chah Subhatto)


Intensive Taijiquan Tai Chi Chuan

Grandmaster Wong demonstrating how to use end-point reference when changing directions


Sifu Jeffrey Segal
Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Australia
21st September 2008
Jeffrey Segal

Excellent answer, Andrea!

I agree that the scope of this exercise is enormous

One way of understanding the reference point is that this is where the back leg will be when you have arrived at your new stance. In other words, the reference point is where you need to get to with your new back leg before you can correctly move into your new position. Where there is a rotation, it’s the point about which you rotate. It’s also worth noting that when we talk about the point of reference, we’re talking about the stance we’re in before we move, not the position we’re moving to! Here are some examples to illustrate what I mean.

Let’s say we’re training Bow Arrow Stance and that we’re starting in right mode facing north. Please note that this is the starting point for each of the examples i.e. they are not continuous. For now, let’s just concern ourselves with the first three factors which are direction, leg mode and point of reference . You’ll notice that I just write “Left” or “Right” for the second factor. Thus, if we are starting in Right mode, “Left” means “Right-Left” and “Right” means “Right-Right”.

North, Left, Front means that we’ll take a full step forward into Left Bow Arrow.

North, Right, Front means we would roll forward with the left leg and then advance the right leg (so we’d still be in Right Bow Arrow).

East, Right, Front means we would roll forward with the left leg and then turn to the right and advance the right leg into Right Bow Arrow (facing east). In this case, the point of reference is also the point of rotation.

East, Right, Back means we would roll back with the right leg and then turn right and advance the right leg into Right Bow Arrow. Here again, the point of reference is the point of rotation

West, Right, Middle means we would roll forward a half step with the left leg and turning to the left, advance the right leg into Right Bow Arrow (facing west) Here, the mid point of our original Right Bow Arrow has become the point of rotation and the place where are (left) back leg belongs.

And one slightly trickier example

South, Left, Back means we’d turn around and roll forward with the right leg before advancing the left leg into Left Bow Arrow. Alternatively, we could roll back with the right leg and then turn and advance the left leg into left bow arrow facing south.

Please let me know if that’s clear.

Greetings from Melbourne
__________________
Jeffrey Segal
Shaolin Wahnam Australia
www.wahnamaustralia.com

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IS CHI KUNG AGAINST OTHER RELIGIONS?

(reproduced from http://www.shaolin.org/discussion-2/chikung-religion.html)

Qigong Hidayah

Qigong Hidayah. Pictiure reproduced from http://www.alhidayah-medic.com/qigong-hidayah.html


Dr Damian Kissey

Senior Disciple of Grandmaster Wong
Shaolin Wahnam Sabah

1st October 2011

Chi Kung and Religion

Greetings to Tuan Zakaria Zain,

Is Chi Kung (or Qigong) allowed in Islam? Thank you for this good question.

Everything good is allowed in any religion, including Islam as long as it does not contradict the Quran .

The Islamic National Fatwa Council of Malaysia (Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan) has never ruled that chi kung is not allowed in Islam .

The Founding President of Guolin Qigong Association of Malaysia is a senior Malay Muslim medical specialist, Dr. Amir Farid Isahak (MBBS -Australia, MMED, Singapore, MRCOG, UK)
http://www.superqigong.com/aboutus.htm

An Islamic Medical Centre (Pusat Rawatan Islam Al-Hidayah Selangor) near Kuala Lumpur is licensed by the Malaysian Government, and their treatment includes chi kung (Qigong Hidayah)
http://www.alhidayah-medic.com/qigong-hidayah.html

The Islamic Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) pronounced: “Seek knowledge even as far as China”. Muslims take great pride in citing the above hadith as it points to the importance of seeking knowledge, even if it meant travelling as far away as China, especially as at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), China was considered the most developed civilization of the period. “Tuntutlah ilmu sampai ke negeri China, karena sesungguhnya menuntut ilmu sangatlah wajib atas setiap orang muslim”.

The Founder of Waitankung (a famous form of chi kung was a Chinese Muslim Chi Kung and Kungfu Grandmaster Tuan Haji Ali Chang Chih-Tung .

The world famous Admiral Zheng Muhammad He (Laksamana Cheng Ho aka Haji Muhd Shamsuddin) was a chi kung-kungfu master during the Ming Dynasty who visited the Malacca Sultanate in present Malaysia .

See how cheerful, healthy and strong are these gentlemen Chinese Muslim Hajis who are chikung-kungfu masters
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_GZjClgxnaU&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&v=pzfeozkD0FI .

Seeking chi kung knowledge to get good health is a good thing. Our Shaolin chi kung originate from China. Our professional school teaches Chi Kung and Kung Fu as a holistic program to achieve good physical, emotional and mental health to all good students regardless of race or religion. We have students from almost all continents in the world, from various racial and religious background, including good Arab Muslims from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates .

I am sorry to hear of your ill health but you can regain good health by putting in good effort in a good program, for example by practising chi kung. In our chi kung practise, we are against and not interested to communicate with evil spirits or jin and we do not recite any mantra. Actually it is God who help us to help ourselves to get rid of illness and regain good health. Logically, evil spirits bring evil health — that is why we are not interested in them .

Learning chi kung, like learning computer science or learning car driving, is good for practitioners of any religion but a good student should learn from a good teacher teaching a good art. If a student does not follow instructions or if s teacher is not qualified or if the art is corrupted, then the student will get bad result, for example the student does not know how to send emails after 1 year learning computer or does not know how to reverse a car after 1 year driving lesson or gets anxiety after learning chi kung wrongly. Actually learning chi kung is safer then driving a car. In our school we have very good teachers, very good chi kung programs and good deserving students ….. so we get good results .

Our students are obliged to respect the laws of the country and to practise high moral values (which are taught by all religions). Having achieved good health through chi kung, we become a better persons, better children to our parents, ourselves become better parents, become better citizens of a country and become better Muslims/religious persons. Connecting with the Cosmos, at a lower level, means we breath chi/air in and out of our body in continuous harmonious exchange with the atmosphere/cosmos. At a higher level, connecting with God means creating human beings with reduced imperfections. Through chi kung practise one can connect better with the Creator who is 100% perfect. So the power implied is non other than your natural birth right given to you by God ….. only that you have to put in good thoughts, good words and good actions to regain it .

I believe you are a good and sincere man. Pray to God for guidance. If you still feel uncomfortable with chi kung, it is OK. i am certain that God will lead you in the necessary direction. I wish you all the best in your life’s journey.

Sincerely,
Damian
__________________
Damian Kissey
Shaolin Wahnam Sabah, Malaysia
www.shaolinwahnamsabah.com

Muslim girls practicing wushu

A group of Muslim girls practicing wushu. Picture reproduced from http://www.zawaj.com/askbilqis/can-i-keep-my-name/

The above discussion is reproduced from the thread Is Chi Kung Not Against Other Religion? Give Some Clarification in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.

IT IS HARD TO FIND REAL KUNGFU NOWADAYS

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/sp-issues/real-kungfu.html)

Shaolin Kungfu

Sifu Andrew Barnett and his son, Bjoem, demonstrating Shaolin Kungfu in combat application

Question

I have participated in a few of the local schools and can not find one to my liking. I have received a black belt in Kung fu and at this time I do not feel like I deserve it due to my lack of practice and not improving myself in my skills. Can you please send me any information that you may have?

— Joe, USA

Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

At all times in all places real kungfu masters are rare. In China in the past there were many kungfu masters but very few of them would accept students. Today many people teach kungfu, or what they call kungfu, but finding a genuine master is more difficult than finding a gem in a hay stack. Refer to Qualities of a Good Master for details.

What is taught all over the world today, including in China, is either a modernized form for demonstration or a debased traditional form that uses karate, taekwondo or kickboxing techniques for combat. In my opinion neither is genuine kungfu.

This does not necessarily mean that these demonstrative or debased forms are not without their benefits. They are magnificient to watch and is an excellent way to keep the exponents agile and fit, but they are not the same as the kind of kungfu traditionally taught in the past.

In my opinion, the bottom line to decide whether one is trained in genuine kungfu is whether he (or she) can use the kungfu forms he has learnt for some decent self defence. If he can fight well but uses other martial art forms instead of kungfu forms, he does not qualify to have practised genuine kungfu.

The bottom line of my definition is that the kungfu he has learnt must be capable of being used for fighting, even if he loses the fight. The crucial point is that his kungfu forms are more than sufficient for his self defence; he needs not borrow or “steal” other martial art forms, and he should be able to defend himself in a typical kungfu manner. Bouncing about as in boxing and kicking high as in taekwondo, for example, are not typical manners in kungfu fighting.

Good kungfu goes beyond mere fighting. One characteristic feature of good kungfu is the training of internal force for good health as well as combat efficiency. If you ask what internal force is, it is unlikely you have any experience in its training. It is like someone who has not eaten an orange, asking what the taste of an orange is.

As far as I know, this internal force training is not found in most other martial arts. Western boxing and wrestling, for example, pay much attention to external strength and physical mass, and their exponents train in ways which typical kungfu masters would consider detrimental to health.

Some Eastern martial arts like aikido and karate mention about internal aspects like chi (or ki in Japanese), but their exponents do not spend as much time or go as deeply as typical kungfu exponents do in these internal aspects. A typical traditional kungfu exponent, for example, may actually spend more time practising Abdominal Breathing or Stance Standing (zhan zhuang) than practising patterns or sets — a practice that is not normally found in most other martial arts or modern demonstrative, debased kungfu forms.

The best kungfu, like Shaolin and Taijiquan, goes beyond the physical and leads to spiritual cultivation irrespective of race, culture and religion. The onus of spiritual cultivation is direct experience, not mere talking or book learning, and is practised according to the students’ developmental levels.

For those who have so far wasted their time in unwholesome activities, or those who feel empty and lost despite abundant material wealth, turning to a happy, rewarding life here and now is a remarkable spiritual achievement; at the other scale, the spiritually advanced aim for the highest attainment known variously as return to God, unity with the Cosmos, enlightenment or in Zen terms simply going home.

modern wushu

A magnificient demonstration of modern wushu, which is different from traditional kungfu

LINKS

Reproduced from Questions 1 in Selection of Questions and Answers March 1998

QUALITIES OF A GOOD MASTER

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/general/qualities.html)

Sifu Lai Chin Wah demonstrating the Kwan Tou

A priceless photograph showing Sifu Lai Chin Wah demonstrating the Kwan Tou. Sifu Lai Chin Wah was Sifu Wong’s first kungfu teacher. Sifu Lai was better known in kungfu circles as Uncle Righteousness.

Having a good master is definitely a tremendous blessing in kungfu, taijiquan and chi kung training. As mediocre instructors are socommon nowadays – some even start to teach after having attended only a few week-end seminars – finding a great master is like finding a gem in a hay stack. Here are some guidelines to help you find one.

A living example

A good master must be a living example of what he teaches. A kungfu master must be able to defend himself, a taijiquan master must have some internal force, and a qigong master must exhibit radiant health, as these are the basic qualities these arts are meant to develop.

A master of kungfu, taijiquan or qigong does not enjoy the luxury of many coaches in modern sports like football and athletics who often cannot dribble a ball or run a race half as well as the students they teach. There are also some kungfu, taijiquan or qigong instructors today who cannot perform half as well as their average students, but they are certainly not masters, although as a form of courtesy they may be addressed as such by their students, or the general public.

Understanding Dimension and Depth

Besides being skillful, a good master should preferably be knowledgeable. He should have a sound understanding of the dimension and depth of the art he is teaching, and be able to answer basic questions his students may have concerning the what, why and how of their practice. Without this knowledge, a master will be limited in helping his students to derive the greatest potential benefits in their training.

However, especially in the East, some masters may be very skillful, but may not be knowledgeable. This is acceptable if we take the term “master” to mean someone who has attained a very high level in his art, but who may not be a teacher.

The reverse is unacceptable, i.e. someone who is very knowledgeable, but not skillful – a situation quite common in the West. A person may have read a lot about kungfu, taijiquan or qigong, and have written a few books on it, but has little kungfu, taijiquan or qigong skills. We may call him a scholar, but certainly not a master.

Sifu Ho Fatt Nam

Sifu Ho Fatt Nam demonstrating “One-Finger Shooting Zen”, a fundamental internal force training method in Shaolin Kungfu. Sifu Ho was the other Shaolin master whose teaching on Sifu Wong was decisive. To honour his two masters, Sifu Wong name his school Shaolin Wahnam.

Systematic and Generous

The third quality of a master as a good teacher is that he must be both systematic and generous in his teaching. Someone who is very skillful and knowledgeable, but teaches haphazardly or withholds much of his advance art, is an expert or scholar but not a good master.

On the other hand, it is significant to note that a good master teaches according to the needs and attainment of his students. If his students have not attained the required standard, he would not teach them beyond their ability (although secretly he might long to), for doing so is usually not to the students’ best interest. In such a situation he may often be mistaken as withholding secrets.

Radiates Inspiration

The fourth quality, a quality that transforms a good master into a great master, is that he radiates inspiration. It is a joy to learn from a great master even though his training is tough.

He makes complicated concepts easy to understand, implicitly provides assurance that should anything goes wrong he is able and ready to rectify it, and spurs his students to do their best, even beyond the level that he himself has attained.

High Moral Values

The most important quality of a great master is that he teaches and exhibits in his daily living high moral values. Hence, the best world fighter who brutally wounds his opponents, or the best teacher of any art who does not practise what he preaches, cannot qualify to be called a great master.

A great master is tolerant, compassionate, courageous, righteous and shows a great love and respect for life. Great masters are understandably rare; they are more than worth their weight in gold.

THE TYPE OF STUDENTS GENUINE MASTERS WANT

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

Shaolin Kungfu

Kungfu masters teach kungfu, not enlightenment

Question

It has been a while since I have been in search of a teacher that I feel I would become a great student from. I have visited your website and I am very interested in learning from you. I am so determined that I am willing to travel to Malaysia. Basically I need a fresh start in life and I have come to the revelation that this in the only way I am to find the path of greatness that I have been longing for

Konrad, USA

Editorial Note: The student also mentioned in later questions (not reproduced here) that he had no money and he was seeking for enlightenment.

Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

Many people have written to me with requests similar to yours. Basically they have the following points in common.

  1. They are sincere in their requests.
  2. They want to be enlightened.
  3. They want to save the world, or at least teach others what they set out to learn.
  4. They think they are the kind of students masters should accept, if not it would be to the masters’ great loss.
  5. They want to be taught according to the ways they like.

The above is the perspective of many young people in the West aspiring to be masters one day. They would benefit much from knowing the typical perspective of Eastern masters whom they wish to learn from. The masters’ perspective is as follows.

  1. Sincerity is a pre-requisite, but there are other required qualities like determination, perseverance, diligence and ready to make sacrifice. Most students say they have these qualities, and honestly think they have, but actually they don’t. Masters have many ways to test them.
  2. Kungfu and chi kung masters do not claim to teach enlightenment. They will ask you to seek enlightenment somewhere else. Almost all these students have no idea of what enlightenment is. Thinking that they can be enlightened in a few months, or even in a few years, is one clear indication of their ignorance.
  3. Telling a master that you want to teach others before you even have learnt what you intend to teach, is a clear indication that you are so ignorance about the art and its tradition, as well as so ignorant about the long and difficult task ahead just to become a good student. You also suggest that you are arrogant, for which the masters know you will not make a good student.But it is different if you mention that you know the way is long and difficult, but you are willing to work hard, and you hope that one day you may prove to be worthy of your master’s teaching, and with his blessings you may teach others.
  4. It often amazes me why so many people, especially in the West, seem to think that just because they want to learn, a master must teach them. Most masters are not interested to teach. Some of them may not want others to know they are masters.To many genuine masters, becoming a master is a by-product! They have trained hard for many years, not because they aimed to become a master and then teach the world, but because they wanted to be healthy, full of vitality, live long lives, mentally fresh, and have spiritual joy. They are acknowledged as masters not because they teach others, but because they have mastered the methods leading to these benefits.
  5. A master has spent many, many years mastering his art. He knows better than you what, how and when to teach. Therefore, you learn according to his terms, not according to yours.I have mentioned a few times that those who wish to learn Shaolin Kungfu or Taijiquan from me, the best course of action is, after being familiar with basic Shaolin or Taijiquan forms, to attend my intensive courses.

    But some people told me, albeit politely, “No, the best for me is to study with you for a few years, during which time you provide me with food and lodging, and in return I work for you.”

    In essence they were suggesting I was not sincere in my statement about the intensive courses, and that they know better than me how to teach them. They should therefore seek another master. Such students also imply, unreasonably and selfishly, that masters have nothing better to do, but to make them masters.

Shaolin Kungfu

An Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course in Sabah

LINKS

The question and answer are reproduced from Question 9 of the May 2001 Part 1 issue of the Question-Answer Series.

AHA EXPERIENCES OF LIFTING THE SKY

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/chikung/18-lohan-hands/lohan02.html)

18 Lohans

An old picture showing Grandmaster Wong perform Lifting the Sky



Question

Sifu, would you kindly share with us which one is, from the 18 Lohan Hands, your favorite one? why? Did you have any “Aha” Experiences while in your own practice and/or teaching them? If so, would you kindly share the one/s that you might consider more relevant?

Santiago


Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

Without doubt “Lifting the Sky” is my favorite not only from the 18 Lohan Hands but from all chi kung exercises. This is the chi kung exercise that I practice the most by a big margin from the second.

When someone asks me which chi kung exercise I have practiced the most, I have no hesitation to answer that it is “Lifting the sky”. If he asks me which exercise I have practiced the second most,, I would have to think hard for an answer. Actually I still haven’t thought out the answer.

Why is “Lifting the Sky” the one I have practiced the most?

Historically it was the first chi kung exercise I learned from my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam. Rather this was the first exercise I recognized then as chi kung, and performed it correctly.

On hindsight the first chi kung exercises I learned were the various stances from Uncle Righteousness in Penang taught to me by a siheng, but at that time I practiced them as enduring physical exercise.

I also learned chi kung exercises from Wuzuquan in Sifu Chee Kim Thong’s school in Dungun, taught to me by his eldest son, Sifu Chee Boon Leong. The whole San Zhan set was chi kung, but I did not derive any chi kung benefit from it, not because of my teacher’s teaching but because of my own ignorance.

I also learned Abdominal Breathing from my Wuzuquan sibengs, who had much internal force, but I only performed the technique, lacking the skills to develop internal force. I knew then that Abdominal Breathing was chi kung, but I did not succeed in practicing it as chi kung. Without realizing it myself, I practiced it as gentle physical exercise.

“Lifting the Sky” was the first chi kung exercise that I performed correctly as chi kung. If I remember correctly, it was the first exercise Sifu Ho Fatt Nam taught me, even before teaching me stances. And he taught it to me himself, not delegating it to one of my seniors.

My sifu did not tell me it was chi kung, neither did I regard it as chi kung. As a good student, I just learned and practiced it dutifully. Indeed my sifu did not tell me anything special about “Lifting the Sky”. All that about “Lifting the Sky” I am going to explain below came later from my own experience, my students’ experiences and my research into chi kung classics.

I practiced “Lifting the Sky” everyday at the start of my kungfu training, as taught to me by my sifu. This is good confirmation of my advice to students that by following faithfully what the teacher teaches, and not by trying to be smarter than him to add practice material on their own, the students will get the best benefits.

I did not generate external chi flow movements with “Lifting the Sky” like what we do in Shaolin Wahnam. But there must be internal chi flow, though I was not aware of it at that time, because I obtained a lot of chi kung benefits.

My migraine and hemorrhoids disappeared without my conscious knowing. I might not be conscious of it then, but “Lifting the Sky” improved my posture, mental clarity and kungfu performance.

Because of the many benefits that I myself have obtained from it, if I have to teach someone a chi kung exercise, I would inevitably choose “Lifting the Sky”. It was later on hindsight that I listed out why “Lifting the Sky” was my favorite. The reasons are as follows.

  1. It is relatively easy to learn and to practice.
  2. The benefits are many and varied.
  3. The benefits range from the basic to masters’ levels.
  4. At the basic level, it generates an energy flow.
  5. At the most advanced level, it can enable practitioners to attain the highest spiritual fulfillment.
  6. The benefits come relatively quickly.
  7. Even when it is performed wrongly, out of carelessness or forgetfulness, the adverse effects are not serious.
  8. Even when it is performed as gentle physical exercise, the benefits are good, like relaxation, good posture and loosening joints and muscles.

I did not learn the complete set of 18 Lohan Hands from my sifu. He only taught me “Lifting the Sky”, “Separating Water” and “Big Windmill”, and each exercise was taught to meet the need at the time.

“Lifting the Sky” was taught to start my kungfu training. I remember my sifu saying, “There is no need for warming up in kungfu. But Lifting the Sky acts like a n excellent warming up exercise.”

“Separating Water” was taught to increase my internal force. “Big Windmill” was taught as part of my Cosmos Palm training.

I once asked my sifu politely whether I could learn the whole set of 18 Lohan Hands. He explained kindly, “18 Lohan Hands were meant to make the Shaolin monks healthy so that they could practice kungfu. You are already very healthy. Focus on your kungfu.” I am grateful for his advice, otherwise I might not have the kungfu attainment I now have.

I was sentimental over the 18 Lohan Hands because they were the exercises taught by our first patriarch, the great Bodhidharma. So years later after leaving Kuala Trengganu where I learned from Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, I researched extensively and deeply into the 18 Lohan Hands.

I gathered the 18 exercises I considered the best and formulated them into a set, starting with the widely known set of eight Taoist chi kung exercises known as the Eight Pieces of Brocade.

Interestingly, the health exercises I practiced as a boy scout, and which were listed in the book, Scouting for Boys, were similar to the eight chi kung exercises in Eight Pieces of Brocade.

I remetmber I was smiling to myself when I formulated the 18 Lohan Hands, thinking that future critics would point to our 18 Lohan Hands and say, “Hey! Look, these so-called Shaolin chi kung exercises were taken from Taoist chi kung1”

Image my surprise when later I found in a classic that the same 18 Lohan Hands were recorded in the same order I listed them in our set! I could only attribute this wonderful co-incidence (or was it a co-incidence?) to my tapping into the past during meditation, or more poetically to divine guidance.

I had a few “Aha” experiences with “Lifting the Sky” and other of the 18 Lohan Hands.

Aha, I discovered that not only I could generate an energy flow with “Lifting the Sky”, which was the original and usually the main purpose of my practice with this exercise, but also I could build internal force, not only at my arms but all over my body and focus the force at my dan tian.

Aha, I discovered that I could use “Lifting the Sky” to generate a cosmic shower. Before this, the method I used was Taoist meditation, opening the rush meridian and let energy blossomed out from “baihui” like a fountain, and come down as cosmic shower. This method was called “Opening of Five Petals” and would take years to accomplish. Now, using “Lifting the Sky” or “Carrying the Moon”, I could transmit the skill to students and let them have a cosmic shower in just a one-day course. It was ridiculous but true.

Aha, in fact I could use “Lifting the Sky” or any chi kung exercise, though “Lifting the Sky” is usually more cost-effective than the others, to accomplish any chi kung skills! Not only the highest kungfu, but also the highest chi kung, is the mind.

Besides “Lifting the Sky”, I also had a “Aha” experience with the prosaic-looking “Big Windmill”. The “Big Windmill” my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, taught me was the forceful “Big Windmill”, not the gentle “Big Windmill” we normally practice in our school.

This “Aha” experience happened years ago. After performing the forceful “Big Windmill” a few times I felt my arms and palms very powerful. I thought I could try breaking a brick. It broke, and I was very surprised because earlier I spent more than 2 years training Iron Palm from a book but I could not break a brick.

I thought it could be accidental. I tried a second time, and the brick broke. I tried a third time, and the brick still broke.

Another “Aha” experience was with “Three Levels to Ground”. At first I did not think highly of this exercise, though in my younger days I practiced it everyday for two years in the Art of Flexibility, and taught it often to people with knee or leg problems to help them recover. I sometimes wondered why I considered it one of the best 18 exercises to be included in the 18 Lohan Hands. It must be divine guidance.

It was during the UK Summer Camp in 2007 that I broke some tendons at my right knee during a kick. The injury was so back that I could hardly walk up some stairs. I did “Three Levels to Ground” and “Bear Walk”. In two days, my right knee recovered! Suddenly it occurred to me that Bodhidharm is great.

Lifting the Sky

Grandmaster Wong teaching Lifting the Sky during an Intensive Chi Kung Course

The questions and answers are reproduced from the thread 18 Lohan Hands: 10 Questions to Grandmaster Wong in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.

THE IMPORTANCE OF PICTURE PERFECT FORM

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/video-clips-8/baguazhang/glimpse/chris.html)

baguazhang, pakua palm

Grandmaster Wong helping Chris to attain picture perfect form



What a great course. I’ve had the pleasure of attending the past few summer camps and again Si Tai Gung has taken his teaching to a new level.

As my brothers have said on day one alone we learnt enough content to take away for at least the next six months. This included the Eight Mother Palms, Circle Walking, and force building.

In the context of the course there are always simple instructions to follow, simple but with deep meaning. If these are followed and taken home our Kung Fu, Tai Chi and Baguazhang will greatly improve.

Si Tai Gung mentioned a number of times picture perfect form and highlighted its importance

Question: Why do we use the patterns and techniques we practice in our training?

Answer: Because of the advantage they give us in combat not only to help us win but also to help us in not handing defeat to our opponent.

When you have picture perfect form the chi flows correctly and this is how Kung Fu practitioners can spar for long periods of time. Not only will they not get tired but actually have more energy than when they started. This is so true today.

We had two great sessions going over and over in detail the form of the combat applications in the Baguazhang set. I have never felt so charged at the end of a full day training.

At one point after having a small chi flow we were ask to go through the patterns we had just practiced. I was so focused from this set that it actually felt as if rather than having two eyes I had one single point of focus, the force and flow were amazing word just don’t do it justice.

I know there are many points that I will take home and would like others to share. Take the time to make sure your form is perfect, slow down you training to make sure pattern by pattern its 100% correct then add the pieces together say three at a time then as you build your set make sure no form is lost, then when the form is correct and you know the set well move to the next level.

Take out the false stops and flow between movements. Again start with just three patterns and build up. if you find that the form is not picture perfect, stop and go back to get it right, then move to flow again. When you have perfect form and correct flow only then add in some force.

Using these methods will give you the best results and deliver Kung Fu that can be used for combat/competitions while also working on many other levels like good health and vitality. If this course is held again make sure you’re on it I can’t wait or day three!!

Chris
Worthing, England
19th June 2012

baguazhang, pakua palm

Having picture perfect form gives practitioner the best technical advantage in sparring


The above is reproduced from the thread Baguazhang at UK Summer Camp in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum

Glimpse of Baguazhang at UK Summer Camp