Category Archives: kung fu sparring

SHAOLIN WAHNAM KUNGFU — COMBAT SEQUENCE 8 “HORIZONTALLY SWEEP A THOUSAND ARMIES”

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

Horizontally Sweep a Thousand Armies

Horizontally Sweep a Thousand Armies

How to Follow Up from a Feign Attack

Attacks can come in countless ways, but to facilitate learning, masters have group them into four major categories, namely:

  1. Striking

  2. Kicking

  3. Felling

  4. Gripping

Sequences 1 to 8 deal with striking attacks. While Combat Sequences 1 to 4 use the left leg mode with “Black Tiger Steals Heart” as the leading pattern, Combat Sequences 5 to 8 use the right leg mode leading with “Fierce Tiger Speeds Through Valley”. And while Sequences 1 to 4 focus on developing skills, Sequences 5 to 8 focus on expanding techniques.

Combat Application

Combat Application

Poise Patterns

Fierce Tiger

Numerous fundamental skills have been developed, and they include:

  1. Right timing

  2. Right spacing

  3. Flowing movement and force

  4. Right judgment

  5. Fast decision

  6. Instantaneous change

  7. Footwork adjustment

  8. Safe coverage

Combat Application

Combat Application

Single Knife

Sweep Armies

Numerous tactics are also introduced, and they include:

  1. First defence then counter

  2. Defence cum counter

  3. No defence direct counter

  4. Alert the east attack the west

  5. Unaccustomed mode

  6. Feint moves and exposure

  7. Flowing attacks

  8. Pressing attacks

In order that you can develop the skills to using typical kungfu techniques spontaneously in combat, these combat sequences are practiced in progressive stages, as follows:

  1. Pre-choice

  2. Self-choice

  3. End-point continuation

  4. Mid-point continuation

  5. End-point addition

  6. Surprised counter

  7. External change

  8. Internal change

  9. Mid-point addition

  10. Initial addition

Combat Application

Combat Application

Single Knife

Golden Leopard

“Bar the Big Boss” was introduced in the previous combat sequence in place of “Single Tiger” against the opponent’s thrust punch. In this sequence we learn a new technique that develops from “Bar the Big Boss”. Instead of blocking the opponent’s arm, we can chop at it, using the pattern ”Attending Meeting with Single Knife”.

The opening attack “Fierce Tiger Speeds through Valley” in this sequence, as in the other sequences, is used as a feint move to tempt the opponent to counter-attack. That is why the left guard hand, which is normally held near the right shoulder in this pattern, is purposely left exposed.

As the opponent falls into our trap and counter-attacks, we can respond in numerous prepared ways, such as executing another “Fierce Tiger” in Sequence 5, “Dark Dragon” in Sequence 6, and “White Snake” in Sequence 7. In this sequence, we use “Single Knife” to fracture his attacking arm or dislocate his attacking elbow, followed immediately with “Horizontally Sweep a Thousand Armies” at his neck. Hence, if you are well trained, like having practiced selected techniques at least 50 times daily for a few months, you may defeat your opponent the moment he responds to your feint moves.

Combat Application

Combat Application

Hang Lotus

Golden Dragon

But if you opponent is well trained too, he can of course neutralize your rehearsed attacks. In this sequence, for example, he intercepts your “Horizontal Sweep” with a “Single Knife”, and irrespectively of whether you could shift your arm away in time, he follows immediately with a “Golden Leopard Speeds through Jungle” into your ribs.

As you strike his attacking arm with “False Leg Hand Sweep”, he “flows” over your attacking hand and swings a “Reverse Hanging of Lotus” on your right temple, guarding your right leg with his right leg. You may neutralize his “Hanging Lotus” with “Golden Dragon”. At this point, both you and your opponent have a good opportunity to continue combat. You may, for example, move forward with a “Black Tiger” or a “White Snake”, thus continuing with any of the Sequences 1 to 4. Later, when you have learned kicking techniques, you may continue with a right thrust kick or a left side kick.

OVERVIEW

Combat Application

Combat Application

Combat Application

Combat Application

Poise Patterns

Fierce Tiger

Single Knife

Sweep Armies

Combat Application

Combat Application

Combat Application

Combat Application

Single Knife

Golden Leopard

Hang Lotus

Golden Dragon

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SHAOLIN WAHNAM KUNGFU — COMBAT SEQUENCE 7 “CHOP THE HUA MOUNTAIN”

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

Chop the Hua Mountain

Chop the Hua Mountain

Rotating Waist and Shifting Position

Here is a quick review of what you have learnt. Combat Sequences 1 to 4 are meant to train fundamental combat skills like right timing, right spacing, flowing movements, safe coverage, foot adjustment, and instantaneous changes. The four fundamental hand attacks to the top, middle, bottom and sides, and their corresponding defences are used. The stances used are mainly in the left mode. These four sequences constitute the kungfu set “Black Tiger Steals Heart”.

Sequences 5 to 8, which constitutes the kungfu set “Fierce Tiger Speeds Through Valley” introduce the right leg mode as well as many hand techniques for attack and defence. Sequence 5 introduces the tactic of pressing attacks, where a skilful exponent may press an opponent against a wall almost irrespective of the latter’s defensive moves! Sequence 6 introduce the left palm strike, applying internal force. It also illustrates the progression from 3 movements to only I movement in apply the pattern “Dark Dragon Draws Water”.

Needless to say, all techniques, skills, tactics, principles and so on are trained progressively, not exclusively. In other words, although fundamental skills like right timing and right spacing are emphasized in Sequences 1 to 4, these skills are constantly improved in all other sequences. Although tactics like pressing attacks and “alert the east, attack the west” in Sequences 5 and 6, they can be used in any other sequences.

Combat Application

Combat Application

Poise Patterns

Fierce Tiger

So far we use “Single Tiger Emerges from Cave” to defence against “Black Tiger Steals Heart”. In Sequences 1 to 4 the left “Single Tiger” is used, and in Sequences 5 and 6 the right “Single Tiger”. In this sequence, a new defence technique is used against the “Black Tiger”, namely “Bar the Big Boss“.

In this situation and if all other things were equal, “Bar the Big Boss” has a technical advantage over “Single Tiger Emerges from Cave”. In applying the “Single Tiger” you have to bring back your front right leg from the right Bow-Arrow Stance to change into the right False Leg Stance, and bring back your right hand from “Fierce Tiger Speeds through Valley” in a big arc to change into the “Single Tiger”. But in applying “Bar the Big Boss”, you merely need to shift from a Bow-Arrow Stance to a sideway Horse-Riding Stance, and change your horizontal arm to a vertical arm position, which is technically faster.

Then, why bother to learn “Single Tiger” when “Bar the Big Boss” is better? The answer is that other things are not equal. There are other situations where the “Single Tiger” is technically better than “Bar the Big Boss”. Even in this combat situation, there may be other factors which make “Single Tiger” a better choice. For example, we may not merely want to deflect the attacker’s punch, but use the tiger-claw in the “Single Tiger” to grip the attacker’s elbow or wrist.

Combat Application

Combat Application

Bar Big Boss

White Snake

In the previous sequence, we learned the progression from 3 moves to just 1 move when applying “Dark Dragon Draws Water”, hence increasing our speed but without actually trying to be faster! This sequence also provides us with a good opportunity to learn and develop this skill of minimizing movements, as follows.

When you have become skilful in applying “Bar the Big Boss” followed by “White Snake Shoots Venom” as two separate patterns (with a short pause between the patterns), you can perform the two patterns continuously as if they were one pattern (i.e. without any pause between them). Gradually you will discover from your own experience that instead of first applying a vertical block as in “Bar the Big Boss”, then followed with a taming hand as part of “White Snake”, you can achieve the same effect by using a smooth curve of your right hand in one movement instead of two.

Then you will also discover that you do not even need to change from Bow-Arrow Stance to sideway Horse-Riding Stance. All you need to do is to swerve your body in a smooth curve as you apply “White Snake Shoots Venom”, even without the need to apply “Bar the Big Boss”. In other words, from the previous “Fierce Tiger Speeds through Valley”, you can proceed straight to “White Snake Shoots Venom”, thus reducing three patterns to two.

If you execute this “White Snake” well, not only you can be very fast — striking the opponent’s throat almost the same time he thinks he can hit you with his thrust punch — but you will also have “tamed” his hands in such a way that, apparently, he could not defence against your counter-attack. Yet, by withdrawing his front left leg a small step back into a front False Leg Stance, he could free his hands to counter your palm thrust with a “Golden Dragon”. This should reminds us that in real life, even when the situation appears hopeless, by taking a step back, one can often find a viable solution.

Combat Application

Combat Application

Golden Dragon

Precious Duck

Your opponent counterattacks with a low punch. He must adjust his foot position before moving in with a low sideway Horse-Riding Stance, otherwise without you having to do anything he offers you a free advantage that you can exploit. You response to his low attack with a hand-sweep, breaking or dislocating his elbow or wrist.

As he moves his arm away to avoid your hand-sweep, you move in with a palm chop using the pattern “Chop the Hua Mountain”. Remember to cover yourself as you move in, otherwise he may jab his right palm into your ribs or abdomen.

You may notice that this is a progression or developmental lesson from “Precious Duck”. Previously, you learned that if your opponent struck your low punch with a hand-sweep, your brushed away his attack and counter-attacked with “Golden Star” or “Chop the Hua Mountain”. Now you reverse the role. If your opponent attacks you with a low punch, you strike him with a hand-sweep, but before he can counter-attack with “Golden Star” or “Chop the Hua Mountain” (like we have learned), you follow up with “Golden Star” or “Chop the Hua Mountain” instead. This is giving your opponent what he intends to give you.

Your opponent has an excellent counter — “Tame Tiger with Double Bows”. Here he applies the tactic of “no defence direct counter”, like what you did when you applied “False-Leg Hand Sweep” to his low punch. But this “Double Bows” attack is even faster. In “Hand Sweep” you counter-attack when his attack is just spent. In “Double Bows” he counter-attacks when you attack is still on its way.

Combat Application

Combat Application

Chop Hua Mountain

Double Bows

This “Double Bows” counter-attack provides an excellent opportunity for you to practice and develop your flexibility. To defend against this counter-attack, you move your front right leg backward from the right Bow-Arrow Stance to a right False Leg Stance, and simultaneously deflect his strike with a right tiger-claw. This movement demands much skill because you have to shift back your forward moving leg immediately it touches the ground in its forward movement.

This skill, which is essential for sound defence, has been introduced right at the start of the combat sequences. It involves the left leg mode in Sequences 1 to 4 (from “Black Tiger” to left “Single Tiger”), and the right leg mode in Sequences 5 and 6 (from “Fierce Tiger” to right “Single Tiger”). Speed was not as urgent in these combat situations because the opponent used the tactic of “first defence then counter”. Here the opponent not only uses “no defence direct counter”, but also his counter comes at a time when your attack has not even been completed. If you are trained to defend against this counter-attack well, defence in other situations will be relatively easier.

All these wonderful techniques and tactics are possible if our stances are both solid and flexible, showing how important stances are in combat even at this level, which is actually at the beginning stage of our kungfu training programme. In other words, those who prefer to bounce about, mistakenly thinking that stances are ineffective in fighting, have not been exposed to even the basics of kungfu philosophy and practice.

OVERVIEW

Combat Application

Combat Application

Combat Application

Combat Application

Poise Patterns

Fierce Tiger

Bar Big Boss

White Snake

Combat Application

Combat Application

Combat Application

Combat Application

Golden Dragon

Precious Duck

Chop Hua Mountain

Double Bow

WHY IS SHAOLIN KUNG FU MORE EFFECTIVE IN COMBAT THAN OTHER MARTIAL ARTS?

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/ans16b/dec16-1.html)

Shaolin Kungfu

Shaolin Kungfu

Question 7

Why is Shaolin Kungfu more effective in combat than other martial arts?

– Tomas, United Kingdom

Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

We can derive a good answer from my own experience.

In my younger days, as now over 70 I still consider myself young, I actually went out to look for sparring opponents to test my combat efficiency. I soon discovered that when I used techniques which were also found in other martial arts, like Black Tiger Steals Heart which is a thrust punch, and Happy Bird Hops up Branch which is a side-kick, my opponents of other martial arts could defend readily. But when I used techniques not found in their martial arts, like Lohan Tames Tiger and Rising Dragon and Galloping Tiger, my opponents would have difficulty defending.

The underlying philosophy, which occurred to me not at the time of sparring but much later, was quite obvious. If techniques A, B, C, D were found in their martial arts, and you used A, B, C, D against them, they would know how to defend. If techniques P, Q, R were not found in their martial arts, and you used P, Q, R against them, they would not know how to defend.

When you attacked your opponent, you must make sure he could not attack you at the same time. This was not difficult for me because “safety first” was a cardinal principle in my kungfu training. I always covered my opponents before attacking them, and as I used attacking techniques that they did not know, I always beat them.

Skills are more important than techniques in combat. Even when your techniques are superior, but if your opponent is more skilful, like he is faster and more powerful, he will still beat you. I did not realise this important principle at first. I only differentiated between skills and techniques much later. But I overcame this problem because initially I chose opponents who were of a same level as or lower level than me. Later when my combat skills improved, but still without consciously knowing the difference between skills and techniques, my choice of opponents became more liberal.

Another very important factor in combat is force, especially internal force. When I had developed remarkable internal force, I found that I could not only defeat opponents more easily but also opponents who were younger and bigger-sized than me.

A significant factor contributing to victory in combat is the application of tactics and strategies, which are rich in Shaolin Kungfu but not frequently found in other martial arts. At first I was unaware of combat tactics and strategies, but they were already incorporated in the combat sequences I used. Later with better understanding of combat tactics and strategies, my combat efficiency improved.

Hence, the many reason why Shaolin Kungfu is more combat effective than many other martial arts are a rich range of combat techniques not found in other martial arts, the focus of developing skills in genuine Shaolin training, the development and use of internal force in combat, and the application of combat tactics and skills.

Question 8

What benefits you can find in Shaolin Kungfu that cannot be found in other martial arts?

Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

An excellent answer was supplied by Kai (Sifu Kai Uwe Jettkandt, Chief Instructor of Shaolin Wahnam Germany), who was already a world known martial art master and an international all-style free sparring champion before he learned from me.

Kai told many Shaolin Wahnam members that he practiced Shaolin Kungfu because it fulfilled to a very high-level all the three attainments he looked for in any martial art — good health, combat efficiency and spiritual cultivation. Kai explained that many martial arts were good for fighting but bad for health. Some martial arts were good for health, but not effective for combat and lacked spiritual cultivation. Shaolin Kungfu has all these attainments to a very high level.

One can have these three attainments irrespective of his age. In many other martial arts, as a person ages, his health and combat efficiency are affected. But in Shaolin Kungfu, a practitioner actually becomes healthier and more combat efficient.

Many Shaolin Wahnam members told me that they were healthier and fitter at 50 than they were at 30. In many other martial arts, as a person becomes older, his strength and stamina become weaker, and therefore his combat ability is less efficient. But due to internal force which is independent of age, size and gender, and which also contributes much to his health, vitality and longevity, he becomes more combat efficient as he grows older.

Shaolin Kungfu is extremely rich in philosophy, which records the essence of centuries of past masters. Not only the combat tactics and strategies enable present Shaolin practitioners to be more combat efficient, its philosophy enriches their daily life.

Not many people may realize that Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan are the only two martial arts that originated from spiritual cultivation. All other martial arts gear towards fighting. Bodhidharma, the first patriarch of the Shaolin arts, and Zhang San Feng, the first patriarch of Taijiquan, practiced their arts to attain Zen or Tao, which in Western language means return to God the Holy Spirit.



If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at secretary@shaolin.org stating your name, country and e-mail address.

80-YEAR OLD WOMAN AGAINST ABLE-BODIED YOUNG MAN

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/video-clips-13/general/80-year-woman.html)

How would a 80-year old woman fight against an able-bodied young man?

Unless she has tremendous internal force, a 80-year old woman would be no match against an able-bodied young man. Her hits on him would have no effect, unless she hits his vital points.

So, she has to use tactics. One useful tactic is to hit and run. Another useful tactic is “to sound east but strike west”. A third tactic is to strike his vital points.


Please click the picture or the caption below to view the video

80 Year Old Woman against an Able-Bodied Young Man from Wong Kiew Kit on Vimeo.

SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS DECEMBER 2015 PART 1 BY GRANDMASTER WONG KIEW KIT

Shaolin Kung Fu

Many in Shaolin Wahnam train kungfu to be the best persons they could be

Question 1

I have been practicing Shaolin Cosmos Chi Kung for over 3 years now and i am amazed by it. It has helped me in ways that i couldn’t believe.

I would love to become an instructor so I can help others

The reason why I am asking a lot about being a Sifu is that it will help me move forward in life. i have had so many difficulties in life. I suffered 10 years of depression. I was stuck for a long time. I have many more problems

Becoming a teacher will help me move forward. It will help me with income too. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not wanting to make lots and lots of money. There is more to life than money., but it will help

That’s why i asked you if I could spend some time with you.

At this time I’m very happy and life is good and healthy but i need to move forward.

— Qasim, Ireland

Answer

Before becoming a chi kung instructor you must first be a good chi kung student. It is very important to realize that being an instructor in our school is like being a father to your students, and to preserve our arts for posterity by passing on to your students our arts so that they too will get the wonderful benefits we enjoy, like good health, vitality, longevity, mental clarity, peak performance and spiritual joys.

The main aim in becoming an instructor is not to overcome your own health problems, to move forward in life and to become rich, though interestingly all these results will be accomplished as bonuses if you are successful in teaching our chi kung.

You need to be healthy first before becoming a chi kung instructor. As a teacher of an elite art, your teaching which requires that you are a living example of the art, will move you forward in life. As the fees we charge are high when compared to what most other chi kung instructors charge but little when compared to the benefits our students get, you can become rich if you have a large class.

But all these results are bonuses, and not the reason why one becomes a chi kung instructor in our school. The aim is to pass on our arts to deserving students so as to preserve our arts for posterity.

This means that if an instructor in our school does not move forward in life and does not become rich, but succeeds in passing on our arts to deserving students, he has accomplished the aim of becoming an instructor. Becoming healthy is a prerequisite. We do not want an instructor who himself is sick.

Unlike in most other schools, a potential instructor does not have to spend a long time studying with me, though he (or she) has to spend a long time practicing the art on his own to be proficient in it. He needs to attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course as this course covers the whole range of chi kung skills ranging from a beginner’s level, which he needs to teach his beginning students at the level of the students and not at the level the instructor himself practices, to a master’s level, which the instructor is at or aspires to be. It is important that an instructor teaches at the level of his students, and not at his own practicing level. This is a teaching point many new instructors neglect.

It is our school policy to appoint instructors according to seniority and usually recommended by the Chief Instructor of the country. As there are many students more senior than you, it is unlikely that you will be appointed.

Question 2

My practice is going very well. I have been focusing more on chi kung lately, but taking that step back seems to have taken my Kungfu to a newer level.

— Tim Hooren, Belgium

Answer

This is natural and logical for us in Shaolin Wahnam.

This was also natural and logical for past masters. In the past there was no separation between advanced kungfu training and chi kung training. Advance kungfu training was chi kung training.

In other words, when a master trained kungfu, called “lian gong” in Chinese, what he actually trained was chi kung, like developing his internal force. He had long past the stage of practicing kungfu forms.

Gaun Dao

Grandmaster Wong performing a Guan Dao

Question 3

Character development is for me personally the major change right now happening, and I think it’s the most important for me also. Looking back I was very weak in daily life, in everything.

I am becoming harder — in my ways, my doings. In taking decisions, speaking out to people, I am becoming very straight forward, and this is fusing completely with my combat ability.

Answer

This is wonderful. Indeed, this was a mark of great kungfu in the past. When master trained great kungfu, they became the best person they could be. Those who trained lower level kungfu became good fighters.

I am glad that many students in our school has made this their aim, to become the best person they can be.

Question 4

I had special experiences. At home, one evening outside of practice, all of a sudden I felt like holding two broadswords, and I could use them and apply them in such a fantastic way. I did a sequence with these swords.

I also had experiences applying a spear and Guan Dao, all the way to experiencing pushing my energy to the sharp blade of the Guan Dao. Even more amazing, I felt the difference between the weapons. The spear felt very light, and I could even sense the red cloth under the spearhead. I could basically hit any point of an opponent’s body with the spear-point.

Dear Sifu, why is it that I can sense these weapons so well? I actually can still to this day sense the Tiger with me as well.

Answer

You were reliving your former life or lives


Pressing Attack

An effective way to spar is to employ a combat sequence to press into an opponent

Question 5

People would think I’m living in a fantasy world, but I’m very much down to earth about all of this, and of course I don’t go telling people about all this, but I thought I had to share these experiences with Sifu.

Answer

Yes, many people would think you have gone crazy. It is not wise to share such experiences with them.

Many people do not even believe things like internal force and overcoming so-called incurable diseases, which are clearly recorded in kungfu and chi kumg classics. Either they do not believe such things are possible, or they do not believe we are capable of such abilities. They think we are crazy, or we are big liars.

Question 6

I asked a street fighter who won most fights about his fighting, and he told me it was very simple to be victorious. Go in and don’t stop.

This brings me to our combat sequences and what Sifu has been advocating all this time. We go in with a pattern and immediately follow up with our other patterns from our sequence until the opponent is down.

Answer

There is one big difference. We follow the principle of “safety first”, but they don’t. We make sure we are safe by covering our opponents adequately.

Their opponents are not good at combat. As long as they move in relentlessly, they can easily beat their opponents, who are quite helpless.

An excellent strategy in combat is to press into an opponent with a combat sequence

Question 7

In the past, I couldn’t apply this strategy, because I didn’t have the correct mind state. And this is the most fantastic, the character development and life experience lead me to experiencing and understanding the mind state needed to fight, and use our Kungfu, which is just fantastic.

Answer

Yes, the mind set and internal force are actually more important than the fighting techniques. The street figher, for example, does not have the techniques and internal force. He only has the mind set. Yet he is quite successful in winning fights.

Question 8

I want to become a world’s best fighter. What should I suppose to do?

— Name and country not stated

Answer

If you want to become a world’s best fighter, you have come to a wring school. Although we place much importance on combat efficiency in training a martial art, or else we shall make a mockery of ourselves, becoming a great fighter is low in our priority.

High in our priority is to have good health, vitality, longevity, mental clarity, peak performance and spiritual joys. In other words, we are dedicated in our daily training not because we want to be great fighters but because we want to be healthy, have zest in our daily life, live to a ripe old age, clear in our thinking, do well in our work and play, and be peaceful and happy.

If actual fighting is not high in our priority, why do we place much importance in combat efficiency? Isn’t it a contradiction?

No, it is not a contradiction. We place much importance to combat efficieny because we practice a martial art. We do not want to fight if we have a choice, but if we have to fight for whatever reasons, we shall fight very well. More significantly, training a martial art enables us to gain the benefits mentioned above, like good health, vitality, and spiritual joys, more immediately and deeply.

Good health, for example, represent the climax of chi kung training, but the starting point of martial art practice. In other words, practitioners in chi kung consider their training completed when they have have good health, but martial artists consider good health the beginning of their training.

Moreover some desirable qualities, like mental clarity, are more urgent in marital art training. For example, chi kung practitioners normally have more time to emplly mental clarity to make wise decisions, but in martial art training when an opponent’s punch or kick is coming at you, you need mental clarity instantly to make wise decisions.

Unfortunately, many martial artists today show a glaring lack of mental clarity. They do not realize that they are becoming more unhealthy the more they train, and their training does not enable them to defend themselves, otherwise they would not be routinely hit in free sparring!

There are many useful things you could do. For a start I would suggest, for your own benefit, that you learn to write a letter properly. You should at least have a salutation at the beginning of your letter, and a signature at the end.

You should start your letter with “Dear Mr Wong”, “Dear Sifu Wong” or “Dear Sir or Madame”. You should end your letter with “Yours faithfully” or “Yours truly”, followed by your name or pen-name.



If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at secretary@shaolin.org stating your name, country and e-mail address.

SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS NOVEMBER 2015 PART 3 BY GRANDMASTER WONG KIEW KIT

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/ans15b/nov15-3.html)

Tai Chi Chuan, Taijiquan

Genuine Taijiquan is an internal martial art

Question 1

Wong Sigung,

Because I have learned from Sifu Anthony Korahais, I believe that is the proper way to address you. If not, please forgive me.

— David, USA

Answer

Thank you for your kind thoughts and proper address. An even better way for you to address me is just “Sigung”, and not “Wong Sigung” or “Sigung Wong”.

Of course you don’t mean it, but it is helpful to know that prefixing or suffixing a person’s surname by his students, like “Lau Sifu” or “Sifu Lau” instead of just “Sifu”, distant them from him. The public would call him “Lau Sifu” or “Sifu Lau”, but his students call him “Sifu”.

Your case in this e-mail is different. You mentioned “Sifu Anthony Korahais” because you wanted to indicate which of our certified instructors in our school you meant. But when you talk to him, you just address him as “Sifu”, and not “Sifu Anthony” or “Sifu Korahais”.

Editorial Note

Because Grandmaster Wong has a long waiting list, these questions were received more than a year ago at a time when Sifu Anthony Korahais was still in Shaolin Wahnam. Sifu Anthony has since left the school, and by Sifu Anthony’s choice, Grandmaster Wong is no longer his sifu. Hence, those students who used to address Grandmaster Wong as “sigung” should now address him as “sifu” if they wish to continue learning from Grandmaster Wong. They would also continue to address Sifu Anthony as “sifu”.

Question 2

Thank you very much for generously sharing your very valuable art. I am also particularly thankful for your website titled Showing Respect to the Master and the years of questions and answers you have archived.

Answer

I am glad that many of our Shaolin Wahnam students have told me that our arts have greatly enriched their lives.

Showing respect to the master is mainly for the students’ benefit. Many other people may not know this, or believe it is so. Showing respect to the master gives the students an excellent mind-set to benefit most from the master’s teaching.

Many people, both inside and outside our school, have also told me that they have benefited much from my Question-Answer Series. As there is a long waiting list, these questions and answers are often posted for public reading about a year later.

I would take this opportunity to mention an interesting point from the many questions I have received. Before looking at the name of the enquirer, I can often tell whether he is a member of our Shaolin Wahnam Family by just looking at the way he asks his questions.

There are three characteristics that differentiate our family members from members of the public, namely mental clarity, courtesy and open-mindedness.

Our family members are clear in their writing. I can easily know what they write. On the other hand, although questions by members of the public are edited for grammar and spelling before they are being posted in my Question-Answer Series, you can differentiate them if you examine closely.

Clear writing shows mental clarity. I am glad our training has resulted in mental clarity demonstrated in the e-mails our students sent to me.

Our family members are polite. Your opening paragraph is a good example. Some members of the public do not even bother to address the person they send their e-mails to. They just start asking their questions.

And some do not state their names at the end of their e-mails. If I post their questions in my Question-Answer Series, I have to guess at their names form their e-mail addresses.

Courtesy to others is an indication of self-respect. Self-respect is very important for successful living.

Our family members are open-minded. They realize and accept that other people may not agree with their views which they cherish dearly. Open-mindedness is present in your questions regarding low-level Mao Shan, and regarding talking to other people about our chi kung.

Being open-minded certainly make our life happier. It also enables us to improve ourselves.

Baguazhang Circle Walking

Circle Walking in Baguazhang

Question 3

Once you mentioned that the form of payment for low maoshan was to be either permanently deformed, forever poor, or without children. This disturbed me greatly. I can only imagine the payment and reward associated with high maoshan.

Why would anyone agree to any of those things? Is it black magic for unscrupulous people who desire quick and easy cultivation? I cannot imagine why someone would accept those terms when wonderful arts like Tai Chi Chuan and Shaolin Chuan exist.

Answer

There are three levels of Mao Shan, or Taoist magic, namely low level, middle level and high level, sometimes known as black Mao Shan, grey Mao Shan and white Mao Shan.

Low level Mao Shan practitioners are concerned mainly with acquiring magical powers overcoming others and causing difficulties for others, which generally result in dong harm. Middle level Mao Shan practitioners have abilities of low level Mao Shan as well as high level Mao Shan. High level Mao Shan practitioners have abilities of low and middle levels Mao Shan, and more, but are concerned with healing and helping people.

Hence, the division into low, middle and high levels Mao Shan is based mainly on the application of Taoist magic, and not on the attainment of practitioners, but the tradition and philosophy of respective schools focus on these specific levels.

A requirement for students to undergo training in low level Mao Shan is to choose one of the following three conditions — to be permanently deformed, to be unable to accumulate money, and to have no children. Normally people would not agree to any of these conditions, but some persons due to evil intention of various reasons may accept one of these conditions. A common condition chosen by these people is an inability to accumulate money or not to have children.

Someone who has no ability or desire to earn money honorably and honestly may choose the second condition. After successfully competed his training, he can invent money and use it lavishly, but the money cannot be used the following day. Someone who wants to avenge some great wrongs done to his family may sacrifice family life and choose the third condition to take revenge.

Low level Mao Shao is black magic, and can be very powerful. While many low level Mao Shan practitioners who use his magic to harm other people for no better reasons than earn money from those who pay them to do so, are unscrupulous, others are not, like those who want an easy carefree life, and those who want to avenge great wrongs. These practitioners, for example, would not use their magic on poor hawkers, or harm innocent people.

While it is true that wonderful arts like genuine Tai Chi Chuan and genuine Shaolin Chuan, or Shaolin Kungfu, exist, it is also true that these wonderful arts are very rare today. Those who have a chance to learn these arts, like students in our school, are indeed very lucky. Much of Tai Chi Chuan and Shaolin Kungfu practiced today are grossly debased.

It is also very rare today to practice Mao Shan, regardless of its level. Even when students have a chance, besides the conditions required by the teacher, the training is also very tough.

Question 4

Finally, do you have any advice on speaking with other people about qigong?

From reading your question and answer series, I know that many people respond unfavorably to your talking about it. I also have tried unsuccessfully to talk with people about it without results.

Oddly, the people who stand to benefit the most seem to be the least interested. However, most of them act as though they didn’t hear me or I am obviously deceived. I am sad to be unable to share the great benefits I’ve received with others.

Answer

My advice is that you may talk about the benefits of qigong in general to all people. If they do not show interest, you need not continue. Only for those who are interested to know more and gain benefits themselves, should you spend time elaborating.

Don’t waste your time on undeserving people. This may sound harsh, but it is good advice based on my many years of experience.

While many people respond unfavorably to my talking about qigong, many other people respond favorably to it. My website, for example, is one of the top 500 most visited websites in the world. Considering that only a small proportion of the world’s people are interested in qigong and kungfu or any martial art, this is a remarkable achievement. Moreover, many of our instructors and students learned from me after hearing me talking about qigong and kungfu in my websites or books.

If you talk to people interested in qigong or who want to benefit from qigong, you will have results. If you talk to people who are not interested or do not believe in the benefits qigong can bring, they think they are doing you a favour by listening to you.

People whom you think will benefit most from your telling them of our qigong and the benefits you have gained, are undeserving of your time and effort. You would spend your time more fruitfully by taking your girlfriend out or finding one if you do not have a girlfriend yet, or spending quality time with your parents.

On the other hand, it is their right not to be interested or to believe you, though it is not very wise of them considering the benefits you have derived from your qigong practice. You need not feel sad that you are unable to share the great benefits you have received with others. It is their choice. You should feel happy that you have the opportunities to enjoy these wonderful benefits.

San Zhan internal force

The internal force in Wuzuquan is more flowing than condolidated

Question 5

I was curious about some of the Baguazhang training methods used in other schools, particularly the methods I learnt from my old Baguazhang sifu before learning Baguazhang from you.

His school’s fundamental set consists of Walking the Circle with the upper body held in different positions. My old sifu mentioned that doing so would train “different forms of jin” and condition the body’s strength and flexibility.

— Fredrick Chu, USA

Answer

Your old Baguazhang sifu was correct. Performing Walking the Circle using different positions will develop different forms of jin or internal force. For example when you use “Black Bear From Cave”, you develop “sinking force” at your palms. When you use “Great Roc Spreads Wings”, you develop “spreading force” at your arms.

Using these different positions for Walking the Circle is similar to the Eight Internal Palms which I mentioned in the webpage, Brief Descriptions of Baguazhang Classics and Comments on Songs of Baguazhang, when answering questions raised by you.

In the Walking the Circle we learned at the UK Summer Camp 2012, we used the Eight External Palms. We could develop internal force although we used an external method because we were skilful. Indeed, we could develop internal force no matter what external kungfu sets we used.

As you are now proficient in the Eight External Palm, you can progress to using the different positions taught in your old sifu’s set when practicing Circle Walking. You will find that the internal force developed is more powerful.

Question 6

I experimented a little with returning to my old sifu’s set and experimenting with Circle Walking while holding my upper body in postures from the Wahnam Baguazhang Eight Mother Palms and felt my energy flow going to different parts of the body, but didn’t know if such practice would be efficient or fruitful in the long run.

Answer

Yes, this practice will be efficient and fruitful. It is a development from using the Eight External Palms learned at the UK Summer Camp 2012 to using Eight Internal Palms of your old sifu’s set although the exact patterns may not be the same.

You should practice your old sifu’s set the way you practice Circle Walking learnt in Shaolin Wahnam though the hand and body positions may be different. Your mind must be free from thoughts and you must be relaxed. You don’t have to worry about how to develop different forms of jin. The different hand and body positions will do that.

When you use the Eight External Palms learned in our school, your energy flow goes to different parts of your body because you have generated flowing internal force. When you use the hand and body positions of your old sifu’s set, this flowing energy will consolidate into different types of internal force due to the various hand and body positions. You don’t have to worry how. The various hand and body positions will result in different types of force.

It is both safer and more effective to first develop flowing force, then consolidate the force, or just develop consolidated force. Starting with the method learnt in Shaolin Wahnam, and progressing to your old sifu’s set is an excellent approach.

Choy-Li-Fatt internal force

The internal force in Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu is more consolidated than flowing

Question 7

I would appreciate any insight you might have on the practice of Circle Walking with the upper body held in various postures and how it might compare to other methods of force training, such as simply holding the Green Dragon posture in circle walking, using the “secret” method of Walking the Circle for internal force by holding a posture for a period of time, then taking the next step along the circle to hold a posture for a period of time, and repeating until completing the circle, and the master’s method of Baguazhang force training that you taught us at the Summer Camp.

Answer

These are various methods to develop internal force. We are able to understand and benefit from these different methods because of our breadth and depth, which extend beyond Baguazhang, and from which we can draw inspiration and practice.

These different Baguazhang methods enable us to develop internal force that can have different proportion of flowing and consolidated force. The whole range of internal force in kungfu can extend from the soft, flowing force of Yang Style Taijiquan to the hard, consolidated force of Iron Wire.

Because both these styles as well as other styles of internal force, like Flower Set and Xingyiquan, are practiced in our school, we are able to draw from these styles to enrich our Baguazahgn in a way that other Baguazhang schools may not be able to. This positive transfer of skills is enhanced by my understanding and practice of Dragon Strength.

A rough guideline showing the ratios of flowing force to consolidated force in various kungfu styles are as follows:

  • Yang Style Taijiquan 90 – 10

  • Wuzuquan 80 – 20

  • Chen Style Taijiquan 70 – 30

  • Dragon Strength 60 – 40

  • Wudang Taijiquan 50 – 50

  • Flower Set 40 – 60

  • Baguazhang 40 – 60

  • Praying Mantis 40 – 60

  • Tantui 40 – 60

  • Triple Stretch 30 – 70

  • Wing Choon 20 – 80

  • Xingyiquan 20 – 80

  • Eagle Claw 20 – 80

  • Choy-Li-Fatt 10 – 90

  • Iron Wire 10 – 90

Please take not that the about listing is a rough guide, and there can be variation. Some Yang Style Taijiquan practitioners, for example, may have 20% or 30% of consolidated force instead of 10%. Generally only masters may have flowing force or consolidated force. Students may use physical momentum as in Aikido, or muscular strength as in Karate, and mistake it for flowing force and consolidated force.

By itself, i.e. without transference of learning from breadth and depth, Baguazhang force is about 40& flowing and 60% consolidated. A Baguazhang practitioner who has such force is probably a master or at an advanced level.

In our school, however, even students have internal force right at the start of their Baguazhang training, and due to the advantage of breadth and depth some may vary the proportion between flowing force and consolidated force.

A comparison of the various methods of Baguazhang force training using Circle Walking is as follows.

When the upper body is held in various postures, various types of consolidated force are developed according to the postures. When only the Green Dragon posture is used in Circle Walking, flowing force is developed, especially when various palm changes are performed at the end of a circle, like what you learned at the UK Summer Camp 2012.

As mentioned earlier, it is both safer and more effective to develop flowing force before consolidated force. If a practitioner starts straight away with consolidating force, the risk of causing energy blockage is higher. If he starts with flowing force, even when he makes a same mistake, energy flow will clear away the blockage.

Before energy can be consolidated, it must be flowing. This is a fact many people may not know. Hence, our students, who start with chi flow, can develop the same amount of internal force in a month whereas other students would need a year. Understandably, other people may be angry at this statement, and call us arrogant. That is their problem, not ours.

Another fact many people may not know is that consolidated force is also flowing, but at a slow pace. If a practitioner locks up his energy, it becomes stagnant and forms muscles.

When a Baguazhang practitioner uses the secret method of Circle Walking holding the Green Dragon posture for some time, then walk the next step and hold the posture for some time until he completes the circle, he focuses on developing consolidated force, but ensures that it is also flowing. This method should be practiced only after he has developed flowing force using the mobile Circle Walking.

The master’s method taught at the UK Summer Camp 2012 is a progression form this method of Stance Training in Circle Walking. It develops different types of internal force using various Eight Internal Palms, and at the same time ensures that force is flowing. It should be practice after Stance Training in Circle Waling.

Hence an effective progression of internal force training in Baguazhang is as follows:

  1. Mobile Circle Walking holding the Green Dragon posture.

  2. Stance Training using the Green Dragon posture in Circle Walking.

  3. Circle Walking using the Eight Internal Palms.

The third level may be performed at two stages — mobile circle walking with the eight internal palms, and stance training in circle walking with the eight internal palms.

Question 8

In addition to developing the force for which Baguazhang is well-known, I want to sharpen the overall skill of getting to an opponent’s back to deliver a decisive strike for which Baguazhang is famous. I’ve lately been imagining an imaginary opponent coming at me with simple strikes (for example, Black Tiger Steals Heart) and then using my footwork to step to the imaginary opponent’s side and responding with one of the 64 application palms.

I’ve found in my imaginary opponent and with real sparring partners that it is very easy to get to the back of an opponent who gives me a lot of force and forward momentum, but it is more difficult with a cautious opponent. Would you be able to give me some advice on how to best train the skill of getting to an opponent’s back, especially such a cautious opponent?

Answer

You method of practicing with an imaginary opponent and then testing it on a teal opponent is excellent. It was the method past masters practiced to become combat efficient. This was the method I frequently practiced to remain unbeaten. It is also the method I ask our Shaolin Wahnam instructors and students to practice to win sparring competitions.

If you are very fluent in executing your combat sequence, which must take into account of safety first, your opponent just has no chance against you. He will be retreating trying to cover your strikes.

Occasionally, an opponent may be very skillful that he can neutralize your attack and counter attack. You make an instant modification, irrespective of whether you are attacking him from the front, side or back, and continue to subdue hum.

Of course, with a cautious opponent, it is relatively not as easy to get to his back, or to attack him from any direction. There are two effective tactics for this situation. One is called “false-false, real-real”, and the other “tricking an opponent to advance to futility”.

In “false-false, real-real”, which is pronounced in an impossible sound in Mandarin based on tonal values, “shi-shi, shi-shi”, you make one or two feint attacks, which can turn to be real if your opponent fails to respond. As he responds to your feint moves, you get to his back.

To make your victory doubly sure, you anticipate a few possible responses he is likely to make. You make the necessary modifications and subdue him. If his response is so out-landish that you have not prepared a suitable modification, let him go and wait for another opportunity.

In the tactic of “tricking an opponent to advance to futility”, which is “yin di le kong” in Mandarin Chinese, you trick you opponent to advance to attack you, but you space yourself that his attacks are futile. When he is the midst of his attacks, you slip to his side or back to strike him.

Again, to make victory doubly sure, you anticipate a few possible responses he will make in that situation, and use defeat him with appropriate modifications. If his rare response is outside your prepared modification, let him go and wait for another opportunity.

Question 9

A little bit ago, I experimented with “Through the Woods” for fun. I began Circle Walking through the obstacles and using the obstacles as placeholders for the position of imaginary opponents and just spontaneously delivering various strikes in free flow. It was a very eye-opening experience. I felt as though I were training the skill to really deliver decisive strikes on the move, especially since the idea arose from the training that I had to be able to use just one pattern to strike someone down in a situation with multiple opponents.

The patterns that came out most during my experiences with “Through the Woods” were Yellow Dragon Shoots Tongue (though from the Bagua stance, not the Bow Arrow stance), Yellow Dragon Plays With Water, Heavenly King Carries Umbrella, Golden Dragon Spirals Around Pillar, Cloud Dragon Spirals Around, and Wind Strikes Brain Gate, using the names of the patterns from 64 Patterns of Baguazhang.

Are there particular patterns in Baguazhang that are more suited for fighting in a situation with multiple attackers? I noticed I was using the Bagua stance almost the entire time, not the Bow Arrow or Horse Riding stances.

Answer

This was a secret training taught to me by my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam. It was extremely effective, and I once taught it at an advanced course for instructors.

There are no particular patterns that are specially suited for this situation. You can use any suitable patterns. But as you are on the move, you have to strike down an opponent with just one decisive pattern, and simultaneously cover yourself adequately from possible attacks from others.

You can let the patterns come out in chi flow as you go through the woods. Some suitable patterns are Yellow Dragon Shoots Tongue, Pure Blade Cuts Grass and Yellow Dragon Plays with Water.



If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at secretary@shaolin.org stating your name, country and e-mail address.

HOW DID SHAOLIN WAHNAM PRACTITIONERS SPAR IN THE PAST?

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/video-clips-5/sp-old/sp-old.html)

shaolin wahnam

Tai Chee Yong sparring with Grandmaster Wong



How did Shaolin Wahnam practitioners spar in the past?

They sparred like what our present-day students do. We are lucky that Sifu Eugene Siterman recorded some sparring practice amongst Grandmaster Wong’s old students when he attended an Intensive Chi Kung Course in 2000.

How did Shaolin Practitioners Spar in the Past from Wong Kiew Kit on Vimeo.