Grandmaster Wong performing a Taijiquan pattern, “White Crane Flaps Wings”
I will be taking part of the next Intensive Taijiquan Course in Sabah. It is the course I have been waiting for since I asked to be accepted as a student in 2009.
— Sifu Angel Perez Oliveras, Puerto Rico
The Intensive Taijiquan Course in Sabah from 25th to 31st March 2016 is excellent for you. It is a course that you must not miss. You will find that not only your martial art will be brought to a new wonderful level, but more importantly your life will be a joy everyday. It is indeed difficult for those doing Taiji dance to realize what they have missed in daily life.
You were already an international sparring champion. But when you apply Taijiquan on your opponents, who may be half or one-third your age, you will find them like children!. There is simply nowhere your opponents can counter your attack. I mentioned this before a few times, and I also realized that some people thought I was boastful, though I never meant to be, but I am merely stating the truth.
But, of course, another truth is that very, very few Taiji practitioners today, including many so-called masters, know Taijiquan combat. But Taijiquan combat is easy for you; you only have to change your Taekwondo techniques into Taijiquan techniques in sparring.
Yet, the best benefit of the Intensive Taijiquan Course is not combat efficiency. Combat efficiency is secondary, only a bonus, something some course participants may not even pay much attention to. One of the greatest benefits of the course is that you will be healthy, fit, fast and powerful, physically and mentally, even beyond 70. I am happy I can speak from personal experience.
I remember very well your advice then. It was during a Sinew Metamorphosis course in Las Vegas. I asked what to do in order to improve my Taiji dance, though I was not fully aware I was doing Taiji dancing at that time, but I could sense something wasn’t right.
Your advice was to incorporate what I had learned during the course with my Taiji practice — to enter the qigong state of mind, generate qi flow and perform my sets in qi flow. As expected my practice became alive!. I am very excited that I will finally be able to take part in an Intensive Taijiquan Course.
What you have done with your qigong training on Taijiquan, before you attend the Intensive Taijiquan Course, is excellent.
For those who have been doing Taiji dance and may not have the opportunity to attend an Intensive Taijiquan Course but have the opportunity to learn qigong from us, should follow you example and draw inspiration from your results.
When they perform their Taiji dance, they should enter into a qigong state of mind, generate a qi flow and perform their Taiji sets in qi flow. Their Taiji dance will come alive, it will become an internal art, no more just an external dance-like form.
But for the martial aspect of Taijiquan, they have to learn from our Taijiquan instructors or attend my Intensive Taijiquan Course.
We are incredibly generous with our Intensive Taijiquan Course. Even those who are not our Shaolin Wahnam students but have practiced Taiji dance for some time, can still join our course.
They have heard that by practicing genuine Taijiquan they can be fit and healthy as well as combat efficient even at old age. But if they do not believe in our claims, that is their business, not ours.
In fact, I am now thinking of offering the Intensive Taijiquan Course as well as the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course only to our Family members, and not open to the public. We need not be generous to the point of casing pearls before swines.
“Shift Horse Ask Way” from San Feng Wudang Set
I experienced some breakthroughs performing the 24-Pattern Set, which I had been practicing following your first advice. But since I was able to finally perform Dragon Strength Circulation Chi Set completely, I feel that the rest of my training had gone to a complete new dimension.
I cannot even imagine what will happen when I could assimilate and incorporate the full scope of what you will transmit in Sabah. I want to be as best prepared as possible, so I am training daily for the Intensive Taijiquan Course. I have been doing my stance training for quite some time now, learning and perfecting the 12 basic combat sequences, the four basic sets and of course the 24 Pattern Set
It is no surprise to me that you have some breakthroughs with the 24-Pattern Taijiquan Set. Although it is called a simplified set, it has wonderful benefits, especially when you practice it with the skills you have learned in our school
The Dragon Strength Circulation Chi Set is incredible, It is the pinnacle of my kiungfu development. Having attended the course, you will enhance whatever kungfu you practice, as well as whatever you do in your daily life.
You are preparing very well for the Intensive Taijiquan Course. You already have much internal force from your qigong training, but at the course we shall further learn the skills and techniques of developing internal force using Taijiquan methods. Most Taiji dancers have the techniques, but they don’t have the skills, and they don’t realize it.
Would now be a good time to ask what discoveries and ‘ah ha’ moments you have experienced while composing the San Feng Wudang Set?
— Sifu Tim Franklin, UK /p>
Editorial Note: This question was asked before the UK Simmer Camp 2015, but because of a long waiting list the answer is released here only now.
The discoveries and aha experiences occurred mostly not during the composition of the San Feng Wudang Set, not even during the reconstruction of Wudang Taijiquan from which the San Feng Set derived, but from the time I first practiced Taijiquan.
When I composed the San Feng Wudang Set, it was mainly shortening Wudang Taijiquan to a manageable length, while maintaining the spirit, principles and benefits of Wudang Taijiquan.
When I reconstructed Wudang Taijiquan from classical sources, I already have practiced and benefited from Taijiquan for quite some time. But what struck me impressively was that the Wudang Taijiquan Set was more like a Shaolin set than what many Taijiquan practitioners conceptualized Taijiquan to be.
Even the patterns from the Wudang Taijiquan Set were like Shaolin patterns, and their names were poetic like Shaolin pattern names, and not technical like many Yang Style Taijiquan patterns and some Chen Style Taijiquan patterns.
There were many discoveries and aha experiences when I first practiced Taijiquan, which was Yang Style Taijiquan at that time. I discovered that if I performed a Taijiquan set fast, it looked like Shaolin Kungfu, and if I performed a Shaolin set slowly it looked like Taijiquan.
Even at this early age I knew that Taijiquan had to be performed fast if it had to be used for combat. This was not a problem for me, I just performed it like Shaolin Kungfu. I was able to apply all Taijiquan patterns for combat because of my training in Shaolin combat application. This was quite an aha experience as most Taijiquan practitioners did not know the martial aspect of Taijiquan.
I was quite good at Taijiquan but did not teach it despite many requests. I considered my best to be Shaolin Kungfu, and I wanted to teach my best. It was Rama who rightly commented to me that although my best was Shaolin Kungfu, many people preferred Taijiquan for some legitimate reasons, and it would be a great pity if I did not teach them, that I changed my mind.
When I taught in Australia in the 1980s, before my regular travels to teach in the West in the 1990s, Ken, a Taijiquan instructor in Bendigo, requested me to show him some Taijiquan. I taught him how to develop internal force using Lifting Water. Not only he could develop internal force in just that session when he only heard about internal force before that, I myself was amazed at the tremendous amount of internal force I developed after lifting my arms only a few times.
With hindsight I later realized that I entered in a deep chi kung state of mind, and I also led Ken into a chi kung state of mind. I concluded that if I used the same methods but different Taijiquan patterns, I could also develop internal force.
This was a discovery and aha experience. If a practitioner performs his Taijiquan set or part of it slowly and gracefully, without intellectualizing and without tensing his muscles, he could develop internal force without having to perform other internal force training methods.
It also led to my discovery and aha experience that Taijiquan itself was chi kung, and that it was unnecessary to incorporate other chi kung methods from elsewhere, like Lifting the Sky and Carrying the Moon from Eighteen Lohan Hands, into Taijiquan to develop internal force.
This discovery had far-reaching effects, and later contributed to the flow method and the otherwise ridiculous concept that making any movements, including comical or odd movements, in a chi kung state of mind, we could generate a chi flow or develop internal force! This was indeed amazing, considering that many masters had spent years chasing after internal force but to no avail.
I also discovered and had aha experiences how Taijiquan could enrich Shaolin Kungfu. If a student was rigid in his movement, by practicing his Shaolin sequences as if he was perfroming Taijiquan, he could not only overcome his rigid problem but make his movements flowing.
I discovered two important reasons why a small-sized Taijiquan exponent could defeat a bigger-sized opponent. One reason was internal force. The other reason was Taijiquan mechanics, and the core of Taijiquan mechanics was waist rotation. By rotating the waist, many Shaolin techniques that were otherwise difficult to perform, became easy.
Waist rotation led to fa-jing, or exploding force. The Taijiquan principle of “starting from the back leg, rotating the waist and ending at the hand” became very useful. By applying the principle of rotating the waist, I could help Shaolin students not only to explode spiral force in “Black tiger Steals Heart”, but make their palm strikes powerful, realizing the Shaolin principle that the palm was more powerful than the fist.
Waist rotation and exploding force were also found in Shaolin Kungfu, but were emphasized in Taijiquan. My discoveries and aha experiences in Taijiquan enriched my practice and teaching of Shaolin Kungfu.
The Complete Book of Shaolin
Can we apply this positive attitude in our everyday life even when situations are negative?
— Raphael, Austria
Yes, we can. There are countless attitude one can adopt in any situation, but all these attitudes can be divided into two broad categories, the negative way which most people adopt, and the positive way which is the Shaolin Wahnam way.
This positive attitude, or the Shaolin Wahnam way, can be applied to all situations, including negative situations. Suppose a person is very sick and he consults a doctor. After examining the patient, the doctor can adopt a negative attitude, like telling the patient that he is going to die, or adopt a positive attitude, telling the patient that he has a chance to recover.
It is important to note that in both cases the doctor is not telling a lie. The patient will die one day, regardless of whether it will happen in a few months’ time or after fifty years. It is also possible that the patient will recover even when he suffers form a so-called incurable disease.
The doctor’s attitude is very important, not only to the patient but also to himself. Whether his attitude is negative or positive will not change the present reality; irrespective of what the doctor thinks, the patient is still sick with a serious illness. But it will greatly affect how the future will unfold. It will not only bring grief or joy to the patient, but also affect what his treatment will be like.
The patient’s reaction can also be negative or positive irrespective of other people’s opinion. If the doctor told hem that he would die, he could reply that the doctor was wrong and he would live. If the doctor told him that he had a chance to recover, he could say that it was not just a chance but he would certainly recover, and return to thank the doctor with a bunch of flowers.
What is the most important character trait for a Shaolin practitioner to have to take his art to the highest level?
— Jinne, Canada
The main character trait for a Shaolin practitioner to have to take his art to the highest level is gratitude. This may be a surprise to some people who may think it is determination or intelligence or something else, but from my many years of experience both as a student and a teacher, it is gratitude. In fact, gratitude is needed at all levels.
At a beginning level, a student needs to have gratitude to learn effectively from his teacher If he lacks gratitude, like if he practices according to what he thinks is correct and not according to what his teacher asks him to do, which many students do often without their realizing, he will miss the essence of the art right at the beginning.
If a student lacks gratitude at the intermediate level, he will not progress to the advanced level. Compared to other students he may have accomplished much, especially when kungfu and chi kung today have degraded beyond recognition. where students hurt themselves with free exchange of blows instead of learning to defend themselves in kungfu, or perform outward forms as gentle exercise without any experience of energy flow in chi kung. But he will be stagnant at this level. But if he is grateful that he has an opportunity to learn an esoteric art, he will follow his master’s teaching and progress.
It is often at the advanced level where students would one day become masters themselves that these students fail. As they have attained abilities not available to most other practitioners, they become disrespectful and arrogant, thinking that there is no much they can get from their masters. If they have gratitude, they can overcome this hurdle. As they are arrogant they will also not benefit from other masters or other sources.
One-Finger Shooting Zen
Besides the books you have written, what other books you would recommend?
I read many books in my younger days, especially when I was at university, ranging from science to religion, from literature to medicine, and many of them were wonderful. I would mention a few that come readily to mind. Most of which were published many years ago.
The Limits of Science by Pierre Rousseau
Frontiers by Isaac Asimov
Mathematics for the Million by Lancelot Hogben
Chariots of the Gods by Erich von Daniken
The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle
I also read many kungfu and other martial art books in English, but generally I was not impressed except Tai Chi Chin Na by Dr Yang Jwing Ming which was outstandinig.
Of course I read many kungfu and chi kung classics in Chinese. Three of the classics I cherished much are
Classic of Shaolin Kungfu — a rare collection of 40 volumes compilled by the Venerable Fu Ju in the year 901 in the Song Dynasty
Internal Cultivation of Zhang San Feng
Shaolin Internal Arts
The classic that has a great impact on my spiritual cultivation is “Awakening of Faith in Mahayana”, written by Asvaghosha in Sanskrit in the 2nd century Before the Common Era, and translated into Chinese by Paramartha in the 6th century of the Common Era. The Chinese text was very concise and short, but has very profound significance.
It inspired me to write a long translation, interpretation and commentary of the work. The manuscript, written many years ago and entitled “In Quest of Cosmic Reality”, is still unpublished, but I consider it to be one of my best writings.
Many people kindly wrote to tell me that they had enjoyed and benefitted much from my published books, and some said that they had found my books the best they had read on the respective subjects.
Of these books, the one I like best is my autobiography, “The Way of the Master”. It contains many interesting stories, and reveals many secrets.
Other recommendable books include:
The Complete Book of Zen
The Art of Chi Kung
The Complete Book of Shaolin
The Complete Book of Chinese Medicine
The Complete Book of Tai Chi Chuan
In writing these books, I ensured that even if readers were not interested in the subject matter, they would enjoy reading them.
If you could choose one stance or move to train to the highest level, what would it be?
If I would choose just one stance or move to train to the highest level, it would be “One-Finger Shooting Zen” in kungfu and “Lifting the Sky” in chi kung.
“One-Finger Shooting Zen” provides tremendous internal force and mental clarity, which enhance not only all aspects of kungfu but also all aspects of daily life.
The benefits of “Lifing the Sky” range from the very basic to the very advanced and everything in between. At the very basic level, “Lifting the Sky” enables a practitioner to be relaxed. At the most advanced level, it enables a practitioner to merge with Cosmic Reality, called variously as returning to God the Holy Spirit, attaining Enlightenment or merging with the Great Void. “Lifting the Sky” both circulates and builds energy, satisfying the two essential dimensions of all chi kung training.
Of course, a practitioner must perform “One-Finger Shooting Zen” and “Lifting the Sky” correctly as internal arts. Unfortunately, most practitioners today perform “One-Finger Shooting Zen” as gymnastics and “Lifting the Sky” as gentle physical exercise, missing their essence and wonderful benefits.
These two wonderful exercises have great sentimental values for me. They were the first exercises I learned tom my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam.
If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org stating your name, country and e-mail address.
Grandmaster has often said that he remained unbeaten in his early days not because he was combat efficient but because he was smart; he spent a lot of time preparing for his upcoming free sparring
Sigung, you were unbeaten in sparring in your young days. Can you please share your secret with us?
— Peter, Ireland
I used to say “in my young days”, but Douglas, my most senior student in Europe, reminded me at the time when I was about 50 that I was still young, so I have changed the expression to “my younger days”. Even now when I am over 70 and still feel young, I use the expression “in my younger days”.
In my younger days, especially between about 20 to 40 years of age, I spent a lot of time looking for sparring partners. At first I could beat them not because I was good but because I was smart. I chose opponents whom I had confidence of beating.
I made my victory doubly sure by doing a lot of homework, i.e. by practicing over and over again sequences which I used in the sparring. I devised the sequences from the way I expected my opponents would fight. This was not difficult because most of my opponents then were Taekwondo and Karate exponents, with some Boxing and Judo practitioners, and the way they fought was quite stereotyped.
For example, if I had to spar with a Taekwondo black-belt, I knew that he would probably start with some jabbing or side kicks, then round-house kicks, and eventually reverse round-house. So I would avoid his initial jabbing and side kicks, slant my body backward to avoid his round-house kicks, and when he executed a reverse round-house I would swiftly move forward with a coup de grace. I would practice this sequence many, many times, sometimes with modifications. When the actual situation occured during sparring, and this planned scenario almost always happened, I could use my practiced sequence to defeat my opponent easily. I always gently tapped my opponents; I never hurt them.
Having learnt from Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, my combat efficiency, including my internal force, improved tremendously. But initially I still used the same strategy. I chose sparring opponents whom I had confidence in beating, and I did a lot of homework. But gradually I did not have to do much homework as I could respond spontaneously and correctly to opponents’ attacks. As I became confident of my combat efficiency, I did not go out to look for sparring opponents.
I always used kungfu, including good stances, in my sparring. I never used Kick-Boxing, Muay Thai or any other martial arts, although I sparred with opponents from all styles. The difference was that in my earlier years of sparring I used simple punches and kicks, whereas in my later years my techniques were more sophisticated, like felling and chin-na. I discovered that when I used sophisticated kungfu techniques, my opponents just did not know how to defend against them.
So, if I have to give a secret for my unbeaten sparring record, I would say that I used a superior fighting art against opponents whose fighting arts were inferior to mine. Presuming that the skill levels were about equal, if I used simple punches and kicks, my opponents would have no difficulty defending against them. But if I used sophisticated techniques, like subtle felling and chin-na attacks, together with tactics and strategies that created situations for me to apply these attacks, my opponents had no techniques in their repertoire to defend.
What are the effects of over-training?
— Sascha, Switzerland
For convenience, over-training may be divided into three stages.
At the most serious level, a practitioner who has over-trained becomes very weak and sick, or may even die. It is unlikely that practitioners who have over-trained will arrive at this serious stage, certainly not in our school.
But in my younger days, before I started Shaolin Wahnam Institute, I met a well-known kungfu master, who was a daughter-in-law of a kungfu patriarch, who either had over-trained or had practiced wrongly. As I knew him previously he was strong and full of vitality. When I last saw him, he was extremely weak and sickly. I regretted that I did not know chi kung healing them, or else I would have helped him recover.
The intermediate stage of over-training was when over-cleansing was clearly noticeable. Over-cleansing is the result of over-training, but practitioners are often confused over both these conditions. The symptoms are pain, tiredness, sleepiness and feeling of nauseousness. The practitioner who has over-trained feels unpleasant and uncomfortable, and is sometimes sick.
At the beginning stage of over-training, the practitioner feels tired and sleepy after his chi kung training, instead of feeling energised and fresh. The symptoms of cleansing are mild and may not be noticeable. Many practitioners over-train mildly at one time or another, and he will soon adjust to the excess energy from his training even without doing anything special.
What a typical Shaolin Wahnam student achieves in one day, it took Grandmaster Wong more than a month to achieve in his student’s days. Hence, it is important to guard against over-training.
In a chi kung class, people had different diseases but they overcame their diseases by practicing the same exercises you taught. How did chi kung know which disease to cure?
— Roberto, Spain
In the chi kung perspective, which is also the traditional Chinese medical perspective, all diseases are caused by energy blockage. Western medical perspective uses different names for the different types of energy blockage.
In Western terms, if energy is blocked from inhibiting harmful micro-organisms from attacking a person, he is said to suffer from an infectious disease. If energy is blocked from working an organ normally, the patient is said to suffer from an organic disorder. If energy is blocked from flushing out negative emotions, he is said to suffer from psychological problems.
Chi kung works at the root cause, which is energy blockage. Other Chinese therapeutic methods, like herbalism and acupuncture, which also deal with energy blockage, work at higher hierarchical order. An acupuncturist or a herbalist will find out where the energy is blocked, and applies acupuncture or herbs to clear the blockage accordingly. Hence, in other Chinese therapeutic methods, correct diagnosis is very important.
It may sound ridiculous to those not familiar with chi kung philosophy that diagnosis is not necessary in chi kung healing! This is because chi kung deals with the root cause. Once the energy blockage is cleared, the patient recovers as a matter of course.
Different students in a same class might suffer from different diseases, like rheumatism, diabetes, cancer, chronic infection, and depression. But regardless of what the disease was, the root cause was energy blockage. Once the energy blockage was cleared, the patients recovered.
How did practicing chi kung clear energy blockage? It was through chi flow. The chi flow generated by chi kung practice cleared the energy blockage.
How did the chi flow know where the energy blockage was? Or, how did chi kung know which disease to cure?
It was a natural characteristic of chi flow to flow from high energy level to low energy level. Disease areas were areas of low energy level where there was insufficient energy to perform natural physiological and psychological functions to maintain normal good health. The energy generated by practicing genuine chi kung would naturally flow to these low energy areas to clear the blockage. When the blockage was cleared, the students would recover, regardless of what diseases Western medicine might call them, as their energy flowed to these areas to resume natural physiological and psychological functioning to restore good health.
Can we transmit chi to friends to clear their blockage and help them recover?
You can but you may not. In other words, it is within your ability to do it, but you should not do it. In fact, every person has the natural ability to transmit chi, or energy, to another person. Mothers do this to their babies when the mothers comfort them. When your girlfriend is cold, if you hug her you transmit chi to her to warm her.
But unless you are trained, the chi you transmit to friends to help them clear their blockage is unlikely to work. You may harm them and harm yourself.
If your friends’ energy is blocked, which is the reason why they are sick, adding more chi to them will aggravate their blockage causing more harm. Their sick chi may back-flow to you making you sick too.
Transmitting chi to patients to clear their blockage and help them recover is an important part of chi kung healing. A chi kung healer must be properly trained. Chi kung healing is not something any person can play about with.
Many people may find it hard to believe, but practicing high-level chi kung can overcome any illness
Some schools pay much attention to visualisation. Can you please tell us more about visualisation in chi kung training?
— Dimitry, Switzerland
Chi kung operates at three levels — the levels of form, energy and mind. The proportions of benefit by practicing chi kung at these three respective levels are 1, 3 and 6. In other words, if all other things were equal,. practitioners operating at the form level may obtain 10% of the benefit of the chi kung training, those operating at the energy level obtain 30%, and those operating at the mind level obtain 60%.
As most chi kung practitioners practicing genuine chi kung operate at the form level, where they perform many chi kung techniques for a long time and get some chi flow, whereas we practice chi kung at all the three levels of form, energy and mind, our benefit is 10 times more than what most other practitioners get.
A common misconception among some people is that when a practitioner operates at the mind level, he has to visualise. This is not true. Operating at the mind level, the practitioner may or may not visualise, but he must be in a chi kung state of mind, or at a heightened level of consciousness.
Many practitioners, especially those who learn from books and videos, confuse visualisation with intellectualisation. They think they visualise when they actually intellectualise.
Even if they visualise, it is still different from visualisation in the mind level of chi kung. These practitioners visualise while in their ordinary state of mind, whereas visualisation in chi kung must be performed in a chi kung state of mind. It is actually having a gentle thought rather than visualisation.
We do not need to employ visualisation at the elementary level of our chi kung exercises, but we still operate at the level of mind (even without visualization). Hence, our students get more benefits practicing our elementary chi kung exercises than other practitioners practicing advanced exercises. Many people may not believe it, and some may become angry at this statement, but it is a fact. Some examples of our elementary chi kung exercises are 5-Animal Play, 18 Jewels, and 18 Lohan Hands.
We use visualisation for some of our intermediate chi kung exercises, and do not use visualisations for other intermediate chi kung exercises. Some example of our intermediate chi kung exercises where visualisation is needed are Cosmic Shower and Abdominal Breathing, and some examples where visualisation is not needed are stance training and 18-Lohan Art.
We generally use visualisation in our advanced chi kung exercises, though they are some exceptions. Two remarkable exception are Sinew Metamorphosis and Cosmic Breathing which are very powerful. Examples of advanced exercises where visualization is needed include Bone Marrow Cleansing and Expanding into the Cosmos.
What, in your opinion, will Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiuan be in a hundred years from now?
In my opinion in a hundred years from now more people will practice genuine Shaolin Kungfu and genuine Taijiquan, instead of practicing Shaolin forms for demonstration or for free exchange of blows, and Taiji dance. The total number of people who practice the genuine arts will still be small, but it will be bigger than the number now where most people, despite their good intention, cannot differentiate the genuine from the bogus.
Genuine Shaolin Kungfu and genuine Taijiquan give practitioners wonderful benefits. Besides being able to defend themselves when needed, these genuine arts provide practitioners with good health, vitality and longevity, as well as mental clarity and spiritual joys. Masters who teach bogus Shaolin Kungfu and bogus Taijiquan also say that their arts give good health, vitality and longevity as well as mental clarity and spiritual joys, but their students never attain these benefits, and they don’t realize it. By the time they realise this fact, they are too proud to change to genuine arts even if they have the opportunities, but usually they may not have the opportunities as genuine Shaolin Kungfu and genuine Taijiquan are very rare nowadays.
It is precisely to preserve genuine Shaolin Kungfu, and later genuine Taijiquan, that I established Shaolin Wahnam Association in the early 1980s, which later evolved to our school, Shaolin Wahnam Institute, in the middle 1990s. We have progressed very well. We now have more than 60,000 students spread over more than 35 countries in the world. Even if I were to retire tomorrow, our Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan as well as chi kung will continue to spread as we have very good instructors.
It is legitimate to ask what justification we have to claim that our Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan are genuine. The benefits our students get correspond exactly with what genuine Shaolin Kungfu and genuine Taijiquan will give. Besides being able to defend ourselves using our arts, our students have good health, vitality, longevity, mental clarity and spiritual joys.
Internal force is not only used for combat; more importantly it is used to enrich our daily life
What is the difference between chi kung and nei gong?
Chi kung means “energy art”, and nei gong means “internal art”. In this case, “chi kung” is in English spelling, and “nei gong” is in Romanced Chinese spelling.
In Romanized Chinese spelling, chi kung is “qi gong”, and in English spelling hei gong is “nei kung”. Because we are used to English spelling, we may think that Romanize Chinese spelling is funny. Actually it is English spelling that is funny. “Bus”, for example, is pronounced as /bas/, not /bus/, and “phone” is pronounced as /fon/, not /phone/.
The two terms, “chi kung” and “nei gong”, can be used interchangeably, i.e. they have similar meaning though the connotation may be different. Chi kung is a modern term, nei gong is more classical.
For example, 18 Lohan Hands and Sinew Metamorphosis can be called chi kung or nei gong. Calling some exercises as chi kung gives a connotation that they are modern and are practiced to maintain some general well-being. Calling them as nei gong gives a connotation that they are classical inheritance practiced for martial art purposes.
In this connection, most of our chi kung exercises are more aptly described as nei gong than as chi kung, especially when chi kung has today degraded into gentle physical exercise, or “ti cao” (pronounced as t’i c’ao) which is bodily exercise. But we still call them chi kung exercises because the term “chi kung” has been established.
We develop a lot of internal force in our chi kung or nei gong exercises. What are we to do with the internal force?
It is like asking what we are to do with money when we have earned a lot of money. Use it, force or money, wisely.
There are three main functions we can put internal force to use:
To maintain life.
To enhance life.
To enable us to have better results no matter what we do.
Maintaining life is the most important function of internal force. It is also the function that many people with internal force, including genuine masters, fail to realize. The force that changes the breakfast you ate into blood and flesh as well as vital energy is internal force.
The second function of internal force is to enhance life. It is similar to but not the same as the first function. Enhancing life can be manifested in many ways. Having zest in your work and joy in spending time with your family are some of the manifestations of enhancing life.
The third function is to enable those with internal force to have better results than when they did not have internal force, in whatever they do, including martial arts, intellectual work, sports and playing games. Take a few seconds to reflect on this tremendous benefit. No matter what you do, because you have internal force you will do better than when you did not have internal force!
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.
I really should have written you earlier, as I owe you many thanks for the wonderful courses you taught in Hawaii. I returned from that week feeling not only revitalized, but also a deep sense of confidence I did not have previously regarding my abilities as a Chinese medical practitioner, teacher of qigong, and overall public figure and speaker.
As the months have gone by a voice inside of me which had been unable to express itself has gotten louder and clearer, and I am very excited to finally begin my career helping others. The way to go about doing that has also revealed itself very simply and straightforwardly.
Molly’s e-mail was received soon after the Hawaii courses in July 2014, but because of a long waiting list, the questions and answers are only posted in the Question-Answer Series now. You can have a glimpse of the Hawaii courses here and here.
— Molly, USA
I am glad you have benefited much from and enjoyed the Hawaii courses. The Intensive Zen Course, the first of its kind, certainly gave participants a lot of confidence and mental clarity.
I was very impressed that every one could speak on the spot on any topic provided by the audience. This was indeed a remarkable achievement. It will certainly enable you to perform well as a Chinese medical practitioner, qigong teacher, public speaker and any other responsibilities.
I have an opportunity to teach qigong at a local clinic which treats infertility. This is an area of particular interest to me and one that I will be specializing in in my private practice.
This particular clinic has never offered qigong and my intent is to start with a 12-week session and see what sort of response I get from the patients there. I believe it will be quite positive, and that all of these women will greatly benefit from our Cosmos Qigong.
Teaching qigong at a clinic that treats fertility is a meaningful job, helping to bring lives and joy to the world. Later you may start your own clinic for this worthy purpose.
Jean, the Chief Instructor of Canada whose husband is a world-top surgeon, told me that she had 100% success in her qigong class with women who were previously infertile and wanted to have children if they practice twice a day.
Lifting the Sky
My plan for the session would be to transmit the basic skills for practice, as well as teach the basic pattern Lifting the Sky, as well as those more suitable for helping with fertility, such as Nourishing Kidneys and Carrying the Moon.
Of course I am aware that other patterns may be more suitable for some women depending upon their conditions, so I’m wondering if there are any other specific patterns you can recommend which might help with fertility.
Your teaching plan is excellent. Rotating Hips and Dancing Fairy are also useful, but these exercises need not be practiced, or only be practiced gently and occasionally, after women are pregnant.
I was reviewing the instructions for Nourishing Kidneys that you wrote in the “Art of Chi Kung” and noticed some details in the book which you never mentioned in class when teaching this exercise.
When I teach this exercise, do I need to make any mention of a gentle focus of the Yongquan or Laogong points, or qi flowing up the spine, or is it best to simply pass this on as you have taught it to me in class, without those details?
The exercises, including Nourishing Kidneys, in my book, The Art of Chi Kung, were written for those who did not have the opportunity to learn from me personally. The book was also written when my teaching skills and methodology were far below my present levels. Those who have learned from me or from our certified instructors will get the best benefits practicing the exercises the way they have been taught.
Hence, in your teaching of Nourishing Kidneys it is not necessary to mention a focus at the Yongquan or Laogong points, or qi flowing up the spine. For other qigong patterns it is also not necessary to mention details described in my book.
My other question is regarding how to proceed if any of these women do become pregnant during the course of the class. I recall you saying in a Question and Answer series that a pregnant woman with sufficient skill may practice gently until the third month of the pregnancy. Would you say that is still the correct guideline?
For precaution purposes, when a woman is pregnant she does not need to practice the way qigong has been taught to her by you. But she can induce a gentle qi flow once a day with some gentle exercises. My advice that a woman with sufficient qigong skills may practice gently until the third month of the pregnancy is still a correct guideline.
There is, nevertheless, an excellent exercise as follows that she should perform whenever she likes except around noon.
Enter into a qigong state of mind. Gently think that her baby is developing beautifully and healthily, and when the time is right, the delivery will be safe and pleasant.
If you feel I am missing any details that may be helpful for teaching a group like this, I would greatly appreciate any insight you might be willing to give.
Make your teaching and the students’ learning fun, and ensure that your teaching is beneficial to them, but without burdening them. The benefits the students get should be more than the fees they pay.
The Force Method in Triple Stretch
As for myself, my life is hectic but good. Joshua and I are still practicing kungfu regularly, are making good progress.
I had spent five months from May until October studying two to eight hours a day for all of my national Chinese medicine exams. Thanks to my kungfu and qigong practice, I was able to do that, work two jobs, go to school, and find time for my boyfriend, all without getting sick where someone else surely would have.
My lovely boyfriend and I have been together for nearly a year. We plan to get married next year, and start a family a year after that. It seems as if I’m on the brink of a new chapter of my life and I’m looking forward to it with excitement and gratitude.
You are an inspiration to all other students. Not only you are not sick for the hard work you are doing, I am sure you enjoy your work too and perform better than most other people. Our training certainly enrich our life.
Congratulations for having a boyfriend and planning to get married. To be a wife and mother, as well as to be a husband and father, are some of the happiest things in life.
In the book, “The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu”, Sigung explains that in performing One-Finger Shooting Zen, “as you move your hand out and in, tense it and visualize it as charged with internal force” and then “even though you tense your arm and finger, you must never be tensed, especially in your chest”
Editorial Note: This question was summarized from Post 5 of Questions on One-Finger Shooting Zen in the Shaolin Wahnam Institute Discussion Forum. As this and the subsequent question are topical, they are posted here ahead of a long waiting-list.
It is a good question.
Let us have some fun. In performing One-finger Shooting Zen, you should tense your arm, and not tense your arm. The confusion is due to the limitation of words. Words do not explain exactly what we want to explain.
The first “tense” in “you should tense your arm” is not the same as the second “tense” in “not tense your arm”. Although the meanings are different, I still used the same word “tense” when I wrote the book 20 years ago in 1995 because I could not find another better word.
After many years of teaching, now I use words that give a clearer meaning. Now I say, “Focus your energy at your index finger, but do not use muscular strength”, or “Consolidate your flowing energy at your arm without tensing any muscles”.
In other words, in “tense your arm”, I mean “focus or consolidate energy at your arm”. In “not tense your arm” I mean “not tense the muscles in your arm”.
When you focus or consolidate energy at your finger or arm, your energy is still flowing, but it is focused or consolidated. The consolidated energy is flowing, not locked up or stagnant. You do not tense your muscles when you let your energy flow. If you tense your muscles, the energy will be locked up and be stagnant.
Such limitation of words occurs quite frequently in chi kung and kungfu descriptions. For example, after a few repetitions of a Sinew Metamorphosis exercise, we tell students to breath out forcefully but without using force! In developing internal force, we advise students not to use strength and they will develop a lot of strength.
In the “breathing” example, breathing out forcefully means breathing out with a lot of energy going out of the mouth. Without using force means without breathing out in a forced manner.
In the “internal force” example, the first â€œstrengthâ€ means â€œmuscular strengthâ€, and the second â€œstrengthâ€ means â€œinternal forceâ€. If we use muscular strength, we have to tense our muscles. When we tense our muscles, we stop the flow of energy that constitutes internal force.
The uninitiated will not understand the meaning of the descriptions although they know the dictionary meaning of all the words used. The initiated will have no difficulty understanding the meaning because they have experience of the situations.
What are the flow method and the force method?
The flow method and the force methods are two main categories of methods to develop internal force. These terms were coined by me.
I did not invent the various force-developing methods. These various methods were used in the past. I analysed the principles in the various methods and categorised them into two main types, and call them the flow method, or xing-fa in Chinese, and the force method, or jing-fa.
In the flow method, we perform the techniques to train force in picture-perfect forms.. Then we perform the forms in a smooth flow, without beginning and without ending to generate an energy flow. When the energy flow becomes vigorous, it produces internal force. The various styles of Taijiquan are good examples of the flow method.
In the force method, we also perform the techniques to train force in picture-perfect forms. Then we consolidate energy into internal force. The consolidated energy is still flowing, but more focused and concentrated. Iron Wire and Triple Stretch are good examples of the force methods.
In studying and analysing various methods of developing internal force, I discovered that chi flow was necessary. It was increasing the chi flow or consolidating the chi flow that resulted in the flow method or the force method. This discovery tremendously sped up the process of building internal force. It is incredible but true that our students can now develop internal force in a month what I would need a year during my studentâ€™s days!
The process in the flow method is form-flow-force, and the process in the force method is form-force-flow. It is helpful to note that the crucial part of the processes of both the flow method and the force method is the middle part, and not the end part. In the flow method, we let our energy flow vigorously to develop force. In the force method, we consolidate energy into force and let it flow smoothly.
Editorial Note: An excellent answer by Sifu Leonard Lackinger can be found here
If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org stating your name, country and e-mail address.
Grandmaster Wong and Sifu Anthony Spinicchia are examples of good health and vitality
How do we know whether we are practicing correctly?
— Chew, Australia
Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
This is a very important question. Not only it enables us to avoid wasting time, but also increases our cost-effectiveness.
We know we are practicing an exercise correctly when we have the effects practicing that exercise will give. At a longer scale, we know we are practicing an art correctly when we have the results practicing that art is meant to give.
For example, we know we practiced “Lifting the Sky” correctly just now because our objective in that practice session was to generate a chi flow, and we had a chi flow.
In our case because we practice high-level chi kung and we are cost-effective, we have the expected effects immediately. Other practitioners will need a few months before they know whether they have the desired effects.
We know we practice chi kung correctly because we enjoy the benefits that practicing chi kung is meant to give. Practicing chi kung is meant to give good health and vitality. We have good health and vitality after a few months of our chi kung practice. Other practitioners who practice a lower level of chi kung or are less cost-effective will need a few years.
But a lot of chi kung practitioners still remain sick and weak despite practicing chi kung for many years. They did not ask the question you did, or else they would know, if they were courageous enough to admit to themselves, they had not been practicing genuine chi kung. They would not have wasted many years.
Alternatively, the art they practice may be genuine but they are not practicing correctly, or else they would have obtained the results the art is meant to give. Had they asked the question, they would have been more cost-effective in their practice.
Different people manifested different movements in spontaneous qi flow in Sifu Wong’s class in Gutenstein, Austria. On the far right is Master Sylesvester Lohinnger, Sifu Wong’s senior student
I have been told that one must abstain from sex for 100 days upon pratcising qiqong. Is this true? If so, what is the reason?
— John, Malaysia — January 2000
Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
The answer to whether one should abstain from sex for 100 days upon practising qigong is “yes” and “no”, depending on numerous variables.
In the past students abstained from sex for at least 100 days upon practising qigong. Although it was not an absolute condition — in the sense that if the condition was not fulfilled one could not practise qigong, or that he could harm himself — this was highly recommended. Some masters might made it their requirement for their students. After the 100 days, students could revert back to their normal sex life.
The 100 days constitued the foundation period whereby sufficient energy could be acquired and stored at the abdominal dan tian (or energy field). Without this foundation — like the starting capital of a busniss venture — it would be difficult to have satisfactory result. In the past, learning chi kung from a master was a rare opportunity, so students generally chose abstinence from sex to missing a rare opportunity.
What happened if a student had sex during the 100 days? Unless he had sex extravagantly, it usually did not cause any harm, but his progress would not be as good as his classmates. By the end of the 100 days when the master checked their progress, this sex-satisfied student would be found wanting. As he might not have the required amount of energy stored for the next stage of training, he might be left out, either wittingly by his master for not fulfilling a requirement or by his own inability to keep up even though the master might teach him the new techniques.
Today, conditions and needs are different. Because of changing standards, what was considered “satisfactory result” in the past will now be remarkable result. Because of changing needs, most chi kung practitioners today do not actually need remarkable result. In the past, overcoming pain and illness was not even a need amongst those who had the rare opportunity to practise chi kung, because they were already healthy and fit. What they needed would be sufficient energy to spar comfortably for an hour or two, or make a hole in a wall with just one strike. This would be satisfactory result in the past.
Hence, when students ask me whether they should abstain from sex, even at the start of their chi kung training, I tell them it is not necessary — unless they aim for remarkable result, or on the other hand they are very sick to start with. As students today need satisfactory result like overcoming pain and illness, or vitality to enjoy their daily work and play — and not remarkable result like striking a hole in a wall — they can achieve their objective even with normal sex during their chi kung training period.
Without sex, they would acheve their objective faster, but the improvement is relately marginal and it is unnecessary to make the sacrifice of abstinence from sex. For example, with abstinence, one may overcome his diabetes or ulcers in six months, but with sexual enjoyment added in, he may need nine months.
While the remarkable result of chi kung is wonderful, we must also remember other importnat aspects of daily living. If abstinence from sex disrupts family life, or makes a person aggressive due to his pent-up sexual energy which will surely increase as a result of his chi kung training, chi kung would then be a detrimental rather than a rewarding experience.