(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/ans15b/sep15-2.html)
When you practice genuine chi kung you can eat whatever food you like
Is it necessary to abstain from any food when practicing chi kung?
— Jochen, Germany
No, it is not necessary. Whatever you had been eating or doing without any harm to yourself and others before you started practicing chi kung, like cake and sugar, coke and coffee, yoga and lifting weight, making love and party-going, you can carry on eating or doing them with better satisfaction and result after you have started practicing chi kung. This is only logical, as practicing chi kung enhances our daily life.
However, some “masters” advise otherwise. Actually we call them “masters” out of respect. Strictly speaking they are not even genuine chi kung practitioners, as they teach only gentle physical exercise though they use genuine chi kung forms. These “masters” advise their students not to take sugar, considering it as white poison, and not to have sex, even for those who have willing partners and find it pleasurable. And the irony is that with these unnecessary limitations, the students are not healthier or happier.
When I first taught in Spain, many students were shocked to see me adding two or three sachets of sugar to my coffee, and enjoying jarmon. They taught, wrongly of course, that chi kung masters should drink only pure water and eat vegetable.
In fact, when you practice genuine chi kung which increases your energy and life performance, whatever you have been doing without harm to yourself and others, you can continue enjoying these activities with more satisfaction and better bre
Do we practice chi kung before or after gym work?
You can practice chi kung before or after gym work. If you practice it before, you add energy to your gym work. If you practice it after, you replenish your energy.
It is even better if you perform your chi kung during gym work. This does not mean that you do your chi kung exercise while performing your gym workout. It means that employ chi kung skills, like being relaxed and not tensing your muscles, during gym work.
Practicing chi kung alone is sufficient for your needs for good health, vitality and longevity. It is not necessary to supplement chi kung with vitamins and physical exercise. But if you enjoy eating vitamin and performing physical exercise, like working in a gym, you can do so with better result
An interesting question arose this morning after training from a senior Kung Fu student. He asked when doing Golden Bridge for about 30 minutes, “should I simply count the breaths gently or should I just be aware of the breathing”. I answered “for myself I just stay at my dan tian and gently count”. I would love to hear what your advise is.
— Sifu Mark, Ireland
All the three methods are correct.
The main purpose is to keep the mind one pointed. Of course it is also very important to be relaxed.
There are many methods to keep the mind one-pointed. The three methods mentioned by you are excellent examples.
Another method, which is more advanced, is to keep the mind free from all thoughts.
There are many methods, but all the methods can be generalized into two categories, attaining a one-pointed mind, or attaining no-mind which is all mind. In mathematical terms, it is arriving at one or at zero.
Arriving at zero is the most advanced. It brings the practitioner beyond the phenomenal realm. Arriving at one is still in the phenomenal realm.
I am used to practicing 1-4 hours a day of the qi gong I was taught locally by a Chinese master, and I am still not well.
— Elizabeth, USA
Honestly without meaning to be disrespectful to the master, you have been practicing gentle physical exercise using genuine qigong forms. Gentle physical exercise cannot overcome any illness regardless of how long you have been practicing it. It also does not have the other wonderful benefits of qigong, like vitality, longevity, mental freshness and spiritual joys.
How is it that you have been practicing gentle physical exercise when you have been performing genuine qigong forms? It is because you lack qigong skills. It is the skills and not the techniques that enable practitioners to get the benefits of the art they practice. You can learn piano techniques or even surgery techniques from some good books or videos, but you can’t play the piano or perform surgery if you lack the necessary skills.
Thousands of thousands of practitioners of martial arts today are doing precisely this. Thousands of Taijiquan practitioners are doing Taiji dance, and not genuine Taijiquan as an internal martial art that it really is. Thousands of other martial artists are performing genuine martial art techniques as gymnastics and hurting themselves in generous exchange of blows in sparring. They cannot defend themselves, which is the first purpose of practicing any martial art.
You are, of course, not alone. More than 80% of qigong practitioners all over the world today are practicing qigong techniques as gentle physical exercise, and usually they are unaware of it.
You will find out the glaring difference in the first 15 minutes when you attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course. It is not for no good reasons that I charge 1000 euros for three days (it will be 1200 euros next year) when many qigong teachers charge only 50 euros for a month.
Editorial Note: The question was asked in 2014 when the fee for an Intensive Chi Kung Course was 1000 euros.
In Shaolin Wahnam chi kung, you need to practice only about 15 minutes a session
Can my father do this even if he cannot stand or walk well? If he did not somehow receive immediate benefits in the workshop in mobility, arm movement, etc, because of his concentration issues, I do not think he could even do the exercises in his imagination. In fact, as of now, I know he could not. I want to be clear on his level of impairment. Do people with sever things like Alzheimer’s need someone to help them even remember to do the exercises?
Your father or anybody can still perform the qigong exercise even if he cannot stand or walk well, but he has to make some effort. I want to be very clear on this point. The student himself (or herself) must make a lot of effort if he wants to benefit from qigong practice. I won’t, and I can’t, do the exercises for him. I can only teach him the way that has helped many people like him overcome his problems.
In the past people with special problems like your father attended a personalized course, where I only taught that student. The fee, of course, was more expensive. But now I do not offer personalized courses. If you come for the Intensive Chi Kung Course in Penang and ask the staff of the hotel you will be staying, they may tell you that an elderly gentleman over 70 came to my last personalized course in a wheelchair with his wife, and they took a taxi to town, without the wheelchair, for shopping the next day!
I just give an offer to help your father to recover. He has to make the choice to attend the course or not. I would also like to mention that the course won’t be easy for him if he has difficulty standing and walking. He won’t be pampered. In fact he may find me a slave-driver, asking him to do things he may not want to, like swinging his arms about and running round the hall without others’ help.
Incidentally the wife of the gentleman mentioned above suffered from Alzheimer’s Disease a few years earlier. She could not remember the exercise I just taught her. Obviously she recovered. She could remember her husband, and accompanied him back from town to the hotel after shopping, although it was, I believe, the first time they were in Penang.
For your father, it would be recommended that you attend the course with him together. Not only you will learn how to overcome your Lyme Disease which you have suffered from for about 30 years, you can also remind your father of the qigong techniques that he has to practice.
But remember it is not the techniques that will help you and your father to regain good health. It is qigong skills which I shall transmit to you and your father during the course.
I am wondering, given the high cost of studying with you, if I do wish to continue my qigong studies, would I be able to pursue studying with them in addition to doing your 30 minutes of practice per day? And could I keep practicing the past chi kung that feels good to me?
You can continue to pursue chi kung with me or other certified instructors in our school. Of course you can also continue to practice the chi kung you learned elsewhere before.
You will find that you can raise your former chi kung by one or more levels. Honestly, I don’t mean to be presumptuous or arrogant, I just state the truth of what many students like you who learned other types of chi kung elsewhere, have reported to me.
Better still, if you are permitted to teach other types of chi kung you have learned elsewhere, if you find the chi kung skills learned from me are useful, you can incorporate these skills into the other types of chi kung, without having to mention that you have learned these skills from me. If you face any difficulty concerning our chi kung skills, you can write to me in private.
We are sincere in wanting other chi kung practitioners benefit from their practice. We do not mind if they do not credit the skills to us.
I would like to mention two important points. It is strictly for your and other people’s benefit.
If you incorporate our chi kung skills into the chi kung techniques of other schools you teach, please do so discretely. Make very certain that this would not offend the teachers and the seniors of these other schools.
Secondly, teach only simple and basic skills, like being relaxed, not thinking of irrelevant thoughts, and generating an energy flow. For the sake of your students, don’t teach advanced skills, like directing energy to various parts of the body, building internal force, and expanding beyond your physical body. These advanced skills are taught during the Intensive Chi Kung Course. But an instructor teaching these advanced skills need to be trainied and such training is not provided at the course.
If you teach these advanced skills without proper training on how to teach the skills, even though you may have these skills, you are likely to cause harm to your students. As an analogy, a patient may undergo surgery himself, but this does not qualify him to perform surgery on others.
Depending on one’s perspective, my course fee can be considered very expensive or very cheap. Many students have told me they would gladly pay ten times the fee to learn from me.
The three golden rules of chi kung practice are not to worry, not to intellectualize, and to enjoy the practice
I find it difficult to follow the Three Golden Rules consistently. For example, during training I will stop intellectualising, but then a moment later I will begin again, or I will intellectualise about saying to myself the Third Golden Rule, “just enjoy”.
— Chris, Australia
Our Three Golden Rules of Practice are actually simple. They are as follows.
Enjoy your practice
There are not like asking you to do press-up a hundred times or climb up a high coconut tree.
If you wish to have good results, you have to follow the three golden rules, just like if you wish to be safe on a road, you have to follow safety rules. If you choose not to follow the rules, you do so at your own peril.
Although the rules are simple, they may not be easy for you and many other people. This is because you have been conditioned to worrying and intellectualizing. If you suddenly stop worrying or intellectualizing, it can be difficult due to your bad habit.
But it can be done, and many people with the same problem have done so successfully. You overcome your problem progressively. Suppose you worry 50 times in 5 minutes. You don’t stop worrying totally the very first day you start your programme to overcome your problem. You worry less. Suppose you are able to cut down your worrying by 3 times, which means that in 5 minutes you worry 47 times.
You practice this programme everyday. Suppose the second day you can further cut down your worrying by 2 more times, which means you worry 45 times. The third day could be worse. Suppose you cut down your worrying by only 4 times in total, which means you worry 46 times. So there may be up and down on individual days, but on the whole there should be gradual progress. Eventually you will be able to cut down your worrying from 50 times in 5 minutes to just 2 or 3 times, which will be good result.
How long you take to achieve this result depends on various factors, and may range from a week to a year. But most people can attain the result in a hundred days.
There are two important requirements. You must persevere. You have to practice everyday. The second requirement is gradual progress. You cut down your worrying a few times each day. Eventually you hardly worry at all.
The same method is used to cut down intellectualizing.
I have also searched your Q & A series using the term “intellectualize” and read through many of your wonderful answers, which have helped immensely.
But still I would like to humbly ask for your advice. If I find that I can’t apply the Three Golden Rules before or during my practice, should I simply stop and wait to train again at a later time if possible?
Stop worrying and stop intellectualizing. Enjoy your practice. Just do it.
If you can’t follow these three golden rules, stop your practice and train at a later time.
Don’t do something is certainly easier than doing something. Don’t worry is certainly easier than to worry. Don’t intellectualize is certainly easier than to intellectualize.
Suppose you want to cross a road but a car is coming fast. Just don’t cross the road. It is certainly easier than crossing the road and be hit by the car.
Or suppose you are at a beach watching people swimming, but you can’t swim. Don’t go into the water. It is certainly easier than going into the water and be drown.
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.
(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/sp-issues/sex.html)
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.
Reproduced from Question 2 in Selection of Questions and Answers — January 2000 Part 2
(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/ans15a/jun15-1.html)
Dr Damian, Dr Roseline, Mrs Wong, Grandmaster Wong, Dr Hoo Kok Chong and Sifu Anthony Spinicchia at the Polynesian Cultural Centre in Honolulu, Hawaii
Thank you for your generous teaching earlier this month in Hawaii. The wisdom you shared will benefit me a great deal. But your presence was the biggest gift, as you are a living embodiment of Zen. Observing your approach to life directly has allowed me to see and remove unnecessary layers from everything I do, taking me closer to Zen in all aspects of my life.
— Ryan, USA
Editorial Note: These questions were asked soon after the Hawaii courses in July 2014, but due to a long waiting list, they are only released now.
I am glad that you have benefited much from the courses in Hawaii.
As many students in our school have realized, all teaching in Shaolin Wahnam is a teaching of Zen. The hallmark of Zen is being simple, direct and effective.
At the mundane level, Zen training enables us to get the best result in whatever we do. At the supra-mundane level, Zen training leads us to the highest attainment any being can achieve.
My mother was quite frustrated during the Intensive Chi Kung course. She was a bit overwhelmed by the pace of the exercises, and found it difficult to enter a chi kung state of mind with the sounds people were making during chi flow.
I told her that despite her frustration she was still receiving lots of useful skills, techniques, and philosophy. And that it would just be a matter of practicing these things when she got home in order to deepen her skills.
As I mentioned during the course, I thought your mother was your girlfriend! In fact I asked Anthony, “Whatâ€™s the name of Ryan’s girlfriend?”
Anthony answered in surprise, “That’s his mother, not his girlfriend!”
Chi kung practice will certainly keep your mother healthy and youthful.
The noise made by other course participants was a bonus, not a distraction. If your mother could enter into a chi kung state of mind and enjoy a chi flow, which she actually did, it would be easily for her to practice at home when conditions are more ideal.
Her frustration, therefore, was unnecessary. In fact she did very well at the course. What she needs to do is to continue her daily practice following the three golden rules of not worry, not intellectualizing, and enjoying her practice.
Chi flow in our school can be an interesting, noisy affair
During many of the practice sessions at the course, we did not do standing meditation at the end of chi flow for more than a few seconds. Do you still recommend performing standing meditation regularly after chi flow? If so, do you recommend an ideal length of time for the standing meditation portion?
We usually complete any chi kung exercise with standing meditation, even for a few seconds. This will allow our chi to settle down at its normal condition.
The time of standing meditation at the end of a chi kung exercise may range from a second to half an hour or more, depending on various factors, like our conditions and objectives. I
If you are short of time, you may stand upright at a meditative state of mind for a second. If you wish to build internal force, enhance mental clarity or expand into the Cosmos, you may stand for half an hour or more, in which case it becomes the main part of the exercise, though you may not initially intend it to be, and the chi kung part becomes preliminary.
You have always taught us to think of the dan tian at the end of chi flow. If I spend a few minutes in standing meditation after chi flow, should I think of my dan tian again a second time before completing the practice session?
It is not necessary but it is useful.
If you spend a few minutes in standing meditation after chi flow, irrespective of whether you thought of your dan tian before standing meditation, you can complete your chi kung session without thinking of your dan tain again, or for the first time if you did not do so earlier.
In other words, you may think of your dan tian before proceding to standing meditation. Or you may just go straight to standing meditation without thinking of your dan tian. You can also complete your chi kung session form chi flow without going ino standing meditation.
All the three procedures above are correct, although the result, if all other things were equal, may be slightly different. Of these three procedures, the first is the best, the second is rhe next, and the third gives the least result. But a skilful practitioner using the third procedure will get better result than a less skilful practitioner using the first procedure.
Now, in another comparison not mentioned in the three procedures above, after your chi flow and standing meditation, if you gently think of your dan tian before completing your session, you will have better result than if you do not think of your dan tian, if all other things were equal.
The following philosophy will explain the difference of result. By gently thinking of your dan tian, you gather your chi at your dan tian. If you perform a few minutes of standing meditation without first thinking of your dan tian, you will also gather at your chi at your dan tian. Because chi will naturally and spontaneously gather there if you stand upright and be relaxed. However, if you think of the dan tian first, you have a head start.
As an analogy, in a race even if you do not get set but just stand leisurely, you can still run when the signal is sounded. But if you get set first, you will have a head start.
When you complete your chi flow without thinking of your dan tian, your chi will eventually settle down at your dan tian, though it will take a longer time. If you gently think of your dan tian before completing, you assure the gathering of chi at the dan tian.
As an analogy, after a race if you donâ€™t walk about to let your breathing returns to normal, you can still perform other activities. But if you walk about leisurely to let your breathing to return to normal, you can perform the same activities better.
Focusing at dan tian is a good way to complete a meditation session
I was very interested in your thoughts on advanced practitioners lowering their level of practice to avoid over training. Looking back on my practice over the years, I very regularly experienced intense cleansing symptoms that I think may have been in part from over training (even though I only practiced 10-15 minutes twice a day). Since returning from Hawaii, I have been experimenting with training only once a day for 10 minutes. Do you think it would be wise to increase this amount?
Whether you should increase the time of your training depends on whether you have reached your optimum training time, i.e. the time that gives the maximum benefit.
An optimum training time is a theoretical concept, and may vary from person to person, and from time to time for the same person. By theoretical concept is meant that we cannot be exact for its duration; we can only estimate it.
Nevertheless, there are some factors that help us to estimate wisely. If we feel fresh and energized, and derive a lot of benefits, we can conclude that we are before or at our optimum training time. If we feel tired and uncomfortable, and experience a lot of cleansing, we can conclude that we have exceed our optimum training period, and have over-trained.
From experience, we have found that our students get the best benefits by training for about 15 minutes. Students of most other schools may have to train for an hour or more. With further improvement of our teaching methodology, we can now shorten our optimum training time to 10 minutes.
It is worthwhile to remember that the purpose of training chi kung is to enrich our life. If we can get a lot of benefits in shorter time, it means we have more time to enjoy life wholesomely.
When performing Cosmic Shower, should I open the Bai hui and visualize energy from heaven during or after performing the Carrying the Moon pattern? Can Cosmic Shower be performed without any chi kung pattern at all, if I initiate a gentle chi flow with my mind first?
In Cosmic Shower, opening the baihui and visualizing energy from heaven are performed after Carrying the Moon. You may also perform these two techniques during Carrying the Moon.
When you are skilful, you can initiate Cosmic Shower without performing Carrying the Moon or any chi kung pattern. You can initiate a gentle chi flow, then procedure to Cosmic Shower. You may even have a Cosmic Shower straight away without Carrying the Moon or any chi kung pattern. This is a useful skill if you want to be fresh and have no jet lag on a trans-continental flight.