The Way of the Master, written by my Sifu, Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit, is now officially launched.
Please enjoy one of the memorable stories from my Sifu’s book below:
An Unforgettable Lesson
A public performance with Uncle Righteousness as the Lion Head and me as the Lion Tail in the 1960s
There was, however, one occasion in my long learning process that I deviated from my father’s advice. Our kungfu class was preparing for a charity performance at New World Amusement Park. My master himself would perform the lion head, and everyone had expected me to perform the tail. Performing the lion tail is an extremely demanding role, for the performer has to arch his back throughout the whole performance, which in those days might last longer than an hour, and to extend both his arms in a continuous wing-flapping movement to support the covering tail-cloth.
I tried to be smart. Just a few minutes before the training session began, I went out from the training hall, pretending to buy titbits for my seniors, a bluff that I could easily do because running errands was my common unofficial task. I knew my master couldn’t wait. If I could stay away for just a few minutes, I thought, some unlucky fellow would take over my job as the inevitable tail performer, even for that training session only. And true enough, when I returned after the lion dance practice had started – something that I could time easily as the loud accompanying lion dance music could be heard from far away – I found my master and my junior classmate, Ah Weng, doing the lion head and tail. “Kit Chye,” my classmates asked in bewilderment, “where on earth have you been? Uncle Righteousness was looking all over the world for you.” “What for?” I pretended to ask. “What for! To be the tail, of course.”
“Ha, ha!” I laughed inside myself. “Why pick on me all the time? Luckily I’m not stupid, and now I can have a break from this wearisome task. Now this poor Ah Weng can have a nice taste of back ache.”
But Ah Weng had the louder laugh. “Ha, ha!” He probably said to himself, “now at last I have a break into this lion dance role which I have been longing for, for so long.”
And he performed the tail so enthusiastically and so well that he was not only asked to continue in subsequent practices, but was ultimately chosen to partner my master in that charity performance, and later in other performances. Hence my monopoly as my master’s partner in lion dance was now broken – all because of my clever trick.
Ah Weng continued to learn and practise hard, and progressed tremendously, often at my expense for what my master might have taught me, he taught Ah Weng instead. Ah Weng also became one of my master’s favourite disciples, and was the one who had learned the most lion dance skills and techniques from my master. He later became a famous lion dance artist, bringing name and glory to our school. I am very proud of Ah Weng’s achievement. I also learned a very good lesson from that occasion when I tried to be too clever — a lesson that has greatly helped me in my later kungfu development. From then on, I always learn humbly and practise diligently, never be deterred by hardship or obstacles in the way.
During a charity performance in the 1960s, I went up a long pole to collect Sky Green
This is the third combat-application set of Shaolin Kungfu in Shaolin Wahnam, and is composed of the following four combat sequences:
Happy Bird Hops up Branch
White Horse Presents Hoof
Yellow Oriole Drinks Water
Naughty Monkey Kicks at Tree
Please click on the picture or the caption below to view the video
Happy Bird Hops up Branch from Wong Kiew Kit on Vimeo.
Chi kung practice in Kuala Lumpur
Difference between Over-Training and Deviation
Over-training means excessive training, when the benefits derived from the training is more than the physical body can take. It usually results in over-cleansing, though over-building and over-nourishing may infrequently occur.
Practitioners must differentiate between over-training and deviation. Deviation results from wrong training. The two main causes of wrong training which results in deviation are tensing muscles and worrying. Deviation seldom occurs in our school.
How does one tell the difference between over-training and deviation. An effective way is to examine the symptoms.
If a student first experiences benefits, then quite suddenly experiences adverse effects, he is likely to have over-trained. If he has not experienced benefits, but he experiences adverse effects straightaway, he is likely to have deviated.
The adverse effects are also different. In over-training, a practitioner finds that the stuff that caused his blockage, like toxic waste, rashes, pimples, and smells, is coming out too quickly for his comfort. This may cause pain, but the pain is quite different from that of deviation.
It may also be excessive cleansing of negative emotions. The practitioner may experience anxiety, fear, grief and other negative emotions. These negative emotions from over-training are also different from feeling of nausea or oppression from deviation, but the difference is subtler.
How to Overcome Over-Training
What should one do when he has over-trained.?
Here are some effective methods:
Reduce the time of training.
Reduce the intensity of training.
Stop training for some time if necessary.
Spend the excessive energy wholesomely, like spending time with parents and friends, engaging more in out-door activities, performing kungfu sets or combat sequences, and playing games.
As mentioned earlier, deviation seldom happens in our school. The very fact that our students can practice internal arts, means that they can enter into silence. The two requirements for entering silence are not thinking of irrelevant thoughts and not tensing muscles. You may now realize why not worrying and not intellectualizing are the first two of our three golden rules of practice.
How to Overcome Deviation
There are two reasons why people practice internal arts wrongly. One, they stress their mind. Two, they tense their muscles. So, to overcome deviation, just be relaxed mentally and physically.
It may be a big surprise to many people that no matter what action they perform, so long as they relax their mind and body, they will have some effects of internal arts. Of course, for most people, the effects are minimal. However, if they choose special methods, like the internal art methods we use in our school, they will have better results in shorter time.
In our school we have the magic of chi flow. Even when students made mistakes in their practice, their chi flow will wash away any adverse effects due to their mistakes. Here, mistakes refer to those made due to carelessness or forgetfulness. If they consciously go against instructions, like they worry despite knowing not to, they are only asking for trouble. It is best they don’t train our arts.
How to Prevent Over-Training
Prevention is better than cure. An excellent way to prevent over-training is not to progress too fast, or to progress according to what your body can handle. As a general rule, if practitioners can get 30% of what they got in my intensive or regional courses, they would have done very well. I repeat: if practitioners can get 30% of what they got in my intensive or regional courses, they will have done very well.
I have mentioned a few times, and I mean it seriously, what I could achieve in one year at the time when I was already a grandmaster at Shaolin Wahnam Association, a typical Shaolin Wahnam Institute student now can achieve in one month. It took me about 30 years to become a grandmaster, not only in name but acknowledged by the public to have a grandmaster’s level.
If a student now works at 30%, he can attain my level as a grandmaster in 10 years. This means his solo performance is beautiful to watch, he is healthy and full of vitality, and he can defeat masters of any martial art quite comfortably. More significantly he is peaceful and happy every day.
The Magical 30%
Working at 30% is actually quite a lot. There is a lot of attainment in my intensive courses and even in my regional courses. Students attain in a few days what other practitioners, even at their master’s level, could not attain in a few years. How many masters having practiced for a few years, for example, can direct their chi to flow at different levels, or develop internal force using various methods, like what our students do in a few days in our chi kung or kungfu courses?
I must add that to reach the level of a grandmaster, I practiced according to what my sifus taught me at least an hour a day, everyday. So, you have to practice for at least 20 minutes a day, everyday for 10 years to reach a grandmaster’s level. If you only practice chi kung, you may practice at least 5 minutes a day.
If you dream to reach a grandmaster’s level, or even a master’s level, in a month, practicing off and on, this is certainly not a school for you. Although we have become so unbelievably cost-effective that I have to tell students to work at only 30% or less, and even that is far ahead of other practitioners, consistent practice is still a must if we want good health, vitality, longevity, peak performance in daily life as well as peace and happiness.
Kungfu practice in Kuala Lumpur