(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/ans15a/jun15-2.html)
Holistic Health Cultivation Center
Sifu I am still unclear about the harm that could be brought by over training or the training is too powerful.
— Dr Foong, Director of Holistic Health Cultivation Centre, Kuala Lumpur
Your question, or comment, is illuminating, and I would like to give a more detailed answer.
Over-training is a unique problem in our school. By “unique” I don’t mean that no one in the past over-trained. What I mean is that no school as a whole in the past and at present over-train at a scale and depth as we do.
Our over-training is closely related to our unbelievable cost-effectiveness. Our student can attain in one month what most other students would attain in one year — if they are lucky enough to practice genuine chi kung or genuine kungfu.
Most people, understandably, may consider us boastful over this statement, and some may become angry. They may concede that our school is twice better than most schools, or may be even three times better, which is a lot.
When I was a school teacher many years ago, I earned $2000 a month. When a colleague earned $4000 a month, that was a lot. If another colleague earned $6000 per month, that was incredible. (I was, of course, happy for them.)
But most people would not believe that we are more than 10 times more cost-effective than others, just as most teachers would not believe that a teacher could earn more than $20,000 a month.
Yet our typical student is more than 10 times more cost-effective than most other students, just as some rare teachers, not necessarily teaching in public schools, earn more than $20,000, though this is a small sum for some high-income earners like doctors and businessmen.
My conclusion that our typical students gain more than 10 times the benefits gained by other students is not made out of imagination, but based on facts.
Our typical students have internal force after practicing for three months. How many other kungfu practitioners have internal force after practicing for three years? Our typical students can use our kungfu for combat after practicing for six months. How many other kungfu practitioners can use their kungfu for combat after practicing for six years.
Your Holistic Health Cultivation Centre has helped many people suffering from so-called incurable diseases, including cancer, to recover after undergoing healing sessions for a few months. How many patients of so-called incurable diseases overcome their illness after treatment elsewhere after many years?
These examples are facts, not opinions. Anyone can find out whether the statements are true.
Hence, when our typical student gets 10 times the result of what other students get in other school, our students are over-training. Over-training means the benefits one receives from his training is too much or too fast for his body to adjust to, resulting in unpleasantness, tiredness, pain or other adverse effects. These adverse effects are a sigh to tell the practitioner to slow down his training so as to allow the body more time for adjustment.
There are two main ways to slow down one’s training — by reducing the time of training or reducing the intensity of training.
When one trains an hour a day, he can reduce the training by training for 15 minutes. But if he trains for only 15 minutes a day, like what our students do, there is not much time for him to reduce, though now, because of our increased efficiency, I advise our students to train for only 10 minutes.
We can also reduce the time of training by reducing its regularity. If a student trains for 10 minutes a day everyday, and still finds himself over-training, he can train once in two days, or once in three days. If he is advanced and powerful and still finds himself over-training, he can train just once a week.
But most of our students enjoy their training. They may not be happy training just once a week. An excellent approach to prevent over-training is to reduce its intensity. This is very effective for our instructors and advanced students who over-train.
An excellent way to reduce the intensity is not to go too deeply into a chi kung state of mind. In fact it is precisely because we enter into a deep chi kung state of mind that we have excellent result.
In theory it is simple, but in practice it may be difficult, even for our students. Here are some suggestions. Don’t take too long, like a minute, to be relaxed and clear the mind of all thoughts, and remain in this heightened level of consciousness. Take just a second or two. Relaxed, clear your mind and perform your exercise.
You can also focus on your form. If you are a beginner, get the outward form correct as best as you can. If you are advanced, aim for picture=perfect form. When you focus on your outward form, you perform the chi kung exercise more on the physical level and less on the mind level. Your result will be less, but it is still a lot compared to what other practitioners get, and minimize the possibility of you over-training.
You may notice that when students begin to learn form me, I ask them to not worry about their form. This is to get them onto the mind level and generate a chi flow. As they become more advanced, they pay more attention to their form.
Another suggestion which is negative but can prevent over-training is to purposely intellectualize and purposely tense your muscles once awhile. Tensing your muscles is not advisable, unless for specific reasons, but thinking of good thoughts while practicing is permissible. The intellectualizing will get you out of or to a shallower level of a chi kung state of mind, thus producing less result and preventing onver-training.
Purposely tensing our muscles can be useful in specific situations. When I sparred with somebody and accidentally hit him, and I sensed that my internal force was going into him, I purposely tense my muscle to prevent the flow of internal force hurting him. When you have over-trained but for some reason you still want to train, you can tense your muscles to prevent a lot of force developing. It can be uncomfortable. You have to do a gentle chi flow to clear the blockage.
Performing physical activities like practicing kungfu sets at a physical level, sparring with classmates, or going out with your family or friends, is a good way to expend energy, thus reducing over-cleansing due to over-training.
Remember that practicing chi kung is to enrich our life and the lives of others, and not to enslave ourselves to it. If you can get benefits in 10 minutes, you don’t have to practice for an hour. Use the time to enjoy other wholesome activities.
Over-training is very important in healing, i.e. teaching patients at a level much higher than they can absorb, or enabling them to recover faster then they can cope with. I shall deal with this topic in the next question you ask.
A healer told me that too powerful chi kung would not harm a patient. I told him that it would be harmful. The healer said that he was already an expert in chi kung healing. What is your comment, Sifu?
You are right and the healer wrong.
Too powerful chi kung is not only harmful to sick people, it is also harmful to healthy persons. It is like asking someone to run a marathon or lift heavy weights.
Even when he is healthy, if he is untrained, running a marathon or lifting weights will be harmful to him. If he is sick, it will aggravate his illness or may even kill him.
It is like taking medication. If a doctor asks a patient to take two pills, the patient must take two pills. If he takes 10 pills, he may be killed.
As you know very well, chi kung for healing is the lowest level of chi kung. The other levels in ascending order are chi kung fro health, chi kung for scholars, chi kung for warriors, and chi kung for spiritual cultivation. Although it is at the lowest level, chi kung for healing is the most useful today. This is because many people today, unlike in the past, practice chi kung to overcome their pain and illness.
If a healer teaches chi kung for warriors to sick people , he may kill them. It is like putting an engine of an aeroplane in a small car.
That healer may be an expert if he knows a lot about chi kung healing, but he may not be a master healer. A master healer is determined not by how much he knows but how well he helps patients overcome their illness.
One way to prevent over-training is not to enter deeply into a chi kung state of mind
Someone told me that as long as a person spent one hundred thousand hours on an art, he became a genius. I don’t agree because there are many other factors involved for one to become a genius or a real expert. What is your opinion, Sifu?
I agree with you, and disagree with the person who said that if one practiced an art one hundred thousand hours he would become a genius. If his practice is wrong, he becomes a big fool. Not only he has waste his time and effort, he has harmed himself, often seriously and unnecessarily.
This is the case with many martial artists today. They practice a martial art so as to become healthy and be able to defend themselves. But the more they practice the more unhealthy they become, and they cannot defend themselves. They merely exchange blows and kicks with their sparring partners in free sparring, and their injuries are usually unattended to.
Here is a list of factors a student may work on to get the best benefits from the practice of any art.
Have a sound philosophical understanding of the art.
Define his aims and objectives in pursuing the art.
Find the best available teacher according to his (the student’s) resources.
Practice the art according to the way the teacher teaches, and not according to the way the student thinks the art should be practiced.
Periodically access his result according to his set aims and objectives.
The same guidelines can also be applied to a patient seeking to overcome his illness and attain good health, vitality and longevity.
Have a philosophical understanding of his illness and healing.
Set aims and objectives, like overcoming his illness, and attaining good health, vitality and longevity.
Seek the best healer according to his resources.
Practice the healing procedure according to what the healer prescribes and not according to what the patient thinks to be done.
Periodically access his result according to his set aims and objectives.
I’ve been reviewing some videos to further increase my knowledge of what the world thinks about Baguazhang and recently saw a few Baguazhang weapons videos.
— Fredrick Chu, USA
What you are doing will contribute much to your understanding and attainment in Baguazhang. But it is important to know that what the world thinks of Baguazhang and what videos show on Baguazhang weapons may not be what Baguazzhang and Baguazhang weapons really are. This awareness is even more important in many other styles of kungfu, chi kung and spiritual cultivation.
Indeed, it is shocking how much kungfu, chi kung and spiritual cultivation have deviated from their original purposes and practice as shown in what the world thinks of these arts, and in what videos, even by well known world masters, show these arts to be.
What the world thinks of kungfu is often represented by Bruce Lee, despite the fact that Bruce Lee rejected both kungfu philosophy and methodology. For example, Bruce Lee thought that stance training, which forms the foundation of all kungfu, was ineffective, and his training methods were precisely what traditional kingfu masters warned against.
If you examine videos showing free sparring amongst kungfu practitioners, with the exception of those from Shaolin Wahnam, virtually all of them use boxing and kick-boxing, with hardly any kungfu techniques. If you watch videos on kungfu weapons, again with the exception of those from Shaolin Wahnam, there are hardly any on using kungfu weapons in combat, which is precisely the reason why the weapons are for.
If you watch videos on the demonstration of a Guandao, or the Knife of Guan, which is a long, heavy weapon, you will see that the controlling hand of most demonstrators holds the weapon just below its blade, and that the blade of the weapon is flimsy, which negate its advantage of being a long weapon, and a heavy weapon. Holding the weapon just below its blade would not enable its practitioner to use it on horseback or to cut it through the armour of an opponent, which were precisely what a Guandao was for.
A Small Universe Course where participants attain a “real break-through”
One of the weapons that many people mention when discussing Baguazhang is the Deer Horn Knife (I’ve also heard them called the Meridian Knives and the Mandarin Duck Knives). I have to admit, the weapons look rather spectacular, having many cutting edges and sharp points.
I was wondering what are the special characteristics of the Deer Horn Knives? How do they enhance Baguazhang practice? Are certain weapons more conducive to enhancing or bringing out the best of Baguazhang, such as the straight sword, the single knife, or the huge “Bagua dadao”?
The Dear Horn Knives are so named because diagrammatically they resemble the antlers of a stag. They are also called Meridian Knives and Mandarin Duck Knives because they are always used in pair.
Indeed, they look spectacular. The weapons are just sharp edges and points.
The special characteristics of the Dear Horn Knives are its sharp blades and points, which make them highly destructive. It is almost impossible for an opponent to dislodge the weapons from the exponent. The horns of the weapons can be used to lock or capture an opponent’s weapon.
Any hit of the weapons will cause bloodshed. The main techniques are cutting, slicing and piercing.
Interestingly, while the Deer Horn Knives are closely associated with Baguazhang, their training does not enhance Baguazhang practice. Circulating the hands round the body is a special feature of Baguazhang, but the sharp blades and points of the Deer Horn Knives do not facilitate this feature. But the agility of Baguazhmg contributes to an effective application of these weapons, so long as the exponent does not circulate the weapons round his body and cut himself.
The straight sword is the most conducive in bringing out the best in Baguazhang, and vice versa. In both the sword and Baguazhang, agility and flowing movement are of utmost importance. The swordsman, however, must not use his sword to circulate round his body like what a Baguazhang exponent does with his hands.
The Single Knife, or sabre, is also conducive in bringing out the qualities in Baguazhang, and vice versa. Circulating the sabre or the arms round the body is a frequently used skill in sabre and Baguazhang performance and application.
The huge Bagua Dadao is a large sabre that is quite out of size. Because of its huge size, it is good for training internal force or mechanical strength for those who have no internal force. Personally, I do not favour it because its excessive large size distract its application as a sabre
About a week or two ago, I felt the “false breakthrough” of the Small Universe during Baguazhang Circle Walking. It was the first time that I’ve clearly felt energy flowing through meridians (normally, my energy feels more diffuse or like waves passing across my body). I was walking the circle and my posture aligned in such a way that I began clearly feeling pockets of energy flowing along the Small Universe circuit.
I was wondering if Baguazhang, or any other particular martial arts, particularly well known for achieving the Small Universe and Big Universe?
Congratulations for your break-through of the Small Universe, even though it is “false” or apparent, and not “real” or permanent. A “false break-through” does not mean it is only an illusion and that there is really no break-through.
The term “false” is used relative to “real”. A “false break-through” does not mean there is no break-through. It occurs when a bubble of energy goes round the Ren and Du Meridians, and the defilements that block the meridians are being pushed through by the bubble of energy, but they may resume their blockage after the bubble has gone through.
A “real break-through” occurs when the Du and Ren Meridians are fully filled with energy flowing continuously and harmoniously round the meridians. A real break-through of the Small Universe enables practitioners to live beyond a hundred years.
Baguazhang being an internal art is more suitable than many other kungfu styles for attaining a Small Universe. But only Baguashang masters who have practiced for many years may have this attainment. It will be faster if they learn the art of Small Universe separately. But Baguashang practitioners who practice only the external aspects of Baguazhang will never attain the Small Universe.
If all other things were equal, Wudang Taijiquan and Dragon Strength would be more effective than Baguazhang to attain the Small Universe. This is because the internal force in these two arts is more flowing than that in Baguazhang.
Your attaining a break-through of the Small Universe, even a “false” one, is remarkable. Congratulations. Such an attainment is not likely to happen in most other schools.
A historical Baguazhang course at the UK Summer Camp 2012
Also, I remember hearing from my Sifu that Reverse Breathing is an important part of Small Universe training. I do know that at some point I would like to open the Small Universe, thanks to you, Sigung, and my Sifu’s writing about its amazing benefits.
I learnt Reverse Breathing at Goat Stance from my old Taijiquan sifu, and I had some good benefits like beginning to build and store energy at my dan tian, but I haven’t practiced it in a long time (mostly because shortly thereafter, I learnt from you and my Sifu in Florida).
Would it be worthwhile for me to begin practicing Reverse Breathing at Goat Stance if I wanted to further pursue the Small Universe, or should I wait until I’m able to spend a fair amount of time with you or my Sifu (for example, at a Small Universe course) to learn how to attain the Small Universe?
Reverse Breathing is an advanced art. It should be learnt from a competent teacher as wrong practice can cause serious problems.
When I was learning the Small Universe from my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, I made a mistake unknowingly while practicing Reverse Breathing. My chi accumulated about an inch on one side of my dan tian (I can’t remember now whether it was on the left side or the right side). It took me about three months of remedial exercise to correct it.
Many people mistake Reverse Breathing as Chest Breathing. They are different, though they look alike. In both cases, a practitioner’s chest rises as he breaths in. It rises more in Chest Breathing than in Reverse Breathing.
But in Chest Breathing it is air that goes into the chest. In Reverse Breathing it is energy, not air, that goes into the dan tian, or flows in a small universal circuit.
You should not attempt Reverse Breathing on your own. You can learn it from your sifu if you spend a fair amount of time with him, or learn it from me at a Small Universe course.
I was talking with Sifu recently and he told me that at my level I really needed to begin practicing regularly with other people to further refine my sparring and fighting skills. Funnily enough, shortly after the Legacy of Wong Fei Hoong Summer Camp (which I was unfortunately unable to attend), I was lucky enough to find a good school of Hoong Ka Kung Fu.
One of the things I liked immediately was the fact that the school does a lot of Asking Bridge in preparation for free sparring. Even though I haven’t had more than a handful of opportunities to train with and spar with people in the past two years, my stances, footwork, and internal force served me very well; I was routinely driving back and out-flanking people who had been in this school for about four or five years. The sifu complimented me on my solid stances and how my footwork always seemed to cut off my partner’s avenues of escape. I wanted to thank you again for teaching me those skills in Baguazhang, they are coming in handy a lot here!
This is no surprise because we pay a lot of attention on stances and footwork, but many other schools don’t. And Baguazhang is well known for footwork.
I did have a question about Asking Bridge and “bridging” in general. I noticed that this school and many others (which I’ve seen mostly in documentaries and on YouTube) use the One Finger Zen hand-form (which they call “Bridge Hand”) and their forearms for initially contacting with an opponent’s arms, especially during or immediately after defending against a strike.
What is it about this hand-form that makes it so popular in Hoong Ka schools compared to, say, the thread hand, Tiger Claws, or open palms? I personally feel more comfortable and sensitive with the thread-hand and open palms, but that may just be my Baguazhang background.
“Bridge Hand” or “kiew sau” in Chinese (Cantonese) refers to the forearm, not the One-Finger Zen hand form. The forearm is called a “bridge” because it is the part that is usually in contact with an opponent.
The term “Bridge Hand” is usually used in Hoong Ka Kungfu, and other styles derived from Southern Shaolin. It is seldom used in internal arts like Taijiquan, Baguazhang and Xingyiquan, or styles derived from Northern Shaolin like Praying Mantis, Tantui and Wuzuquan.
Besides in our school, the One-Finger Zen hand form, which is different from “Bridge Hand”, is now found mainly in Hoong Ka Kungfu, and rarely in other kungfu styles. It is mainly used to develop internal force, and at advanced levels for dim mark, i.e. dotting energy points. However, I suspect that most students today just perform the external form of One-Finger Zen hand form without knowing its inner significance.
I once asked my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, why the One-Finger Zen hand form was used to develop internal force. He told me that it activated the lung meridian. I followed up asking why was the lung meridian in particular activated in developing internal force. He said, in Cantonese, “fai wei hei zi fu”, which in Englsih means the lungs are the organs for energy. As developing internal force needs flowing energy, activating the lung meridians using One-Finger Zen is a very cost-effective hand form
In Hoong Ka Kungfu the One-Finger Zen hand form is used to develop internal force, though many Hoong Ka practitioners may not know how to do so, or may not even realize it. They perform the hand form because it is found in their sets, just as most kungfu practitioners of any style today perform their patterns because the patterns are found in their style, but they do not know the significance of these patterns.
In combat or even in solo performance, the thread hand using the dragon hand form, the tiger claw and the open palm are equally popular. In fact, when deflecting an opponent’s attack, like a thrust punch, Hoong Ka practitioners seldom use the One-Finger Zen hand form; they use the thread hand, the tiger claw or the open palm.
As an analogy, the Horse-Riding Stance is usually employed when developing internal force. But in combat it is seldom used.
Why is the One-Finger Zen hand form found in Hoong Ka and not in other styles. This was probably because the One-Finger Zen hand form was widely used in developing internal force in Southern Shaolin, and Hoong Ka Kungfu was the moist typical of Southern Shaolin. In fact, Hoong Ka patriarchs like Wong Fei Hoong and Lam Sai Weng called their kungfu Shaolin, and not Hoong Ka.
Then why is the One-Finger Zen hand form not found in other Southern Shaolin styles like Wing Choon and Choy-Li-Fatt. This was probably because the first patriarchs of these styles used other methods of force training. Yim Wing Choon, for example, used Siu Lin Tou which did not have the One-Finger Zen hand form. Chan Harng, the founder of Choy-Li-Fatt used a wooden man.
Editorial Note: Fredericks other questions will be continued at June 2015 Part 3 issue of the Question-Answer Series.
(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/sp-issues/overcoming-disease.html)
Students in a regional chi kung class in Ecuador enjoying a chi flow
There is only one illness and it is called yin-yang disharmony, although there may be countless symptoms.
— Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 1999 before the Chi Kung course in Malaysia with you. Crohn’s disease is an auto-immune disease which means that my body attacks my intestine. When I get an attack, ulceration and swelling occur internally and I have abdominal pain, spasms and diarrhoea. The doctors do not know where the disease comes from or what it is exactly and they say that there is no cure for it.
— Michael, UK
Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
In chi kung we also do not know what cause Crohn’s disease, but the interesting thing is that we do not need to know. In chi kung philosophy, there is no such a thing as an incurable disease. Every disease can be cured, which unfortunately does not necessarily means every patient can be cured.
There is only one illness and it is called yin-yang disharmony, although there may be countless symptoms, and Crohn’s disease is the label conventional doctors give to a particular set of symptoms. What we need to do is to restore yin-yang harmony, and chi kung is an excellent way to do so. In western language, yin-yang harmony means your body is able to adjust to constantly changing environment.
It means that when virus and bacteria attack your body, it by nature will overcome the virus and bacteria. If there is a sore or ulcer in your stomach, your body by nature will be able to repair it. If your body bleeds unnecessarily, your body will stop it. If you need some fluid to clear away dead cells, like the germs which caused Crohn’s disease and which were killed by your body defence as the result of chi kung training, your body may bleed to clear away the dead cells. If your body needs new blood to replenish the lost blood, your body will produce it.
This may sound incredible to the uninitiated, but it has been like this for everyone since humans first appeared, and it is happening to everyone all the time, irrespective of whether he knows chi kung or not. Then, why do some people have illness? This is because their yin-yang harmony has been temporarily disrupted. There are countless intermediate factors that can cause this disruption. But in chi kung we do not worry about the intermediate factors: we go to the root cause, i.e. we restore yin-yang harmony.
How do we restore yin-yang harmony? By restoring harmonious energy flow, which is a very concise way to say restoring the natural functions of all your body systems, organs, glands, etc. The chief function of chi kung is to ensure harmonious energy flow. Once all your body systems, etc function normally, including your stomach being able to overcome harmful virus and bacteria, and to stop unnecessarily bleeding, you will be healthy as a matter of course.
This philosophy is actually very simple, but those used to a different philosophy may find it hard to make a philosophical shift. If you are used to a philosophy which dictates that you have to find out why your body attacks your intestine, or where bleeding occurs, and if you cannot find out the why and the where, you would have to say there is no cure for Crohn’s disease.
Now you are faced with a different philosophy which says that your body attacking your intestine and your unknown bleeding are just symptoms that your body is not functioning normally. Once you restore the normal functioning of your body, it will not attack your intestines and you will not bleed unnecessarily. According to this philosophy you need not know why or where your body did not function normally, as long as you are able to restore its natural functioning.
A recent Intensive Chi Kung Course in Sabah, Malaysia
Reproduced from Questions 8 in Selection of Questions and Answers — April 2001 Part 1
Click here for a list of Certified Shaolin Wahnam Chi Kung Healers.
(reproduced from http://www.shaolin.org/discussion-2/chikung-religion.html)
Qigong Hidayah. Pictiure reproduced from http://www.alhidayah-medic.com/qigong-hidayah.html
Dr Damian Kissey
Senior Disciple of Grandmaster Wong
Shaolin Wahnam Sabah
1st October 2011
Chi Kung and Religion
Greetings to Tuan Zakaria Zain,
Is Chi Kung (or Qigong) allowed in Islam? Thank you for this good question.
Everything good is allowed in any religion, including Islam as long as it does not contradict the Quran .
The Islamic National Fatwa Council of Malaysia (Majlis Fatwa Kebangsaan) has never ruled that chi kung is not allowed in Islam .
The Founding President of Guolin Qigong Association of Malaysia is a senior Malay Muslim medical specialist, Dr. Amir Farid Isahak (MBBS -Australia, MMED, Singapore, MRCOG, UK)
An Islamic Medical Centre (Pusat Rawatan Islam Al-Hidayah Selangor) near Kuala Lumpur is licensed by the Malaysian Government, and their treatment includes chi kung (Qigong Hidayah)
The Islamic Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) pronounced: “Seek knowledge even as far as China”. Muslims take great pride in citing the above hadith as it points to the importance of seeking knowledge, even if it meant travelling as far away as China, especially as at the time of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), China was considered the most developed civilization of the period. “Tuntutlah ilmu sampai ke negeri China, karena sesungguhnya menuntut ilmu sangatlah wajib atas setiap orang muslim”.
The Founder of Waitankung (a famous form of chi kung was a Chinese Muslim Chi Kung and Kungfu Grandmaster Tuan Haji Ali Chang Chih-Tung .
The world famous Admiral Zheng Muhammad He (Laksamana Cheng Ho aka Haji Muhd Shamsuddin) was a chi kung-kungfu master during the Ming Dynasty who visited the Malacca Sultanate in present Malaysia .
See how cheerful, healthy and strong are these gentlemen Chinese Muslim Hajis who are chikung-kungfu masters
Seeking chi kung knowledge to get good health is a good thing. Our Shaolin chi kung originate from China. Our professional school teaches Chi Kung and Kung Fu as a holistic program to achieve good physical, emotional and mental health to all good students regardless of race or religion. We have students from almost all continents in the world, from various racial and religious background, including good Arab Muslims from Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates .
I am sorry to hear of your ill health but you can regain good health by putting in good effort in a good program, for example by practising chi kung. In our chi kung practise, we are against and not interested to communicate with evil spirits or jin and we do not recite any mantra. Actually it is God who help us to help ourselves to get rid of illness and regain good health. Logically, evil spirits bring evil health — that is why we are not interested in them .
Learning chi kung, like learning computer science or learning car driving, is good for practitioners of any religion but a good student should learn from a good teacher teaching a good art. If a student does not follow instructions or if s teacher is not qualified or if the art is corrupted, then the student will get bad result, for example the student does not know how to send emails after 1 year learning computer or does not know how to reverse a car after 1 year driving lesson or gets anxiety after learning chi kung wrongly. Actually learning chi kung is safer then driving a car. In our school we have very good teachers, very good chi kung programs and good deserving students ….. so we get good results .
Our students are obliged to respect the laws of the country and to practise high moral values (which are taught by all religions). Having achieved good health through chi kung, we become a better persons, better children to our parents, ourselves become better parents, become better citizens of a country and become better Muslims/religious persons. Connecting with the Cosmos, at a lower level, means we breath chi/air in and out of our body in continuous harmonious exchange with the atmosphere/cosmos. At a higher level, connecting with God means creating human beings with reduced imperfections. Through chi kung practise one can connect better with the Creator who is 100% perfect. So the power implied is non other than your natural birth right given to you by God ….. only that you have to put in good thoughts, good words and good actions to regain it .
I believe you are a good and sincere man. Pray to God for guidance. If you still feel uncomfortable with chi kung, it is OK. i am certain that God will lead you in the necessary direction. I wish you all the best in your life’s journey.
Shaolin Wahnam Sabah, Malaysia
A group of Muslim girls practicing wushu. Picture reproduced from http://www.zawaj.com/askbilqis/can-i-keep-my-name/
The above discussion is reproduced from the thread Is Chi Kung Not Against Other Religion? Give Some Clarification in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.
(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/sp-issues/risks.html)
I am a teacher at a senor citizens’ home. After reading your book, “The Art of Chi Kung”, I decided to try it myself. I tried both the Moon and one of the other momvements to induce chi. I found nothing happening. The only thing that happened was that I started to fall forward as if I was loosing my balance. After two or three times like this I finally started to sway. I am not sure if I consciously started to sway or it was from the movement.
— Larry, USA
Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
It is difficult to tell from an e-mail description whether your reaction was due to induced chi flow, or due to your loss of balance, or due to your conscious attempt to sway. But even if your sway was due to chi flow, it did not necessarily mean you were practising chi kung. Chi kung is not merely swaying.
I decided to try it in my class of 8. I had the class close their eyes and I said to them if they started to sway they were to go with it. (in accordance with the instructions in your book). Out of the 8 only one started to sway. Is this sway something that is consciously brought on, or is it just supposed to happen?
Yours is a typical example of how little knowledge and respect many Westerners have of chi kung. Many Westerners (and modern Easterners) think that they can just read from a book, try some exercises on their own, and then start teaching others. Especially if they are unemployed, they may continue teaching so-caled chi kung for a living, and after a few years they may call themselves, or others may call them, masters.
You have done yourself, your students and the art a great dis-service. You have not learnt or practised chi kung properly, yet you have started to teach others. This is unprofessional. You do not understand the effect chi flow has on your students, and despite my warning in my books that incorrect practice may lead to serious harmful effects, you have decided to try it on others. This is unehical.
The sway may or may not be brought on consciously. Whether it should or should not happen, depends on numerous factors. But swaying itself is not chi kung
Also, I am very interested in your intensive courses on healing incurable diseases. However, financially it is impossible for me to travel to Malaysia. Are you planning by any chance to bring your classes to the United States, or can someone learn what you teach through a video? And do you have such videos available?
Merely being interested is far from sufficient. Before you think of becoming a healer or a teacher, be a student first. The large number of people, especially in the West, who imagine that they can become healers or masters, without having to make the minimum effort to learn and practise the art first, really amazes me.
I sometimes teach in the United States.
People may learn external forms from videos, but these are actually not what I teach in my chi kung or kungfu classes. What I actually teach in my chi kung classes are skills to manage energy, and in my kungfu classes skills for combat efficiency, internal force development and spiritual cultivation. Anyone who thinks that such skills can be learnt via videos do not know what chi kung or kungfu really is. Hence, I have not produced videos for the purpose of self-instructio
I also had a lady whose heart started to beat fast after the exercises in your book. Does this have any significance, as she was starting to get a little nervous?
Luckily she did not collapse. Your unprofessional teaching could have killed her.
The heart starting to beat fast during a chi kung exercise may or may not be good. It depends on various factors. In my teachng, many students with serious heart problems had their heart beating very fast during their practice under my supervision. I had to be extremely careful, and observe them and their reactions closely.
On one occasion I was about to ask a student to slow down and stop when she exclaimed how wonderful she felt. She as well as the other students soon recovered from their illness. But a less experienced instructor might have killed them in similar situatons.
Teaching chi kung to those with heart problems must be done by a master. Even trained instructors may not be competent enough to handle students with serious heart problems. In such cases, it is best for the instructors not to teach these students.
The question and answer are reproduced from Questions 11 to 14 of the January 2000 Part 1 issue of the Question-Answer Series.
(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/sp-issues/prove.html)
Why will no masters come forward to conclusively prove once and for all that qi is real and that qi-gong is not a fake healing art. It seems to me a lot more Westerners would be willing to accept and try qi-gong if there was a demonstration, a scientifically designed study that conclusively demonstrated qi-gong’s effects.
— Paul, USA
Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
Numerous experiments were carried out under strict scientific conditions both inside China and outside which proved conclusively that qi is real, and that qigong, besides having other uses, is a genuine healing art.
For example, the Qing Hua University in Bejing, one of the most prestigious universities of China, conducted many experiments with the great qigong master, Yan Xin, which showed that qi is real and has measurable influences on matter. These scientific experiments were supervised by top Chinese scientists, including Professor Qian Xue Sen, the father of the Chinese rocket.
Numerous hospitals in China, particularly the People’s Hospital of Shanghai, conducted many scientific experiments which conclusively showed that practising qigong enables many patients to recover from their diseases.
Numerous scientific experiments were also conducted outside China. Dr Kenneth Sancier of the United States, whom I had the pleasure to meet at the Second World Qigong Congress in San Francisco in 1997, is a leader in this field, and he has tirelessly collected volumes of scientific reports on qigong, gallantly attempting to bring its wonderful benefits to the Western public.
At this Second World Qigong Congress, Professor Fang Li Da of China, a medical doctor trained at the world-famous Harvard School of Medicine, provided convincing evidence from her many years of research that practising qigong can overcome cancer. For her brilliant research, she was named “Qigong Research Scientist of the Year”.
There were many top scientists and qigong masters at this Second World Qigong Congress. A special committee edited the findings and reports of the Congress and submitted recommendations to relevant authorities at both the United States government and the United Nations Organization.
The question remains. Why is qigong not widely used to overcome diseases, especially so-called incurable diseases like cancer, cardio-vascular disorders, diabetes and asthma, against which qigong is said, in fact has been proven, to overcome?
There are many answers, and different people will give different answers according to their perspectives. To me, there are two important answers, the relevance of which may not be easily understood by the public. One, genuine qigong masters are basically qigong masters, not marketing experts. They do not have the means, or the interest, to let the world know of their abilities to cure illness. Two, marketing experts who are already enjoying handsome rewards for their effort, may not like qigong to disrupt the de facto situation.
At the International Congress for the Unity of Science held at Seoul in the year 2000 where Nobel Prize winners and top practitioners of their respective fields were invited, I was honoured to speak on qigong. Answering a request from the Congress committee on alternative medicine, I recommended a simple, direct yet scientific approach to test the effectiveness of qigong in overcoming so-called incurable diseases as follows.
Let a medical committee selects a group of patients with a so-called incurable disease. Also selects a control group. Let a genuine qigong master work with the group of patients for six months. Examine the health conditions of the patients at the start, the middle and the end of the six-month period using standard medical tests. Compare the results with the control group.
I knew my proposal was only an academic issue. As expected, no one has thought it worthwhile to implement the recommendation.
Reproduced from Question 1 in the July 2001 Part 3 issue of the Question-Answer Series.
(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/general/emiko-02.html)
Teacher, Writer, Composer, Musician, Shaolin Wahnam Instructor, Toronto, Canada
Emiko Hsuen (far left) with brothers and sisters of the international Shaolin Wahnam Family during the wedding celebrations of Sifu Wong’s eldest daughter in Malaysia in December 2004
A Brief Review of My Medical (Personal) History
- In 1995, I was diagnosed with a debilitating disease called Endometriosis.
- On October 6, 1995, I had laparoscopic surgery and was post-operatively diagnosed as having Stage III Endometriosis and Uterine Fibroids.
- In October 2000, blood tests revealed that I was also suffering from Hypothyroidism.
- All three chronic disorders are considered incurable by western medicine.
- In December 2000, I flew to Malaysia and learnt Shaolin Cosmos Chi Kung and Shaolin Kungfu from world-renowned Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit. I was told that if I practiced exactly in the manner in which I had been instructed, without fail, that I would be cured of Endometriosis within one year (by December 2001).
- I believed him and did the practice exactly as I was told.
- In February 2001, blood tests revealed that I no longer had Hypothyroidism.
- In July 2001, the symptoms of Endometriosis completely disappeared.
- In September 2003, ultrasound reports showed that the Uterine Fibroids had grown. I was booked for surgery at the end of January 2004.
- In October 2003, I flew down to Boston to learn about Macrobiotics.
- I began to incorporate more chi kung principles into the diet.
- The diet and chi kung proved to have beneficial effects: in subsequent ultrasounds there was little or no growth of the fibroids.
- Due to my lifestyle and certain extenuating circumstances, I was not able to maintain the diet. The fibroids began to grow again at a rapid rate.
- On April 20, 2005, I underwent a full laparotomy and had all of the fibroids removed (14 in total).
- Post-surgery, I was informed by the surgeon and other attending doctors that during the surgery, search as they might, they had been unable to find the presence of Endometriosis. Though I had not suffered any pain since July 2001, it was expected that scar tissue and remains of the disease would still be visible. Apparently, there was not a trace of it any where.
- I am now an authentic “case study” showing irrefutable evidence that a person can be fully cured from Endometriosis (as opposed to an anecdotal story). This may be the first time ever that doctors now have evidence to show Endometriosis is a curable disease.
- This ground-breaking news has already been communicated by a doctor to the President of the World Endometriosis Association (Milwaukee). It is also being communicated to the Director of the Japanese Endometriosis Association.
(The following subsections are all quoted from an informative text called Coping with Endometriosis by Robert H. Phillips, Ph.D., and Glenda Motta, R.N.)
What is Endometriosis?
“Endometriosis is one of the most prevalent gynecological disorders, affecting millions of women and girls around the world. The incidence of endometriosis diagnoses is on the rise, and we can no longer afford to treat the disease as an insignificant issue. Endometriosis can result in incapacitating pain, infertility, and repeated surgeries, and can render a woman or girl unable to go about her normal routine. This disease affects not only the patient, but also everyone around her. Dr. Von Rokitansky first detailed the disease in 1860.” (xiii)
“Endometriosis is a chronic disease of a woman’s or teenage girl’s reproductive and immune systems. Patches of endometrial tissue — similar to the tissue normally found only in the endometrium, the lining of the uterus — grow outside the uterus (the womb). This tissue develops into different types of “growths”, also called “implants,” “nodules,” or “cysts,” which can cause pain, bleeding, infertility, problems with your bowel or bladder, many other symptoms or changes.” (4)
“Endometriosis affects women and teenage girls of all races all over the world. Endometrial tissue has been found in autopsies of infants, premenstrual adolescents, posthysterectomy, and postmenopausal women (even in five men!), but generally occurs in women who are having menstrual periods?age at diagnosis ranges from the midteens to the forties.
One study reported that more than 50% of teenage girls undergoing surgery for severe pelvic pain had lesions. The Endometriosis Association and the Endometriosis Research Centre estimate that 2-4% of the general female population worldwide may have endometriosis.
Endometriosis affects more women than breast cancer. The average delay from the beginning of symptoms to diagnosis of the disease is over nine years. The disease is often confused with pelvic inflammatory disease, bladder infections, irritable bowel syndrome, and a multitude of other conditions. This means millions of women and girls suffer needlessly and treatment is delayed.” (6)
Emiko Hsuen, an instructor os Shaolin Wahnam Canada, posing at the Golden Bridge stance
What causes Endometriosis?
“Despite the number of theories as to the cause of endometriosis, none seem to account for all cases.” (8)
What are the symptoms of Endometriosis?
“For the most part the symptoms of endometriosis can be divided into the following main categories: pain, fatigue, bowel and bladder complications, heavy or irregular bleeding, and fertility problems.” (12)
“In addition?women with endometriosis can experience dizziness, migraine headaches, low back pain, poor resistance to infections, extensive allergies, chemical sensitivities, vaginal discharge between periods, yeast infections, and low-grade fever.” (15)
What are the stages of Endometriosis?
“Stage I is minimal. Endometriosis in the peritoneum (the abdominal cavity) is superficial, and only one ovary is involved. The endometrial lesions are small and not widespread.
“Stage II is mild. There is deep endometriosis in the peritoneum and both ovaries have superficial involvement.
“Stage III is moderate. There can be superficial or deep endometriosis in the peritoneum. The cul-de-sac (the area between the wall of the uterus and the rectum) is involved. Lesions are deep in one ovary, and the fallopian tubes are often affected. Adhesions are deep.
“Stage IV is severe. The number and type of implants are large; there are dense adhesions in the peritoneum, the fallopian tubes, and the ovaries. Often, there is extensive scar tissue. There is considerable disease in many locations such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, bowel, appendix, peritoneum, and cul-de-sac.
“The staging system? is flawed in that the staging is not related to pain. (In some women, lesions may be small but cause severe pain. Others may have large lesions without a lot of pain.) It also does not label the changes that may be going on in the immune system and does not allow for the fact that implants may fluctuate in size.” (20)
What is the Prognosis of Western Medical Experts?
“Endometriosis is a chronic disease with no cure at the present time, which means that it can last as long as you are alive. New data from the world’s largest research registry on endometriosis show that women with endometriosis and their families have a heightened risk of breast cancer, melanoma, and ovarian cancer. There is also a greater risk of non-Hodgkins lymphoma in these families and a significantly higher incidence of diabetes, thyroid disorders, and other autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and M?ni?re’s disease?.Serious problems with endometriosis occur when it has a destructive effect on important internal organs.” (20)
Medical Findings — Irrefutable Evidence that Endometriosis is a Curable Disease
Report 1 — Diagnosed with Endometriosis
Location: North York Branson Hospital
Service Date: Oct. 6, 1995
Quoted from Inpatient Operative Report:
“It was apparent that there was hemochromatic material scattered throughout the pelvis. There was a cystic structure on the left ovary. Foci of endometriosis was seen on the right ovary and also in the pouch of Douglas. The area was irrigated and we then grasped the ovary and incised through the cortex attempting to find a plane whereby we could remove the cyst, however, we ruptured into the cyst and it began to leak chocolate material. We irrigated and flushed this area clean?and amputated the cystic portion of the ovary leaving behind a good third to half of normal ovarian tissue on the left side.
“We coagulated the foci of endometriosis on the right ovary and also a few independent foci seen throughout the pelvic basin but there was a lot of brownish golden staining over the bladder peritoneum from presumed leakage of this endometrioma?Final Diagnosis: 1. Endometrioma, left ovary 2. Disseminated Endometriosis (This would be Stage 3 endometriosis).”
Report 2 — Diagnosed without Endometriosis
Location: Sunnybrook & Women’s College, Health Sciences Centre, Women’s College Campus
Service Date: Apr. 20, 2005
Quoted from Inpatient Operative Report:
“Examination revealed normal tubes and ovaries. There was no evidence of endometriosis in the cul de sacs, ovaries or other areas?”
Quoted from Surgical Pathology Consultation Report:
“Diagnosis: Tissue from uterus: – uterine leiomyoma (see comment)? Comment: Multiple sections are examined?These show the presence of a leiomyoma which shows no significant abnormality microscopically?the case would still be regarded as clearly benign with no potential for malignant activity.”
N.B. Had there been endometrial tissue present, the pathology report would have included this information in its findings. The fact that the doctor only makes mention of the myomas (fibroids) is further proof of the fact that the endometriosis is completely gone.
(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/sp-issues/chinese-medical-philosophy.html)
Western medicine kills 250,000 people per year and is the third leading cause of death in the United States. Death caused by Western doctors has been called iatrogenocide. Ignoring this fact, many Chinese doctors want to integrate Western and Chinese medicine. Do you think that Chinese and Western medicine should be integrated or combined into a single system?
— Marcus, USA
Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
I admire your brave and honest statement, made with sincerity and hope that something could be done to overcome a big problem facing modern societies regarding health and illness.
To me this situation is pathetic on two points. One, traditional Chinese medical philosophy and practice can be used to overcome this big problem of numerous so-called incurable, and sometimes fatal, diseases facing modern societies, but this is not being done due to ignorance, prejudice or vested interest.
Two, instead of introducing traditional Chinese medical philosophy and practice into modern societies to overcome this urgent problem, even those in a position to do so are turning to conventional Western medicine. In China, for example, there were hospitals where traditional Chinese medicine and conventional Western medicine were offered side by side on an equal footing, and patients could choose which medical system to use.
But the trend now is that traditional Chinese medicine is becoming a secondary system, with traditional Chinese physicians fearing that they would be phrased out eventually. Most decision makers in hospitals as well as in governmental health care bodies are trained in Western medicine. Against such a background, your question becomes the more important.
Many people, including most Western trained doctors and some mediocre traditional Chinese physicians, view health and medicine from only one perspective, and it is usually the Western medical perspective. In practical terms it means that if a Western doctor who is sympathetic to traditional Chinese medicine, could not overcome a particular disease, he may look for a traditional Chinese medical method, such as acupuncture or herbs, to treat the disease. To most people, this is only logical. This is because most people view health and medicine from only one perspective, the Western medical perspective.
On the other hand, when a Chinese physician treats his patient, he may take his patients’ temperature and blood pressure, and recommends Western medical drugs in his treatment. This is often regarded as an improvement, and the Chinese physicians is regarded as more advanced than his traditional counterparts who do not know how to use Western medical instruments.
Such enterprising Western doctors and Chinese physicians may be successful in individual cases, but for Western medicine as well as traditional Chinese medicine as a whole, it is not a good development. The reason is that Western medicine and traditional Chinese medicine employ different paradigms and methods which are often incompatible. Hence, Chinese medicine and Western medicine should not be integrated or combined into a single system. This does not mean that they cannot work together. They can work together side by side, but they cannot work together as an integrated, single system.
Suppose you live on a river bank and you wish to travel to the river mouth. You can reach your destination by car or by boat, but you cannot use your car as a boat or your boat as a car. You may, if desirable, make part or parts of your journey by car, and part or parts of your journey by boat, consecutively or in any order, but you cannot drive your car on the river or sail your boat on the road.
This gives a rough idea of the incompatibility of integrating Chinese and Western medicine into a single system. In your effort to help a patient make the journey from illness to recovery, you may, if desirable, make part or parts of the journey using Chinese medicine, and part or parts of the journey using Western medicine, but not using Chinese and Western medicine as an integrated, single system. This can’t be done simply because Chinese medicine and Western medicine use totally different philosophies and approaches.
Take for example a patient suffering from an illness that Western medicine calls high blood pressure. Western doctors define the illness from its symptoms. Thus, to overcome the illness, doctors overcome the high blood pressure. This is normally done by taking drugs to dilate the blood vessels which will them reduce the pressure of blood flowing through them. Western doctors are satisfied with this treatment because from their perspective they have done their job, i.e. lowering the patient’s blood pressure. But for the development of medicine, this is unsatisfactory because the treatment only eliminates the symptoms but not the illness.
An enterprising Western doctor employing Chinese medicine as an integrated system, may incorporate Chinese therapeutic methods like herbs and acupuncture (if they are permitted by their medical authorities to do so). But this is also unsatisfactory because actually he is still using the Western system although he substitutes herbs or acupuncture for pharmaceutical drugs. Basically, his attempt is still eliminating symptoms, and not the illness itself, although the therapeutic agents he now uses are herbs and acupuncture.
Chinese medicine operates in a different paradigm. In Chinese medicine an illness is defined not by its symptoms, but by the patient’s reaction to disease causing agents. Often it may not be necessary to know what the disease causing agents are! This fact may appear ridiculous to those who only view illness from the Western medical perspective, but paradoxically it is one of the crucial differences between Chinese and Western medicine that will help Western medicine to overcome its present impasse.
In traditional Chinese medicine, a high blood pressure patient will not be described as suffering from high blood pressure! The description depends on his reaction against known or unknown disease causing agents, and in this case it is usually “rising yang energy from the liver”. In other words, a patient described by Western doctors as suffering from high blood pressure, is likely to be described by traditional Chinese physicians as suffering from “rising yang energy from the liver”. The crucial difference is that “high blood pressure” is a symptom, whereas “rising yang energy from the liver” is the cause of the illness.
When Western doctors succeed in eliminating “high blood pressure”, they eliminate the symptom, but the illness remains. When Chinese physicians succeed in eliminating “rising yang energy from the liver”, they eliminate the cause, and the illness disappears.
There are different ways to eliminate “high blood pressure” and “rising yang energy from the liver”. In their historical development, Western doctors have found pharmaceutical drugs useful for eliminating “high blood pressure”, whereas Chinese physicians have found herbs, acupuncture, massage, chi kung and other means useful for eliminating “rising yang energy from the liver”.
The use of pharmaceutical drugs, herbs, acupuncture, etc are means, whereas “eliminating high blood pressure” and “eliminating rising yang energy from the liver” are principles. People often identify a medical system by its means, and seldom by its principles.
In my opinion, while both are important, principles are more important than means. Principles come first, means follow. When we have decided on the principles, we find the means to realize the principles.
The impasse faced by Western medicine today, I believe, is that many of its therapeutic principles may not be valid. In the example of high blood pressure above, Western medicine mistakes the symptom for the disease. Thus, although the means are excellent, the disease still cannot be cured because the therapeutic principle is faulty.
Another example is the case of SARS. The principle underlying research today in finding a cure for SARS is that if doctors understand the SARS virus they can cure patients of SARS. In my opinion, this principle may not be valid. If out of 100 persons infected with the virus, 98 of them could overcome it, the problem lies not with the virus but with the 2 persons who succumb. The question then is not how the virus kills people, but why the 2 persons could not overcome the virus when the other 98 could. The onus of the research, therefore, should be on the patients, rather than on the virus.
Research scientists could ask “What went wrong in the natural working of the two persons who succumb to the virus?” In other words, the Chinese physician attempts to find out the patient’s conditions in relation to the disease causing agents. If, for example, the patient’s condition is “weakening of the lung system”, by strengthening the lung systems by appropriate therapeutic means the Chinese physician can help the patient recover.
As shown in the two examples above, due to the different philosophy between Chinese and Western medicine, these two systems cannot be integrated into a single system. The greatest contribution Chinese medicine can make towards Western medicine, I believe, is its philosophy.
According to traditional Chinese medical philosophy, a person becomes ill because one or more of his natural systems are not working properly. If we restore the natural working of these systems, the patient will recover as a matter of course. Therefore, the onus of medicine — in diagnosis, pathology, therapeutic, research, etc — should be on the patient, finding out what went wrong inside him due to the influence of outside factors, and not on the outside factors like cholesterol and virus that cause the changes inside him.
The question and answer are reproduced from Question 1 of the May 2003 Part 1 issue of the Question-Answer Series.
(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/sp-issues/chinese-perspective.html)
Further tests and detail examination have failed to identify a correctable cause for my patient’s illness. Sifu’s reply is indeed very much welcome and has restored our hope in helping him.
— Dr Lim, Malaysia
Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
I have many successful cases of helping patients to recover from diseases where conventional medicine could not identify the cause or site. This in fact is common.
If the cause or site of a disease can be identified, and if a remedy is available, conventional medicine is usually more effective, or at least speedier. But when the cause or site is unknown, chi kung provides an excellent alternative.
You would probably have read my explanation on why chi kung can succeed in overcoming such diseases when conventional medicine may not. Nevertheless, I shall explain it again here.
From the Chinese medical perspective, there is only one disease, called yin-yang disharmony. There may be countless symptoms, and conventional medicine names the disease, or its many manifestations, according to its symptoms.
Chinese medicine also names the various manifestations of the one disease, but the names are given not according to its symptoms but to its cause according to Chinese medical philosophy. Hence, while conventional medicine calls such disease manifestations as high blood pressure and bronchitis, traditional Chinese medicine calls them as “rising yang energy from the liver” and “excessive heat in the lungs”.
This difference of perspective gives traditional Chinese medicine a big edge over conventional medicine. When the cause of a disorder cannot be determined, or when there is no known remedy as in the case of viral infections, conventional medicine is quite helpless. It is not a question of conventional medicine being less effective; it is a situation where conventional medicine becomes a victim of its philosophical limitation.
Basically the therapeutic principle in conventional medicine is to define the disorder according to its cause, then prescribe the appropriate remedy. Such a philosophy works well when the cause is known and where a remedy is available. But when the cause is unknown or where a remedy is unavailable, treatment becomes impossible according to this philosophy.
Such problems become irrelevant in traditional Chinese medical philosophy. This is because traditional Chinese medicine (1) defines a disorder by its cause, and (2) all causes are correctable as their reference points involve the known conditions of the patient’s body. The following example may make this philosophical discussion clearer.
Suppose a patient suffering from what in conventional medicine would be referred to as high blood pressure, consults a traditional Chinese physician. After a thorough diagnosis, the physician concludes that his patient suffers from “rising yang energy from the liver”.
Why does he call the disorder “rising yang energy from the liver”? The answer is straight-forward. He finds yang energy rising from his patient’s liver. Had his finding been different, say excessive dampness in his patient’s stomach or insufficient heat in his patient’s gall bladder, he would define the disorder as “excessive dampness in the stomach” or “insufficient heat in the gall bladder”.
Now, when a disorder is defined as high blood pressure, a conventional doctor only knows the symptoms of the disorder; he has no clue to what the cause is or what a possible remedy can be. Hence, he does his best according to his philosophy and training, which is to relieve the high blood pressure.
High blood pressure is actually not the disorder, it is only the symptom of the disorder. The patient therefore has to take medication for life.
When a disorder is defined as “rising yang energy from the liver”, or “excessive dampness in the stomach” or “insufficient heat in the gall bladder”, a traditional Chinese physician knows exactly what the cause of the disorder is and how to remedy it. If he can lower his patient’s rising yang energy at the liver, or reduce dampness at the patient’s stomach, or increase heat at the patient’s gall bladder”, his patient will recover. The physician can achieve these objectives with the use of herbs, acupuncture, massage, chi kung exercises or other means.
Hence there is no such a thing as an incurable disease in traditional Chinese medical philosophy. One major objective in my writing “The Complete Book of Chinese Medicine” is to convey this philosophy to conventional medical scientists, in the hope that it may help them to overcome their present philosophical limitation.
This point is not generally realized. Most conventional doctors today interested in traditional Chinese medicine, only seek to borrow suitable therapeutic techniques from traditional Chinese medicine, such as what herbs, acupuncture points or chi kung exercises may be useful to overcome what disorders. They do not usually appreciate that major break-throughs in conventional medicine can be made by overcoming their philosophical limitation in viewing disease.
There is, however, a big problem traditional Chinese physicians have to face, that is, their diagnosis must be accurate. If their diagnosis is incorrect, such as mistaking “excessive fire in the liver” to be “rising yang energy from the liver”, their treatment logically would be wrong.
Hence, I believe medicine is more of an art than a science. It is the skill of a doctor or therapist in making right judgment and winning the patient’s confidence that are often more crucial than the knowledge of anatomy and pathology he has.
Chi kung does not even have this one big problem. There is no need for diagnosis in chi kung! This is simply because chi kung works on the most fundamental level, the level of energy flow. Other medical or healing systems work on higher levels.
When we define a disorder as high blood pressure or “rising yang energy from the liver”, for example, we operate at the levels of organs or systems. From the chi kung perspective, whatever factors that cause high blood pressure or “rising yang energy from the liver” are intermediate factors. The ultimate factor or cause of disorder is disrupted energy flow.
In other words, to a conventional doctor or a Chinese physician, his patient may have taken too much alcohol or has been exposed to too much anger. Due to his excessive alcohol or anger, he has high blood pressure or “rising yang energy from the liver”.
To a chi kung master, the excessive alcohol or anger may (or may not) have caused the high blood pressure or “rising yang energy from the liver”. But as a result his energy flow is disrupted.
It actually does not matter if the cause of the patient’s disorder may not be alcohol or anger but something else. It is also not relevant, according to this chi kung perspective, whether the patient has high blood pressure, “rising yang energy from his liver”, “excessive dampness in his stomach”, viral attack in his spleen, certain chemicals lacking in his system, or other pathogenic factors. All these are intermediate causes. The crucial point is that one, some or all of these intermediate causes result in his energy flow being disrupted.
In other words, a chi kung master has only one consideration, that is, whether the energy flow in his patients or students is harmonious. Harmonious energy flow is a Chinese medical jargon. In simple language it means the energy that flows to all the cells, tissues, organs and systems is making all the cells, tissues, organs and systems working the way they are supposed to work.
This energy flow may be interrupted by intermediate factors like excessive alcohol, anger, virus, inadequate chemical supplies, etc and the disruption or blockage may occur at the liver, blood system, a minute cell deep inside the body, or anywhere else. But irrespective of the intermediate causes and sites, once the energy flow is restored to be harmonious, all the cells, tissues, organs and systems will work the way they are supposed to work, which means the person will regain his good health.
How does the energy flow know the blockage is at the liver and not at the stomach, or in one particular cell or not in another? It is a natural characteristic of energy flow, like water flow, to flow from high levels to low levels. Areas of energy blockage are areas of low or no energy levels. If one practices chi kung sufficiently and regularly, energy flow will clear all areas of blockage, starting with the most serious areas (lowest or no energy levels), then the next, and so on.
This takes time, and the energy flow generated must be adequate. This explains that chi kung is not suitable for acute illness, but excellent for chronic disorders where the cause or sites may not be known.
The question and answer are reproduced from Question 1 of the January 2005 Part 2 issue of the Question-Answer Series.