First I would like to again give my most heartfelt thanks to Sigung for the Legacy of Bodhidharma course in 2012. Since then Iron Wire has become my most prized possession. iI has given me health, a strong body, vitality, a strong mind, and courage on one level.
On another level it has continually brought my kung fu to new levels. As each of the 12 Bridges manifests in my practice I feel as though I take baby steps closer and closer to realizing what past masters experienced, not to mention Sinew Metamorphosis, and Bone Marrow Cleansing. — just wow!
— David, USA
I am very glad of your progress, which is expected as you have been very diligent in your training.
What you are making are not “baby steps”, as you modestly reported, but “gigantic steps”. We do not mean to be presumptuous, but it is good for you and others of our Shaolin Wahnam Family to know that what you and many of our students can achieve in one year what past masters would take at least 10, but more probably 20!
I myself took more than 20 years of training before I could achieved what you described below, and I was very lucky, I learned from some of the best teachers in the world. Not many past masters had my opportunity.
My mentioning of this fact is not to glamorize our school, but to remind you and others not to over-train. Over-training has become an issue with our diligent students in both chi kung and kungfu. You should avoid their mistake.
All the force training I know seems to be almost too powerful now that I’ve been training for some time. I am immensely looking forward to taking all the courses at the UK Summer Camp! Looking forward even more to attending an intensive kung fu course and consolidating all my Sifu has taught me.
It is important to differentiate my courses, both regional and intensive, from the regular classes taught by your sifu and other Shaolin Wahnam instructors.
My courses, including regional ones, are intensive. My intensive courses in Malaysia are very intensive. Course participants learn in a few days whet they would learn in a year or more in regular classes. Most other students in other schools will never learn what our students will learn, no matter for how long they may train. They may be angry reading this; that is their problem and their business. Frankly, I don’t want to waste my time on them.
What I write here is for our students. It is useful for our students to know the difference between what we practice in our school, and what most other people practice in other schools.
I always justify my statements. What do participants in my courses and students taught by our instructors in regular classes learn in a few days or a year that most other people may not learn even when they have trained for many years? Let us leave aside details like ensuring safety first and rotating the waist, and focus on main points. How many kungfu practitioners today have internal force and are able to apply their kungfu techniques for combat after having trained for 20 years? It is indeed shocking how much kungfu has degraded.
Why don’t our instructors teach in a few days instead of spreading the instructional material over a year? It is for our students’ benefit. Students need time to develop the appropriate skills, which will not only improve their kungfu but also enrich their daily life. The students also need time to adjust themselves to the new levels of energy, otherwise they will over-train with adverse results.
Then, why do I teach a year’s material in a few days? It is also for the students’ benefit. For obvious reasons, it is not feasible for students to learn from me over a year like in a regular class. So I condense the material into a few days so that more deserving students all over the world can benefit.
My courses and the regular classes taught by our instructors complement each other. The focus of my course is to learn. The focus of the regular classes is to practice. Learning constitutes only 5% of practical success; the remaining 95% is practice. Students in our school are indeed lucky to have these two learning opportunities that complement each other.
The Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course is unbelievable. It covers material ranging from beginners’ to masters’ level. You will learn all that you need to become a genuine master.
Iron Wire is probably the most powerful kungfu set to generate internal force
The main reason I am emailing you is to ask for advice in two matters. Firstly it is somewhat odd but my situation started after practice a few months ago when I was walking around and then relaxing. I started having visions. The earliest one began with me as a very young boy except it wasn’t me as I am now, I was learning a Tiger Kungfu similar to my experience in Post 20 in my training journal.
I recall vague images of some brutal training as well as pleasant chi kung and meditation in a beautiful garden. Then some time later I started getting images of wandering the streets, stumbling around and getting into many fights as well as demonstrating kung fu, and receiving a few coins for food and drink.
These visions got more and more vivid as time went by. The most vivid one to date was a couple of months ago. I think I was walking down a narrow street and got jumped by many men. They were screaming at me, I couldn’t understand them. I think it was Cantonese but I don’t speak the language. They attacked me and I defeated them. But one of them managed to cut me with a knife.
When I came back to my awareness I was sweaty, and my breath was deeper like I just got done fighting for real. I was also bleeding a little bit where I got cut in the vision. This was the last vision I had. I don’t know if another will come.
It was probable that you relived your past life when you were a skillful kungfu exponent. Just enjoy the visions like you enjoy a movie, but don’t be attached to them.
Experiences in past lives were imprinted into one’s consciousness, but these imprints are not normally accessible to the person in his current life. However, some training, like high-level chi kung and meditation, can erase defilement that blocked these imprints and allow them to surface. Yours appear to be the case.
Similarly a couple of months ago I started having very interesting chi flows. I’ve had chi flows that resembled kungfu in the past but nothing like this. I feel so incredible during these flows. It feels like Drunken Eight Immortals but a lot more straight forward and “hung gar-like.” I can feel my spirit and chi expanding and spinning during transitions, contracting and coiling, and exploding straight out again in focused ways with great force.
It is these expansions, contractions, and explosions that seem to cause my body to move in very drunken ways. It is my first time experiencing chi flows at such a deep level like this. Could you give me any advice on how to deal with these emerging memories and “drunken” kung fu flows?
Enjoy the experience, but do not be attached to them. In other words, when they occur, fine. You can learn a lot and benefit from the experiences. If they don’t occur, fine too. Don’t crave for them.
Many students in our schools have similar experiences, and have enjoyed and benefited from them. There experiences are odd to most other people, especially in Western societies. Some may even think you have gone crazy. But these experiences are not uncommon in our school.
There are two explanations for these interesting experiences. As explained above, chi kung training has erased some defilements allowing some past life memories to surface. The second explanation is that your own training of internal force has enabled you to progress to this high level.
It does not matter which explanation is the actual reason, though I think the first one is more likely. As an analogy, when you go to your bank and key in the right particulars on a teller machine, cash will flow out — provided you have the cash in the bank, just as provide you had the past-life experiences or the necessary high-level internal force training. It does not matter whether it was an officer-in-charge or the bank manager himself who first put the money in the teller machine. In both cases, just enjoy the benefits.
Drunken Eight Immortals
The second thing I want to ask you about is the 12 Bridges. They have been manifesting in my practice in interesting ways.
My striking speed was first enhanced incredibly by the manifestation of straight force and inch force. It felt like my punch started off full speed, and then at the last 6 inches or so inch force kicks in and gives a sudden acceleration and an explosion of force like the cracking of a whip. This gave me a sudden flash of intuition that all twelve bridges might be combined simultaneously into an “ultimate strike.”
Since this flash of insight I’ve managed to have 7 bridges manifest spontaneously in my strikes — Lifting, Circulate, Soft, Hard, Straight, Inch, and Press.
This is an expected result of your diligent training.
All the 12 bridges may be combined into an “ultimate strike” or used separately, depending on the situations. We are the master of the 12 bridges, and we decide how and when to use them. We should not be a slave to rigid theories.
Your manifesting 7 bridges in your strikes is very good. Carry on.
Editorial Note: David’s questions will be continued at March 2015 Part 2 issue of the Question-Answer Series.
About 15 years ago some chi kung practitioners opened my chi points. I have been experiencing jing being converted to chi and then to shen. This is a wonderful but powerful feeling, which has made me feel and look younger.
— Ivan, Russia
Jing being converted to chi and chi being converted to shen are descriptions of two important stages of energy transformation in everyday life or in chi kung training. It may occur naturally at basic levels or through advanced training at masters’ levels.
Jing being converted to chi, or substance being converted to energy, happens to every person in everyday life. It describes, for example, that the food a person eats is converted to vital energy that maintains life.
Chi being converted to shen, or energy being converted to spirit, is also present in everyday, irrespective of whether a person practices chi kung. It describes, for example, that when a person is full of energy, his spirit is u;lifted.
At an advanced level of internal art training, jing being converted to chi may describe some specialized training where a practitioner develops a lot of internal force. Where does the internal force come from? In modern scientific terms, the practitioner breaks down his subatomic particle to release energy.
This modern explanation is from me. The practitioner may not know the scientific operation behind his training. He just trains according to the method taught by his master. Past masters described this process as jing being converted to chi. As I have the benefit of both Eastern and Western education, I am able to explain the Eastern concept using Western terms.
Chi being converted to shen describes another advanced state of training where a practitioner’s energy is converted to spirit. In some of my advanced courses, like Cosmic Breathing and Merging with the Cosmos, many practitioners had this experience. They generated a lot of energy, which greatly strengthened and enriched their spirit to expand beyond their physical body, resulting in a spiritual awakening.
Understandably other people may not believe this happened. But to the practitioners who had direct experience there was no doubt that this happened. More significantly, it was life-changing. If it happened to one or two practitioners in a class of thirty once in a blue moon, critics may say it was their illusion. But if this happened to more than half the practitioners in every class of Cosmic Breathing and Merging with the Cosmos, critics were just stubborn to not accept facts right before their eyes.
When chi if vibrant, the spirit is bright
Sometimes I have to slow down or stop everything when this occurs at certain times of the day. My body mass and muscle have consequently reduced significantly much to my disliking. I do not know whether this may be due to ageing, I am 45, but I am only a fraction of the size I used to be. I have also lost weight.
Can I increase my body mass and muscles to my former self? Should I try to oppose the conversion of my jing into chi?
Your shrinking in size and weight is a serious problem. Either those chi kung practitioners who opened your energy points had done something wrong, or you practiced wrongly.
Irrespective of whether jing being converted to chi, and chi being converted to shen occurred at the basic level of everyday life or at the masters’ level of advanced training, the conversion should not result in a practitioner shrinking in size and weight. It should contribute to his health and vitality.
What can I do to improve the results of my chi kung practice?
— Wswaldo, Ecuador
Contrary to what is practiced in other schools, in our school you don’t have to try to improve your results! In fact we would ask you not to aim at getting the best results when you practice at home. You would have done very well when you practice at home on your own to get only 30% of what you get here in a regional course.
This is indeed very odd, and I need to explain further. In this course not only we practice high-level chi kung, we are very cost-effective. You gain in one day what other students may not gain in one month. The benefit is very powerful. This is alright if it happens once a while, like when you attend a course. But if you get powerful benefit like this every day, it will be over-training.
So, at home when you practice on your own, if your daily result is only a portion of what you get here, like about 30%, that is fine. Your attitude for your daily practice is not that you must get the best of your practice, but to enjoy your practice.
If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at email@example.com stating your name, country and e-mail address.
I really should have written you earlier, as I owe you many thanks for the wonderful courses you taught in Hawaii. I returned from that week feeling not only revitalized, but also a deep sense of confidence I did not have previously regarding my abilities as a Chinese medical practitioner, teacher of qigong, and overall public figure and speaker.
As the months have gone by a voice inside of me which had been unable to express itself has gotten louder and clearer, and I am very excited to finally begin my career helping others. The way to go about doing that has also revealed itself very simply and straightforwardly.
Molly’s e-mail was received soon after the Hawaii courses in July 2014, but because of a long waiting list, the questions and answers are only posted in the Question-Answer Series now. You can have a glimpse of the Hawaii courses here and here.
— Molly, USA
I am glad you have benefited much from and enjoyed the Hawaii courses. The Intensive Zen Course, the first of its kind, certainly gave participants a lot of confidence and mental clarity.
I was very impressed that every one could speak on the spot on any topic provided by the audience. This was indeed a remarkable achievement. It will certainly enable you to perform well as a Chinese medical practitioner, qigong teacher, public speaker and any other responsibilities.
I have an opportunity to teach qigong at a local clinic which treats infertility. This is an area of particular interest to me and one that I will be specializing in in my private practice.
This particular clinic has never offered qigong and my intent is to start with a 12-week session and see what sort of response I get from the patients there. I believe it will be quite positive, and that all of these women will greatly benefit from our Cosmos Qigong.
Teaching qigong at a clinic that treats fertility is a meaningful job, helping to bring lives and joy to the world. Later you may start your own clinic for this worthy purpose.
Jean, the Chief Instructor of Canada whose husband is a world-top surgeon, told me that she had 100% success in her qigong class with women who were previously infertile and wanted to have children if they practice twice a day.
Lifting the Sky
My plan for the session would be to transmit the basic skills for practice, as well as teach the basic pattern Lifting the Sky, as well as those more suitable for helping with fertility, such as Nourishing Kidneys and Carrying the Moon.
Of course I am aware that other patterns may be more suitable for some women depending upon their conditions, so I’m wondering if there are any other specific patterns you can recommend which might help with fertility.
Your teaching plan is excellent. Rotating Hips and Dancing Fairy are also useful, but these exercises need not be practiced, or only be practiced gently and occasionally, after women are pregnant.
I was reviewing the instructions for Nourishing Kidneys that you wrote in the “Art of Chi Kung” and noticed some details in the book which you never mentioned in class when teaching this exercise.
When I teach this exercise, do I need to make any mention of a gentle focus of the Yongquan or Laogong points, or qi flowing up the spine, or is it best to simply pass this on as you have taught it to me in class, without those details?
The exercises, including Nourishing Kidneys, in my book, The Art of Chi Kung, were written for those who did not have the opportunity to learn from me personally. The book was also written when my teaching skills and methodology were far below my present levels. Those who have learned from me or from our certified instructors will get the best benefits practicing the exercises the way they have been taught.
Hence, in your teaching of Nourishing Kidneys it is not necessary to mention a focus at the Yongquan or Laogong points, or qi flowing up the spine. For other qigong patterns it is also not necessary to mention details described in my book.
My other question is regarding how to proceed if any of these women do become pregnant during the course of the class. I recall you saying in a Question and Answer series that a pregnant woman with sufficient skill may practice gently until the third month of the pregnancy. Would you say that is still the correct guideline?
For precaution purposes, when a woman is pregnant she does not need to practice the way qigong has been taught to her by you. But she can induce a gentle qi flow once a day with some gentle exercises. My advice that a woman with sufficient qigong skills may practice gently until the third month of the pregnancy is still a correct guideline.
There is, nevertheless, an excellent exercise as follows that she should perform whenever she likes except around noon.
Enter into a qigong state of mind. Gently think that her baby is developing beautifully and healthily, and when the time is right, the delivery will be safe and pleasant.
If you feel I am missing any details that may be helpful for teaching a group like this, I would greatly appreciate any insight you might be willing to give.
Make your teaching and the students’ learning fun, and ensure that your teaching is beneficial to them, but without burdening them. The benefits the students get should be more than the fees they pay.
The Force Method in Triple Stretch
As for myself, my life is hectic but good. Joshua and I are still practicing kungfu regularly, are making good progress.
I had spent five months from May until October studying two to eight hours a day for all of my national Chinese medicine exams. Thanks to my kungfu and qigong practice, I was able to do that, work two jobs, go to school, and find time for my boyfriend, all without getting sick where someone else surely would have.
My lovely boyfriend and I have been together for nearly a year. We plan to get married next year, and start a family a year after that. It seems as if I’m on the brink of a new chapter of my life and I’m looking forward to it with excitement and gratitude.
You are an inspiration to all other students. Not only you are not sick for the hard work you are doing, I am sure you enjoy your work too and perform better than most other people. Our training certainly enrich our life.
Congratulations for having a boyfriend and planning to get married. To be a wife and mother, as well as to be a husband and father, are some of the happiest things in life.
In the book, “The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu”, Sigung explains that in performing One-Finger Shooting Zen, “as you move your hand out and in, tense it and visualize it as charged with internal force” and then “even though you tense your arm and finger, you must never be tensed, especially in your chest”
Editorial Note: This question was summarized from Post 5 of Questions on One-Finger Shooting Zen in the Shaolin Wahnam Institute Discussion Forum. As this and the subsequent question are topical, they are posted here ahead of a long waiting-list.
It is a good question.
Let us have some fun. In performing One-finger Shooting Zen, you should tense your arm, and not tense your arm. The confusion is due to the limitation of words. Words do not explain exactly what we want to explain.
The first “tense” in “you should tense your arm” is not the same as the second “tense” in “not tense your arm”. Although the meanings are different, I still used the same word “tense” when I wrote the book 20 years ago in 1995 because I could not find another better word.
After many years of teaching, now I use words that give a clearer meaning. Now I say, “Focus your energy at your index finger, but do not use muscular strength”, or “Consolidate your flowing energy at your arm without tensing any muscles”.
In other words, in “tense your arm”, I mean “focus or consolidate energy at your arm”. In “not tense your arm” I mean “not tense the muscles in your arm”.
When you focus or consolidate energy at your finger or arm, your energy is still flowing, but it is focused or consolidated. The consolidated energy is flowing, not locked up or stagnant. You do not tense your muscles when you let your energy flow. If you tense your muscles, the energy will be locked up and be stagnant.
Such limitation of words occurs quite frequently in chi kung and kungfu descriptions. For example, after a few repetitions of a Sinew Metamorphosis exercise, we tell students to breath out forcefully but without using force! In developing internal force, we advise students not to use strength and they will develop a lot of strength.
In the “breathing” example, breathing out forcefully means breathing out with a lot of energy going out of the mouth. Without using force means without breathing out in a forced manner.
In the “internal force” example, the first â€œstrengthâ€ means â€œmuscular strengthâ€, and the second â€œstrengthâ€ means â€œinternal forceâ€. If we use muscular strength, we have to tense our muscles. When we tense our muscles, we stop the flow of energy that constitutes internal force.
The uninitiated will not understand the meaning of the descriptions although they know the dictionary meaning of all the words used. The initiated will have no difficulty understanding the meaning because they have experience of the situations.
What are the flow method and the force method?
The flow method and the force methods are two main categories of methods to develop internal force. These terms were coined by me.
I did not invent the various force-developing methods. These various methods were used in the past. I analysed the principles in the various methods and categorised them into two main types, and call them the flow method, or xing-fa in Chinese, and the force method, or jing-fa.
In the flow method, we perform the techniques to train force in picture-perfect forms.. Then we perform the forms in a smooth flow, without beginning and without ending to generate an energy flow. When the energy flow becomes vigorous, it produces internal force. The various styles of Taijiquan are good examples of the flow method.
In the force method, we also perform the techniques to train force in picture-perfect forms. Then we consolidate energy into internal force. The consolidated energy is still flowing, but more focused and concentrated. Iron Wire and Triple Stretch are good examples of the force methods.
In studying and analysing various methods of developing internal force, I discovered that chi flow was necessary. It was increasing the chi flow or consolidating the chi flow that resulted in the flow method or the force method. This discovery tremendously sped up the process of building internal force. It is incredible but true that our students can now develop internal force in a month what I would need a year during my studentâ€™s days!
The process in the flow method is form-flow-force, and the process in the force method is form-force-flow. It is helpful to note that the crucial part of the processes of both the flow method and the force method is the middle part, and not the end part. In the flow method, we let our energy flow vigorously to develop force. In the force method, we consolidate energy into force and let it flow smoothly.
Editorial Note: An excellent answer by Sifu Leonard Lackinger can be found here
If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org stating your name, country and e-mail address.