Tag Archives: Kung Fu

I WANT TO LEARN KUNG FU

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/ans15b/jul15-1.html)

kungfu fighting

Kungfu is for fighting — using kungfu techniques, not kick-boxing or techniques of other martial systems

Question 3

I want to learn kungfu.

— Ali, Pakistan

Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

Many people want to learn kungfu, but end up learning kungfu forms or kick-boxing instead. Learning kungfu forms or kick-boxing is fine, but it is different from learning kungfu.

Before you learn kungfu, or any art, it is wise to know what that art is. This may sound trite or unnecessary, but it will not only save you a lot of time but also prevent you from much injury.

For convenience we may classify kungfu into three types: ordinary kungfu, good kungfu, and great kungfu.

Ordinary kungfu is for self-defence. There are also other arts of self-defence, like kick-boxing, karate and taekwondo. The main difference is their forms. Kick-boxing uses kick-boxing forms, karate uses karate forms, taekwondo uses taekwondo forms, and kungfu uses kungfu forms.

There are different styles of kungfu, like Shaolin, Taijiquan, Praying Mantis and Baguzzhang. Praying Mantis kungfu forms can be very different from Baguazhang kungfu forms.

About 90% of those who say they practice kungfu only perform kungfu forms. Strictly speaking they do not practice genuine kungfu because they cannot apply their kungfu forms for fighting. Many of them may not admit this fact. Some may not even realize it.

Of those who practice only kungfu forms and cannot use their kungfu forms for fighting, 70% of them perform their kungfu forms for demonstration. Past masters referred to such demonstrative kungfu forms as “flowery fists embroidery kicks”. 30% of them use kick-boxing or other martial techniques, but not kungfu, for fighting.

I would like to clarify that personally I have nothing against them. What and how they choose to practice is their right and business. Actually many of those who practice “flowery fists and embroidery kicks” are very nice people – the type of people I would like to have tea with, though I disagree with their concept and practice of kungfu.

So, kungfu is quite rare. Kungfu is for fighting. But the great majority of those who say they practice kungfu, cannot use their kungfu for fighting, though some of them are good fighters using kick-boxing or other martial techniques.

For every 100 persons who say they practice kungfu, only about 10 can use their kungfu for fighting. In our classification, we call this ordinary kungfu.

But kungfu is not just for fighting, though combat efficiency is its most basic requirement. Good kungfu contributes to health, vitality and longevity. While the percentage of those who practice genuine kungfu is low, only about 10%, amongst those who practice genuine kungfu, the percentage of good kungfu is high, about 70%. So about 7 out of the 10 practitioners of genuine kungfu have good health. They also have high moral values.

Amongst those who practice “flowery fists embroidery kicks”, the percentage of good health is also very high, about 90%, or about 63 of 70 practitioners. But they cannot be said to practice good kungfu, not even ordinary kungfu, because they cannot use their kungfu for combat.

Why is the percentage of good health amongst “flowery fists embroidery kicks” practitioners, 90%, higher than that of genuine kungfu practitioners, 70%? It is because genuine kungfu practitioners engage in combat where they may tense their muscles to generate mechanical strength. Those who practice kungfu forms but use kick-boxing or other martial techniques for combat do not have good health because they sustain a lot of injury which is routinely left unattended to.

Great kungfu, which is not only for combat and good health but also for spiritual cultivation, is very rare. Only 1% of those who say they practice kungfu may have a chance to practice great kungfu.

Please take note that spiritual cultivation is different from moral cultivation, though they are closely related. A morally cultivated person is kind and considerate, but he may or may not believe in his own spirit. He may think that he is only a physical body. Spiritual cultivation is the cultivation of the spirit. A spiritually cultivated person is relaxed, peaceful and happy, and at high levels may have glimpses of Cosmic Realty.

Please also take note that spiritual cultivation is non-religious. Any person of any religion or without any professed religion can cultivate spiritually. Spiritual cultivation will enable a religious person to be a better follower of his own religion because it makes his religions teaching come alive.

To sum up, kungfu is rare. Most people practice only kungfu forms, and use kick-boxing or other martial techniques when they have to fight. Genuine kungfu may be ordinary, good or great. Ordinary kungfu is for fighting. Good kungfu is for fighting and good health. Great kungfu is for fighting, good health and spiritual cultivation.

It is a golden opportunity to be able to practice great kungfu. But because kungfu today is so debased, the public generally does not have a good impression of kungfu practitioners. They think of them as rough and aggressive. In fact it is the reverse. A genuine kungfu practitioner is gentle and considerate to others, relaxed and happy to himself.

SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS APRIL 2016 PART 1 BY GRANDMASTER WONG KIEW KIT

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/ans16a/apr16-1.html)

chi kung state of mind

Entering into a chi kung state of mind

Question 1

You have often said that some of the most important lessons and skills we learn in our school are taught right at the beginning.

— Sifu Tim Franklin, United Kingdoms

Answer

You are perfectly right. While many masters teach their best arts to their selected students after the students have spent many years with them, we teach every student the best arts right at the beginning. I remember clearly what my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, told me when he taught me One-finger Shooting Zen. He said, “One-Finger Zen and Tiger-Claw are two of the most advanced arts in Shaolin. They are taught to students right at the start in our school so that they can train everyday and have sufficient time to master them.” One-Finger Zen is used in “dim-mark” and “Tiger-Claw in “chin-na”, and both are found in One-finger Shooting Zen.

The very first arts we teach in any chi kung, Shaolin or Taijiquan class, and also we use to start subsequent classes, are entering into a chi kung state of mind, entering Zen or entering Tao. Without entering into a chi kung state of mind or entering Tao, a person cannot perform genuine chi kung or genuine Taijiquan, even when he uses genuine chi kung or Taijiquan techniques. He merely performs gentle physical exercise or Taiji dance.

One may be able to perform genuine kungfu without entering Zen, but his performance remains at a physical and low level. Only by entering Zen can he develop internal force and brings his Shaolin performance to a high level.

Question 2

Sometimes these important lessons can be missed by some as they eagerly pursue other “more interesting” aspects of our arts. This, in our opinion, would be a mistake as the beginning teachings are not only really interesting, but also help build a strong foundation, to fully appreciate and develop the skills required for deeper practices and benefits.

Answer

More likely today is that these important first lessons are not even taught at all. Most chi kung, Shaolin and Taijiquan teachers are unaware of these important lessons.

A very small percentage of these teachers, less than 5% of the total number of people who practice chi kung, Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan, may eventually become real masters after many years of dedicated training, and have high levels of chi kung, Shaolin and Taijiquan attainments, but they are still unaware that they could reach high levels of attainment because, without their conscious knowing, they had entered a chi kung state of mind, entered Zen or entered Tao during thair training.

More likely, some students chase after novelties, like tingling sensations at their finger tips in chi kung, winning trophies in Shaolin competitions, and learning exotic sets in Taijiquan. They have forgotten the aims of practicing their arts, like enjoying good health in chi kung practice, and being able to use their arts for combat in Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan. Realizing these aims as well as other wonderful benefits are only possible if they have practiced well the initial lessons.

Ever victorious strategy

The ever-victorious strategy

Question 3

The aims of the 2016 UK Summer camp are to ensure students/teachers not only develop these skills but also realise them as well, for if they don’t they would have missed a wonderful opportunity to experience life as a meaningful flow of energy.

Answer

It is telling that you make a difference between realizing these skills and developing them. Most practitioners neither realize the great importance of these basic skills nor develop them.

Some may realize the importance of these skills, but never develop them. They know, for example, that they have to be relaxed and not thinking of anything in order to generate an energy flow, but they never succeed in generating an energy flow.

On the other hand, some may have developed their skills, but they never realize what these skills are. They may have developed internal force through years of dedicated training, for example, but they never realize that they need to be in a Zen or Tao state of mind for the internal force development. Many chi kung and kungfu practitioners have missed the wonderful opportunity to experience life as a meaningful flow of energy. Indeed, many of them may not really understand what the expression means although they know the dictionary meaning of all the words used.

Those who realize its meaning and experience life as a meaningful flow of energy will have good health, vitality and longevity besides other benefits. But many who practice chi kung are weak and sick, and many who practiced Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan are stressful and injured, though the arts they practice are supposed to enhance their flow of energy.

Question 4

We have already discussed the aims of the 5 day Foundations of Kung Fu course, for which we are very much looking forward to.

Answer

It is beneficial to elaborate on the benefits of the kungfu course at the coming UK Summer Camp.

I have often mentioned an ever-victorious strategy against other kungfu styles or other martial arts, which is to apply a combat sequence relentlessly but taking great care of our own safety, against an opponent in free sparring.

Though I used this strategy in my own free sparring in my younger days and remained undefeated, it will be the first time I teach instructors and students in our school to put this philosophy into practice at the kungfu course during the coming UK Summer Camp.

Barry suggested that I devised 4 combat sequences, and course participants would choose one. I have done that and shall post the 4 combat sequences on my website later on for participants to choose.

If we apply any one of the 4 combat sequences flowingly and forcefully, our opponents would have no chance to fight back. They would be overwhelmed by our flow and force. Even if they could match our flow and force, they have no techniques in their repertoire to defend against our pressing attack. they will be pressed back against a wall.

However, if an opponent is very skillful, he may escape our pressing attack, and counter attack with typical techniques from his art. We shall learn to counter these typical techniques and continue to press him back against a wall.

While attaining this specific objective of winning free sparring, which will make our kungfu training meaningful, we shall also place much focus on our general aims of attaining good health, vitality, longevity, mental clarity and spiritual joys.

To most other martial artists, to attain good health, which includes being free from stress and injuries, is antagonistic to free sparring. Many other martial artists are stressful and injured in free sparring. But we are elite. Not only we will be relaxed, but we learn to be unhurt in free sparring.

The course will even attain more than this, Not only we shall be relaxed and unhurt in free sparring, the free sparring will contribute to our good health, vitality, longevity, mental clarity and spiritual joys! It is hard for others to believe, even to comprehend. One has to experience the course to find out.

Five-Animal Play

Five-Animal Play in Barcelona

Question 5

We would also like to explore and share with you our understanding of the foundations of Chi Kung, our ideas for a series of Chi Kung courses and how this fits in with the Kung Fu.

Referring back to your Q&A in 1998 regarding intensive courses we understand the foundation skills of Chi Kung can be narrowed to two things:

  1. Circulating energy

  2. Building Energy

We had a chat about how people could use these skills and agreed that someone would need to be able to do the following:

  1. Enter a Chi Kung state of mind

  2. Maintain a Chi Kung state of mind

  3. Generate a smooth flow of energy

  4. Maintain a smooth flow of energy

  5. Apply a smooth flow of energy

All of these skills are on a continuum. Some students are more skillful than others. We think at the highest level a master would be able to do these things under any circumstances in their:

  1. chi kung practice

  2. kung fu practice

  3. sparring under pressure

  4. fighting for real

  5. any aspect of their daily life, whatever the outside pressures.

The foundations can be taken and used at any level. Shaolin Wahnam students can aspire to the highest levels, if they realise that’s what they can aim for.

Answer

Your description is excellent. It clearly describes in a systematic manner what we do in our school, which you have nicely summed as circulating energy and building energy. Indeed, these are the two aspects of any genuine chi kung training, described in Chinese as “xing qi” and “yang qi”, which literally means “circulate energy” and “nourish energy”.

I am glad that all our instructors and students can circulate and nourish energy in their chi kung and kungfu practice, most can do so in sparring under pressure. Real fighting is, fortunately, rare in our modern societies, but I believe many of our instructors and students can do so. I also believe that they can circulate and nourish energy in their daily life where they are under pressure. In other words, due to their training in our school, they can remain relaxed and be able to think and react accordingly even in difficult situations.

If you like, we may create simulated situations during our chi kung courses at the UK Summer Camp for our students to apply their chi kung training in difficult situations. You may, for example, suddenly rush into the training hall and announce that there is a fire to see how our students react. It is best that such simulated situations are to be created when I am not in the hall.

Question 6

I am nervous and stressful. I find it hard to relax. How do I enter into a chi kung state of mind?

— Koncha, Spain

Editorial Note: Asked in class by a beginning student in Grandmaster Wong’s basic Five-Animal Play course.

Answer

Just follow my instructions as best as you comfortably can. In half an hour’s time you will find you are able to relax. By the end of the course today, you will be able to relax easily.

This is a practical answer, and the best answer. You can assess whether what I say is true in half an hour, and again by the end of the course. You don’t have to wait for three months to find out.

(Editorial Note: in half an hour after the practice session, Koncha found out from her own experience she could relax. By the end of the course she found out she could relax easily._

But I shall also give you an academic answer, which some people like to hear but is not as useful as the practical answer.

Your problem of not being able to relax is very common. In my early years of teaching, many people who first learned from me told me the same problem. Gradually less and less people told me this problem. Now very few people mention this problem.

If you don’t do anything, you will be relaxed physically and mentally. In practical terms, if you do not tense your muscles, you will be able to relax physically. If you do not intellectualise, you will be able to relax mentally.

Most people cannot relax because they close their mouth and tense their muscles, usually unknowingly. They have been so conditioned to closing their mouth and tensing their muscles that they do not consciously realise it. They are stressful because myriad thoughts come to their head. Again, they have been so conditioned to having countless thoughts that they are no conscious of it.

They also do not know, although it is actually quite simple but may not be easy to those who are habitually tensed and stressful, that if they make an effort not to tense their muscles and not to think of any thoughts, they can relax. Not doing something is simpler than doing something. Not tensing their muscles and not thinking of anything is simpler than tensing their muscles and thinking of something.

perfect kungfu form

Having picture-perfect form is important in kungfu

Question 7

Can we have a shower before or after our practice?

— Camilia, Spain

Answer

Yes, we can.

Our art is powerful, so we can enjoy such privileges. Other practitioners may not have such privileges. They have to wait for half an hour before or after a practice session before taking a shower.

In the same way, if we made some mistakes during our practice, we don’t have to worry. Our chi flow will erase whatever harm the mistakes might have caused. Other practitioners do not have this privilege. If they made some mistakes, the harm would remain as they did not have any chi flow to flush away the harm.

In my book, “Chi Kung for Health and Vitality”, I mentioned 10 do’s and 10 don’ts. One of the don’ts is not to have a shower immediately before or after we practice. This book as well as the do’s and don’ts mentioned in it, are meant for readers who do not have an opportunity to learn from me personally. Their result learning from a book, even when they have practiced perfectly, is far less than those who learn from me personally. Hence, for them, they have to wait for at least half and hour before and after practice for a shower.

Moreover, the book was written about 20 years ago at a time when my teaching was not as high level as it is now. Now students learning personally from me have more powerful result, and enjoy the privilege of having a shower immediately before or after a practice.

Question 8

Why is it important for us to perform the form correctly in a kungfu set?

— Omar. United Kingdom

Answer

It is important to perform the form of a kungfu set, like San Feng Wudang Set, correctly necause the success of its combat application depends on its correct form. If the form of a kungfu pattern is not correct, not only it looses its combat effectiveness, it may also offer opportunities for opponents to counter-attack.

Let us take a simple example. An opponent executes a middle thrust punch, like Black Tiger Steals Heart. An exponent responds with Shift Horse Ask Way from the San Feng Wudang Set. This response is excellent when the form is performed correctly. It minimizes the opponent’s force, and places the exponent in a favourable position to counter-attack without little opening for the opponent.

However, if the form is incorrect, not only the same response does not give the exponents these advantages, but also it offers the opponent opportunities to defeat the exponent. If the exponent does not rotate his waist, for example, he will not be able to minimize the opponent’s force. If he does not sink back in his stance, he may too close for the opponent’s attack. If he does not position his legs correctly, he exposes his groin for the opponent to attack. If he leans backward or foreard, his balance is unfavourable for him.

The wrong form places the exponent in an awkward position. Even if the opponent may not be successful in his initial attack, the awkward position of the exponent makes it easy for the opponent to continue, and makes it difficult for the exponent to respond.

Hence, picture-perfect form is very important in kungfu, even for beginners. If beginners have their form correct right at the start, they don’t have to spend much time and effort relearning it later on.

However, you may notice that I am not particular about form for beginners in chi kung. In fact, for beginners if their form is not perfect, though not incorrect, I usually ignore it. The main reason, for ignoring minor mistakes as well as for not particular on picture-perfect form, is that I want beginning students to get on to energy flow as fast as possible.

If I pay too much attention to picture-perfect form, beginning students will be unduly worried about their form, get out from the chi kung state of mind which if often induce, and perform the chi kung technique as gentle physical exercise. Even with imperfect form, so long as the students relax and do not intellectualize, they can generate an energy flow.

As students progress, we pay more attention on form. When students have reached an advanced level, they could have picture-perfect form. Hence, I often mention in class when teaching a new technique that beginning students need not worry about details but just get the general picture right, whereas advanced practitioners can focus on finer points, like picture-perfect form.

However, we have come full-circle. We have become so cost-effective that sometimes I tell advanced practitioners to purposely get their form wrong, to tense their muscles , or to intellectualize sometimes so that they may not have too powerful result from their practice to prevent over-training! This is a big job to other people.

Nevertheless, instructors whether in chi kung or kungfu, whether they teach beginners or advanced students, must have picture-perfect form. It is because they are models for their students to follow when practicing any kungfu or chi kung techniques.



If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at secretary@shaolin.org stating your name, country and e-mail address.

WHY IS SHAOLIN KUNG FU MORE EFFECTIVE IN COMBAT THAN OTHER MARTIAL ARTS?

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/ans16b/dec16-1.html)

Shaolin Kungfu

Shaolin Kungfu

Question 7

Why is Shaolin Kungfu more effective in combat than other martial arts?

– Tomas, United Kingdom

Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

We can derive a good answer from my own experience.

In my younger days, as now over 70 I still consider myself young, I actually went out to look for sparring opponents to test my combat efficiency. I soon discovered that when I used techniques which were also found in other martial arts, like Black Tiger Steals Heart which is a thrust punch, and Happy Bird Hops up Branch which is a side-kick, my opponents of other martial arts could defend readily. But when I used techniques not found in their martial arts, like Lohan Tames Tiger and Rising Dragon and Galloping Tiger, my opponents would have difficulty defending.

The underlying philosophy, which occurred to me not at the time of sparring but much later, was quite obvious. If techniques A, B, C, D were found in their martial arts, and you used A, B, C, D against them, they would know how to defend. If techniques P, Q, R were not found in their martial arts, and you used P, Q, R against them, they would not know how to defend.

When you attacked your opponent, you must make sure he could not attack you at the same time. This was not difficult for me because “safety first” was a cardinal principle in my kungfu training. I always covered my opponents before attacking them, and as I used attacking techniques that they did not know, I always beat them.

Skills are more important than techniques in combat. Even when your techniques are superior, but if your opponent is more skilful, like he is faster and more powerful, he will still beat you. I did not realise this important principle at first. I only differentiated between skills and techniques much later. But I overcame this problem because initially I chose opponents who were of a same level as or lower level than me. Later when my combat skills improved, but still without consciously knowing the difference between skills and techniques, my choice of opponents became more liberal.

Another very important factor in combat is force, especially internal force. When I had developed remarkable internal force, I found that I could not only defeat opponents more easily but also opponents who were younger and bigger-sized than me.

A significant factor contributing to victory in combat is the application of tactics and strategies, which are rich in Shaolin Kungfu but not frequently found in other martial arts. At first I was unaware of combat tactics and strategies, but they were already incorporated in the combat sequences I used. Later with better understanding of combat tactics and strategies, my combat efficiency improved.

Hence, the many reason why Shaolin Kungfu is more combat effective than many other martial arts are a rich range of combat techniques not found in other martial arts, the focus of developing skills in genuine Shaolin training, the development and use of internal force in combat, and the application of combat tactics and skills.

Question 8

What benefits you can find in Shaolin Kungfu that cannot be found in other martial arts?

Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

An excellent answer was supplied by Kai (Sifu Kai Uwe Jettkandt, Chief Instructor of Shaolin Wahnam Germany), who was already a world known martial art master and an international all-style free sparring champion before he learned from me.

Kai told many Shaolin Wahnam members that he practiced Shaolin Kungfu because it fulfilled to a very high-level all the three attainments he looked for in any martial art — good health, combat efficiency and spiritual cultivation. Kai explained that many martial arts were good for fighting but bad for health. Some martial arts were good for health, but not effective for combat and lacked spiritual cultivation. Shaolin Kungfu has all these attainments to a very high level.

One can have these three attainments irrespective of his age. In many other martial arts, as a person ages, his health and combat efficiency are affected. But in Shaolin Kungfu, a practitioner actually becomes healthier and more combat efficient.

Many Shaolin Wahnam members told me that they were healthier and fitter at 50 than they were at 30. In many other martial arts, as a person becomes older, his strength and stamina become weaker, and therefore his combat ability is less efficient. But due to internal force which is independent of age, size and gender, and which also contributes much to his health, vitality and longevity, he becomes more combat efficient as he grows older.

Shaolin Kungfu is extremely rich in philosophy, which records the essence of centuries of past masters. Not only the combat tactics and strategies enable present Shaolin practitioners to be more combat efficient, its philosophy enriches their daily life.

Not many people may realize that Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan are the only two martial arts that originated from spiritual cultivation. All other martial arts gear towards fighting. Bodhidharma, the first patriarch of the Shaolin arts, and Zhang San Feng, the first patriarch of Taijiquan, practiced their arts to attain Zen or Tao, which in Western language means return to God the Holy Spirit.



If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at secretary@shaolin.org stating your name, country and e-mail address.

A CHILD PRODIGY

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

The Way of the Master, written by my Sifu, Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit, is now officially launched.

You can order the book through Amazon or write a review.

You can also read more delightful stories, or order the special edition directly.

Please enjoy one of the memorable stories from my Sifu’s book below:

A CHILD PRODIGY

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/general-2/way-of-master/way27.html)

Myself

Myself in the 1940s



Many people were very kind to regard me as a kungfu genius. Only a few people knew that I was called a child prodigy long before that. I knew how to read Chinese even at the age of three due to my father’s and mother’s informal coaching.

One day, soon after my recovery from my long illness after falling into a huge monsoon drain, my parents took me to see my father’s friend who was a restaurant stall owner at the New Life Plaza at Cintra Street in Penang. The New Life Plaza has now given way to residential flats, but in the 1940s and 1950s, it was busy with hawker stalls.

My father was talking with his friend who was chopping barbequed meat for his customers. I couldn’t recollect what their conversation was, but I could remember my father saying I could read Chinese, which is a formidable feat even for adult learners as the Chinese written language does not have an alphabet and readers have to recognise each one by itself of at least a few hundred characters.

“What, a small boy of three can read Chinese!” The restaurant owner found it hard to believe.

“Yes, that’s true,” my father replied.

“I can’t believe it!”

“You can test my son.”

“Well, boy,” my father’s friend looked at me kindly. “Can you tell me these characters?” He pointed to a row of big Chinese characters on his signboard.

“Yeit ting ho fan tim (一定好饭店).” I read each Chinese character loudly and slowly. They meant “Certainly-Good Restaurant”.

The man was astounded.

“Just three years old, and you can read Chinese characters! A real child prodigy!”

He promptly cut a large piece of “char siew”, which literally means “fork-barbeque”, i.e. a piece of meat that was being forked to be barbequed, hanging in a showcase in front of his restaurant, and passed it to me.

“Child prodigy, please enjoy this piece of char siew,” he graciously said.

Years later, when I told my wife this old story, she went to town and on her return, she gave me a nice piece of barbequed meat.

“Child prodigy,” my wife said, “Please enjoy this piece of char siew.”

My family

My father and mother, myself and my wife, my sister and her husband, and my three eldest children in the 1980s


You can read more stories at our Discussion Forum. Here are details to order the special and limited edition. This edition will not be reprinted once it is sold out.

GOOD PAIN AND BAD PAIN

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/ans16b/dec16-1.html)

Question

On another topic, can you please elaborate on good pain and bad pain. Some students, without proper understanding, give up training chi kung when they experience pain.

— Sifu Sippe Douma, New Zealand

Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

For convenience, pain may be described as good or bad. Good pain is beneficial, and bad pain is harmful.

When a practitioner has generated a vigorous chi flow, the chi flow will break through blockage. In the progress, good pain may result. On the other hand, bad pain is due to illness or injury, or to wrong practice.

Good pain is mild, and is actually quite pleasant, though it is painful. Bad pain is severe, and is unpleasant. This is an academic description, and may not be meaningful to those who have no experience of good and bad pain. A better way to differentiate between good pain and bad pain is though direct experience.

Initially a practitioner may not differentiate good pain from bad pain easily, but with increased experience he will have no difficulty.

An analogy is the sour taste of an orange. An orange can taste sour because it is good, or because it is bad. Like good pain and bad pain, good sour taste and bad sour taste are actually different, but because of the limitation of words we still use the same terms, “pain” and “sour taste”.

A person who had not tasted an orange before would be unable to tell whether the sour taste of an orange was due to an orange being good or bad. But with experience of tasting some oranges, he would have no difficulty telling the difference.

What should a practitioner do when he feels good pain. He continues his training. When the blockage is cleared as he recovers from his illness or injury, the pain will disappear. But if the pain is bad, he should slow down or stop training until the situation improves.



If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at secretary@shaolin.org stating your name, country and e-mail address.

ADDRESSING FAMILY MEMBERS

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org)

I made a mistake regarding addressing family members, and of course it is not late to correct it. Chee Seen’s students, like Hoong Hei Koon and Lok Ah Choy, addressed Ng Mui, who was Chee Seen’s sijia (elder kungfu sister) as sipak (elder kungfu uncle) and not as siguma (elder sister of father).

Hence, you should address the senior female kungfu sister of your sifu (kungfu teacher) as sipak, and the junior female kungfu sister of your sifu as sisook, and not as siguma and sigujie as we have been doing. For example, the students of Leo (Sifu Leonard Lackinger) would address Joan (Sifu Joan Browne) as sipak. Joan’s students would, of course, address Joan as sifu.

We are proud (in a good way) that we are one of the very few kungfu and chi kung schools today that keep this tradition, which, amongst other benefits, contributes to our effectiveness in learning and in everyday life. It is rude to call your sifu by name, whether talking to him or her personally, or talking to other people. Your sifu, who has brought you good health and happiness, is always addressed, with a sense of pride and gratitude, as “Sifu” when talking to him or her, and as “my Sifu” when talking to others.

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
1st December 2016

 

HOW TO PREVENT OVER-TRAINING

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/general-3/over-training02.html)

chi kung in China

A chi kung class in China



“Less is More” is often true in our school. The principle can be interpreted in many ways.

One way of interpretation is that although we practice our chi kung for only 10 minutes, we have more benefits than most other students who practice for an hour in most other schools.

How do we justify that our students have more benefits although they spend less time in their practice? Our students, for example, overcome their illness, attain good health, vitality and longevity, and find joy in their daily living, whereas other students don’t.

As expected, other people who do not bother to find out whether our claims are true, may think we are boastful and arrogant, and some may become angry. As I have often said, that is their problem, not ours, and we are not going to waste our time on them. I am just stating the truth.

Another interpretation, which is relevant to our topic here, is that by performing less than our potential, we get more benefits. This is very different form what most people conceptualize. Most people, if they are dedicated to their training, want to get the most from their practice. For us, we may not want to get the most but we enjoy our practice!

If we get the most from our practice, we over-train, which results in our getting less benefits at best, or harmful effects at worst. More often than not, the result of over-training is harmful effects rather than less benefits.

Let us quantify our practice. Take the practice and the result of a student who attends my intensive course or a regional course as 100%. If he practices at 100% and gets 100% of the result, it will lead to over-training, usually with harmful effects. In other words, if he practices at home the way he practices when learning at my intensive course or a regional course, and gets the same benefits at home he gets at my intensive course or regional course, he will over-train.

What should he do? He should train at less than his potential, like at 30% instead of at 100%. He will also get about 30% of the potential benefits.

30% here is a guideline. It may be 25% or 35% or at whatever percentage he feels is right for his best benefits.

There are two points worthy of note. 30% of a student is different than 30% of a master. A master’s 30% may be a student’s 300%.

One may ask how a practitioner can reach 300% as the maximum is 100%. 100% is the maximum amount of benefits of the student at a given time. This is his potential at this time. 300% means three times the potential of the student at that time. In other words, a master’s 30% is 3 times the potential of a student.

A second point to note is that as a practitioner progresses, his benefits will also increase though he may operate at 30% all the time. 30% three years later may be 200% now. In other words after three years the benefits a person gets are twice his potential now although all the time he operates at 30%.

Why do I teach at 100% at an intensive course or a regional course, and then ask students to practice at home at 30%? There are two main reasons.

One, I teach in an intensive course or even a regional course in a few days or even a few hours material that will need a few years to practice. In other words, participants at an intensive course or a regional course learns in a few days or a few hours a certain amount of material. He needs a few years to practice at home the same amount of material.

Two, participants at my intensive course or a regional course range from beginners’ level to masters’ level. The masters already teach some of the techniques of the course to their own students at their regular classes. Among other benefits of the course, the masters improve on the skills in performing the techniques. Beginning students focus more on the techniques. Hence, because of the difference in skill level, 30% benefit of the masters can be 300% benefits of the beginners although they perform the same techniques.

If some one earns 2000 euros a month, 30& is not much, which is 600 euros. But if he earns 100,000 euros a month, 30% is 30,000 euros, which is a lot of money to most people.

Translated into chi kung benefits, it is as follows. About 20% of all chi kung practitioners in the world practice genuine chi kung, but of a low level. The other 80% use chi kung techniques to practice gentle physical exercise, often without their own awareness. Someone of this genuine but low level chi kung gets 2000 units of benefit a month, If you operate at 30% you get 30,000 units of benefit a month. If you work at 100%, which is not recommended as it will lead to over=training, you get 100,000 units of benefit a month.

Now, is it legitimate to say that other students of low level chi kung get 2,000 units of benefit a month, whereas our students operating at 100% get 100,000 units of benefit a month? 100,000 is 50 times 2,000. In other words, is it legitimate to claim that our chi kung is 50 times better than the low level chi kung practiced by others?

Let us take the most crucial element of chi kung, i.e. energy flow. Students at my intensive course or a regional coruse can generate an energy flow on the very first day of the course. If students of other schools can generate an energy flow after 50 days, it will be very good result. They can’t. Hence, it is legitimate to say that the chi kung practiced by our students is at least 50 times better than that of other schools!

It should be noted that our certified instructors can also help their students generate an energy flow on the first day of the students’ learning. But in regular classes of a few months, for the benefit of the students, our instructors normally take a longer time to do so, whereas I have to do so on the very first day because my courses last for only a few days or hours.

How do we lower our practice to about 30%? An excellent way is not to enter deeply in a chi kung state of mind. You can approach the issue as follows.

First, enter into a chi kung state of mind while you are performing chi kung, about half as deeply as you normally do. You will then operate your chi kung at about 50% of your potential. Using this as a guideline, the next time you practice chi kung, enter into a chi kung state of mind about half as deeply of what you did. Hence, you operate at about 25%.

It is worthy of note that we practice chi kung for its wonderful benefits. If you practice at 100%, i.e. at your potential, you may feel extraordinary for a short time but eventually you may harm yourself. Working at about 30% or at whatever level you feel it suits you, you will get the best benefits to enrich your daily life.

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
26th Novemner 2016

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