A simple chi kung exercise, but performed in a deep chi kung state of mind, can be very powerful
We have become so cost-effective that students and instructors do not have to do their best to practice as I have taught. If they practice daily and attain only 30% of what they attained during the courses I taught them, they would have done well.
This is almost a joke. “Ku lian”, which means “bitter training”, is the hallmark of all kungfu training, including my own kungfu training when I was a student. But now we tell our students, “Don’t worry! Don’t intellectualize! Enjoy your practice! If you just attain 30% you would have done well. If you try to do your best, you will be over-training.”
Hence, it is no surprise that many of our students and some instructors over-train.
What are the signs we can use to say that we over-train?
Over-training is the result of getting more benefits than our physcial body can cope. The signs are unpleasantlness, nausiousness, tiredness, pain and over-cleansing.
Over-cleansing, which is a result of over-training, is a process where we clear away rubbish faster than what our physical body can cope. Rubbish includes bad cells, pain, sickness, negative emotions and perverted views.
The signs of over-cleansing are similar to those of over-training, thus the confusion, such as unpleasantness, nausiousness, tiredness and pain, and may also include rashes, pimples, heavy breadth and body ordour.
The obvious action to overcome or prevent over-training is to slow down the training. Slowing down the training can be achieved in time or intensity.
If a student practices an hour a session, he can slow down by prcticing just 15 minutes a session. If he practices two sessions a day, he can now practice one session a day. If he practices everyday, now he can practice once in two days or three days.
In this connection, it is helpful to remind himself that practicing kungfu or chi kung is to enrich his life and the lives of other people, and never to enslave himself to the art. By reducing the time of his training, he now has more time for other worthy activities, which previously he may mistakenly thought he had no time for, like spending more time with his parents or friends, or just watching clouds passing by in the sky.
As many of our students and instructors enjoy our training, and also our training time is much shorter than what most other practitioners spend in their training, a more suitable alternative is to reduce the intensity of training to overcome or prevent over-training.
To make our training less powerful so that we do not over-train, we do not go too deeply into a chi kung state of mind. Instead of spending a minute, for example, to enter into a chi kung state of mind, we just spend a few seconds.
Or we can just go straight to our exercise without first spending time, even a short one, entering into a chi kung state of mind. Even when we do not purposely enter into a chi kung state of mind, we are still in a chi kung state of mind due to our habit, so we are still practicing genuine chi kung or good kungfu.
I tried this method at a chi kung course in Madrid recently, and it worked very well. All students, including some fresh beginners, enjoyed an energy flow. It was not as powerful as in other courses, but it was still powerful, and more importantly it best suited the needs of the students. The students were still fresh and energetic at the end of the course, not tired and worn out as in some other courses.
For some students and instructors in our school, even not purposely entering into a chi kung state of mind at the start of the exercise may still be too powerful. The next step, in a descending order of steps described here, is to purposely perform the exercise at a physcial level.
This is akin to but not the same as the step described previous to this one. At the previous step, we did not purposely enter into a chi kung state of mind, but might perform the exercise in a chi kung state of mind due to habit.
At this step we purposely do not enter into a chi kung state of mind, and purposely perform our chi kung or kungfu exercise at a form level. This indeed is what most people who practice genuine chi kung and genuine kungfu do.
But this is not what most people who say they practice chi kung and kungfu do. They perform genuine chi kung and genuine kungfu forms as gentle physcial exercise and as kungfu gymnastics. That constitutes more than 80% of chi kung and kungfu practitioners. Less than 20% perform genuine chi kung and genuine kungfu but at a form level. That was also what I did when I took more than a year to generate an energy flow or to develop internal force.
When you perform chi kung or kungfu exercise at a form level, you are still performing genuine chi kung and genuine kungfu, and therefore still in a chi kung state of mind — at lease some of the time and not too deeply. Our students and instructors would have no difficulty in understanding what I explain here. But many other people may not understand though they know the dictionary meaning of all the words I have used.
Do you know why? It is because they do not have the experience of what I explain, whereas our students and instructors have. Another way is to say that the problem is due to the limitation of words.
If a practitioner still finds himself over-training even when he performs the art or exercise at the form level, a remedy is to take negative action. He purposely intellectualizes or purposely tenses his muscles — not all the time but some of the time. When he intellectualizes or tenses his muscles, he brings himself out of the chi kung state of mind. When he is not in the chi kung state of mind, he will not get the benefits of chi kung or internal force which causes over-cleansing in kungfu. At the end of his practice, he must have a short remedial exercise to relax his mind and muscles.
Besides reducing the level of training so as not to over-train, which is described above in descending order, one can also spend his excess energy in wholesome activiites. He can performs kungfu sets or combat sequences at a form level. He can also spend his time enjoying with his friends, family or with himself, like hiking, swimming, partying, traveling, socializing, reading and writing. He can also spend his excess energy on his work, like moving goods around in a shop or planning a marketing progreamme for his company.
Deviating is getting harmful effects instead of benefits from one’s training. In a mild form it is not getting the result practicing the art or exercise is meant to give, but not suffering from harmful effects.
An effective way to expand extra energy is to practice combat sequences at a physical level
“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.
Our chi kung is very powerful. So, guard against over-training
Sifu Leonard Lackinger
Shaolin Wahnam Austria
13th May 2015
Over-Training and Over-Cleansing
Over-training is a term frequently used in our school, but often too little taken care of.
I am starting this thread to share stories and experiences about it and hope those who have experienced it — I am sure there are plenty — will join in Our training in Shaolin Wahnam is very powerful which is often under-estimated.
It’s also hard to imagine that something that brings so wonderful results can be overdone. If you have ever eaten too much of your favourite candy once, you should know that there is a limit to everything, even good things.
Yes, a lot of things in our school initially sound too fabulous to be true. It takes some time to realize that what we say is real.
Sifu often tells us:
“The statement that a typical Shaolin Wahnam student gets in one month what a master, including me in the past, gets in one year is true, but many people, including our instructors and students, may find it hard to believe.
I speak from direct experience. My proverbial example of practicing San Zhan of Wuzuquan for two years and had no internal force, whereas those who attended my Special Wuzuquan Course in Penang could generate tremendous internal force in a few days, is a shining example. Those who attended the Wuzuquan course had prior kungfu experience, but I also had 15 years of kungfu experience behind me before I learned Wuzuquan, and I was an exemplary practitioner.”
If you think that one cannot have too much energy/internal force, then you should understand that over-training is a special kind of Yin Yang disharmony, something our training should normally get rid of.
In this case Yin represents our capacity to store energy. Yang represents fresh internal force that is built by our training. So, during our practice we increase Yang. Our Yin will then follow to balance out.
But Yin only adapts slowly. If we continue increasing Yang more and more, our Yin gets left behind and the disharmony increases with every session. Fatigue and increased sleep demand are common uncomfortable results. Why is this so? Your body tries to tell you to take a rest. Sleep is one natural mean to harmonize Yin and Yang therefore you get tired and you might suddenly need some 10 or more hours of sleep.
After prolonged over-training, eventually over-cleansing might manifest as a result. This is where it can get really nasty. Pain, sickness, mental confusion and intense emotions are only a few examples of the symptoms of over-cleansing. Yes, it is good to be cleansed, but it is not comfortable to cleanse too much in a short time. It’s not only uncomfortable, but can also be harmful! Remember, it is a kind of Yin Yang disharmony, the source of all pain and illness!
I use to set the limit for cleansing where people can still follow their usual everyday life and are able to enjoy it. Why should you risk your job and don’t enjoy your spare-time just to build up even more force, which should give you health and vitality and should improve, not hinder, everything you do?
Other people in special situations might set their personal limit otherwise. In some cases, heavy cleansing periods might even be necessary, but most people will approve that generally we should be able to enjoy our life. Especially when we have not been sick at all initially! Why should we torture ourselves unnecessarily? Our practice can launch really big changes, but why hurry? Just enjoy your practice! We are still developing much faster than other practitioners and especially than most people who don’t care about cultivation at all.
Types of Over-Training
Quantitative over-training appears if you spend too much time on your training. Without intention to belittle others, especially those students entering Wahnam with prior experience in low-level schools are pre-destined to over-train, if they do not cut down their practice time, which can often be something between a half and a full hour, sometimes more.
Qualitative over-training often creeps in unwittingly. During our practice we are slowly, but steadily increasing our skills. We might notice that we are very forceful after a session and enjoy the feeling and sensations. This can be a good time to adjust our schedule.
After attending a course with Sifu over-training does not creep in, it smashes in with a sledge-hammer. Personally I cut down my training time substantially after taking a course. After the Dragon Strength course I hardly trained anything else than a short Chi Kung session in the morning and the set once in the evening for quite some time.
Our dedicated students who practice one or more of our martial arts are most likely to over-train at some points of their training.
How can you guard yourself from over-training?
First of all, follow the instructions! If your Sifu tells you to train only one section of the Iron Wire Set for a few weeks and only then add a second section, then only train one section and add a second one after a few weeks. It can really be that simple.
Let me share something with you that Sifu once sent to me:
“Over-training is now a major problem amongst our students in our school, and it usually happens amongst dedicated students. Even when they follow our advice of not over-training, and they normally do as they are good students, they do not do so sufficiently. In other words, even when they do not train as much as they like, they still over-train.”
Regularly validate the effects of your training! If you experience any deviations from the normal benefits, reconsider your training with the types of over-training in mind. Your Sifu will be happy to help you in this process, so consult your Sifu! If you are training on your own, then adjust your training using the following list.
What can you do, if you experience over-training or over-cleansing?
First of all understand that the inconvenient symptoms are not an illness itself, but a manifestation of the self-made Yin Yang disharmony. The following approaches will help you to recover your balance.
Like I mentioned in the “types of over-training”, we can adjust our schedule quantitatively or qualitatively.
The first means spending less time on training and more on other wholesome activities. Every task you do, be it working, reading, playing football or having wholesome sex will spend some energy. You don’t need to worry about losing your energy, especially when you are in the situation of over-training. Just enjoy whatever you do!
Only some days ago one of my students told me that he felt better after skipping one of his two daily sessions for a few days. From prior experience he noticed the symptoms of over-training correctly and adjusted accordingly. This is a great example of responsible training and instantaneous change.
The latter means reducing the level of practice. This can be done by doing the reverse of the usual instructions, i.e. thinking, singing a song in your mind or tensing your muscles. In my personal experience I initially found it hard to reduce the level as it became natural to do it correctly. So I normally used to cut down the training time and enjoyed the forceful training, although shorter. But what works well for me now is to focus my mind on correcting my form in every movement. This is a win-win situation as attaining picture-perfect form is a by-product of this approach.
Sifu has elegantly put it in a nutshell:
“When cleansing is comfortable and manageable, a practitioner should continue as he has been doing. When over-cleansing occurs, i.e. when cleansing has become uncomfortable, the practitioner should slow down — in time or in intensity of practice. When adverse effects occur, he should stop training until the adverse effects subside. Then he resumes training gradually.”
To substantiate the underlying philosophy and our warning not to under-estimate the power of our arts, I will share another recent experience of one of my students.
He has been training diligently for about half a year. He started with Chi Kung and Shaolin Kung Fu and added Tai Chi Chuan two months ago.
During a Chi Kung session he did not experience much outward movement during chi flow, but a strong vibration in his whole body. He became unconscious and only woke up when he hit the floor. His body continued to shake vigorously. He managed to climb up his bed and noticed that his head was bleeding. He had hit his head on a singing bowl during his fall. He took care of the wound. Luckily he was not in pain and nothing worse happened.
The chi flow generated by his practice was so powerful that it overwhelmed him completely. This is also a symptom of too much in a too short time, i.e. over-training.
He is a good student. So he consulted me, we adjusted his training and he is completely fine now and enjoying his reduced training.
I don’t share this case to scare you, but to validate how powerful our practice can be, even after just a few months of practice.
What can we learn from this event?
Train in a safe environment!
Don’t underestimate the power of our training!
Don’t overdo it!
Notice the signs of over-training and adjust your training accordingly.
And last, but not least: If anything strange happens, don’t hesitate to consult your Sifu!
So, don’t take over-training lightly! The warnings are not just shallow words. Over-training is real and even common among our dedicated students.
When you started practicing you might have had initial doubts about the existence of chi at all, due to the lack of previous exposure to it. Soon later you realized that chi is real.
I hope this thread kicks off your realization that over-training is real too and that you should heed the advice and warning signs.
Students could generate an energy flow within the first hour of my Intensive Chi Kung Course
Over-training has become a serious issue in our school. It is important to recognise it and to know what to do when it occurs.
Firstly, it is helpful to understand our working definitions of these terms.
Over-training means a practitioner has trained correctly according to how an exercise should be practiced, but the benefit is too powerful for his physical body to bear.
In this sense, overtraining is different from wrong training. Wrong training is when a practitioner has not practiced an exercise according to how it should be practiced. Hence, he has no benefit or he has adverse result.
Strictly speaking, or to split hair, if a practitioner has no benefit, we can cali it incorrect training. The training is not wrong, but incorrect. Therefore he has no benefit. This is the case of most chi kung practitioners.
If a practitioner has adverse result, it is wrong practice. It is not only incorrect, it is wrong. Therefore he has adverse result. This is the case of many kungfu practitioners who sustain internal injury in their sparring.
To split hair further, we can refer to over-training as wrong training. But for our purpose here, we shall differentiate the two. The remedy is different. To overcome over-training, we reduce the training. To overcome wrong training, we correct the training.
Hence, we have four types of training — correct training, incorrect training, wrong training and over-training.
Over-training may result in over-cleansing. The former is the cause, and the latter is the effect. As an analogy, you may earn a lot of money, then you become wealthy. Earning a lot of money is the cause, becoming wealthy is the effect.
Over-training may also result in over-building and over-nourishing, but these are not explained here so as not to confuse you.
How do you know you have over-trained. One good way is that you experience over-cleansing. Before this happened, you might experience strong benefits. Then you feel tired and sleepy. Sometimes you may feel anxious, fearful or angry. This happens when your negative emotions are flushed out of your body faster than you find tolerable. Sometimes you have rashes, pimples or are smelly.
There are a few ways to reduce over-training, which will in turn reduce over-cleansing. Please take note that there may be a time-lapse between the two.
Reduce the time of training.
Reduce the intensity of training.
Expend your energy in wholesome activities.
Stop training for some time.
Perform negative actions.
If you train for half an hour a day, reduce it to 15 minutes. If you train everyday, reduce it to once in two days. But as our training time is short, and we enjoy our training, a more useful method is to reduce the intensity of our training.
An excellent way to reduce the intensity of training is not to enter deeply into a chi kung state of mind. Please take note that even when we do not want to enter deeply into a chi kung state of mind, because of our habitual training, we will still be in a deep chi kung state of mind compared to most other practitioners.
Another way is to focus on your form, or purposely think of your form. This will distract you from your mind level.
Spend time on wholesome activities. Go hiking or swimming. Play football or enjoy music. Roll about on the ground and jump about in the sky. Perform kungfu sets or sequences, focusing on form, not on chi flow, internal force or mind power. If you haven’t got a girlfriend (or boyfriend). get one, and focus on making her happy on a date.
Stop training for a few days, or even longer. Use your training session to spend quality time with your parents. Read some good books, like “The Way of the Master”.
You may even perform negative actions, like tensing your muscles or intellectualising during your training. But perform some gentle energy flow at the end of the training session to clear out negative effects.
It is worthwhile to know that over-training is relative. What is normal correct training to a healthy person, may be over-training to someone who is sick. What is normal correct training to a master may be over-training to a student.
It may also not be easy for some of you to realise how effective we have become in our training. The following facts may help you in the realisation. They are facts, not opinions.
If a practitioner in another school can generate a chi flow after 6 months, it is good result. (I took more than 17 years.) Students who attended my Intensive Chi Kung Course took less than an hour. Roughly this means our students are about 180 times more effective.
If a practitioner in another school can develop internal force after 6 months, it is good result. (I also took more than 17 years, and I was already known as a kungfu genius.) Students who attended my regional courses like 18-Lohan Art and Bone-Marrow Cleansing experienced internal force in a few hours. This means our students were about 180 times effective.
Many people outside our school may concede that we are more effective. They may think we are 2 times or even 3 times more effective. Translated into income, if they earn 2000 dollars or euros a month, they think you earn 4000 or 6000. They will not imagine we are 180 times more effective. If it is just 10 times, you will earn 20,000 when they earn 2000.
To have an idea of how much one should train so as not to over-train, I have suggested that he can get just 30% of what he got at an intensive or regional course with me. That would be enough for his purpose of overcoming illness or contributing to good health, vitality and longevity. In case you think that 30% is too little, let us work out how much benefit it is. If an average person earns 2000 euros a month, as you are 180 times more efficient, you will earn 38,000 euros. If you get 30% of that, you will earn 11,400 euros a month. Translated into chi kung benefits, if an average person practicing chi kung gets 2000 units of benefit a month, you will get 11,400 units, which is a lot of benefit.
Wong Kiew Kit
16th January 2016
Students at a 18-Lohan Art course performing Double Hooks