Tag Archives: Qigong

DAY 1 OF INTRODUCTORY CHI KUNG COURSE BY HOLISTIC HEALTH CULTIVATION CENTRE, JUNE 11 TO 15 2015

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/video-clips-10/holistic-health-cultivation-centre/overview.html)

Holistic Health Cultivation Centre

Holistic Health Cultivation Centre



The Holistic Health Cultivation Centre, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which has an outstanding record of helping people overcome so-called incurable diseases conducted an Introductory Chi Kung Course from 11th June to 15th June 2015. The course was taught by Sifu Dr Foong Tuck Meng and Sifu Wong Chun Nga.

During a special training session taught by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit, the Grandmaster mentioned two important points:

  1. As a matter of course, students who daily and correctly practice the exercises taught at the course will overcome their illness if they are sick, or will prevent illness happening if they are already healthy.

  2. Students should choose the right techniques and practice at the right level to attain their aim of overcoming illness or maintaining good health.

Grandmaster Wong explained the difference between “as a matter of course” and “as a matter of fact”. If a person drove on an expressway from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore, arriving at Singapore was a matter of course. But as a matter of fact, he might not arrive, if, for example, he stopped half way or turned off to other roads.

Grandmaster Wong also pointed out that medical chi kung, which was meant to overcome or prevent illness, was the lowest in the following hierarchy of chi kung

  1. Medical Chi Kung

  2. Chi Kung for Health and Vitality

  3. Chi Kung for Scholars

  4. Chi Kung for Warriors

  5. Spiritual Chi Kung

If a practitioner practiced at a higher level, i.e. if his chi kung was too powerful, he might harm himself. It was like, Grandmaster Wong explained, asking an untrained person to run a marathon or lift heavy weights.

Hence, practitioners who wished to overcome or prevent illness must not practice at a high level even when they had the knowledge and ability to do so. It was the same in daily life. One must chose the best method and operate it at an appropriate way that fulfilled his needs.

This is Day 1 of an Introductory Chi Kung Course from 11th to 15th June 2015 conducted by Holistic Health Cultivation Centre which has an outstanding record of helping people overcome their so-call incurable diseases.

HOW DO WE KNOW WHETHER WE ARE PRACTISING CORRECTLY?

(reproduced from http://www.shaolin.org/answers/ans14a/apr14-3.html)

Health and Vitality

Grandmaster Wong and Sifu Anthony Spinicchia are examples of good health and vitality

Question 1

How do we know whether we are practicing correctly?

— Chew, Australia

Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

This is a very important question. Not only it enables us to avoid wasting time, but also increases our cost-effectiveness.

We know we are practicing an exercise correctly when we have the effects practicing that exercise will give. At a longer scale, we know we are practicing an art correctly when we have the results practicing that art is meant to give.

For example, we know we practiced “Lifting the Sky” correctly just now because our objective in that practice session was to generate a chi flow, and we had a chi flow.

In our case because we practice high-level chi kung and we are cost-effective, we have the expected effects immediately. Other practitioners will need a few months before they know whether they have the desired effects.

We know we practice chi kung correctly because we enjoy the benefits that practicing chi kung is meant to give. Practicing chi kung is meant to give good health and vitality. We have good health and vitality after a few months of our chi kung practice. Other practitioners who practice a lower level of chi kung or are less cost-effective will need a few years.

But a lot of chi kung practitioners still remain sick and weak despite practicing chi kung for many years. They did not ask the question you did, or else they would know, if they were courageous enough to admit to themselves, they had not been practicing genuine chi kung. They would not have wasted many years.

Alternatively, the art they practice may be genuine but they are not practicing correctly, or else they would have obtained the results the art is meant to give. Had they asked the question, they would have been more cost-effective in their practice.

ABSTINENCE FROM SEX?

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/sp-issues/sex.html)

students in chi flow

Different people manifested different movements in spontaneous qi flow in Sifu Wong’s class in Gutenstein, Austria. On the far right is Master Sylesvester Lohinnger, Sifu Wong’s senior student

QUESTION

I have been told that one must abstain from sex for 100 days upon pratcising qiqong. Is this true? If so, what is the reason?

— John, Malaysia — January 2000

Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

The answer to whether one should abstain from sex for 100 days upon practising qigong is “yes” and “no”, depending on numerous variables.

In the past students abstained from sex for at least 100 days upon practising qigong. Although it was not an absolute condition — in the sense that if the condition was not fulfilled one could not practise qigong, or that he could harm himself — this was highly recommended. Some masters might made it their requirement for their students. After the 100 days, students could revert back to their normal sex life.

The 100 days constitued the foundation period whereby sufficient energy could be acquired and stored at the abdominal dan tian (or energy field). Without this foundation — like the starting capital of a busniss venture — it would be difficult to have satisfactory result. In the past, learning chi kung from a master was a rare opportunity, so students generally chose abstinence from sex to missing a rare opportunity.

What happened if a student had sex during the 100 days? Unless he had sex extravagantly, it usually did not cause any harm, but his progress would not be as good as his classmates. By the end of the 100 days when the master checked their progress, this sex-satisfied student would be found wanting. As he might not have the required amount of energy stored for the next stage of training, he might be left out, either wittingly by his master for not fulfilling a requirement or by his own inability to keep up even though the master might teach him the new techniques.

Today, conditions and needs are different. Because of changing standards, what was considered “satisfactory result” in the past will now be remarkable result. Because of changing needs, most chi kung practitioners today do not actually need remarkable result. In the past, overcoming pain and illness was not even a need amongst those who had the rare opportunity to practise chi kung, because they were already healthy and fit. What they needed would be sufficient energy to spar comfortably for an hour or two, or make a hole in a wall with just one strike. This would be satisfactory result in the past.

Hence, when students ask me whether they should abstain from sex, even at the start of their chi kung training, I tell them it is not necessary — unless they aim for remarkable result, or on the other hand they are very sick to start with. As students today need satisfactory result like overcoming pain and illness, or vitality to enjoy their daily work and play — and not remarkable result like striking a hole in a wall — they can achieve their objective even with normal sex during their chi kung training period.

Without sex, they would acheve their objective faster, but the improvement is relately marginal and it is unnecessary to make the sacrifice of abstinence from sex. For example, with abstinence, one may overcome his diabetes or ulcers in six months, but with sexual enjoyment added in, he may need nine months.

While the remarkable result of chi kung is wonderful, we must also remember other importnat aspects of daily living. If abstinence from sex disrupts family life, or makes a person aggressive due to his pent-up sexual energy which will surely increase as a result of his chi kung training, chi kung would then be a detrimental rather than a rewarding experience.

LINKS

Reproduced from Question 2 in Selection of Questions and Answers — January 2000 Part 2

SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS JUNE 2015 PART 2 BY GRANDMASTER WONG KIEW KIT

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/ans15a/jun15-2.html)

Holistic Health Cultivation Center

Question 1

Sifu I am still unclear about the harm that could be brought by over training or the training is too powerful.

— Dr Foong, Director of Holistic Health Cultivation Centre, Kuala Lumpur

Answer

Your question, or comment, is illuminating, and I would like to give a more detailed answer.

Over-training is a unique problem in our school. By “unique” I don’t mean that no one in the past over-trained. What I mean is that no school as a whole in the past and at present over-train at a scale and depth as we do.

Our over-training is closely related to our unbelievable cost-effectiveness. Our student can attain in one month what most other students would attain in one year — if they are lucky enough to practice genuine chi kung or genuine kungfu.

Most people, understandably, may consider us boastful over this statement, and some may become angry. They may concede that our school is twice better than most schools, or may be even three times better, which is a lot.

When I was a school teacher many years ago, I earned $2000 a month. When a colleague earned $4000 a month, that was a lot. If another colleague earned $6000 per month, that was incredible. (I was, of course, happy for them.)

But most people would not believe that we are more than 10 times more cost-effective than others, just as most teachers would not believe that a teacher could earn more than $20,000 a month.

Yet our typical student is more than 10 times more cost-effective than most other students, just as some rare teachers, not necessarily teaching in public schools, earn more than $20,000, though this is a small sum for some high-income earners like doctors and businessmen.

My conclusion that our typical students gain more than 10 times the benefits gained by other students is not made out of imagination, but based on facts.

Our typical students have internal force after practicing for three months. How many other kungfu practitioners have internal force after practicing for three years? Our typical students can use our kungfu for combat after practicing for six months. How many other kungfu practitioners can use their kungfu for combat after practicing for six years.

Your Holistic Health Cultivation Centre has helped many people suffering from so-called incurable diseases, including cancer, to recover after undergoing healing sessions for a few months. How many patients of so-called incurable diseases overcome their illness after treatment elsewhere after many years?

These examples are facts, not opinions. Anyone can find out whether the statements are true.

Hence, when our typical student gets 10 times the result of what other students get in other school, our students are over-training. Over-training means the benefits one receives from his training is too much or too fast for his body to adjust to, resulting in unpleasantness, tiredness, pain or other adverse effects. These adverse effects are a sigh to tell the practitioner to slow down his training so as to allow the body more time for adjustment.

There are two main ways to slow down one’s training — by reducing the time of training or reducing the intensity of training.

When one trains an hour a day, he can reduce the training by training for 15 minutes. But if he trains for only 15 minutes a day, like what our students do, there is not much time for him to reduce, though now, because of our increased efficiency, I advise our students to train for only 10 minutes.

We can also reduce the time of training by reducing its regularity. If a student trains for 10 minutes a day everyday, and still finds himself over-training, he can train once in two days, or once in three days. If he is advanced and powerful and still finds himself over-training, he can train just once a week.

But most of our students enjoy their training. They may not be happy training just once a week. An excellent approach to prevent over-training is to reduce its intensity. This is very effective for our instructors and advanced students who over-train.

An excellent way to reduce the intensity is not to go too deeply into a chi kung state of mind. In fact it is precisely because we enter into a deep chi kung state of mind that we have excellent result.

In theory it is simple, but in practice it may be difficult, even for our students. Here are some suggestions. Don’t take too long, like a minute, to be relaxed and clear the mind of all thoughts, and remain in this heightened level of consciousness. Take just a second or two. Relaxed, clear your mind and perform your exercise.

You can also focus on your form. If you are a beginner, get the outward form correct as best as you can. If you are advanced, aim for picture=perfect form. When you focus on your outward form, you perform the chi kung exercise more on the physical level and less on the mind level. Your result will be less, but it is still a lot compared to what other practitioners get, and minimize the possibility of you over-training.

You may notice that when students begin to learn form me, I ask them to not worry about their form. This is to get them onto the mind level and generate a chi flow. As they become more advanced, they pay more attention to their form.

Another suggestion which is negative but can prevent over-training is to purposely intellectualize and purposely tense your muscles once awhile. Tensing your muscles is not advisable, unless for specific reasons, but thinking of good thoughts while practicing is permissible. The intellectualizing will get you out of or to a shallower level of a chi kung state of mind, thus producing less result and preventing onver-training.

Purposely tensing our muscles can be useful in specific situations. When I sparred with somebody and accidentally hit him, and I sensed that my internal force was going into him, I purposely tense my muscle to prevent the flow of internal force hurting him. When you have over-trained but for some reason you still want to train, you can tense your muscles to prevent a lot of force developing. It can be uncomfortable. You have to do a gentle chi flow to clear the blockage.

Performing physical activities like practicing kungfu sets at a physical level, sparring with classmates, or going out with your family or friends, is a good way to expend energy, thus reducing over-cleansing due to over-training.

Remember that practicing chi kung is to enrich our life and the lives of others, and not to enslave ourselves to it. If you can get benefits in 10 minutes, you don’t have to practice for an hour. Use the time to enjoy other wholesome activities.

Over-training is very important in healing, i.e. teaching patients at a level much higher than they can absorb, or enabling them to recover faster then they can cope with. I shall deal with this topic in the next question you ask.

Question 2

A healer told me that too powerful chi kung would not harm a patient. I told him that it would be harmful. The healer said that he was already an expert in chi kung healing. What is your comment, Sifu?

Answer

You are right and the healer wrong.

Too powerful chi kung is not only harmful to sick people, it is also harmful to healthy persons. It is like asking someone to run a marathon or lift heavy weights.

Even when he is healthy, if he is untrained, running a marathon or lifting weights will be harmful to him. If he is sick, it will aggravate his illness or may even kill him.

It is like taking medication. If a doctor asks a patient to take two pills, the patient must take two pills. If he takes 10 pills, he may be killed.

As you know very well, chi kung for healing is the lowest level of chi kung. The other levels in ascending order are chi kung fro health, chi kung for scholars, chi kung for warriors, and chi kung for spiritual cultivation. Although it is at the lowest level, chi kung for healing is the most useful today. This is because many people today, unlike in the past, practice chi kung to overcome their pain and illness.

If a healer teaches chi kung for warriors to sick people , he may kill them. It is like putting an engine of an aeroplane in a small car.

That healer may be an expert if he knows a lot about chi kung healing, but he may not be a master healer. A master healer is determined not by how much he knows but how well he helps patients overcome their illness.

chi kung in Taiwan

One way to prevent over-training is not to enter deeply into a chi kung state of mind

Question 3

Someone told me that as long as a person spent one hundred thousand hours on an art, he became a genius. I don’t agree because there are many other factors involved for one to become a genius or a real expert. What is your opinion, Sifu?

Answer

I agree with you, and disagree with the person who said that if one practiced an art one hundred thousand hours he would become a genius. If his practice is wrong, he becomes a big fool. Not only he has waste his time and effort, he has harmed himself, often seriously and unnecessarily.

This is the case with many martial artists today. They practice a martial art so as to become healthy and be able to defend themselves. But the more they practice the more unhealthy they become, and they cannot defend themselves. They merely exchange blows and kicks with their sparring partners in free sparring, and their injuries are usually unattended to.

Here is a list of factors a student may work on to get the best benefits from the practice of any art.

  1. Have a sound philosophical understanding of the art.

  2. Define his aims and objectives in pursuing the art.

  3. Find the best available teacher according to his (the student’s) resources.

  4. Practice the art according to the way the teacher teaches, and not according to the way the student thinks the art should be practiced.

  5. Periodically access his result according to his set aims and objectives.

The same guidelines can also be applied to a patient seeking to overcome his illness and attain good health, vitality and longevity.

  1. Have a philosophical understanding of his illness and healing.

  2. Set aims and objectives, like overcoming his illness, and attaining good health, vitality and longevity.

  3. Seek the best healer according to his resources.

  4. Practice the healing procedure according to what the healer prescribes and not according to what the patient thinks to be done.

  5. Periodically access his result according to his set aims and objectives.

Question 4

I’ve been reviewing some videos to further increase my knowledge of what the world thinks about Baguazhang and recently saw a few Baguazhang weapons videos.

— Fredrick Chu, USA

Answer

What you are doing will contribute much to your understanding and attainment in Baguazhang. But it is important to know that what the world thinks of Baguazhang and what videos show on Baguazhang weapons may not be what Baguazzhang and Baguazhang weapons really are. This awareness is even more important in many other styles of kungfu, chi kung and spiritual cultivation.

Indeed, it is shocking how much kungfu, chi kung and spiritual cultivation have deviated from their original purposes and practice as shown in what the world thinks of these arts, and in what videos, even by well known world masters, show these arts to be.

What the world thinks of kungfu is often represented by Bruce Lee, despite the fact that Bruce Lee rejected both kungfu philosophy and methodology. For example, Bruce Lee thought that stance training, which forms the foundation of all kungfu, was ineffective, and his training methods were precisely what traditional kingfu masters warned against.

If you examine videos showing free sparring amongst kungfu practitioners, with the exception of those from Shaolin Wahnam, virtually all of them use boxing and kick-boxing, with hardly any kungfu techniques. If you watch videos on kungfu weapons, again with the exception of those from Shaolin Wahnam, there are hardly any on using kungfu weapons in combat, which is precisely the reason why the weapons are for.

If you watch videos on the demonstration of a Guandao, or the Knife of Guan, which is a long, heavy weapon, you will see that the controlling hand of most demonstrators holds the weapon just below its blade, and that the blade of the weapon is flimsy, which negate its advantage of being a long weapon, and a heavy weapon. Holding the weapon just below its blade would not enable its practitioner to use it on horseback or to cut it through the armour of an opponent, which were precisely what a Guandao was for.

Small Universe

A Small Universe Course where participants attain a “real break-through”

Question 5

One of the weapons that many people mention when discussing Baguazhang is the Deer Horn Knife (I’ve also heard them called the Meridian Knives and the Mandarin Duck Knives). I have to admit, the weapons look rather spectacular, having many cutting edges and sharp points.

I was wondering what are the special characteristics of the Deer Horn Knives? How do they enhance Baguazhang practice? Are certain weapons more conducive to enhancing or bringing out the best of Baguazhang, such as the straight sword, the single knife, or the huge “Bagua dadao”?

Answer

The Dear Horn Knives are so named because diagrammatically they resemble the antlers of a stag. They are also called Meridian Knives and Mandarin Duck Knives because they are always used in pair.

Indeed, they look spectacular. The weapons are just sharp edges and points.

The special characteristics of the Dear Horn Knives are its sharp blades and points, which make them highly destructive. It is almost impossible for an opponent to dislodge the weapons from the exponent. The horns of the weapons can be used to lock or capture an opponent’s weapon.

Any hit of the weapons will cause bloodshed. The main techniques are cutting, slicing and piercing.

Interestingly, while the Deer Horn Knives are closely associated with Baguazhang, their training does not enhance Baguazhang practice. Circulating the hands round the body is a special feature of Baguazhang, but the sharp blades and points of the Deer Horn Knives do not facilitate this feature. But the agility of Baguazhmg contributes to an effective application of these weapons, so long as the exponent does not circulate the weapons round his body and cut himself.

The straight sword is the most conducive in bringing out the best in Baguazhang, and vice versa. In both the sword and Baguazhang, agility and flowing movement are of utmost importance. The swordsman, however, must not use his sword to circulate round his body like what a Baguazhang exponent does with his hands.

The Single Knife, or sabre, is also conducive in bringing out the qualities in Baguazhang, and vice versa. Circulating the sabre or the arms round the body is a frequently used skill in sabre and Baguazhang performance and application.

The huge Bagua Dadao is a large sabre that is quite out of size. Because of its huge size, it is good for training internal force or mechanical strength for those who have no internal force. Personally, I do not favour it because its excessive large size distract its application as a sabre

Question 6

About a week or two ago, I felt the “false breakthrough” of the Small Universe during Baguazhang Circle Walking. It was the first time that I’ve clearly felt energy flowing through meridians (normally, my energy feels more diffuse or like waves passing across my body). I was walking the circle and my posture aligned in such a way that I began clearly feeling pockets of energy flowing along the Small Universe circuit.

I was wondering if Baguazhang, or any other particular martial arts, particularly well known for achieving the Small Universe and Big Universe?

Answer

Congratulations for your break-through of the Small Universe, even though it is “false” or apparent, and not “real” or permanent. A “false break-through” does not mean it is only an illusion and that there is really no break-through.

The term “false” is used relative to “real”. A “false break-through” does not mean there is no break-through. It occurs when a bubble of energy goes round the Ren and Du Meridians, and the defilements that block the meridians are being pushed through by the bubble of energy, but they may resume their blockage after the bubble has gone through.

A “real break-through” occurs when the Du and Ren Meridians are fully filled with energy flowing continuously and harmoniously round the meridians. A real break-through of the Small Universe enables practitioners to live beyond a hundred years.

Baguazhang being an internal art is more suitable than many other kungfu styles for attaining a Small Universe. But only Baguashang masters who have practiced for many years may have this attainment. It will be faster if they learn the art of Small Universe separately. But Baguashang practitioners who practice only the external aspects of Baguazhang will never attain the Small Universe.

If all other things were equal, Wudang Taijiquan and Dragon Strength would be more effective than Baguazhang to attain the Small Universe. This is because the internal force in these two arts is more flowing than that in Baguazhang.

Your attaining a break-through of the Small Universe, even a “false” one, is remarkable. Congratulations. Such an attainment is not likely to happen in most other schools.

Baguazhang

A historical Baguazhang course at the UK Summer Camp 2012

Question 7

Also, I remember hearing from my Sifu that Reverse Breathing is an important part of Small Universe training. I do know that at some point I would like to open the Small Universe, thanks to you, Sigung, and my Sifu’s writing about its amazing benefits.

I learnt Reverse Breathing at Goat Stance from my old Taijiquan sifu, and I had some good benefits like beginning to build and store energy at my dan tian, but I haven’t practiced it in a long time (mostly because shortly thereafter, I learnt from you and my Sifu in Florida).

Would it be worthwhile for me to begin practicing Reverse Breathing at Goat Stance if I wanted to further pursue the Small Universe, or should I wait until I’m able to spend a fair amount of time with you or my Sifu (for example, at a Small Universe course) to learn how to attain the Small Universe?

Answer

Reverse Breathing is an advanced art. It should be learnt from a competent teacher as wrong practice can cause serious problems.

When I was learning the Small Universe from my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, I made a mistake unknowingly while practicing Reverse Breathing. My chi accumulated about an inch on one side of my dan tian (I can’t remember now whether it was on the left side or the right side). It took me about three months of remedial exercise to correct it.

Many people mistake Reverse Breathing as Chest Breathing. They are different, though they look alike. In both cases, a practitioner’s chest rises as he breaths in. It rises more in Chest Breathing than in Reverse Breathing.

But in Chest Breathing it is air that goes into the chest. In Reverse Breathing it is energy, not air, that goes into the dan tian, or flows in a small universal circuit.

You should not attempt Reverse Breathing on your own. You can learn it from your sifu if you spend a fair amount of time with him, or learn it from me at a Small Universe course.

Question 8

I was talking with Sifu recently and he told me that at my level I really needed to begin practicing regularly with other people to further refine my sparring and fighting skills. Funnily enough, shortly after the Legacy of Wong Fei Hoong Summer Camp (which I was unfortunately unable to attend), I was lucky enough to find a good school of Hoong Ka Kung Fu.

One of the things I liked immediately was the fact that the school does a lot of Asking Bridge in preparation for free sparring. Even though I haven’t had more than a handful of opportunities to train with and spar with people in the past two years, my stances, footwork, and internal force served me very well; I was routinely driving back and out-flanking people who had been in this school for about four or five years. The sifu complimented me on my solid stances and how my footwork always seemed to cut off my partner’s avenues of escape. I wanted to thank you again for teaching me those skills in Baguazhang, they are coming in handy a lot here!

Answer

This is no surprise because we pay a lot of attention on stances and footwork, but many other schools don’t. And Baguazhang is well known for footwork.

Question 9

I did have a question about Asking Bridge and “bridging” in general. I noticed that this school and many others (which I’ve seen mostly in documentaries and on YouTube) use the One Finger Zen hand-form (which they call “Bridge Hand”) and their forearms for initially contacting with an opponent’s arms, especially during or immediately after defending against a strike.

What is it about this hand-form that makes it so popular in Hoong Ka schools compared to, say, the thread hand, Tiger Claws, or open palms? I personally feel more comfortable and sensitive with the thread-hand and open palms, but that may just be my Baguazhang background.

Answer

“Bridge Hand” or “kiew sau” in Chinese (Cantonese) refers to the forearm, not the One-Finger Zen hand form. The forearm is called a “bridge” because it is the part that is usually in contact with an opponent.

The term “Bridge Hand” is usually used in Hoong Ka Kungfu, and other styles derived from Southern Shaolin. It is seldom used in internal arts like Taijiquan, Baguazhang and Xingyiquan, or styles derived from Northern Shaolin like Praying Mantis, Tantui and Wuzuquan.

Besides in our school, the One-Finger Zen hand form, which is different from “Bridge Hand”, is now found mainly in Hoong Ka Kungfu, and rarely in other kungfu styles. It is mainly used to develop internal force, and at advanced levels for dim mark, i.e. dotting energy points. However, I suspect that most students today just perform the external form of One-Finger Zen hand form without knowing its inner significance.

I once asked my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, why the One-Finger Zen hand form was used to develop internal force. He told me that it activated the lung meridian. I followed up asking why was the lung meridian in particular activated in developing internal force. He said, in Cantonese, “fai wei hei zi fu”, which in Englsih means the lungs are the organs for energy. As developing internal force needs flowing energy, activating the lung meridians using One-Finger Zen is a very cost-effective hand form

In Hoong Ka Kungfu the One-Finger Zen hand form is used to develop internal force, though many Hoong Ka practitioners may not know how to do so, or may not even realize it. They perform the hand form because it is found in their sets, just as most kungfu practitioners of any style today perform their patterns because the patterns are found in their style, but they do not know the significance of these patterns.

In combat or even in solo performance, the thread hand using the dragon hand form, the tiger claw and the open palm are equally popular. In fact, when deflecting an opponent’s attack, like a thrust punch, Hoong Ka practitioners seldom use the One-Finger Zen hand form; they use the thread hand, the tiger claw or the open palm.

As an analogy, the Horse-Riding Stance is usually employed when developing internal force. But in combat it is seldom used.

Why is the One-Finger Zen hand form found in Hoong Ka and not in other styles. This was probably because the One-Finger Zen hand form was widely used in developing internal force in Southern Shaolin, and Hoong Ka Kungfu was the moist typical of Southern Shaolin. In fact, Hoong Ka patriarchs like Wong Fei Hoong and Lam Sai Weng called their kungfu Shaolin, and not Hoong Ka.

Then why is the One-Finger Zen hand form not found in other Southern Shaolin styles like Wing Choon and Choy-Li-Fatt. This was probably because the first patriarchs of these styles used other methods of force training. Yim Wing Choon, for example, used Siu Lin Tou which did not have the One-Finger Zen hand form. Chan Harng, the founder of Choy-Li-Fatt used a wooden man.

Editorial Note: Fredericks other questions will be continued at June 2015 Part 3 issue of the Question-Answer Series.

IS QIGONG PRACTICE REAL; IS EATING FOOD REAL?

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/sp-issues/qigong-practice02.html)

Real or Illusion?

Is the qi experienced by the students in this class in Ireland real, or are the students just creating an illusion of qi?

Question

I understand that it may be judged by long term effects of qigong practice, but I am afraid that during the time that is required to evaluate the effects more or less realistically, I’ll be creating a sustained illusion that might become hard to get rid of later.

— Tatnana, Russia

Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

You are creating unnecessary problems for yourself. Qigong practice can be judged by long term effects like good health and vitality, as well as by short term effects like tinkling feeling at the fingers and sensation of warmth over the body.

Students at my intensive chi kung courses experience such short term effects on the very first day of the course, and the long term effects a few months later. They do not have to evaluate whether these effects are true because they know they are from direct experience. Besides, getting rid of illusion is irrelevant because they do not have to create any illusion in the first place.

In other words, after a qigong session on the first day of my intensive courses, some students feel tingling sensations on their finger tips while others feel warmth over their body. They do not need any intellectualization or scientific instruments to evaluate whether the tingling or warmth sensations are real because they distinctly experience these sensations, and they trust their own experience.

The question as whether these sensations are an illusion does not arise because they know very well they did not attempt to create any illusion. They also do not bother to question whether the illusions still arise despite their not consciously creating them. They simply enjoy the sensations, which are pleasant and which indicate the reality of qi.

After a few months, some find out from direct experience that they no longer suffer from the illness they suffered before, while others find out that they have more energy to carry on their day. They do not intellectualize or use scientific instruments to evaluate whether their new found health and vitality are real or merely illusions. They simply enjoy their new life.

Some consult their doctors, not to test whether their feeling of well-being is real, but as a follow-up of their previous medical treatment, and are glad to be confirmed that they are no longer sick. They usually attribute these long term effects to their qigong practice, and not wasting time questioning whether their recovery is due to other factors.

Real or Illusion?

Are these Shaolin Wahnam practitioners really enjoying their food on the Blue Mountain or have they created an illusion that they are on the Blue Mountain enjoying their food?

Question

Is there something that could help to ensure that the practitioner is focusing on qi instead of creating a realistically-felt sustained illusion ?

Answer

Firstly, I shall answer your question. Yes, it is simple. Just do it. In other words, the practitioner focuses on qi, and not creates a realistically-felt sustained illusion.

You will have a clearer picture if we ask a similar question as follows. Is there something that could help you to ensure that you really eat your food instead of creating an illusion that you are eating your food? Of course, it is simple. Just eat your food. Don’t create an illusion that you are eating your food, even you have the mental power to do so.

In the case of eating food, there will be no problem at all that you can do it as you have been doing it for years. There is also no problem at all that you know your eating food is real, and not an illusion, because you can easily confirm it from your direct experience. You will also not need any intellectualization or scientific instrument to evaluate your eating food to ensure it is real.

But it is not so in the case of practicing qigong. Do you know why? The reason is that whereas you have direct expereince in eating food and therefore can readily confirm its reality, you do not have any experience in practicing qigong (genuine qigong and not merely gentle physical exercise) and therefore cannot confirm its reality. Hence, you have to depend on intellectualization or speculation, which, unfortunately, is based on your mis-information.

Now let us reverse the situation. Suppose, for the sake of this explanation, you had never eaten any food before, suppose you lived through direct exchange of qi or energy with the Cosmos by practising high-level qigong. You would then have no doubt at all that qi is real and not an illusion. But you might wonder if you ever tried eating food, whether the food was real or an illusion.

Notwithstanding this, when you practice qigong, you just practice qigong. There is no need to focus on qi during your practice. When you have generated a qi flow, you will recognize it, even when you did not try to focus on it in the first place. In the same way, when you eat an orange, you will experience the taste of an orange, even when you did not try to focus on its taste in the first place.

If you do not experience the taste of an orange, it means that actually you are not eating a genuine orange (though you may think you are), or you eat a genuine orange wrongly, like shoving the orange right into your throat without chewing and tasting it. Similarly, if you do not experience qi, it means that actually you are not practicing genuine qigong (though you may think you are), or you practice some genuine qigong exercise wrongly, like performing it as physical exercise.

LINKS

Reproduced from Questions 4 and 5 in Selection of Questions and Answers — May 2009 Part 3

SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS JUNE 2015 PART 1 BY GRANDMASTER WONG KIEW KIT

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/ans15a/jun15-1.html)

Hawaii

Dr Damian, Dr Roseline, Mrs Wong, Grandmaster Wong, Dr Hoo Kok Chong and Sifu Anthony Spinicchia at the Polynesian Cultural Centre in Honolulu, Hawaii

Question 1

Thank you for your generous teaching earlier this month in Hawaii. The wisdom you shared will benefit me a great deal. But your presence was the biggest gift, as you are a living embodiment of Zen. Observing your approach to life directly has allowed me to see and remove unnecessary layers from everything I do, taking me closer to Zen in all aspects of my life.

— Ryan, USA

Editorial Note: These questions were asked soon after the Hawaii courses in July 2014, but due to a long waiting list, they are only released now.

Answer

I am glad that you have benefited much from the courses in Hawaii.

As many students in our school have realized, all teaching in Shaolin Wahnam is a teaching of Zen. The hallmark of Zen is being simple, direct and effective.

At the mundane level, Zen training enables us to get the best result in whatever we do. At the supra-mundane level, Zen training leads us to the highest attainment any being can achieve.

Question 2

My mother was quite frustrated during the Intensive Chi Kung course. She was a bit overwhelmed by the pace of the exercises, and found it difficult to enter a chi kung state of mind with the sounds people were making during chi flow.

I told her that despite her frustration she was still receiving lots of useful skills, techniques, and philosophy. And that it would just be a matter of practicing these things when she got home in order to deepen her skills.

Answer

As I mentioned during the course, I thought your mother was your girlfriend! In fact I asked Anthony, “What’s the name of Ryan’s girlfriend?”

Anthony answered in surprise, “That’s his mother, not his girlfriend!”

Chi kung practice will certainly keep your mother healthy and youthful.

The noise made by other course participants was a bonus, not a distraction. If your mother could enter into a chi kung state of mind and enjoy a chi flow, which she actually did, it would be easily for her to practice at home when conditions are more ideal.

Her frustration, therefore, was unnecessary. In fact she did very well at the course. What she needs to do is to continue her daily practice following the three golden rules of not worry, not intellectualizing, and enjoying her practice.

chi flow

Chi flow in our school can be an interesting, noisy affair

Question 3

During many of the practice sessions at the course, we did not do standing meditation at the end of chi flow for more than a few seconds. Do you still recommend performing standing meditation regularly after chi flow? If so, do you recommend an ideal length of time for the standing meditation portion?

Answer

We usually complete any chi kung exercise with standing meditation, even for a few seconds. This will allow our chi to settle down at its normal condition.

The time of standing meditation at the end of a chi kung exercise may range from a second to half an hour or more, depending on various factors, like our conditions and objectives. I

If you are short of time, you may stand upright at a meditative state of mind for a second. If you wish to build internal force, enhance mental clarity or expand into the Cosmos, you may stand for half an hour or more, in which case it becomes the main part of the exercise, though you may not initially intend it to be, and the chi kung part becomes preliminary.

Question 4

You have always taught us to think of the dan tian at the end of chi flow. If I spend a few minutes in standing meditation after chi flow, should I think of my dan tian again a second time before completing the practice session?

Answer

It is not necessary but it is useful.

If you spend a few minutes in standing meditation after chi flow, irrespective of whether you thought of your dan tian before standing meditation, you can complete your chi kung session without thinking of your dan tain again, or for the first time if you did not do so earlier.

In other words, you may think of your dan tian before proceding to standing meditation. Or you may just go straight to standing meditation without thinking of your dan tian. You can also complete your chi kung session form chi flow without going ino standing meditation.

All the three procedures above are correct, although the result, if all other things were equal, may be slightly different. Of these three procedures, the first is the best, the second is rhe next, and the third gives the least result. But a skilful practitioner using the third procedure will get better result than a less skilful practitioner using the first procedure.

Now, in another comparison not mentioned in the three procedures above, after your chi flow and standing meditation, if you gently think of your dan tian before completing your session, you will have better result than if you do not think of your dan tian, if all other things were equal.

The following philosophy will explain the difference of result. By gently thinking of your dan tian, you gather your chi at your dan tian. If you perform a few minutes of standing meditation without first thinking of your dan tian, you will also gather at your chi at your dan tian. Because chi will naturally and spontaneously gather there if you stand upright and be relaxed. However, if you think of the dan tian first, you have a head start.

As an analogy, in a race even if you do not get set but just stand leisurely, you can still run when the signal is sounded. But if you get set first, you will have a head start.

When you complete your chi flow without thinking of your dan tian, your chi will eventually settle down at your dan tian, though it will take a longer time. If you gently think of your dan tian before completing, you assure the gathering of chi at the dan tian.

As an analogy, after a race if you don’t walk about to let your breathing returns to normal, you can still perform other activities. But if you walk about leisurely to let your breathing to return to normal, you can perform the same activities better.

focusing at dan tian

Focusing at dan tian is a good way to complete a meditation session

Question 5

I was very interested in your thoughts on advanced practitioners lowering their level of practice to avoid over training. Looking back on my practice over the years, I very regularly experienced intense cleansing symptoms that I think may have been in part from over training (even though I only practiced 10-15 minutes twice a day). Since returning from Hawaii, I have been experimenting with training only once a day for 10 minutes. Do you think it would be wise to increase this amount?

Answer

Whether you should increase the time of your training depends on whether you have reached your optimum training time, i.e. the time that gives the maximum benefit.

An optimum training time is a theoretical concept, and may vary from person to person, and from time to time for the same person. By theoretical concept is meant that we cannot be exact for its duration; we can only estimate it.

Nevertheless, there are some factors that help us to estimate wisely. If we feel fresh and energized, and derive a lot of benefits, we can conclude that we are before or at our optimum training time. If we feel tired and uncomfortable, and experience a lot of cleansing, we can conclude that we have exceed our optimum training period, and have over-trained.

From experience, we have found that our students get the best benefits by training for about 15 minutes. Students of most other schools may have to train for an hour or more. With further improvement of our teaching methodology, we can now shorten our optimum training time to 10 minutes.

It is worthwhile to remember that the purpose of training chi kung is to enrich our life. If we can get a lot of benefits in shorter time, it means we have more time to enjoy life wholesomely.

Question 6

When performing Cosmic Shower, should I open the Bai hui and visualize energy from heaven during or after performing the Carrying the Moon pattern? Can Cosmic Shower be performed without any chi kung pattern at all, if I initiate a gentle chi flow with my mind first?

Answer

In Cosmic Shower, opening the baihui and visualizing energy from heaven are performed after Carrying the Moon. You may also perform these two techniques during Carrying the Moon.

When you are skilful, you can initiate Cosmic Shower without performing Carrying the Moon or any chi kung pattern. You can initiate a gentle chi flow, then procedure to Cosmic Shower. You may even have a Cosmic Shower straight away without Carrying the Moon or any chi kung pattern. This is a useful skill if you want to be fresh and have no jet lag on a trans-continental flight.

self-defence

Self-defence is of utmost importance in any martial art, but it may be a big surprise to many people that many martial artists cannot defend themselves, otherwise they would not be randomly punched and kicked in free sparring

Question 7

Years ago, I attained a 2nd degree black belt in Northern Shaolin Kung Fu. It took for a good many years. Almost every class had sparring involved. I learned what it meant to face an aggressive opponent. I did get bruised ribs, broken fingers, things like that.

My teacher has since retired. I am currently practicing my forms and techniques. Without a sparring partner can I attain a level of where I can adequately defend myself?

— Andy, England

Answer

Yes, as you have good kungfu background, you can defend yourself by practicing on your own, provided of course what you practice is correct. Indeed, that was how past masters became very combat efficient. They normally trained combat on their own.

It may be a big surprise to many people that what many martial artists, including those at black belt levels, practice for self-defence may not be correct. If their practice is correct, they should be able to defend themselves. They should not sustain a lot of hits from their free sparring. In fact self-defence training today is so bad that that they take being hit for granted. It is ironical that they call their art an art of self-defence. Theirs is actually a free and generous exchange of punches and kicks!

The fact that you asked the question of whether you could defend yourself by training on your own clearly shows that you have not learned to defend yourself. In your sparring you punched and kicked your sparring partners, and be punched and kicked by them. If you could defend yourself, you would not have bruised ribs and broken fingers. You would have asked whether training on your own could improve your self-defence, which is different from asking whether you could defend yourself.

While we place much importance on self-defence, combat efficiency is not top on our priorities. We train Shaolin Kungfu because we want to have good health, vitality, longevity, mental freshness, spiritual joys irrespective of religion, and peak performance in both our work and play. We do not merely state these aims as theory. We walk our talk. We ensure we have these practical results.

For example, when our students spar, they never sustain injuries. This means they can defend themselves. They are not sick or in pain, and they enjoy their work and play, which shows they have good health, vitality and spiritual joys.

I would recommend that you attend my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course in Malaysia. I offer such a course only about once or twice a year. Because of my tight schedule, there is no Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course this year. You should not miss the next one when it is offered. Please check my website for available dates..

Question 8

I would like to ask Sifu Wong if masturbation, premarital sex and having sex with prostitutes are considered a sin or wrong.

— Jussi, USA

Answer

It depends on various factors, like who asks the question, who answers it, and the situation involved.

If a lonely person asks a pimp this question, it is likely that the pimp will say it is not wrong, and encourages the lonely person to indulge himself.

If a religious person askes a priest, it is likely that the priest will say it is a cardinal sin, and asks the religious person to pray to God.

In this case, if you ask me, I have to consider your situation.

If, for example, you are happily married with a lovely wife, I would say, yes, it is a sin. Don’t be a fool. Spend your time with your wife, no matter how tempting masturbation, premarital sex and prostitutes may be.

If you are sexually hungry, but cannot find a willing partner or are not brave enough to find a prostitute, I would say masturbation is not a sin, and ask you to enjoy yourself, but do not do it too often and do not feel any guilt about it.

If you have a willing partner, who of course must be human and not underage, provided both of you are not puritan in your religious or social beliefs, I would say that premarital sex is not a sin, and advise you to add love to sex, and ensure that your partner enjoys herself.

If you prefer a prostitute to masturbation, provided you are not puritan in your religious and social beliefs, I would say having sex with a prostitute is not a sin, and strongly advise you to take precaution not to contact any disease and also be kind to the prostitute.

HOW CHI KUNG CAN OVERCOME CROHN’S DISEASE, OR ANY DISEASE!

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/sp-issues/overcoming-disease.html)

Chi Flow

Students in a regional chi kung class in Ecuador enjoying a chi flow


There is only one illness and it is called yin-yang disharmony, although there may be countless symptoms.

— Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

Question

I was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease in 1999 before the Chi Kung course in Malaysia with you. Crohn’s disease is an auto-immune disease which means that my body attacks my intestine. When I get an attack, ulceration and swelling occur internally and I have abdominal pain, spasms and diarrhoea. The doctors do not know where the disease comes from or what it is exactly and they say that there is no cure for it.

— Michael, UK

Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

In chi kung we also do not know what cause Crohn’s disease, but the interesting thing is that we do not need to know. In chi kung philosophy, there is no such a thing as an incurable disease. Every disease can be cured, which unfortunately does not necessarily means every patient can be cured.

There is only one illness and it is called yin-yang disharmony, although there may be countless symptoms, and Crohn’s disease is the label conventional doctors give to a particular set of symptoms. What we need to do is to restore yin-yang harmony, and chi kung is an excellent way to do so. In western language, yin-yang harmony means your body is able to adjust to constantly changing environment.

It means that when virus and bacteria attack your body, it by nature will overcome the virus and bacteria. If there is a sore or ulcer in your stomach, your body by nature will be able to repair it. If your body bleeds unnecessarily, your body will stop it. If you need some fluid to clear away dead cells, like the germs which caused Crohn’s disease and which were killed by your body defence as the result of chi kung training, your body may bleed to clear away the dead cells. If your body needs new blood to replenish the lost blood, your body will produce it.

This may sound incredible to the uninitiated, but it has been like this for everyone since humans first appeared, and it is happening to everyone all the time, irrespective of whether he knows chi kung or not. Then, why do some people have illness? This is because their yin-yang harmony has been temporarily disrupted. There are countless intermediate factors that can cause this disruption. But in chi kung we do not worry about the intermediate factors: we go to the root cause, i.e. we restore yin-yang harmony.

How do we restore yin-yang harmony? By restoring harmonious energy flow, which is a very concise way to say restoring the natural functions of all your body systems, organs, glands, etc. The chief function of chi kung is to ensure harmonious energy flow. Once all your body systems, etc function normally, including your stomach being able to overcome harmful virus and bacteria, and to stop unnecessarily bleeding, you will be healthy as a matter of course.

This philosophy is actually very simple, but those used to a different philosophy may find it hard to make a philosophical shift. If you are used to a philosophy which dictates that you have to find out why your body attacks your intestine, or where bleeding occurs, and if you cannot find out the why and the where, you would have to say there is no cure for Crohn’s disease.

Now you are faced with a different philosophy which says that your body attacking your intestine and your unknown bleeding are just symptoms that your body is not functioning normally. Once you restore the normal functioning of your body, it will not attack your intestines and you will not bleed unnecessarily. According to this philosophy you need not know why or where your body did not function normally, as long as you are able to restore its natural functioning.

Intensive Chi Kung Course

A recent Intensive Chi Kung Course in Sabah, Malaysia

LINKS

Reproduced from Questions 8 in Selection of Questions and Answers — April 2001 Part 1

Click here for a list of Certified Shaolin Wahnam Chi Kung Healers.

Holistic Health Cultivation Center

AHA EXPERIENCES OF LIFTING THE SKY

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/chikung/18-lohan-hands/lohan02.html)

18 Lohans

An old picture showing Grandmaster Wong perform Lifting the Sky



Question

Sifu, would you kindly share with us which one is, from the 18 Lohan Hands, your favorite one? why? Did you have any “Aha” Experiences while in your own practice and/or teaching them? If so, would you kindly share the one/s that you might consider more relevant?

Santiago


Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

Without doubt “Lifting the Sky” is my favorite not only from the 18 Lohan Hands but from all chi kung exercises. This is the chi kung exercise that I practice the most by a big margin from the second.

When someone asks me which chi kung exercise I have practiced the most, I have no hesitation to answer that it is “Lifting the sky”. If he asks me which exercise I have practiced the second most,, I would have to think hard for an answer. Actually I still haven’t thought out the answer.

Why is “Lifting the Sky” the one I have practiced the most?

Historically it was the first chi kung exercise I learned from my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam. Rather this was the first exercise I recognized then as chi kung, and performed it correctly.

On hindsight the first chi kung exercises I learned were the various stances from Uncle Righteousness in Penang taught to me by a siheng, but at that time I practiced them as enduring physical exercise.

I also learned chi kung exercises from Wuzuquan in Sifu Chee Kim Thong’s school in Dungun, taught to me by his eldest son, Sifu Chee Boon Leong. The whole San Zhan set was chi kung, but I did not derive any chi kung benefit from it, not because of my teacher’s teaching but because of my own ignorance.

I also learned Abdominal Breathing from my Wuzuquan sibengs, who had much internal force, but I only performed the technique, lacking the skills to develop internal force. I knew then that Abdominal Breathing was chi kung, but I did not succeed in practicing it as chi kung. Without realizing it myself, I practiced it as gentle physical exercise.

“Lifting the Sky” was the first chi kung exercise that I performed correctly as chi kung. If I remember correctly, it was the first exercise Sifu Ho Fatt Nam taught me, even before teaching me stances. And he taught it to me himself, not delegating it to one of my seniors.

My sifu did not tell me it was chi kung, neither did I regard it as chi kung. As a good student, I just learned and practiced it dutifully. Indeed my sifu did not tell me anything special about “Lifting the Sky”. All that about “Lifting the Sky” I am going to explain below came later from my own experience, my students’ experiences and my research into chi kung classics.

I practiced “Lifting the Sky” everyday at the start of my kungfu training, as taught to me by my sifu. This is good confirmation of my advice to students that by following faithfully what the teacher teaches, and not by trying to be smarter than him to add practice material on their own, the students will get the best benefits.

I did not generate external chi flow movements with “Lifting the Sky” like what we do in Shaolin Wahnam. But there must be internal chi flow, though I was not aware of it at that time, because I obtained a lot of chi kung benefits.

My migraine and hemorrhoids disappeared without my conscious knowing. I might not be conscious of it then, but “Lifting the Sky” improved my posture, mental clarity and kungfu performance.

Because of the many benefits that I myself have obtained from it, if I have to teach someone a chi kung exercise, I would inevitably choose “Lifting the Sky”. It was later on hindsight that I listed out why “Lifting the Sky” was my favorite. The reasons are as follows.

  1. It is relatively easy to learn and to practice.
  2. The benefits are many and varied.
  3. The benefits range from the basic to masters’ levels.
  4. At the basic level, it generates an energy flow.
  5. At the most advanced level, it can enable practitioners to attain the highest spiritual fulfillment.
  6. The benefits come relatively quickly.
  7. Even when it is performed wrongly, out of carelessness or forgetfulness, the adverse effects are not serious.
  8. Even when it is performed as gentle physical exercise, the benefits are good, like relaxation, good posture and loosening joints and muscles.

I did not learn the complete set of 18 Lohan Hands from my sifu. He only taught me “Lifting the Sky”, “Separating Water” and “Big Windmill”, and each exercise was taught to meet the need at the time.

“Lifting the Sky” was taught to start my kungfu training. I remember my sifu saying, “There is no need for warming up in kungfu. But Lifting the Sky acts like a n excellent warming up exercise.”

“Separating Water” was taught to increase my internal force. “Big Windmill” was taught as part of my Cosmos Palm training.

I once asked my sifu politely whether I could learn the whole set of 18 Lohan Hands. He explained kindly, “18 Lohan Hands were meant to make the Shaolin monks healthy so that they could practice kungfu. You are already very healthy. Focus on your kungfu.” I am grateful for his advice, otherwise I might not have the kungfu attainment I now have.

I was sentimental over the 18 Lohan Hands because they were the exercises taught by our first patriarch, the great Bodhidharma. So years later after leaving Kuala Trengganu where I learned from Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, I researched extensively and deeply into the 18 Lohan Hands.

I gathered the 18 exercises I considered the best and formulated them into a set, starting with the widely known set of eight Taoist chi kung exercises known as the Eight Pieces of Brocade.

Interestingly, the health exercises I practiced as a boy scout, and which were listed in the book, Scouting for Boys, were similar to the eight chi kung exercises in Eight Pieces of Brocade.

I remetmber I was smiling to myself when I formulated the 18 Lohan Hands, thinking that future critics would point to our 18 Lohan Hands and say, “Hey! Look, these so-called Shaolin chi kung exercises were taken from Taoist chi kung1”

Image my surprise when later I found in a classic that the same 18 Lohan Hands were recorded in the same order I listed them in our set! I could only attribute this wonderful co-incidence (or was it a co-incidence?) to my tapping into the past during meditation, or more poetically to divine guidance.

I had a few “Aha” experiences with “Lifting the Sky” and other of the 18 Lohan Hands.

Aha, I discovered that not only I could generate an energy flow with “Lifting the Sky”, which was the original and usually the main purpose of my practice with this exercise, but also I could build internal force, not only at my arms but all over my body and focus the force at my dan tian.

Aha, I discovered that I could use “Lifting the Sky” to generate a cosmic shower. Before this, the method I used was Taoist meditation, opening the rush meridian and let energy blossomed out from “baihui” like a fountain, and come down as cosmic shower. This method was called “Opening of Five Petals” and would take years to accomplish. Now, using “Lifting the Sky” or “Carrying the Moon”, I could transmit the skill to students and let them have a cosmic shower in just a one-day course. It was ridiculous but true.

Aha, in fact I could use “Lifting the Sky” or any chi kung exercise, though “Lifting the Sky” is usually more cost-effective than the others, to accomplish any chi kung skills! Not only the highest kungfu, but also the highest chi kung, is the mind.

Besides “Lifting the Sky”, I also had a “Aha” experience with the prosaic-looking “Big Windmill”. The “Big Windmill” my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, taught me was the forceful “Big Windmill”, not the gentle “Big Windmill” we normally practice in our school.

This “Aha” experience happened years ago. After performing the forceful “Big Windmill” a few times I felt my arms and palms very powerful. I thought I could try breaking a brick. It broke, and I was very surprised because earlier I spent more than 2 years training Iron Palm from a book but I could not break a brick.

I thought it could be accidental. I tried a second time, and the brick broke. I tried a third time, and the brick still broke.

Another “Aha” experience was with “Three Levels to Ground”. At first I did not think highly of this exercise, though in my younger days I practiced it everyday for two years in the Art of Flexibility, and taught it often to people with knee or leg problems to help them recover. I sometimes wondered why I considered it one of the best 18 exercises to be included in the 18 Lohan Hands. It must be divine guidance.

It was during the UK Summer Camp in 2007 that I broke some tendons at my right knee during a kick. The injury was so back that I could hardly walk up some stairs. I did “Three Levels to Ground” and “Bear Walk”. In two days, my right knee recovered! Suddenly it occurred to me that Bodhidharm is great.

Lifting the Sky

Grandmaster Wong teaching Lifting the Sky during an Intensive Chi Kung Course

The questions and answers are reproduced from the thread 18 Lohan Hands: 10 Questions to Grandmaster Wong in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.

HEART CLOSED HEART OPEN

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/discussion-2/charles.html)

Sifu Charles Chalmers


The old monk in his golden robe sat across the low tea table from me, held up a fist, and spoke softly in Vietnamese. Slowly he opened his hand so the fingers stretched out and his palm pointed up towards the sky. The translator explained: “He says that your heart is closed like this fist, but that in ten years in will open.”

I felt my heart sink, because I knew it was true that my heart was closed, and I was shocked to imagine ten more years of suffering and unhappiness.

Thankfully, I was soon to meet my dear Sifu (teacher), Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit, and amazingly, my heart blossomed in an instant. It was the most incredible experience of my life. I felt my worry, sadness, fear and anger instantly washed away, replaced by an unprecedented, almost overwhelming happiness.

The last eight years of my life, since I learned Shaolin Chi Kung from my sifu have been positively joyful. I have done things, and enjoyed things I never would have if it had not been for my practice of the Shaolin Arts. I have become, in every way, a better person.

I have enjoyed many benefits from practicing our chi kung and kung fu, but for me, the heart opening was and remains the greatest gift of our practice.

Simply put, I am a happy man.

Thank you Sifu, from the bottom of my heart.

Charles __________________
Sifu Charles Chalmers


Opening the heart

Participants of an Intensive Chi Kung Course in Sabah with Open Heart


The above discussion is reproduced from the thread Heart Closed Heart Open in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.

MEDITATION: THE TRUE WAKENING OF SPIRITUAL CONSCIOUSNESS

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit



Question

Meditation offers a variety of benefits. For example, it cultivates greater concentration and calm. But perhaps if too much attention is brought to studying the mental and physical benefits, the profound significance of meditation and practices may not be realized. How do we take the next step to the true wakening of spiritual consciousness?

Answer

Before answering the question, it would be fruitful to have a clearer understanding of the term “meditation”. It is derived from the verb “to meditate”, which implies thinking and intellectualizing.

Thinking and intellectualizing are in fact the very factors many schools of meditation, including the one I am most familiar with, advice their practitioners not to be involved in. In other words, if you wish to be successful, during your meditation you should not think and intellectualize!

Then, why is the practice called “meditation”? It is because of over-generalization as a result of mistaken translation due to insufficient understanding.

As “meditation” is a Western term, logically it originated from Western culture, referring to a practice employed by early Christian monks in their spiritual cultivation. It involved four processes, namely reading scriptures, praying to God, pondering over God’s words in the scriptures, and reflecting the Truth.

This morphological background is of much significance. It gives assurance to those persons who mistakenly believe that practicing meditation is against Christian culture, that early Christian monks practiced meditation to reflect on God.

Later, various other practices to reflect on God or on Cosmic Reality spread from the East to the West. Although internally they were different, externally they looked similar. Hence, the term “meditation” was used for all these practices.

It was also discovered that those who practiced meditation regularly had many mundane benefits, like reducing anxiety and improving metabolic processes. Soon scientific research proved that meditation enhanced physiological and psychological functions.

This background information enables us to look at both the question and answer with better insight.

We can better understand that if too much attention is brought to studying the mental and physical benefits, like greater concentration and calm, not only we may miss the profound significance of meditation, but also we may deviate from its original aim.

Indeed, this deviation or degradation has begun and has resulted in adverse effects on many practitioners often without their own knowing. Meditation is a training of mind or spirit, and thus mental and physical benefits like improved psychological and physiological functioning, are its bonus, not its goal.

However, not only many practitioners have neither obtained its goal or bonus despite practicing for many years, but instead they have obtained adverse effects! The first requirement as well as the first benefit of meditation is to be relaxed, yet many meditation practitioners have become more stressful the more they practice! Another tell-tale benefit of successful meditation is to be happy and free, yet many practitioners have become more gloomy and depressed!

Meditation, being a training of mind or spirit, is by itself non-religious. In other words, the same meditation exercise can be beneficially practiced by persons of different religions or of no official religion. Its successful practice will make its practitioners more devoted to their own religion, regardless of what religion it is, or more spiritually uplifted if they do not profess a religion.

Why is this so? Why is it that the religious will become more devoted to their religion, and the non-religious will be more spiritually-uplifted? It is because meditation enhances practitioners’ spirit. As all religions deal directly with the spiritual, the religious practitioners will find the teachings in their own religions come alive, whereas those who do not profess a formal religion will have their spirit enhanced. Hence, they become more caring, more compassionate besides becoming happier and more free.

Notwithstanding this, while we become more aware of the goal of meditation, which is the training of the spirit, it does not mean that we will neglect its more mundane benefits, like great concentration and calm, and better physiological and psychological functioning. These are desirable bonuses.

Why do so many practitioners become stressful and depressed when meditation is meant to make them relaxed and happy as bonuses? It is because they fail to realize that meditation is a cultivation of the spirit. Too much focus on studying the mental and physical benefits, ironically aggravates the problem because it further alienates practitioners from cultivating the spirit.

How does meditation, being a training of the spirit, bring physical, emotional and mental benefits? In other words, how does a meditation practitioner, for example, normalize his high blood pressure, overcome his aggressiveness or reduce his mental confusion by cultivating his spirit?

The real person is his spirit, not his body. It is his spirit that has a body, not his body that has a spirit. His spirit is the same throughout. His body, with its physical, emotional and mental manifestations, is changing all the time. Literally millions of his physical cells are disposed off from his body when he breathes out, and millions of new physical cells are born when he breathes in. He may be calm now, and agitated the next moment. Countless thoughts are going through his mind all the time.

When his spirit is well, it is manifested in a healthy body. If his spirit is sick or weak, it is manifested in his body too – physically, emotionally or mentally. To be well is the norm. It is natural to be healthy. To be sick is not. Hence, there is actually nothing fantastic in overcoming high blood pressure, aggressiveness and mental confusion. It is just restoring normalcy, returning to the natural state.

An important principle in traditional Chinese medicine is that all healing starts from the heart. In Chinese the “heart” includes the emotional, mental and spiritual dimensions. The physical dimension is the body.

I have applied this principle in helping thousands of people overcome so-called incurable diseases like high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, cancer, depression, phobia and serious viral infection. I do not have to use formal meditation. I use qigong practice and qigong healing, both of which include meditation.

In the same way, when a person is sick, he does not have to do formal meditation which will take a longer time for him to recover. He should see a doctor. By rectifying the bodily disorder, he can restore his spiritual health.

When a person is healthy – physically, emotionally and mentally – he is in a better position to aim for true awakening of spiritual consciousness.

This was in fact what Bodhidharma, the First Patriarch of the Shaolin arts, did at the Shaolin Monastery in the 6th century. He found the Shaolin monks sick and weak, so he taught them the Eighteen Lohan Hands and Sinew Metamorphosis to make them healthy and strengthen them so that they could better practice meditation to attain Enlightenment.

This is also what we do in our school, Shaolin Wahnam. We practice Shaolin Kungfu, Taijiquan or qigong to be healthy and strong so as to enhance our daily work and play as well as for true awakening of spiritual consciousness.

Awakening of spiritual consciousness has a very extensive range, but may be classified into three broad levels as follows.

At the lowest level, it is nurturing the spirit so as to be healthy in all the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual dimensions.

At the middle level, it is to strengthen the spirit to have mental clarity and internal force to attain peak performance in our work and play.

At the highest level, it is to expand the spirit into the Cosmos so as to attain spiritual joys and freedom, and eventually when we are ready to return to our Original State, called variously as Enlightenment, Returning to God’s Kingdom, Attaining the Tao or Union with the Supreme Reality.

But what should you do to take the first step to the true awakening of spiritual consciousness if you were not with Bodhidharma at the Shaolin Monastery or not learning from us in Shaolin Wahnam?

The first step is right understanding. You should understand what awakening of spiritual consciousness is and how to go about it. The second step is to set your aims and objectives. Then you should spend some time and effort to search for the best available teacher within your resources who can help you attain your aims and objectives. The fourth step, which usually takes the most time, is to respectfully practice according to what you teacher teaches. You should also periodically access your progress with reference to your aims and objectives. If you follow these five steps, you will be able to attain the best benefits in a relatively short time.

As mentioned above, awakening of spiritual consciousness has an extensive range. You should set your aims and objectives according to the level you are currently at, and progress accordingly.

If you, like many people today, are stressful, you should first nurture you spirit so that you can be physically and mentally relaxed. If, for example, you are still not satisfied with your work or family life, you should first develop mental clarity and internal force to improve your work and family life.

If you plunge straight to the most advanced level and hope to be enlightened over a summer vacation in an exotic land, not only this is unreasonable and unrealistic, but also you may aggravate your personal, work or family problems instead of enriching your life and the life of other people as spiritual cultivation is meant to be.


The above extract is reproduced from “Your True Nature: Wisdom of Living Masters” by Natalie Deane and Damian Lafont.

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