Tag Archives: Sifu Leonard Lackinger

OVER-TRAINING AND OVER-CLEANSING By Sifu Leonard Lackinger

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/discussion-2/leo03.html)

Shaolin neigong

Our chi kung is very powerful. So, guard against over-training


Sifu Leonard Lackinger

Shaolin Wahnam Austria

13th May 2015

Dear family,

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.

Enjoy your training, but not too much!

Best wishes,
Leo

Shaolin Wahnam Austria
http://www.shaolin-qigong-wien.at/
http://www.shaolin-kungfu-wien.at/

Shaolin neigong

The way we practice Iron-Wire is very powerful. It is easy to over-train.


The above discussion is reproduced from the thread Over-Training and Over-Cleansing in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.

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SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS AUGUST 2015 PART 3 BY GRANDMASTER WONG KIEW KIT

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/ans15b/aug15-3.html)

Cosmic Shower

Cosmic Shower is an advanced chi kung art

Question 1

I did not realize that Cosmic Shower was more advanced than Bone Marrow Cleansing.

— Sifu Angel Perez Oliveras, Puerto Rico

Answer

There are five levels in Bone Marrow Cleansing, so it takes two courses, Part 1 and Part 2, to complete the programme. These five levels range from basic to advanced levels. I can adjust the level I want to teach.

When I first taught Bone Marrow Cleansing, I taught its highest level, the level of cleansing nerves, which was higher than Cosmic Shower when the latter was initially taught. I have since lowered the level of cleansing nerves.

Meanwhile, the level of Cosmic Shower, which initially was just cosmic energy showering down the body, has been raised due to improvement of my teaching methodology. Now I teach Cosmic Shower for strengthening too, strengthening at all levels, i.e. the physical,. emotional, mental and spiritual. As a result, in general Cosmic Shower is now of a higher level than Bone Marrow Cleansing.

Nevertheless, this is relative because we can vary the level on which to operate the art we are practicing. In other words, not only I myself can vary the level of the exercise we practice, I also teach students how to do so. This is a master’s ability. Actually even many masters cannot do so. These masters practice the art at the level when they first learned it from their teachers. They may become more skillful at their level, but they do not go beyond the level of the exercise they learned it.

As an analogy, if a student learns and relearns his secondary school material, he may be very good at his secondary school material, far better than other secondary school students, but he won’t be able to deal with university material.

But our students are different. They are taught how to use their secondary school level at university level. They not only learn that Puerto Rico is part of the United States, which secondary school students learn, but also how this relationship can benefit both Peurto Rico and continental United States, material that university students would discuss.

In Cosmic Shower, which actually is university material in chi kung as not many chi kung practitioners have a chance to learn such a skill even when they may have practiced for many years, our students not only learn how to let cosmic energy flow through their body, but also how and why the cosmic flow can clear their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual blockage to enrich their daily lives in all aspects.

Question 2

Is it alright for beginning students to take Bone Marrow Cleansing after Generating Energy Flow, and skip Cosmic Shower and Cosmic Breathing? Can they take all the chi kung courses offered if they want to?

Answer

Yes, students who are fresh beginners can take the Bone Marrow Cleansing course after taking the Generating Chi Flow course, and skip Cosmic Shower and Cosmic Breathing.

In fact they can take all the qigong courses as long as they have taken the Generating Energy Flow course. The Generating Energy Flow course is fundamental, which means not only basic but also very important.

It is basic because without generating an energy flow, one is not practicing chi kung even when he performs chi kung techniques. He performs the chi kung techniques as gentle physical exercise, and may not realize the fact. More than 80% of all chi kung practitioners in the world fall under this category.

Some people may be angry at this statement, and that is their business. But if those in this category take heed of the advice and do something about it, but not necessarily learning from us, they will start to get chi kung benefits which they have missed despite all those years of dedicated training.

Our chi kung programme where even fresh beginners can take all the chi kung courses offered is actually quite ridiculous — in a good sense. Students progress form a fresh beginners’ level to a masters’ level in just two days.

Even genuine masters, who are rare and have dedicated their lives to practicing chi kung for more than 20 years, may not have the skills of Bone Marrow Cleansing, Cosmic Shower or Cosmic Breathing. They are masters of the art they practice, which, honestly without being disrespectful to them, are relatively of a low level, consisting of repeating chi kung techniques many, many times to generate some energy flow.

Most other masters are, strictly speaking, not even genuine chi kung practitioners because they perform chi kung techniques not as energy exercise but as gentle physical exercise. They cannot generate an energy flow. But we still call them “masters” out of respect.

Isn’t it ridiculous that fresh beginners at our chi kung courses can learn not only techniques but more importantly skills that even masters may not learn? But our students do not become masters in two days. They still need time to practice their techniques and skills to master them.

But our students do not need 20 years to become masters, they need only 2 years. Why do our students need only one-tenth the time? It is because we understand the underlying philosophy and our training is systematic and progressive.

generating energy flow

Generating Energy Flow is sufficient to fulfill the needs of most people

Question 3

What advice should I give the students?

Answer

Some good advice to tell beginning students is for them to focus on Generating Energy Flow, and to practice the more advanced exercises like Bone Marrow Cleansing, Cosmic Shower and Cosmic Breathing only occasionally to maintain the skills and techniques. They may practice these more advanced exercises later on when they have become more proficient in chi kung.

For people who want to overcome pain and illness and to maintain well-being, it is not necessary to learn the more advanced exercises. Generating Energy Flow is more than enough to fulfill the needs of most people.

But “not necessary” does not mean “not beneficial”. As an analogy, if one is prepared to walk, it is not necessary to own a bicycle, a car or take a flight on an aeroplane. If he is to see a friend on the next street, it would be easier to walk.

But he has to walk, if he remains in his house he would not see his friend. In the same way, if he wants to overcome pain and illness, he has to practice Generating Energy Flow. If he does not practice, he will not get well.

If he has to go to a faraway place, it would be faster and more comfortable to take a car or an aeroplane. The car and the plane are not necessary, though very beneficial. The Polynesian people, for example, reached the East Indies before cars and planes were invented, though their journey took much longer time and was less comfortable, besides being more risky.

So, although the more advanced chi kung courses are not necessary, they are very beneficial. Indeed, it would be unwise if beginning students do not make full use of this opportunity to learn these courses, as the present plan is that I visit Puerto Rico only once in two years to teach the techniques and transmit the skills of these courses. This will be good advice to them, i.e. don’t miss the opportunity when it is available.

Question 4

In the pattern, “Immortal Emerges from Cave”, which part of the hand should make contact with an opponent’s arm?

I normally use the outer edge of the palm and sometimes the base of the palm.

— Sifu Leonard Lackinger, Austria

Answer

In “Immortal Emerges from Cave” the outer edge of the palm should make contact with an opponent’s elbow or forearm. This may result in dislocating the opponent’s elbow or fracturing his forearm. It is a strike, and not a block.

However, if you wish to be merciful, you can use the base of your palm to stop his attack, instead of dislocating his elbow or fracturing his forearm.


Editorial Note: Sifu Leonard Lackinger’s other questions are found at August 2015 Part 2 issue of the Question-Answer Series.

Immortal Emerges from Cave

A well executed “Immortal Emerges from Cave” can dislocate an opponent’s elbow or break his arm in just one move

Question 5

Would you regard this pattern as a direct counter or only as a floating defence movement?

Answer

This pattern can be used as a no-defence-direct-counter, or as a floating movement.

Question 6

The reason why I ask is because it is one of the hardest of the basic patterns, causing much damage on the opponent’s arm if done with some force.

Answer

The harder an opponent attacks you, the easier it will be for you to dislocate his elbow or break his arm. If you do not want to hurt him, you can float his attacking movement.

Fierce Tiger Cleanses Claws

Grandmaster Wong demonstrating “Fierce Tiger Cleanses Claws”

Question 7

Thank you for providing the ranking of chi kung techniques in your great 10 Questions Series on the Five-Animal Play.

As the art of Bone Marrow Cleansing consists of 5 levels, I tried to put them into the list separately.

  1. 18 Jewels

  2. Self-Manifested Chi Movement

  3. 5 Animal Play

  4. 18 Lohan Hands

  5. 18 Shaolin Wahnam Chi Kung Techniques

  6. Bone Marrow Cleansing – Skin Level

  7. Grasping Sparrow’s Tail

  8. Lifting Water

  9. Abdominal Breathing

  10. 18 Lohan Art

  11. Three-Circle Stance

  12. Golden Bridge

  13. Bone Marrow Cleansing – Flesh Level

  14. One Finger Shooting Zen

  15. Bone Marrow Cleansing – Meridian Level

  16. Bone Marrow Cleansing – Organ Level

  17. Bone Marrow Cleansing – Bone Marrow Level

  18. Cosmic Shower

  19. Sinew Metamorphosis

  20. Small Universe

  21. Phenomenal Big Universe

  22. Cosmic Breathing (Transcendental Big Universe)

  23. Merging with the Cosmos (Transcendental Big Universe)

Would you regard that list as correct?

Answer

The listing is subjective, and may vary according to some factors, like different practitioners, different times even for the same practitioner, state of mind, level of focus and relaxation, and developmental stage.

Generally your list is correct.

Question 8

Provided they suit to this list, where would you put Iron Wire, Fierce Tiger Cleanses Claws and Forceful Big Windmill?

Answer

I would place Iron Wire after Golden Bridge, Fierce Tiger Cleanses Claws after Bone Marrow Cleansing Organ Level, and Forceful Big Windmill after Bone Marrow Cleansing Flesh Level.

Question 9

I know that it’s mainly a mind play and that the true ranking depends on the skill and focus of the practitioner, but the list is a good guideline for selecting the program for current and future advanced chi kung classes.

Answer

You are right. The mind set, skill and focus of the practitioner are very important.

One main reason why we have remarkable result is because we operate at the mind level. This explains why past masters mentioned that the greatest kungfu was at the mind.

Operating at the mind level does not mean visualization, as some people wrongly imagine, though visualization is sometimes employed. In fact, one can obtain tremendous result by keeping the mind clear, i.e. without any visualization.

Operating at the mind level generally means how deeply a practitioner enters into a meditative state of mind while practicing his art.

Skill is of course very important too. It is another main reason why we can obtain remarkable result.

Most people, including many masters, think that by practicing the right technique they can get the desired result. In my earlier years, I thought in this way too.

But it is so clear that this is not so, though most people fail to realize it. But once we realize it, it can become quite shocking. More than 80% of chi kung practitioners do not derive chi kung benefits although the chi kung techniques they employ are correct. More than 90% of kungfu practitioners cannot use their kungfu for combat although their kungfu techniques are correct. The reason is that they do not have the required skills.

Focus is related to mind, though it is possible to be focused yet not in a meditative or chi kung state of mind. Of course, when one is in a chi kung state of mind, he is focused.

Being focused is not the same as being concentrated in a stressful manner. Due to the limitation of language, some people may have this misconception. That is why they wonder, wrongly, how one could be focused and relaxed at the same time.



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

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

(reproduced from http://shaolin.org/answers/ans15b/aug15-2.html)

Shooting ArrowsGrandmaster Wong demonstrating “Shooting Arrows”

Question 1

My Tai Chi Chuan class is progressing to level 4 now which is called “Tactics of Pushing Hands”. We already worked through all the pushes from all sides in level 3.Which tactics should I now put special emphasis on in the Pushing Hands practice?— Sifu Leonard, Austria

Answer

Congratulations for doing well with your Tai Chi Chuan class.

You should put equal emphasis on all the tactics. After students have learnt the tactics individually, you may combine them in suitable situations.

There are four tactics to be taught in Level 4. Two are proactive tactics, which means a practitioner initiates the tactics. The other two are reactive tactics, which means a practitioner uses these tactics when reacting to an opponent.

The two proactive tactics are “continuous attack” and “confusing attack”.

In “continuous attack” a practitioner attacks an opponent continuously without giving the opponent a chance to counter attack. It is important to pay attention to “safety first” when implementing this tactic.

In “confusing attack”, a practitioner confuses an opponent when attacking him. He may, for example, pretends to attack the opponent’s top, then attacks his bottom.

The two reactive tactics are “instantaneous counter” and “interception”.

In “instantaneous counter” a practitioner counter attacks an opponent immediately after the opponent has made an attack, without give a chance for the opponent to recover from his previous movement.

In “interception” a practitioner intercepts an opponent’s attack, i.e. without letting the opponent complete his attack, and counter-attacks the opponent. It is a development from “immediate counter”.

In “immediate counter”, the practitioner counter-attacks as soon as an opponent completes his initial attack. In “interception” the practitioner counter-attacks before the opponent completes his initial attack.

It is useful to tell students the difference between a technique and a tactic. If you use “Fierce Dragon Across Stream” to strike an opponent, it is a technique. If you use this technique in a particular way to gain some advantage, it becomes a tactic.

For example, an opponent attacks you, and you ward off his attack. When he has recovered himself, you attack him with the technique, “Fierce Dragon Across Stream”.

Now, instead of letting some time pass, you counter-attack him immediately after he completes his attack, giving him no time to recover. You may use the same technique, “Fierce Dragon Across Stream”, but you apply this technique in a tactic of instantaneous counter. Your chance of striking him will be higher than in the earlier situation when you allow him to recover after his initial attack.

In the first situation if your opponent knows an appropriate defence technique, he can defend against your attack. In the second situation even when he knows the defence technique, he may be unable to defend against your attack because your use of tactic has put him in a disadvantageous position.

Suppose your opponent is skillful. Despite his disadvantageous position, he can defend against your attack. So you raise your tactic to a higher level. Instead of counter-attacking as soon as he completes his initial attack, you counter-attack in the midst of his attacking movement. You use the tactic of interception. Your chance of striking him is higher.

Suppose he is very skillful. He can defend against your interception. As soon as you complete your first counter-attack, or even before it, you continue with a second attack. You may use the same attacking technique, “Fierce Dragon Across Stream”, or you may use another technique. You chance of hitting him is much higher using this tactic of continuous attack than had you used the same two attacking techniques separately.

Or you may use the tactic of confusion. You pretend to attack his face with “Fierce Dragon Across Stream”, and when he tries to defend against your facial attack, you suddenly change your attack to his abdomen using the same attacking technique.

You should also teach your students the use of these tactics in their daily life. It is very important to inculcate in them that their uses must always be for good.

Question 2

Do you have any recommendations for Pushing Hands exercises to train those tactics?

Answer

Before telling students about the tactics, it is helpful to give them a demonstration. Attack a student with a certain technique, and let him defend against it. Then attack him again using the same technique. He will be able to defend against it again.

Next, attack the same student using the same two techniques continuously. If you apply the tactic of continuous attack well, it is likely that he can’t defend against your second attack, though earlier he could when you used the same attacking techniques individually.

Explain to the class that the student could not defend against your second attack, not because he did not know the defence technique, but because you had placed him in a disadvantageous situation using the tactic of continuous attack.

In the unlikely event that your student could successfully defend against your continuous attack, compliment him. Explain that most other people could not defend against this tactic of continuous attack though they may be able to defend against the same attacks when applied separately.

After students have practiced Pushing Hands using the newly learned tactics, tell them that the same tactics can be used to enhance our daily lives. Emphasize that their use must always be for good, and never for evil.

Divide the class into groups, and ask them to discuss how to apply the tactics in daily life. Let each group describe their applications and let the others comment on them.

Tai Chi Chuan, Taijiquan

Grandmaster Wong applies the tactic of interception on Edwin

Question 3

Can you please elaborate on their application in real life situations?

Answer

The tactic of continuous attack can be fruitfully used in an argument. Suppose a friend argues that eating ice-cream is not good.

Ask him a question. As soon as he answers, ask him another questions. Continue asking him questions to lead to a conclusion that he says eating ice cream is good.

Here is an example of using the tactic of continuous attack.

“Have you eaten any ice-cream?”

“Yes, I have.”

“Did you enjoy it?”

“Yes, but …”

“Well, it shows ice-cream is good. It brings you enjoyment. Were you sick after eating the ice-cream?”

“No, but …”

“You were not sick, and you enjoyed it. Ice cream is good for you.”

It does not matter what his answers are, though sometimes you may have to modify your subsequent question to suit the answer he has just given. Similarly, in combat it does not matter how your opponent responds to your attack, though you may have to modify your movement for your subsequent continuous attack.

For example, he may answer “No” to your first question.

Then you modify your next question.

“I’m sorry you have missed out something good in life. Most people have eaten ice cream. Do you think they enjoy it?”

“No, I don’t think so.”

“You’re mistaken. They enjoy eating ice-cream or else they would not have eaten it in the first place. Were they sick after eating ice cream.”

“Er, I don’t know …”

“Of course they were not sick, and they enjoyed it. You might be an odd exception, but ice-cream is good.”

Question 4

I recognized that I somehow executed the frequent closing pattern “One Finger Stabilizing Empire” differently to what I now found in all your videos.

I used to have the open palm of my left “One Finger Zen hand-form” facing me like in the chi kung exercise “Shooting Arrows” before advancing to the end position.

Is this incorrect or just a variation?

Should I change to the typical way?

What are the differences? The typical way feels more forceful to me now.

Answer

Your way of performing “One Finger Stabilizing Empire” is not wrong. It is a variation.

For convenience we shall call the way performed in “Shooting Arrows” the chi kung way, and that in “One Finger Stabilizing Empire” the kungfu way.

As a teacher is a model for his students to follow, it is advisable for you to change to the typical way, which has been established as the best way for its particular purpose. Hence you use the kungfu way when teaching “One Finger Stabilizing Empire”, and the chi kung way when teaching “Shooting Arrows”.

The main difference is that the kungfu way consolidates energy, whereas the chi kung way lets energy flow. Hence you feel more forceful when you perform the kungfu way, and more flowing when you perform the chi kung way.

Editorial Note: Sifu Leonard’s other questions will be continued at August 2015 Part 3 issue of the Question-Answer Series.

chi kung, qigong

Ours is a chi kung and kungfu school, not a retreat for religious or spiritual curiosity or a centre for experimentation

Question 5

In standing meditation a few weeks ago, I had a sudden “realization” that divine and enlightened entities were grand foci of energy and thought from countless beings. I “saw” Guan Yin Bodhisattva in her usual portrayal as a Chinese noblewoman, but when I “looked,” I did not see a soul, an intellect, or guiding consciousness behind the image; it just seemed like energy wearing a certain form.

— Fred, USA

Answer

I do not know enough to say whether divine and enlightened entities are grand foci of energy and thoughts from countless beings.

But I believe that the energy or consciousness of Guan Yin Bodh Satt is the energy or consciousness of Guan Yin Bodh Satt, and not of other beings.

If you did not see a soul or an intellect or guiding consciousness in Gaun Yin Bodh Satt, it was because you did not see it, and not because it was not there. In the same way when kungfu practitioners do not experience internal force, it is because they do not experience internal force, and not because internal force is non-existent.

Question 6

For some reason, I thought of “borrowing” some of the energy from the collection of energy that made up the image of Guan Yin Bodhisattva and felt it enter my body. It felt very deep and subtle, making my body vibrate as I gave a blessing for the continued health and happiness of some friends and family members before “returning” the energy back to the collection of energy making up the image of Guan Yin Bodhisattva.

Answer

I would not recommend that you do this, not because it is not a good thing, but because it is unknown.

In our school we learn what has been established, and we are grateful to past masters for passing on their legacy to us. Even if we can accomplish just a small portion of their legacy, it is more than enough to fulfill our needs, which are good health, vitality, longevity, mental freshness and spiritual joys. We should not try to be smarter than them and commit the mistake expressed by the proverb, “fools rush in where angels fear to thread”.

This does not mean that we are not innovative, but we must know what we are doing, and also we must know our limitation. Many people have been very kind to use the expression, “tang fong cho kaik”, on me, which means “having reached the summit of present development and ready to create new limits”. Indeed, many things we practice in our school are innovations based on the legacy of past masters. But I am always conscious of my limitation, and am humble enough to accept it.

But you are venturing into the unknown, and you do not know what you are doing. You presumed that the energy was from Guan Yin Bodh Satt. But your presumption could be wrong. It could be some energy from an imposter, and you would be in serious risks, despite some initial benefit to tempt you.

Even if it were the energy of Guan Yin Bodh Satt, it would be disrespectful to freely take the energy from Her, and return it at will as if returning a cooking pot to a neigbour. You may request Guan Yin Bodh Satt to bless you or other people, but not take Her blessings or energy as if it were your right or your own property.

Shaolin Tantui

Using kungfu to handle other martial artists should not be difficult

Question 7

The experience left me very curious about the nature of religion and spirituality. The idea of “everything is just energy” has been in my mind a lot lately; so, too, the curious idea that divine and enlightened beings just being collections of energy and thought. Earlier tonight, I did the same thing as before for the first time in a few weeks, “borrowing” energy for a blessing and then “returning” the remaining energy. It felt much the same, and I have to admit I felt very happy and at peace afterwards.

Answer

Remember that ours is a kungfu and chi kung school, not a retreat for religious or spiritual curiosity, and not a centre for experimentation.

What you did deviated from the aims and objectives of our school. You are still a student, though you have good potential to become a master one day. You are not in a position to experiment, not even in a position to make innovation.

Take heed of the saying, “First practice the established. Then respond to its variation.” You are still at the first stage of the saying. Leave the second stage to masters.

Excel in what is taught in our school. Learn, for example, to handle other martial artists comfortably and elegantly, no matter how ferociously they rush at you. Be healthy, live life joyfully and be an inspiration to others.

Question 8

I wanted to ask for your wisdom and advice about these experiences. I would like to know if this is something I should avoid doing, or if I can continue, and if it would be all right, if you could share your insight regarding the “realization” I had that divine entities are “just” foci for energy and thoughts. Having no experience at all in a matter like this (I’m used to just practicing qigong and kungfu to cultivate my own energy, not using anyone else’s) I want to make sure I’m not doing any wrong or harm with this.

Answer

It is good that you ask me for advice. Many students who had great potential to be masters fell at this stage of their development. They reached a stage where they were far ahead of other students in other schools, a stage where they themselves had not imagined possible before, but without their knowing they were still far from what our arts could bring them.

Some became arrogant, and many started to experiment. But unlike you, they were not humble enough to ask for advice, or follow the advice real masters who had gone through the same path kindly gave them. These students thought they had accomplished much, when actually there was a lot more our arts could give them. It was a real pity seeing them fall.

Yes, this is something you should avoid doing. Not only it would waste a lot of your time and bring you no benefit, it could bring you much harm.

Yours was not a realization but an illusion. Divine entities have a distinct personality and identity of their own. They are not just foci of random energy and thought.

If you have no experience and have no competent teachers to guide you, it is not only unwise but dangerous to indulge in such matter. After all, does it really matter to your daily life that divine entities are just foci of random energy and thoughts, or have a personality of their own? Spend your time in more fruitful and meaningful activities, like enjoying meals with your parents, or enjoying tea yourself while admiring a sunset.