Grandmaster Wong presenting a paper at the 2nd World Qigong Congress in 1997 where he was awarded “Qigong Master of the Year”
As we move into 2016, it is worthwhile to look back over the years at what we in Shaolin Wahnam have discovered. Viewing these discoveries from a particular vantage point, some of our family members may not realise their great significance, but viewing the discoveries over many years, with reference to the general development of chi kung and kungfu, these discoveries are really remarkable, and may create history for posterity.
One of the greatest of these discoveries is to enter into a chi kung state of mind, or to enter Zen in Shaolin Kungfu, or to enter Tao in Taijiquan. Shaolin Wahnam students today are very familiar with entering into a chi kung state of mind as we perform it every time we practice, but this concept, as we understand it, is actually new. I did not know about this chi kung state of mind in my students’ days, and most chi kung and kungfu practitioners today are unaware of it.
My first introduction to this chi kung state of mind, though it was not so called at the time, was during a casual talk with my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam. My siifu told me, “If you are not relaxed and focused, you may as well not practice because you will not get any benefit.”
The first time I read about the term, chi kung state of mind, was from the great chi kung master of China, Sifu Yen Xin. He mentioned that entering into a chi kung state of mind is crucial in chi kung training. He explained that it was a new term, probably coined by him himself, and in the past this mental state was known as “entering silence”. It dawned on me that in other cultures, the same mental state was described as attaining a heightened level of consciousness. I also recalled reading some chi kung literature that the mind, not energy, is the most important factor in chi kung, though it literally means “energy art”.
The skill to enter into a chi kung state of mind was developed by me over many years. When I first taught chi kung to the public, I did not ask students to enter into a chi kung state of mind. But when I found the skill useful, I not only taught it, I transmitted it.
One main reason why I could improve my teaching methodology tremendously, sometimes beyond recognition, is because I teach about a hundred classes a year, whereas most other teachers teach only a class or two. In other words, a typical chi kung teacher teaches his students a particular chi kung exercise one or twice a year, but I teach the same exercise a hundred times. This gives me a lot of opportunities to improve my teaching methods.
Entering into a chi kung state of mind is fantastic. Now students at my Intensive Chi Kung Course can generate a chi flow within the first hour. My early students took about 4 to 5 months to generate a chi flow. Most other practitioners cannot generate a chi flow at will regardless of how long they may have practiced chi kung.
Besides speeding up the attainment of our students, entering into a chi kung state of mind also enables them to accomplish unbelievable high-level results. In a regional course of Massaging Internal Organs of just 4 hours, even relative beginners can direct chi to their internal organs to massage them. In a regional course of Bone Marrow Cleansing, within 4 hours even relative beginners could direct chi to flow at different levels and derive various wonderful benefits. Others outside our school, even when they are sympathetic to us, may find it hard to believe.
How do we know our students could direct chi to their internal organs or to whatever level they wish? In the respective courses, they reported form their own experience that they could do so. In principle, it is like asking someone sitting on a chair how he knows he is sitting on a chair. He knows from direct experience. Only those who have never directed chi to their internal organs or to whatever level they wish, would ask such a question.
In kungfu training, two of the greatest discoveries, and which our students benefit immediately, are to develop internal force and to use kungfu for combat. These two attainments are actually the two pillars of kungfu training. In other words, all kungfu training, if it is done correctly and successfully, is geared towards developing force and combat efficiency.
Again, as developing internal force and applying kungfu for combat are so common in our school that those who are not exposed to other kungfu schools may mistakenly think these kungfu accomplishments are the norms. Although we are not unique in having these abilities, they are certainly very rare. Most kungfu practitioners today, including some masters, do not have internal force, and do not know how to use kungfu for combat.
One of the crucial factor that enables me to discover methods that enable our students to develop internal force and to apply kungfu for combat was differentiating between skills and techniques. This itself was a remarkable discovery. In my students’ days, I did not know the difference between skills and techniques, Most kungfu practitioners today, including masters, do not differentiate between skills and techniques.
The techniques used by all kungfu practitioners to develop internal force and to apply kungfu for combat are genuine. But most practitioners (outside our school) do not have the necessary skills, and they are unaware of it. Those who persist in the techniques for many years and eventually succeed, become masters, and they form a very small proportion of the starting population. The others fail, or give up half-way.
From our perspective, the most important discovery is to transfer our chi kung and kungfu training to enrich our daily life. We do so purposefully and systematically, and I am very happy that we have been very successful.
Previously I thought that the biggest group of people who wrote to thank me would be those whom I helped to cure from so-called incurable diseases. But this was not so. The biggest group of people, by a very big margin, who wrote to thank me were initially healthy. They thanked me for sharing our arts that enabled them to enrich their lives as well as the lives of other people.
Like other discoveries, this discovery was, and is, not common in kungfu circles. Many past masters, despite their high chi kung or kungfu attainment, did not lead happy lives. Some of them, due to their training, were more efficient in their work than had they not trained chi kung or kungfu, but unlike us they did not consciously apply their chi kung or kungfu training to enrich their lives.
Today’s situation is worse. Many chi kung and kungfu masters are sick, physically or emotionally, and some have to take medication on a routine basis. A world known surgeon told me some shocking news — more than 75% of his patients were top martial artists, and their most frequent treatment was hip replacement. These top martial artists practiced their arts as hobbies, which ware meant to give them pleasure!
We in Shaolin Wahnam are indeed very lucky. We have good health, vitality and longevity — though some of you may have to wait 30 years to confirm this benefit. We have mental freshness and mental clarity as well as spiritual joys, irrespective of religion, like being peaceful and happy.
I wish all our Shaolin Wahnam family members and all our guests good health and happiness.
Wong Kiew Kit
1st January 2016.
Grandmaster Wong demonstrating a chin-na technique
Students could generate an energy flow within the first hour of my Intensive Chi Kung Course
Over-training has become a serious issue in our school. It is important to recognise it and to know what to do when it occurs.
Firstly, it is helpful to understand our working definitions of these terms.
Over-training means a practitioner has trained correctly according to how an exercise should be practiced, but the benefit is too powerful for his physical body to bear.
In this sense, overtraining is different from wrong training. Wrong training is when a practitioner has not practiced an exercise according to how it should be practiced. Hence, he has no benefit or he has adverse result.
Strictly speaking, or to split hair, if a practitioner has no benefit, we can cali it incorrect training. The training is not wrong, but incorrect. Therefore he has no benefit. This is the case of most chi kung practitioners.
If a practitioner has adverse result, it is wrong practice. It is not only incorrect, it is wrong. Therefore he has adverse result. This is the case of many kungfu practitioners who sustain internal injury in their sparring.
To split hair further, we can refer to over-training as wrong training. But for our purpose here, we shall differentiate the two. The remedy is different. To overcome over-training, we reduce the training. To overcome wrong training, we correct the training.
Hence, we have four types of training — correct training, incorrect training, wrong training and over-training.
Over-training may result in over-cleansing. The former is the cause, and the latter is the effect. As an analogy, you may earn a lot of money, then you become wealthy. Earning a lot of money is the cause, becoming wealthy is the effect.
Over-training may also result in over-building and over-nourishing, but these are not explained here so as not to confuse you.
How do you know you have over-trained. One good way is that you experience over-cleansing. Before this happened, you might experience strong benefits. Then you feel tired and sleepy. Sometimes you may feel anxious, fearful or angry. This happens when your negative emotions are flushed out of your body faster than you find tolerable. Sometimes you have rashes, pimples or are smelly.
There are a few ways to reduce over-training, which will in turn reduce over-cleansing. Please take note that there may be a time-lapse between the two.
Reduce the time of training.
Reduce the intensity of training.
Expend your energy in wholesome activities.
Stop training for some time.
Perform negative actions.
If you train for half an hour a day, reduce it to 15 minutes. If you train everyday, reduce it to once in two days. But as our training time is short, and we enjoy our training, a more useful method is to reduce the intensity of our training.
An excellent way to reduce the intensity of training is not to enter deeply into a chi kung state of mind. Please take note that even when we do not want to enter deeply into a chi kung state of mind, because of our habitual training, we will still be in a deep chi kung state of mind compared to most other practitioners.
Another way is to focus on your form, or purposely think of your form. This will distract you from your mind level.
Spend time on wholesome activities. Go hiking or swimming. Play football or enjoy music. Roll about on the ground and jump about in the sky. Perform kungfu sets or sequences, focusing on form, not on chi flow, internal force or mind power. If you haven’t got a girlfriend (or boyfriend). get one, and focus on making her happy on a date.
Stop training for a few days, or even longer. Use your training session to spend quality time with your parents. Read some good books, like “The Way of the Master”.
You may even perform negative actions, like tensing your muscles or intellectualising during your training. But perform some gentle energy flow at the end of the training session to clear out negative effects.
It is worthwhile to know that over-training is relative. What is normal correct training to a healthy person, may be over-training to someone who is sick. What is normal correct training to a master may be over-training to a student.
It may also not be easy for some of you to realise how effective we have become in our training. The following facts may help you in the realisation. They are facts, not opinions.
If a practitioner in another school can generate a chi flow after 6 months, it is good result. (I took more than 17 years.) Students who attended my Intensive Chi Kung Course took less than an hour. Roughly this means our students are about 180 times more effective.
If a practitioner in another school can develop internal force after 6 months, it is good result. (I also took more than 17 years, and I was already known as a kungfu genius.) Students who attended my regional courses like 18-Lohan Art and Bone-Marrow Cleansing experienced internal force in a few hours. This means our students were about 180 times effective.
Many people outside our school may concede that we are more effective. They may think we are 2 times or even 3 times more effective. Translated into income, if they earn 2000 dollars or euros a month, they think you earn 4000 or 6000. They will not imagine we are 180 times more effective. If it is just 10 times, you will earn 20,000 when they earn 2000.
To have an idea of how much one should train so as not to over-train, I have suggested that he can get just 30% of what he got at an intensive or regional course with me. That would be enough for his purpose of overcoming illness or contributing to good health, vitality and longevity. In case you think that 30% is too little, let us work out how much benefit it is. If an average person earns 2000 euros a month, as you are 180 times more efficient, you will earn 38,000 euros. If you get 30% of that, you will earn 11,400 euros a month. Translated into chi kung benefits, if an average person practicing chi kung gets 2000 units of benefit a month, you will get 11,400 units, which is a lot of benefit.
Wong Kiew Kit
16th January 2016
Students at a 18-Lohan Art course performing Double Hooks
I discovered the Shaolin arts and philosophy, and I am strongly attracted to the original traditional Shaolin lifestyle. Although my age is 59, I like to gain strength, solace, flexibility, health and fitness and spiritual health, and longevity and vitality at old age.
I am a physician in cardiovascular medicine and general medicine. I encounter a lot of fear, anxiety and stress in my patients.
So, it is good and wise to acquire Shaolin training myself and develop myself in order to help others for a very long time. I am convinced that Shoalin Kungfu, qi gong and Zen will help. I am aware of the holistic principle and combat form and meaning of the movements as well as universal energy.
Could you recommend to me where and how I can have the best and genuine Shoalin training? How do I start?
Please take into account that I am just starting and a beginner. I will read all your books in advance to get maximum information. I am also aware of the need to persevere.
At present I am reading your book, “The Complete book of Shaolin”. The other books will follow. But I understand that one doesn’t learn from a book, one learns from practice, instruction and repeating even blindly.
— Dr Joe, Netherlands
It is inspiring that you intend to have good health, vitality, longevity, mental freshness and spiritual joys (irrespective of one’s religion) starting at 59. Indeed many of my students over 60 told me that they were healthier and fitter than they were at 30.
It is also inspiring that you wish to give confidence to your patients. When you are proficient in chi kung, you can teach your patients some simple chi kung exercise to give them confidence and increase their energy level as a supplement to the normal treatment you give them.
I would take this opportunity to explain that when you teach your patients simple chi kung exercise, you must not teach them at the same level that you practice, because doing so would cause them harm rather than benefit. You must teach them at a much lower level that is suitable for them.
Will you have harm instead of benefit if you practice at a high level? No, you will not. You will have more benefits.
Why is this so? This is because you attend my courses not only to practice chi kung at a high level but also learn remedial exercise to overcome harmful effects if you unknowingly make mistakes. But your patients do not have these benefits. So you only teach them at a low level of chi kung that is safe for them even if they make mistakes unknowingly. When you meet me in person, please remind me to show you about teaching and performing chi kung at different levels.
I would also take this opportunity to explain that what many chi kung instrucrtors teach nowadays is not chi kung but gentle physical exercise although they and their students use chi kung techniques. This statement is made in good faith, and not meant to belittle these chi kung instructors, who are usually kind and have good intention, but they themselves may not realize this important fact. Similarly, many Tai Chi instructors and students today do not realize that what they teach and practice is not Tai Chi Chuan, which is an internal martial art, but some external Tai Chi forms although they use genuine Tai Chi Chuan techniques.
Gentle physical exercise does not give confidence and increase energy level. That is why many chi kung practitioners today are still weak and sick because actually they practice gentle physical exercise, and not chi kung, which is meant to make practitioners strong and healthy.
To attain these two aims:
To have good health, vitality, longevity, mental freshness and spiritual joys for yourself
To be able to teach simple chi kung exercise to your patients, if you want, as a supplement to your usual medical treatment so that they can be confident and have more energy
I suggest the following option.
Attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course. Continue to practice on your own at home. It is sufficient if you practice just about 15 minutes daily. If you can, join a regular chi kung class taught by one of our certified Shaolin Wahnam instructors. If this is not feasible, you can practice on your own at home.
You should be able to achieve the two aims above in about 6 months.
Please see my courses and time-table on my home page. Please apply to the respective honorary organizer as soon as possible.
You can attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course without any prior chi kung experience. But if you wish to learn Shaolin Kungfu or Tai Chi Chuan from me, you need some prior experience. You can first learn some Shaolin Kungfu or Tai Chi Chuan from any of our certified instructors, or from any competent instructors outside our school. Then attend my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course or Intensive Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) Course.
I’d like to respectfully ask you for your advice. My wife has developed Alopecia Areata in 2012/2013 which probably progressed into Alopecia in 2014. It started during the first pregnancy in 2012 with few small bold spots on her head and she had finally lost all hair on her body in summer 2014, before our second baby was born
The hormonal changes were compounded by stress at work and lack of sleep.. Doctors told us that the disease is simply incurable and the only choice is the wig.
I hope chi kung could be a miracle cure for my wife, as the disease has likely been caused by hormonal changes in her body. Chi Kung could be the only chance to overcome the condition.
— Marian, UK
I am sorry to hear about your wife’s condition. But the good news is that she has a good chance to recover if she practices genuine, high-level chi kung.
Please note there are two dimensions in the term “genuine high-level chi kung”, namely the chi kung practiced must be genuine, and it must be of a high level.
For various reasons much of chi kung practiced today all over the world is not really chi kung but gentle physical exercise although practitioners use genuine chi kung techniques. Many people may be puzzled by this statement. How could their practice not be genuine chi kung when they practice genuine chi kung techniques?
They will have a better idea if we use a more familiar example of Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan). Genuine Taijiquan is an internal martial art, but most people today practice it as an external dance-like form without any internal or martial aspect. But these dance-like practitioners use genuine Taijiquan techniques. They only can perform the external form of the techniques, but they do not have the skills to perform these techniques to develop internal force, and they also do not have the skills to apply these techniques for combat.
It is the same as chi kung. Most people only practice the external form of chi kung techniques, but they do not have the skills to use these techniques to generate an energy flow. Energy flow is the essence of chi kung. It is the energy flow that gives chi kung benefits, like overcoming illness and promoting good health, vitality and longevity. Merely performing the external forms does not give these benefits.
In other words, no matter what chi kung techniques your wife practices, and no matter how beautifully and for how long, if she cannot generate an energy flow, she will not be able to overcome her health problem. So, it is not a question of which chi kung exercise is good for her, but how effectively she can generate an energy flow. For this, she has to learn from a competent teacher.
Without energy flow, practitioners perform chi kung techniques as gentle physical exercise. It is energy flow that makes the practice as chi kung, which means energy art.
The second point is that the energy flow must be powerful enough to bring result. Even if the chi kung is genuine, if the energy flow is weak, which means the chi kung is of a low level, it may not be sufficient to help your wife overcome her problem. Your wife must practice high-level chi kung under the supervision of a competent teacher to overcome her hormonal imbalance and eventually to have normal hair growth.
There are three options for your wife to choose from:
Seek chi kung healing from the Holistic Health Cultivation Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Your wife is guaranteed to be cured within a year, or else she can have her money back. But she must attend daily healing sessions at the centre.
Your wife can learn chi kung from our instructors in UK. Please see our List of Instructors for information.
Attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course where she will learn how to generate an energy flow. She has to continue to practice on her own after the course. Please apply to my secretary for registration. Please see my home page for more details.
Amongst many benefits, practice kungfu gives us confidence
We understand that the child of 4 is more like a baby in development. Therefore we are not sure he will understand instructions for “Lifting the Sky”, etc. In such an instance how would you proceed to encourage chi flow?
— Sifu Tim Franklin, UK
Here are various ways to help those who may not be able to perform chi kung exercises themselves, like the child, to have chi flow to overcome their health problems.
You can channel chi to him.
His parents can learn chi kung from you, and then channel chi to him by stroking the child about half a foot from the child’s body from head to limbs, and from centre to extremities 2 or 3 times a day but not at noon.
You can transmit chi on water and let the child drink it.
You can transmit chi onto some suitable object, like a coin or a tiny pad, and let the child wear it on its body. Depending on the chi stored in the object, it may have to be renewed once a week or once a month.
I have personal experiences to verify that all the above methods work.
In my early years of chi kung healing I used to channel chi to patients. Later I found it more beneficial for them to generate chi flow themselves.
If the patients were too young or unable to practice chi kung themselves, their parents would practice and then channel chi to them.
When people brought their babies or small children to consult me at my chi kung clinic which I operated in Sungai Petani in my early years, and the babies or small children were too small to practice chi kung, I channel my chi to water or suitable objects for them. It worked very well.
This was inspired from seeing patients drinking sanctified water made from ashes of talismans given by deities in my childhood days as well as by Immortal Li at my sifu’s temple. Often these patients had seen many doctors to no avail, but were cured of their ailments by drinking this sanctified water.
Whether people believe in such methods is a different issues, but the fact remained that the patients were cured. I was puzzled by this fact. Later I concluded that the deities transmitted their chi or blessings to talismans, and the chi or blessings were transmitted to the sanctified water.
For the treatment to be successful, the parents must pay a high fee for your chi kung treatment. If you do it for free, or charge an average fee, the parents may not appreciate it and the treatment may not work. They must want the treatment enough to pay a high fee for it.
The issue is not whether they are rich or poor. The issue is the value they place on their child’s recovery. Even if they cannot afford the healing fee, they will borrow the money if they value their child’s recovery highly enough. And even when your fee is high, it is still low compared to the child’s good health. After all, the child’s problem is supposed to be “incurable” by conventional medicine.
I feel at a loss in that it seems I do not know how to not worry, intellectualize, and yet still make decisions, interact with life. I don’t know how to care and do, without deciding what to do via contemplating and intellectualizing.
I do not understand how to do things, like decide whether to take a job that I feel too tired for but need money, or the best route to help connect my family with help they need, or where to live now with no permanent home, or to decide what attitude to have with regards to my friend.
With so much up in the air in my chaotic life, I do not know how to get through all of it without thinking and contemplating and considering it all, planning, making positive and negative lists, considering, but it gets all crazy in my head with the thoughts just causing storms. The thought processes are huge surges of over-thinking, like Attention Deficiency Disorder and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
— Elizabeth, USA
If you run blindly across a busy street, you risk being hit by a motor vehicle. So you just don’t do it. It is very simple.
If you jump down a three-story building, you risk to have your legs broken. So you just don’t do it. It is very simple.
If you continue worrying and intellectualizing, you risk to be more and more sick. So, you just don’t do it. It is very simple.
Not to worry and not to intellectualize is far less demanding than not to run blindly across a busy street, or not to jump down from a three-storey building. If you fail in the task, you don’t have to die. But if you fail to stop running blindly across a busy street, or fail to stop jumping down from a three-storey building, you may lose your life.
Don’t do something is easier than doing something. Don’t worry and don’t intellectualize is easier than worry and intellectualize. You just don’t do it.
If you have to do something, or want to do something, just do it. You don’t need to worry or intellectualize about it.
If you want to eat your dinner, just eat your dinner and enjoy it. You don’t have to worry or intellectualize how you should eat your dinner or whether you should wear a blue dress or a red dress while eating your dinner.
Amongst many benefits, practicing chi kung will enable practitioners to have a clear and relaxed mind
Here is my current plan. I honestly feel that my dad’s best hope of recovery is if he comes to the Kuala Lampur program for one year, and has energetic assistance every day. My father fears traveling in non-Western countries where diarrhea and pathogen illness is common for travelers. He got very ill once in Mexico. I do not know if I will be able to get him there, but I hope so. As of now, he is refusing for fear of getting sick like I did and also because he is so tired to travel that far, and can’t imagine staying a full year.
I am working with my family on how to speak with dad in a less confrontational way, more feminine, and less telling him what to do. He is now so impaired by the Alzheimer’s aspect of the Parkinson’s Disease that he is becoming more and more like a belligerent child. He apparently has now started refusing to put on a seatbelt — it is hard for him to do it, but he has always done that, and now it’s just all so weird. He’s so angry at his state and his mind is so not its normal self. My “old” dad would never ever behave the way he is now.
In April, they are agreeing to come to a class with you in Canada or the United States. I hope you will have a class you think suitable for them. I am watching the website. Then I will stay with them maybe another month or so to keep their practice going. I am not feeling good about staying into summer, as that is high risk season, when infection is much more likely. It is not safe to be outdoors, as their area is hyper Lyme endemic, and they live in the woods.
My friend is also offering to help me finally sell off all my belongings in Seattle to raise money and get out of the storage space during the summer. So I am hoping they will have enough of a habit to carry on, and then once dad starts seeing some exciting results, he will realize
If you want to ask your father to go to the Holistic Health Cultivation Centre in Kuala Lumpur or to attend my courses in Canada or the United States, just do it.
If you father wants to come to the Centre or attend my course, just do it.
There is no need to worry and intellectuzlize.
I’m just a bit curious about unsheathing swords in Chinese kungfu, Are there any techniques to unsheath your sword from your back?
— Nareshwar, India
You just pull the sword out with your hand. If the sword is long, you may have to bend your body forward.
A swordsman uses the scabbard to keep his sword, he uses his sword for fighting
What I was trying to clarify was whether a swordsman actually used the scabbard in Chinese martial art. Did he use his scabbard to block an opponent’s weapon?
A swordsman used the scabbard to keep his sword. He used his sword for fighting.
When he met an inferior opponent, for fun he might use the scabbard, with his sword in it, so as not to hurt his opponent.
Using the scabbard or his sword to block an opponent’s weapon was a clear indication that he did not know how to use his sword skillfully. The hallmark of Chinese swordsmanship was agility. A swordsman might sometimes use his sword to deflect an opponent’s weapon, but he never used his sword, or its scabbard, to block it.
The swordsmanship of the Japanese master in the first video you sent me was excellent. This, I believed, was how a Samurai would fight
His excellent swordsmanship was a sharp contrast to what I saw in a Kendo class in my young days. Two combatants put on cage-like protection gear and hit (or slash) each other with their wooden swords. In 5 minutes they hit each other more than 30 times. It was hilarious. There was no attempt at all to defend against any attack. It was good for executives to let off steam.
The swordsman in the second video was mediocre. Notice that in the many encounters this swordsman in the second video needed three moves to finish his opponent when the swordsman in the first video needed only one.
The opponent in the second video had to freeze himself to allow the swordsman to complete his three moves. In the first video, the swordsman finished off the opponent as soon as the opponent made a move.
Another question, if you don’t mind. Are there any shield techniques in Shaolin Kung Fu, shield techniques as in Sword and shield, etc?
Yes, there are shield techniques in Shaolin Kungfu.
In the past the shield was listed as one of the 18 main weapons, indicating the importance Chinese martial artists considered the shield to be. In battle formations, solders often used shields to cover themselves from charges of lances or from rains of arrows afar.
Nevertheless, the shield is not used in conjunction with the sword. It is because using the shield with the sword would distract, rather than contribute, to combat efficiency. The shield is sometimes used in conjunction with the sabre, and sometimes with one Butterfly Knife.
In Chinese martial art, the sword, known as “jian”, is different from a sabre, known as “dao”. Using a Chinese sword like a sabre, as is sometimes seen in kungfu movies, is a clear indication that the user does not know how to use a sword properly, though many people may not realize it.
A sword is double-edged and is light, whereas a sabre is single-edged and is heavy. Application of the sword depends much on the wrist, whereas application of the sabre depends much on the arm.
In strict kungfu terminology, the Samurai sword and many European swords are sabres, but since their terms have become established, they are being continuously used.
Due to lack of deeper understanding amongst most Chinese, some kungfu terms have been misrepresented, and subsequently mistranslated into English. For example, Shaolin Kungfu is usually regarded as hard and external. As I have often mentioned, much to the displeasure of some people, there are more soft and internal aspects in Shaolin Kungfu than all the internal arts put together!
Xingyiquan (often spelt as Hsing Yi Chuan) is usually grouped together with Taijiquan (Tai Chi Chuan) and Baguazhang (Pa Kua Chang) as Wudang Kungfu and regarded as Taoist. The facts are that there is nothing Wudang and nothing Taoist about Xingyiquan, except the fundamental Xingyiquan set is called Five-Element Fist.
It may be worthwhile to mention the following facts, especially for those who may be dualistic in their thinking. Saying that there is nothing Wudang and nothing Taoist in Xingyiquan does not distract from the great value of Wudang Kungfu and Taoist practice. Just as saying that a bicycle is not a computer does not distract from the value of a computer.
The Five Elements are also found in Shaolin. Different versions of the Five-Element Fist, for example, are popularly practiced in some Hoong Ka and Choy-Li-Fatt schools.
The term “Five Elements” is also wrongly translated! In Chinese the term is “wu xing”, which means “five movements”.
To say that the world is made up of five elements, namely metal, wood, water, fire and earth, is factually wrong. What is meant is that the countless movements or processes in the world can be classified into five archetypes, represented by metal, which indicates resonance, wood, which indicates growth, water, which indicates spreading, fire, which indicates rising, and earth, which indicates coming together.
As the term “Five Elements” has become established, it is being used, often without realizing its misrepresentation. Personally, I prefer to use the term “Five Elemental Processes”, maintaining the established root “element” as well as to indicate that the processes are elemental.
If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org stating your name, country and e-mail address.
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
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.
Do you have any recommendations for Pushing Hands exercises to train those tactics?
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.
Grandmaster Wong applies the tactic of interception on Edwin
Can you please elaborate on their application in real life situations?
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.”
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.
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.
Ours is a chi kung and kungfu school, not a retreat for religious or spiritual curiosity or a centre for experimentation
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
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.
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.
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.
Using kungfu to handle other martial artists should not be difficult
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.
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.
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.
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.
I am a managing director of a large company, but I had a difficult past and had little money in the past.
Before my children were born, I was drinking a lot of alcohol and feeling very depressed. I made a commitment to improve myself and my future family. I was quite successful. I stopped drinking and managed to do well at work, despite often feeling frightened or desperate.
However, I realize now I was partly holding on. I found it difficult to socialize and maintain friendships.
However, things seemed to turn out well, which were associated with my wife and me working hard and making good decisions at important times. When things didn’t go so well we dealt with them, and we made a commitment to my children who depended on us.
— Edward, England
Not only you overcame your difficulties of your past, you have done extremely well in the present. Your success in overcoming your past problems would be a great inspiration not only for others but also for yourself.
You need not socialize with others if you don’t want to. You have your own family to look after and live with.
But if you want to extend your sphere of socialization, you can socialize with your friends and other company directors. You don’t have to prove to yourself or to them that you can socialize, you do so simply because you like it. You will then find that you can let go, and not holding on.
Recently I find old patterns returning. I notice thoughts of fears of loneliness, worries about financial security, unhappiness and strong feelings of lack of motivation and pointlessness.
Our past always remains with us, no matter how successful we may be in the present. But you don’t have to recall it. If it returns to you on its own, just breathe it away, like you breathe out stale air, if you do not want it. Or, occasionally if you like, you can indulge in some nostalgia but without letting it bothers you.
In my case, for example, I had some very painful experiences when my own students whom I selflessly nurtured, and people whom I literally saved from dying, betrayed me. But I never let my past troubled me.
If the painful memories cropped up on their own, I just breathed them away. If, on rare occasions when I wanted some nostalgia, I recalled those painful memories fondly, being thankful that they were actually opportunities for my improvement.
Without those betrayals I would not be what I am now, traveling the world enjoying the best food and the best scenery, while giving health and happiness to people irrespective of race, culture and religion. I never allowed those bad memories to hold me up; in fact I am more active now than before in nurturing students and saving lives
By practicing chi kung we control our thoughts and emotions, not let our thoughts and emotions control us
I also think of people in under-developed countries where life is cheap, with problems of corrupt politicians putting their own interests before the people. This can leave me feeling hopeless for the future of the world.
It is noble of you to think of the social and political problems in under-developed countries. But the fact is that these people may not be suffering the way you imagine them to be. In fact they might be happier than many people in England.
A few years ago I was in Toronto. A shop dedicated a portion of its profit to people in Africa, and the shop owner told me how miserable the Africans were, so she thought. I thought differently. I thought that although the economic level of the African people was nothing like that in Canada, most Africans would be happier than most Canadians.
My experience in India was illuminating. The people were very poor, and their living conditions in slums were simply unimaginable to most Europeans. Many people as well as organizations in Europe were very noble in raising funds for them. But from my direct observation, I believe the people in India were generally happier than the people in Europe.
One of our instructors in England mentioned that many English people felt shameful of themselves because the English colonized many countries in the past. I contented that the English should change this perspective.
While the English gained a lot from their colonization, they also gave a lot to the indigenous people. Even everyday things we now take for granted, like pipe water and electricity, were the direct result of colonization. It is well known that expatriate companies look after the welfare of their employees very well. Indigenous companies tend to exploit their workers.
This general feeling of shame amongst the English could be a subconscious cause of your unhappiness. You need to make a paradigm shift. Be proud of what your forefathers did. Be proud of being English. Be aware that the English did bring a lot of benefits to many people in many places. The English Empire, like the Spanish Empire, was where the sun never set.
I am even worrying now that I have been a less good father and husband than I had planned or hoped to be.
The fact that you made a commitment to provide well for your children, and that you and your wife worked hard to build up your company shows that you have been a responsible father and husband.
There may still be some things you would like to do as a father and husband, but you certainly have been a better father and husband than most people anywhere in the world. Don’t be unkind to yourself.
Practicing genuine chi kung can overcome any health problem as well as homosexuality
As I write I realize there are a few problems:
I find it difficult to take joy in the world and everyday life.
I am frightened about the future as it seems my mind is telling me things will turn out badly whatever I do or try.
I feel shame about these feelings
I have no focus on what I want to do or achieve with whatever life is left to me
Whether one is joyful depends not on social, economical and geographical factors but on his mind set. The happy Indians in their slum areas are an inspiration.
If you stop worrying and stop intellectualizing, you will find it easier to take joy in the world and everyday life.
If you realize that you have a good family, are the managing director of a large company, and live in a highly civilized country, and be grateful for all these blessings, your joy in the world and everyday life will be assured.
Don’t let your mind control you. Control your mind. Things are turning out very well for you. In fact, for people living in England, things are turning out well even for the homeless and unemployed. It is the affluents who make themselves unhappy with their unnecessary intellectualization.
Make a paradigm shift. Be proud of being English. Be proud that you overcame past problems and are now a managing director of a large company. Be proud that you are wealthy, and have a happy family.
You don’t have to achieve more and join the mad, rat race. Make your life meaningful everyday. Find joy and beauty in simple things, like seeing your customers happy with your products, and your workers well paid for their job.
You have achieved much in this world. Your workers would like to exchange their life with yours, but you may not want to exchange your life with the Queen.
Feel proud instead of shameful, feel satisfied instead of being unrest.
This seems somewhat self-pitying as I am fairly wealthy and am probably in the top few percent of income in the world. I am scared because I thought these issues had passed.
All these issues had passed. You just made them up in your imagination.
From drinking a lot of alcohol, you have now overcome the problem. From being very depressed, you have become caring for people in under-developed countries. From having no family, now you have a wife and children. From having little money, you are now in the top few percent of income in the world. Count your blessings and enjoy life wholesomely.
This is Xingyiquan. Would you call it Shaolin or Wudang Kungfu?
Back to my first question, in your view is homosexuality wrong?
— Jussi, USA
I don’t think homosexuality is wrong, but it is certainly unnatural. As an analogy, to be sick is not wrong, but it is unnatural. It is natural to be healthy.
If a person is sick, he can get well, irrespective of the illness, including so-called incurable disease, because it is natural to be healthy. Practicing genuine chi kung is an excellent way to help a sick person become healthy.
If a person is homosexual, regardless that some experts say it is due to biological reasons, he can become heterosexual again, because for humans it is natural to be heterosexual. Practicing genuine chi kung is an excellent way to help a homosexual person become heterosexual again.
How does practicing genuine chi kung help a homosexual person become heterosexual again if it is presumably true that the cause of his homosexuality is due to biological reasons? It is because genuine chi kung will help him regain yin-yang harmony. In everyday language it means that practicing genuine chi kung will help him to adjust himself accordingly to changing conditions both inside and outside his body so that he regains his normal, healthy condition.
This is the same as overcoming diseases. A person is sick due to biological reasons. Some parts in his body is not adjusting accordingly to changing conditions inside or outside his body. For example, if his own systems cannot adjust to viruses, he may have a viral infection. Practicing genuine chi kung will help him make the appropriate adjustment, and he will overcome the viruses and be healthy again.
If the cause of his homosexuality is not biological, but due to other reasons like social, environmental or other factors, practicing genuine chi kung will also help him overcome the problem. It is the same as overcoming illness. Some diseases are due to stress or environmental changes, but practicing genuine chi kung can overcome these factors and enable the patients to be healthy again.
It is important to practice genuine chi kung. Much of chi kung practice today is actually gentle physical exercise, and gentle physical exercise, though it may give benefits like loosening muscles and socialization, cannot overcome homosexuality or illness. Many students in our school have overcome illness, and some have overcome homosexuality.
I read from your webpage that Xingyiquan was invented by Yue Fei who was a Shaolin master. This means Xingyiquan belongs to Shaolin Kungfu.
But I also have read that Xingyiquan is Wudang Kungfu. Wudang Kungfu is described as the opposite of Shaolin. Wudang Kungfu is soft and internal, Shaolin Kungfu is hard and external.
Can you please explain?
— Marc, Germany
Many people, including many kungfu practitioners, even some masters, classify all styles of kungfu into Shaolin and Wudang. According to this classification, Shaolin Kungfu is hard and external, whereas Wudang Kungfu is soft and internal. Taijiquan, Baguazhang and Xingyiquan are internal arts, and they belong to the Wudang group. All other kungfu styles belong to the Shaolin group.
This classification was originated by a Chinese scholar in the 20th century who wrote a treatise on “A Study of Shaolin and Wudang”. I have a copy of this treatise. This classification is incorrect, but has been established and is popularly used by many people, often without understanding its meaning.
A few Chinese terms that have been well established belong to this situation. They are incorrect, but have been established as if they were facts. Two infamous examples are “Yin-Yang” and “Five Elements”.
It is commonly said, even by otherwise authorities, that yin and yang are two primordial forces of the universe. Yin and Yang are not primordial, and they are not forces. They are just symbols representing two complementary aspects of any thing. A woman, for example, is referred to as yin, when she is compared with a man, and the comparison is usually not openly stated; it is understood. If we compare the strength of a woman who is strong, with a man who is week, the woman would be yang and the man yin.
It is commonly said that the Chinese regard all things in the world to be made up of five elements. This is incorrect, and the mistake is due to a wrong translation which has become established. The Chinese realize that there are countless processes in the world, and all these countless processes can be classified into five archetypes called “wu xing”, which means â€œfive movementsâ€ or “five processes”, but the term has been wrongly translated as “five elements”.
Of the three internal arts, Xingyiquan is the one that has no connection with Wudang. It is also the one that is directly developed from Shaolin Kungfu by the great Song marshal, Yue Fe, in the 12th century.
Taijiquan was evolved from Shaolin Kungfu by Zhang San Feng, who developed the art on Wudang Mountain. It was initially called Wudang Shaolin Kungfu, but later shortened to Wudang Kungfu.
It is generally accepted that the First Patriarch of Baguazhang was Dong Hai Chuan who lived in the 19th century. He was well versed in Shaolin Kungfu and developed Baguazhang after learning from two unnamed Taoist saints on Hua Mountain. There was no connection with the Wudang Mountain. But a lot of Baguazhang philosophy is described in Taoist terms, and Wudang Mountain is famous for Taoist cultivation.
It is also incorrect to say that Shaolin Kungfu is hard and external, though this concept is popularly adopted by most people, and that most of Shaolin Kungfu shown to the public is hard and external. Advanced Shaolin Kungfu, which is rarely seen in public, is soft and internal.
While it is internal, Xingyiquan is relatively hard. It does not resemble the soft image of Wudang Kungfu many people have in this mistaken classification. If Xingyiquan were to be performed to a group of people, without telling them it was Xingyiquan and they were asked to guess whether it was Shaolin or Wudang Kungfu, it was likely that many would call it Shaolin, which is correct. In fact, the term “Shaolin” is sometimes prefixed to “Xingyiquan”, calling it Shaolin Xingyiquan, but never Wudang Xingyiquan.
Some training in Shaolin Kungfu provides an excellent foundation to learn any other martial art
Sifu told me that the best complementary force training for the Drunken Eight Immortals was Wuzuquan, after that Tai Chi Chuan and then One Finger Shooting Zen.
I was reading about Grandmaster Yang Lu Chan and I read he attained high levels by “stealing” Tai Chi Chuan and practising by himself. As I had some experience of Tai Chi Chuan in chi flow, I wanted to emulate Yang Lu Chan and become good at the style and complement my Drunken Eight Immortals with it. I decided to learn Flowing Water Floating Clouds from the videos.
I have been training Tai Chi Chuan now for about a month. The results are (for my level) quite amazing.
— Tim, Belgium
Yang Lu Chan could attain very high levels in Tai Chi Chuan even when he “stole” it and trained on his own without the personal supervision of a master because he was already well trained in Shaolin Kungfu. And Shaolin Kungfu was the best preparation to learn or “steal” any other arts because all other arts were also found in Shaolin Kungfu. Had Yang Lu Chan been trained in other arts, like Eagle Claw or Fujian White Crane, his attainment could be different.
Not many people know these two facts — that Yang Lu Chan was already well trained in Shaolin Kungfu before he worked as a servant in Chen Zhang Qing’s family, and that Shaolin Kungfu prepared well for him, or any person, to learn any other art. Many people thought that Yang Lu Chan started straight away with Tai Chi Chuan. Many people did not know that all that was found in Tai Chi Chuan was already found in Shaolin Kungfu.
You have the same two advantages Yang Lu Chan had. In fact you have an extra advantage. You can ask your seniors or me whenever you have any problems concerning your Tai Chi Chuan training. Yang Lu Chan had no one to ask. No one knew about him secretly practicing Tai Chi Chuan, and to a very high leve, until he defeated a challenger who came to challenge his master.
So, you should do well in your Tai Chi Chuan.
I guide myself through Tai Chi Chuan practise. This time it is not with the usual Chinese dialect, it’s a form of Japanese. It is a strong deep voice, not at all what one would expect from a soft Tai Chi Chuan master, but a deep fierce voice is guiding my forms and speaking through me.
This is either my own sub-consciousness or a master comes teach and merge with myself. Or I am tapping into the cosmos.
Tai Chi dancers are soft, but genuine Tai Chi Chuan masters are not soft, though they can be gentle.
But what is important is that you must be in control of yourself, not directed by a spirit, even when it is divine and has good intentions. This is very important.
It may not be a spirit but you own sub-consciousness. But for this purpose of regaining conscious control for yourself, you need not worry or intellectualize whether it is a spirit or your sub-consciousness, or something else. So, in the following description, I shall refer to a spirit. You follow the same procedure if it is actually your sub-consciousness or something else.
You should do the following for some time until you regain control. Suppose the spirit asks you to move forward with a powerful strike. Even if this is what you yourself intend to do, don’t do it. Gently thank the spirit but do something else, like moving to your left, without breaking the momentum of your chi flow, and execute a kick instead.
Repeat the procedure for some time until you are fully confident that you have complete conscious control of your own movements and intentions.
We must always be in full conscious control no matter what we are training in
I experienced this a lot of times before as I mentioned in previous emails, but this time I really become one with it. I believe I’m growing up in our arts and at my level now I can let it happen at will, going deep and just going with the flow guiding myself in our arts.
Becoming one with the Cosmos is growing in our arts. When you become one with the Cosmos, you are becoming yourself at the most supreme level where there is no differentiation at all.
Becoming one with another spirit is not growing in our arts. It is a serious deviation.
I may or may not be right in my presumption that you may become one with another spirit. But either way, i.e. irrespective of whether the force directing you is another spirit or is your own sub-consciousness, following my advice is for your benefit.
If it is a spirit, even a good one, you should not be directed by it and become its slave. You may listen to its advice if it is good, but you have a free choice to accept the advice or reject it.
If it is your sub-consciousness, you also should not be blindly directed by it. You should have your conscious control, based on wisdom and courage.
It is a big mistake if you think that you would lose a great opportunity if you do not follow a powerful spirit. Even without any guidance from any spirit, you can be very powerful by just practicing our arts.
In fact, you already have become powerful. Compare, for example, what you are now with what you were when you first attended a UK Summer Camp. You were such a weakling then that when you were chosen for demonstration, Robin was genuinely concerned that I could pull off your arm.
Why do we train internal force or gain benefits from our practice? It is not for their own sake but to enrich our lives and the lives of other people. We must not forget this, otherwise we may become a slave to our arts instead of becoming masters.
I’ve learned the Cloud Hands set in chi flow: I perform palm strike sequences, and snake hands, with cloud hands in between. Sometimes I spread a strong flowing force to my palms or finger tips. I also do fa-jing.
Tai Chi Chuan has a lot of snake influence. Cloud Hands seems to be my own internal flow, merging with energy from around me.
I just want to check up with Sifu if what I’m doing is correct.
What you are doing is excellent.
Even some world-known Tai Chi masters may not be able to do what you have done. Many of them cannot perform Cloud Hands in chi flow, cannot spread a strong flowing force to their palms or fingers, and cannot merge themselves with the energy around them. All these are indications of high-level Tai Chi Chuan. Indeed, many Tai Chi masters today have no internal force and do not know any Tai Chi Chuan combat application.
These attainments should not make us proud, or belittle others, but they indicate that you have been training very well.
Chi flow movement, poetically described as “flowing water floating clouds” or “cloud hands” for short, was the source of Tai Chi Chuan
I wish to have strong stances in my chi flow. Sometimes, when it becomes too light, I refuse to let go into chi flow. I think I need to be grounded more, and have a solid foundation in my stance.
You should aim at yin-yang harmony. Not only you are solid, you are also agile.
When you, your stances or your chi flow have become light, instead of holding yourself up, you should let go and enjoy the agility generated.
Editorial Note: Tim’s questions will be continued at July 2015 Part 3 issue of the Question-Answer Series.
I learned the art from two of your direct students, Sifus Chris and Christina Didyk this year. I had purchased your book, “Chi Kung for Health and Vitality”, and found it to be a marvelous resource and well-written piece of literature.
— Aaron, USA
Chris and Christina are very good teachers. If you learn from them, you are in good hands. If you learn from Chris, you will address me as Sitaigung. If you learn from Christina, you will address me as Sigung.
In our school we carefully follow the tradition of correct address. Although those who are unfamiliar with chi kung culture and the importance of mind set in advance chi kung training may think we are fastidious, this is actually for the benefit of the students. You may experience the truth yourself later on as you progress in your training.
Thank you for your kind words about my book, “Chi Kung for Health and Vitality”. If you find any difference in training methods, follow the instructions given by your teachers, and not the book. Your teacher observe your personally and give instructions according to your progress. My book is written for those who do not have the advantage of learning personally from a competent teacher. Generally you will find the instructions from your teachers are simpler, yet produce better results.
Carrying the Moon
Sifu Christina taught me Lifting the Sky and demonstrated Pushing Mountains for me, but she also mentioned that if I have any desire to learn any of the other exercises from your book I should not be afraid to practice them.
I am currently performing Chi Kung to rid myself of general disease but also to remove my Crohn’s disease from my body. It is an illness that affects the colon area via an autoimmune response.
I read that performing Lifting the Sky, Pushing Mountain, and Carrying the Moon in sequence helps stimulate good chi flow to rid the body of illness, but I was wondering if you had any other advice as to what exercise or exercises would be better for targeting that particular area of the body.
If all other things were equal, performing Lifting the Sky, Pushing Mountain, and Carrying the Moon in this sequence produces the best chi flow to rid the body of any disease in general.
If all other things were equal, if a person has a disease at his colon, Plucking Stars will be the best exercise. Another excellent exercise is Merry-Go-Round.
But in real life other things are not equal. Suppose we have two persons, A and B, suffering from the same disease affecting their colon. A is relaxed and performs Lifting the Sky. B is tensed and performs Plucking Stars. A will have better result than B even when B has chosen a better exercise.
You have advantages many other people do not have. You learn personally from two excellent chi kung teachers. If they ask you to perform exercises other than Plucking Stars and Merry-Go-Round, it is because of some relevant reasons which you may not know.
My next question is more of a philosophical/scientific one. I understand that Shaolin Wanham Chi Kung in general provides the body with more energy by drawing it in from the cosmos or other outside sources. So performing chi kung is a way to feel less tired throughout the day if you perform it at the start of the day.
Sleep also does the same thing, and I can see many parallels between sleep and chi kung. Both relax the body to a great degree. Both activate certain areas of the brain that are not normally active. Both energize the body to their own degree, and both are responsible for the growth and healing of the physical body.
Now modern science has not been able to find any conclusive evidence as to why the physical body needs sleep other than we just need to sleep. Is it possible that sleep is a natural (although inferior) form of chi kung that we are inherently born with?
In other words, do our bodies naturally know how to perform chi kung even without us being conscious of the fact or am I way off in my thoughts and reasoning?
Yours is an example of unnecessary intellectualizing. Your teachers may have told you our three golden rules of practice, which are as follows:
Enjoy your practice.
Not only your intellectualizing does not bring you any benefit, it actually brings you harm. For example, even if you know the answer, and presume that your answer is correct, it will not overcome your Crohn’s disease. It makes your stressful. It saps your energy. It affects your chi kung training, and may turn your chi kung into gentle physical exercise without your awareness and without your understanding it s meaning.
Nevertheless, I shall still answer your questions, directly asked as well as implied.
Yes, sleep and chi kung are the same. Both relax the body, activate some parts of the brain that are not normally active, energize the body, and are responsible for growth and healing.
Or I can also answer that no, sleep and chi kung are not the same. You need only 10 minutes to relax your body when performing chi kung, but you may toss about in bed for hours before you can sleep. Chi kung can heal you of any disease, but sleep doesn’t.
Yes, modern science has not found any conclusive evidence why a person needs sleep. I can also answer that no, modern science has found conclusive evidence why a person needs sleep. He needs sleep to remain sain. If he goes without sleep for days he may go crazy.
Yes, sleep is a natural, though inferior, form of chi kung. I can also answer no, sleep is not a natural form of chi kung, even inferior. Chi kung gives you mental clarity, but sleep may make you dull.
Yes, our body naturally knows how to perform chi kung, with or without our awareness. Our chi flow is natural. Naturally we repair wear and tear in our body. These are important tasks chi kung does. You are spot on in your thoughts and reasoning.
I can also answer that no, our body does not know how to perform chi kung naturally. That is why genuine chi kung teachers are very rare and valuable. More than 80% of people who say that they practice chi kung, actually perform gentle physical exercise, and most of them do not even know it. If our body can naturally perform chi kung, this ridiculous situation would not have happened. So your thoughts and reasoning are way off.
Hopefully by now you would have realized that your intellectualization is futile.
Grandmaster Wong and Sifu Anthony Spinicchia are examples of good health and vitality
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.
A clever woman traps her man by yielding, then turns the table around and leads him by his nose.
— Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
Searching for some guidance, I was recently reading one of your Question & Answers pages: http://www.shaolin.org/answers/ans01a/jan01-1.html I truly respect and admire you greatly and am so very, very grateful for your teachings. I am now 31. I have never been licentious or promiscuous, nor entered into a relationship without sincerity, but neither have I found the right man for me.
I loved the advice you wrote to Kevin from the USA (in above Q&A link) about being a good husband and father and so I respectfully and open-heartedly ask:
What do you feel are the qualities of a good wife? What do you believe I should be looking for in a future husband?
— Flora, Spain
Answer by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
Finding a good husband is a very important question any young unmarried woman should consider carefully. Being a happy wife and mother fulfills a deep biological as well as spiritual need. Unfortunately, judging from the number of unsuccessful marriages nowadays, young women have not done this effectively.
I am glad you are a step ahead. Not only you want to find a good husband, you want to be a good wife. This shows not only your maturity of thoughts but also your determination and dedication in realizing your goals. Many women just want to have good husbands, but they never consider how to become good wives. This is a big mistake. They defeat their purpose even before starting their journey. Hence, it may be more fruitful to consider how to become a good wife first, then set out to find a good husband.
Whether you are a good wife should be considered not from your perspective, not from the perspective of other people, but from your husband’s perspective. This is a vital point many wives fail to realize. They usually think of themselves as good wives, but their husbands do not.
What do you think a husband want in his wife? The answer below may surprise many women, but it is formed from actually asking eligible bachelors.
First of all he wants his wife to be attractive. As you are a beautiful woman, this won’t be a problem, but you should make a point to be more attractive to him after marriage than before. Some women make a big mistake by taking their husbands for granted. After they have attracted their husbands into marriage, they neglect their shape and appearance, forfeiting the very factor that attracted their husbands in the first place.
A woman is attractive when she is feminine. A husband does not want his wife to tower over him in intellectual abilities or worse in physical strength. He does not want his wife to argue with him over every issue or dominate him in every decision. He prefers his wife to yield rather than to assert. Surprisingly, qualities like being loving and kind, which are of course important, take second place!
Some followers of women’s liberation may vehemently protest, accusing such attitude as male chauvinism. This, I believe, is a main reason why so many eligible women could not get husbands, and also why many men choose to stay out of marriage. I asked some eligible bachelors why they were not married. Can you guest what they told me? They said they were scared! They were scared of women disputing every decision they made, or arguing over every opinion they offered.
For example, when a man suggests going to restaurant A for dinner, a modern, “liberated” woman would say, “No, let us go to restaurant B.” When he says listening to sentimental music is romantic, she would say, “No, it is boring”, and proceed to give countless reasons why she thinks so. She wins her argument but loses her man.
A clever woman traps her man by yielding, then turns the table around and leads him by his nose. This is classic Taijiquan principle in combat.
When her man suggests going to restaurant A for dinner, the clever woman would not say no. She would say something as follows. “Oh yes, you always have good suggestions. This is one of the many good things I like about you.” Then when they are starting their journey to restaurant A, she would say something like this. “I heard that restaurant B served delicious duck. I love delicious duck. It makes my mouth water. Won’t you take me to restaurant B, please?” She would say with such sweetness that even when her man knows he is falling into a trap, he would blissfully let himself fall into it.
The “Four Preparations” and the “Three Arrivals” we use in our combat application are as effective in defeating an opponent as in winning a husband. First you prepare yourself by being attractive and feminine as well as kind and loving. Next you access your hero (or victim), picking him from a few eligible choices. Then you look out for an opening. If it is not presently available, you create one yourself. When the opportunity arises, you move in swiftly and claim your prize.
In moving in, you need to have the “Three Arrivals”, i.e. the arrivals of the heart, the feet and the hand. First, you must have a clear idea of what you would do when you meet your man. Next, you must place and time your attack correctly. Finally, you must connect and capture, not hit and run.
As you are going to choose a husband whom you will happily share your life with, and not an escort for a dance, it is of course necessary to plan and choose carefully.
Happily married. Do you know who the happy husband and the happy wife are?
What qualities you would like to have in your husband? Obviously he must be loving and responsible, besides other personal preferences like how he looks, the job he has, his family background as well as his philosophy towards life.
Having decided on what type of man you want as a bushand, let us see how you can apply the “Four Preparations” and the “Three Arrivals” to trap your man — instead of just passively waiting for him to appear.
Suppose you have found a man whom you think could be a prospective candidate as your husband. If you already know him, that will save much effort, otherwise get someone to introduce you to him or introduce yourself in a seemingly unexpected way.
For example, you know he frequents a particular restaurant at a particular time for lunch. You have to dress attractively and look out for a good opening at the restaurant. If he is looking for a seat, you could tell him in a friendly way that the seat besides you is empty and invite him to sit down.
Of course you do not just let him sit down. You have to engage him in conversation to find out his interests and other information so that you have material for your next attack. You have to let him talk and you listen with interest but asking appropriate questions to gather information.
Some openings are as follows. “Wow! you seem to enjoy your food a lot. Can you tell me the secret of your good apetite?” Or, “You don’t seem to enjoy your food. I have an excellent way to increase apetite. Would you like to learn it?” Then proceed to teach him a chi kung exercise.
After a few meetings, you should start to date him. But of course you will plan in such a way that it appears he dates you. Ask him if he is free the coming weekend. Say that you would like to visit so and so or such and such a place but are concerned to go alone. Ask him to accompany you.
After you have trapped him, you should suggest he marries you. Of course you don’t say, “Marry me!” You may say something like, “It is wonderful to be married and to share life and happiness together. My sifu is so happily married, so are my sisooks and sipaks, as well as sigung.” Then lead him to marriage by the nose, with a lot of beautiful flowers along the way.
You should set a time-target. The whole programme from first meeting to happy marriage should be completed within a year. It is unfair but true that women can’t afford to wait, whereas men can. This happy-marriage strategy should work out well, but in the unlikehood that it doesn’t, repeat the strategy with the next prospective candidate.
Here are a few important principles to follow.
Marriage is a win-win contract. You must really love the man you try your strategy on, and sincerely want to he a very good wife to him.
In your relationship with him, don’t give in but tempt him. Play a cat and mouse game. When he advances, you retreat temptingly, even sexily. When he is tired of chasing, tempt and tease him. On your marriage day (or night), surrender yourself blissfully.
The happiness of marriage starts on the first day of marriage. Make each suceeding day a better one than the previous. Once a while there may be disagreement or even querrals, which add some spice to marriage and which should be patched up quickly, but on the whole your life together should be a continuous progress.