OVERVIEW OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS SERIES
July to December 2001

July August September October November December

July 2001

July 2001 (Part 1)

A moment of Zen

An excellent way to practise Zen is to be keenly aware of your present moment. This is simple, but most people don't do it. When they eat, for example, they are not aware of their eating but are talking to their friends. And when they talk, they are not aware of what they are speaking at the moment, but thinking of what to say next. Hence, you will be practising Zen when you are keenly aware of the taste and texture of the bread you are biting, or fully aware of the meaning and significance of the words you are expressing.

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July 2001 (Part 2)

Shaolin Staff

It was at the Shaolin Monastery that martial art was institutionalized for the first time in its long history. This means a particular philosophy and practice of martial art was designated and subsequently developed as Shaolin martial art (or Shaolin Kungfu), whereas all other martial art was just called martial art or by any common names the respective people generally referred to ways of fighting.

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July 2001 (Part 3)

Wing Choon Kungfu

Many people seem to believe that it is the duty of a qigong master to expose his art and share it with others. Not only this, but the onus rests on him. He has to make his art available to anyone who desires it. The traditional attitude of the masters is reverse. They feel that it is a master's duty to preserve the art for the deserving few, and not -- to put it crudely -- to cast pearls before swines. The onus is on the students; if they really want the art they have to seek the masters and work hard for it -- not that the masters purposely make it hard for them, but mastering any art demands hard work.

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August 2001

August 2001 (Part 1)

Flying into the Sky

To say that Zen is letting go of values and desires is like saying English is yes, no and thank you. It is oversimplifying Zen, or English, at a superficial level. Zen can be practised in many different ways. For you, one of the most effective ways to practise Zen is to be kind and loving to your

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August 2001 (Part 2)

Shaolin Kungfu

If you are looking for a practical answer to your question of how to start Shaolin Kungfu, and how to build up your flexibility, fluidity, and strength, I would suggest you practise correctly and progressively "Lifting the Sky", the Horse-Riding Stance, and leg stretching exercises -- and nothing more -- daily for at least six months.

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August 2001 (Part 3)

Flowing Breeze Swaying Willows

In our school, Shaolin Wahnam, we do not perform separate chi kung exercises because it is already in the kungfu movements we do. For example, when we perform our kungfu patterns or practise sparring, we are doing chi kung. At the end of a short training session, like after practising "One Finger Shooting Zen", for instance, we just let go and enjoy "flowing Zen" in a pattern called "Flowing Breeze Swaying Willow".

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September 2001

September 2001 (Part 1)

Golden Bridge

To be happily married and to be a father are two of the happiest things that can happen to any man. They are more important than practising the Shaolin arts. Even when you have become a Shaolin disciple, your first duty is not to practise Shaolin Kungfu diligently but to provide for your wife and son.

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September 2001 (Part 2)

Tiger Claw

Almost everyone who has studied kungfu (even though he may not have practised it diligently) would know, theoretically, that stances are very important. But few people have actually experienced their practical usefulness. Most think that it is better to bounce about in combat -- like what Bruce Lee did, and even Jet Li now does in his movies. They cannot believe how remaining solidly on your stance can help you to be combat efficient.

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September 2001 (Part 3)

Pushing Hands

Here are two sure ways you can practise on your own to improve your proficiency in Pushing Hands with others. Ensure your form is perfect, especially the pattern "Grasping Sparrow's Tail". Practise this pattern over and over again at least 50 times a day. Pay particular attention to your stance, balance and fluidity of movement. Practise zhan-zhuang, especially the Three-Circle Stance.

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October 2001

October 2001 (Part 1)

Shaolin Kung Fu

These masters love their arts, having devoted some 15 to 20 years to their training. There was no feeling of shame or regret, and certainly they did not feel any sense of betrayal. In fact it was the reverse. They felt it was their duty; they learned Shaolin Kungfu or Taijiquan almost religiously from me not because they wanted to become Shaolin or Taijiquan masters but because they wanted to improve their own arts. Respecting their courage and dedication, I thought them sincerely, without reserve.

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October 2001 (Part 2)

Grasping Sparrows Tail

The difference between high level and low level qigong or kungfu is often not in its type or form but in how it is being practised. Take the famous qigong pattern, "Lifting the Sky". It can be performed as low level qigong for stretching muscles and loosening joints, or s high level qigong for tapping cosmic energy. "Grasping Sparrow's Tail", the famous Taijiquan pattern, can be performed at a low level as dance, or at a high level for developing internal force.

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October 2001 (Part 3)

overcoming arm lock

The kungfu sparring in my kungfu classes, whether in Shaolin or Taijiquan, are characteristically different from that in muai thai or any other martial arts. My students need not wear special kungfu uniforms, or have the words "Shaolin" or "Taiji" printed on their shirts, but as soon as you see them spar, you will know for sure that they practise Shaolin Kungfu or Taijiquan.

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November 2001

November 2001 (Part 1)

Sinew Metamorphosis

At the end of the session when the students were asked to comment on their practice, Roberto Lamberti who is a master himself, told the group that he had a fantastic experience. He clearly felt three streams of energy flowing down the inside of each arm, then up the other side, up his head, down his body and through his internal organs, down each leg on the outside, then up the inside, up the body and through his organs, and down the arms again. I told him and the class that the Sinew Metamorphosis exercise had generated his Big Universal Chi Flow, or Macro-Cosmic Flow.

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November 2001 (Part 2)

self-manifested chi movement

When you listen to your physcial body, you may, for example, hear your heart beat and your breathing. You are hearing the music and flow of life. This music and flow of life is in everybody, but most people are too tensed or too busy to pay any attention to it. In this exercise, when you are relaxed and still enough, you will appreaciate this music and flow.

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November 2001 (Part 3)

Combat Application

You can live in kungfu in a desert by yourself, or in a sea of people, at night or in the day, when you are twenty or in your ripe old age. When you are at work, kungfu gives you the clarity of thought and persevernace of effort to produce your best. When you are with the high and mighty, kungfu gives you the courage and wisdom to surpass them. When you are with the down trodden, kungfu gives you the compassion and strength to help them. When you are alone, kungfu gives you the inner peace to find God.

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December 2001

December 2001 (Part 1)

Horse-Riding Stance

In your present situation, you must know yourself as yourself. If you do not think of yourself as anything, you would lose your purpose and direction in life. If you do not know yourself as a student, you would fail your school or university examinations. If you do not know yourself as a dutiful son, you would not only cause your parents misery but deny yourself a golden opportunity, unknown to most people, to cultivate blessings. If you do not know yourself as a responsible citizen who has to work honestly for a living, you would be a nuisance to society.

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December 2001 (Part 2)

Blind-folded Chi Sau

Suppose you learn Taiji. You only perform the forms, but even at the physical level you do not know how to "differentiate yin-yang" and how to "move from the waist". You do Pushing Hands occasionally, but have no idea about its significance and direction. And you have no experience at all of internal force. In such conditions, your Taiji standard after nine years of training is not much different from that after one year.

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December 2001 (Part 3)

Joan Browne

If someone suffering from cancer wishes to get well by practising chi kung, he must learn from the best master he can find. If he thinks he can recover by learning from an e-mail, a video or a book, he is a joker or a fool.

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