April 2002 (Part 2)

SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Shaolin Tiger-Claws

Sifu Wong demonstrating the Shaolin Tiger-Claws

Question 1

Firstly, I would agree with you that Shaolin is the most extensive martial art. But I think there may be a weakness. For instance, to be at least reasonably competent in kungfu, you need to dedicate most of your life to its study and practice. This is not very inspiring for persons who want to learn an effective art and still have a high paying job.

— Seryozha, USA

Answer

It is not a weakness, it is a price. If you wish to obtain great benefits from a great art, you have to pay a great price. The great price in genuine Shaolin Kungfu is not just the time and effort in its practice, but also the time and effort in seeking a genuine Shaolin master willing to teach you.

It is good that you have raised this point. Many young people, especially in the West where they are used to instructors or facilitators eager to please them, dream of learning great kungfu but are unwilling to pay the price. Knowing this fact beforehand will help them avoid wasting time on sub-standard kungfu or being disappointed that they could not measure to the task involved.

But while much time and effort is needed, you should not spend most of your life to its study and practice. Shaolin Kungfu is meant to enrich your life, not to enslave you to it. Because of the training of energy and mind in genuine Shaolin Kungfu, you will find you actually have more timeand zest for both your work and your daily life. Not only you will perform better in your high-paying job, but more likely you will want to work for yourself than for others.

These are not empty talks. Shaolin philosophy places importance on practical results. Right now, for example, two of my students, Darryl and Dan, resigned from their jobs to attend my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course in April. One is a manager, and the other an international consultant. Although the immediate reason for their voluntary resignation is to attend the course, it is the Shaolin training that they have had that gives them the courage as well as vision to be their own boss after the course. I am very proud of them. Honestly, besides genuine kungfu (including Taijiquan) where the training of energy and mind is involved, I cannot think of any other martial arts that give such benefits — like courage, vision, confidence, abundant energy and clarity of mind..

Many people have expressed amazement how I could have so much time and energy to do so many things. I train regularly and devotedly, I teach throughout the year and help many people overcome so-called incurable diseases, I travel extensively covering Europe, North and South America and Africa, I answer hundreds of e-mails, I read a lot, I have four new books to be published this year, and, most important, I spend a lot of time with my wife and children. The reason for all the time, energy and zest for work and play, is that I practice genuine Shaolin Kungfu.

Question 2

A practitioner in karate for instance can be fairly competent with only a brown belt.

Answer

This is a matter of perspective. When you compare a karate brown-belt with ordinary people untrained in martial arts, or with people who practice modernized wushu or Taiji dance for many years, the brown-belt is a formidable fighter. This is actually the norm today.

But if you take the perspective of traditional karate, a brown-belt is not even a beginner; he is just a novice. According to traditional karate masters, you really begin to learn karate after you have obtained your first black-belt. This is not the norm; it is an ideal concept.

If you practice genuine kungfu, you will be combat efficient in shorter time. If you put in an hour of training a day in genuine Shaolin or genuine Tqijiquan, for a year, you shoulod be able to handle a black-belt in karate, taekwondo, judo, aikido, jujitsu, hapkido or any other martial art. But if you only practice external kungfu forms, modernized wushu or Taiji dance, you will be quite helpless against a brown-belt even if you have trained devotedly your whole life.

Question 3

I have read that there is no superior art; it all depends on the practitioner. Karate may be victorious on one day and Shaolin on another. I believe this to be true, and this can be plainly seen in any competition.

Answer

This is a very significant question, but carries sensitive implications. Again, the answer depends on various factors.

The de-facto situation in the world today is that karate exponents will be victorious against (so-called) Shaolin exponents most of the time. Those few Shaolin exponents who win, do not use typical Shaolin techniques in their sparring; they use karate, kickboxing or other martial art techniques. If we consider only those Shaolin exponents who use typical Shaolin techniques, the karate exponents would win 90% of the time.

The techniques demonstrated by modern Shaolin monks are genuine Shaolin techniques, but they do not practice combat application. The beautiful pre-arranged sparring is more for demonstration than for actual fighting. It is my opinion that if these modern Shaolin monks, including the masters, were to free spar with ordinary karate black-belts, the modern monks would be beaten badly.

But if we compare exponents who are trained in traditional Shaolin Kungfu, the type that was practiced by Shaolin disciples in the past, with karate exponents, I believe these Shaolin exponents would win more than 75% of the time.

I often prefix the term “genuine” for this type of Shaolin Kungfu in question. My term “genuine” is arbitary and chosen for convenience. A modern Shaolin monk, for example, can readily refute it, saying that the modernized wushu he teaches is genuine Shaolin Kungfu, as he comes from the Shaolin Temple and “wushu” is “kungfu”.

It is not true to say that “there is no superior art; it all depends on the practitioner”. The statement is valid only when we bring in conditions, like what is discussed above. For example, if we compare a beginner in a superior art with a master in an inferior art, or compare someone practicing a much degraded form of a superior art with another practicing the essence of an inferior art, then the outcome of combat or solo performance will depend on the practitioners.

When we presume all other things being equal — a presumption that is almost never valid in real life, but is necessary for meaningful comparison — there are certainly superior and inferior arts. With due respect to karate and other martial art masters, I sincerely believe genuine Shaolin Kungfu is far superior to karate and all other martial arts. If this were not so, I would have practiced karate or any other better art rather than Shaolin Kungfu. Indeed, in my early days, I nearly shifted to karate or taekwondo.

There are many reasons for my choice, but it is sufficient here to give just a few brief reasons. One, Shaolin Kungfu is more combat effective. Strictly speaking, karate is a sport, and is not meant for real fighting. Protected by safety rules, karate practitioners frequently disregard their own safety when they attack. Someone using karate in this way against a brutal street fighter might be killed within a few minutes.

Genuine Shaolin Kungfu is a fighting art, and is never meant to be a sport. Shaolin practitioners always think of their safety first in any combat. Moreover, while karate operates only at the level of techniques, Shaolin Kungfu surpasses this and sperates at the levels of tactics as well as strategies.

For example, a karate exponent would use the same techniques against his opponents irrespective of their size, types of martial arts used and other factors. A Shaolin exponent would consider these factors, minimizing their advantages and exploiting their disadvantages. The way he fights a Muay Thai exponent, for instance, would be different from the way he fights a judo expert.

Two, every training session of genuine Shaolin Kungfu contributes to enhancing health and vitality, whereas every training session of karate actually is detrimental to health! After each training session, a karate practitioner is worn out, sustains much injury and is sometimes angry at himself or at his sparring partners. The training itself puts stress on muscles as well as internal organs.

In Shaolin Kungfu a practitioner has more energy and is more fresh at the end of the training than before. This is because while karate involves training the physical body, which uses up energy, Shaolin training involves energy and mind, which increases the practitioner's energy level and mental freshness. The training itself relaxes the muscles and nourishes internal organs.

Three, Shaolin training is a process of spiritual development, whereas karate training is not. Karate exponents may also say that their art is spiritual, but it is just a hollow saying and they themselves do not know what they really mean. They may say something like their training helps them to conquer not their opponents but themselves, and to acquire qualities that make them a better person. But this is not spiritual training.

Spiritual cultivation means cultivating the spirit, making the spirit joyful, happy and at peace with himself and with the whole cosmos. Ultimately spiritual cultivation leads to liberation of the spirit to be united with the Universal Spirit, called variously as Return to God, attaining the Tao or Enlightenment. Again, this is not mere talk. Shaolin teaching always emphasizes practical results. My students often report that after their meditation practice they feel joyous, boundless and peaceful.

Question 4

And I believe it to be incorrect of you to say that karate is simply kicking and punching, though it may look so. You have noticed that even kungfu students resort to kicking and punching. Like any martial art, all the real techniques are hidden beneath the surface of the martal form.

Answer

That statement is made to emphasize the point that martial art students do not have much art in their free sparring. Kungfu students, such as those practicing external Shaolin forms, are worse; they usually punch and kick in poorer shape than karate students. This is quite inevitable because in much of their solo performance they practice such forms like tiger claws and open palms, but during sparring they throw these forms to the wind, and imitate karate punches and kicks. Those who practice Taiji dance are the worst. Most of them do not even know how to punch and kick properly.

The statement is also made to illustrate the limited range of techniques in karate compared to the extensive range in kungfu. Kungfu also uses a lot of felling and gripping techniques. Even in punching and kicking, there is much more variety in kungfu than in karate.

It is not true that all the real techniques are hidden beneath the surface of the martial forms. You move your hand or any part of your body in a particular way because that particular way enables you to accomplish a combative purpose most effectively.

All those techniques from Shaolin Kungfu or Taijiquan which appear flowery to uninitiated persons, are the way they are not because the masters make them flowery, but because in the particular way they are performed they are most effective for combat. If you do not know their combat function, it is because you do not know —- not because the masters have purposely hidden them beneath the forms.

An exception is found in modernized wushu. Often a wushu practitioner moves the way he moves not because of combat considerations, but because they are more pretty to watch.

Kungfu movements are more complex, and appear more flowery, than karate movements because they are more profound. Let us take a simple example. In karate when you block a punch, you just block. Over the centuries kungfu masters discovered that you would need less strength to achive the same effect by “leaning” your arm on his punch instead of blocking it head on. Later they further discovered that if you shifted your body backward into a false-leg stance and used a tiger-claw, you would have even better result. Kungfu has developed more profoundly than karate because kungfu has a much longer history.

Sifu Wong holding a ball of energy in a Taijiquan move

Sifu Wong Holding a Ball of Energy in a Taijiquan Move

Question 5

And though karate may look like block first then counter attack, this is nothing butthe initail stage of learning, as a well known karate master has said that true masterycomes when one can block and counter-attack simultaneously.

Answer

The block-first-then-counter-attack mode extends quite far onto higher levels of karate. Even masters typically use this mode.

As suggested by the master you mentioned, the block-and-counter-attack-simultaneously mode represents the advanced level in karate, but in kungfu this mode, known as defence-cum-counter mode, is only at the intermediate level. At the advanced level in kungfu, the mode is no-defence-direct counter.

Moreover, the block-and-counter-attack-simultaneously mode in karate is different from, and in my opinion inferior to, the defence-cum-counter mode in kungfu. In the block-and-counter-attack-simultaneously mode, you block your opponent's attack and simultaneously counter attack him. It is qualitatively similar to the more elementary block-first-then-counter-attack mode, except that it is much faster, with the two separate movements of blocking and attacking occurring at the same time.

The defence-cum-counter mode is different not just in speed but in the nature of movement. Here you use only one movement, not two as in karate, and you need only one hand or any part of the body, not one hand for blocking and the other hand for counter attacking as is often the case in karate. Further you need not have to block; you may use other ways of defence.

Question 6

A philosophical point in karate is that “there is no first attack in karate” This signifies the non-violent nature (though violent appearance) of karate-do. Note the “do” at the end of karate. So like kungfu masters, instead of tapping you on your groin, karate masters would stop just short of their target.

Answer

The “do” at the end of karate-do indicates that it is a sport and not a real fighting art. A fighting art would have “jitsu” at the end. Other examples of martial sports are judo which is derived from jujitsu, kendo which is derived from kenjitsu, and budo which is derived from bujitsu.

I don't think “there is no first attack in karate" is a universal tenet in karate; it may be personal philosophical belief of some karate masters. This tenet does not match the history, philosophy and practice of karate in general.

Historically, karate was developed by the conquered people of Riokyo Islands in northern Japan who were not allowed to use arms, and who wanted to toughten their hands to be used like weapons against their Japanese colonial masters. Their hatred against the colonial masters can still be traced in their art, especially when they attack with shouts and grimaced faces.

Philosophically, karate which ironically the Japanese have inherited from their conquered people, looks towards the samurai as the ideal. A samurai was a paid killer. He would kill anyone, often with pride and a sense of mission accomplished, his lord commanded.

The aggressiveness of karate in practice is obvious. Whether in solo performance or sparring, the stoic qualities of a die-hard warrior are emphasized. How often do you find karate practitioners waiting patiently for an opponent to attack, and use defensive moves to avoid hurting the opponent. Rather you often find them charging at each other, hitting the other person hard before he himself is struck down, often with no regard for defence.

When the Americans inherited karate from the Japanese, interestingly repeating the history of inheriting a fighting art from a conquered people, karate underwent some philosophical and cultural changes. The Americans are a magnanimous and generous people. (The current “hate America” syndrome, I believe and hope, is only a passing stage.) Their magnanimity and generosity are evidently shown in the rapid recovery of Germany and Japan, their defeated enemies in the last World War, into good friends and super economic powers. Such magnanimity and generosity are good for American karate.

Question 7

Also, you have said that kungfu practitioners should not perform other (possibly meaning inferior) arts when they spar; if they do so they should leave kungfu. This may be only because karate in an effective and uncomplicated art. Further, many masters have said that one must never limit himself to one style. For instance, many times have I seen a kungfu application and found it to be good and added it to my martial arts training for I seek to be a martial art trainee and not close-mindedly dogmatic about my Shotokan Karate training. So I will apply other martial arts to Shotokan.

Answer

You are right. I believe that a kungfu practitioner should use kungfu techniques, and not techniques from karate or other martial systems. This is not being close-minded, but being honest to oneself. If he thinks karate or any other martial art is more effective or serves his purpose better, he should have the courage to leave kungfu for that art.

I am referring not to adopting useful techniques from other martial arts once awhile. But I am referring to whole-scale transference of karate, taekwondo or kickboxing into kungfu in free sparring. It is sad to see some people who have spent years practicing beautiful kungfu forms, spar like blue-belt karate exponents.

Worse, there were kungfu masters who employed taekwondo exponents in sparring competitions, and when these exponents won titles, the masters proclaimed them as his kungfu students. Technically they were the masters' students, having registered in the kungfu schools, say, three weeks before, but basically they were taekwondo exponents.

That was disgraceful. If my students lost in any competitions but used genuine kungfu techniques, and lost honorably without blaming the referee, the rules or anybody, I would be very proud of them.

Question 8

Though I agree with you the weaknesses of kicks, I remember watching a kungfu movie where the master told the student that one kick was stronger than ten punches, which I think is true as the most powerful muscles are in the legs.

Answer

It is true that a kick is stronger than a punch when we only use muscles. And many styles of kungfu as well as almost all other martial arts use only muscles. But if we use internal force, a finger strike is more deadly than a palm strike, a palm strike more deadly than a punch, and a punch more deadly than a kick.

Kicks are also important in kungfu, including great kungfu like Shaolin and Taijiquan which uses internal force. There is a kungfu saying that “the hands are like two gates (to create the right situation); it is the kick that delivers the coup de grace”.

Question 9

But I would like to differentiate a karate kick. In karate you first have to raise the knee before you deliver the kick. I for one find this has a particular advantage. In sparring, adversaries often react to the simple raising of the knee by moving aside or blocking before the kick is thrown. This presents the advantage as you can hold the kick back (even forever) until the prime time for it to be delivered, which often results in a hit. Despite this I still think that kicks should only be used whenthe defender's defence has been broken.

Answer

This is used in kungfu as a tactic, as distinct from a technique. You can use other techniques, besides the kick, to implement this tactic.

But this tactic, irrespective of the techniques used, is effective only if your opponent is at a low level. You find this tactic useful because much of free sparring today, even amongst black-belts, is of a low level. Most exponents operate only at the technique level, and even at this level their range of techniques is limited and they execute them with poor skills.

They may free spar for many years, but they will still remain at this level although they may have moved from the bottom to the top of the same level. But if you widen your range of techniques, improve your skills, and use tactics, you would have moved up a few levels.

Why don't the karate exponents as well as many kungfu practitioners do these things to raise their level of combat. The reason is simple. They do not know about this, or if they know theoretically they do not have the methodology to implement this training programme. They mistakenly think that free sparring is the most effective or the only way to training combat efficiency.

Such training programme for combat efficiency is standard practice in genuine Shaolin Kungfu and genuine Taijiquan. Let us briefly see what a trained Shaolin exponent would do.

When you lift your leg and pretend to kick, or even actually kick, the trained Shaolin exponent would not bounce away or start to block, as many other people would do in free sparing. He would wait for your leg to be extended to a suitable distance before he responds accordingly.

Why don't he move away instinctively? Because he has been trained as a martial artist. If he moved or blocked instinctively, that would be no art; it would be instinctive fighting, which is not much different from children's fighting.

Would he be in time to move away or block successfully if he does not react immediately when you lift your leg? At first, no; he would be hit by your kick. So, as his training partner you would have to purposely hold your kcik to give him sufficient time. But with systematic training he would be able to respond in time and correctly. He would not bounce away, but shift his body slightly backward to avoid the full thrust of your kick, and as your leg is fully extended he would strike down with his arm to fracture your leg even before you start to withdraw your kick.

Now, suppose you are fast enough to withdraw your leg before he can strike it with his arm. He would move forward shiftly, cover your withdrawing leg and your hands with his one hand, and drive a leopard punch into your side ribs with his other hand.

Suppose you are very fast with kicks. Before he can move in with his leopard punch, you kick again with the same leg. Would you hit him? No, if he has been properly trained, he would be prepared for such a possible response from you. He would change his leopard to an open palm to deflect your kick, and immediately lock your leg and throw you onto the ground, followed with a coup de grace.

What would have happened if you did not kick, but merely hold up your leg to wait for the prime moment to kick. He would continue with the same sequence, except skipping the first movement of striking your leg with his arm.

Can he really do this in free sparring? He would not be able to, if he had rushed straight into free sparring. He would be sparring instinctively, but without any art. And he will never be able to, even if he continues practicing free sparring for twenty years. But if his training is systematic, in a year he would be able to execute those movements effectively. In a year he would have practiced that and many other combat sequences thousands of time. When an opponent attacks him in a similar situation, he merely lets his appropriate combat sequence flow almost naturally. This is art.

Combat application

Free sparring is an essential aspect of kungfu training. But free sparring is not used to train combat efficiency; rather it is used to test or confirm combat efficiency. In other words, one muct be systematically trained in combat application first before attempting free sparring.

Question 10

I do fancy, however, the false leg stance, as I think it quite appropriate in fighting situations. With all this said, I think Shaolin Kungfu is the most total martail art, though too much time is needed for its mastery. But I do think that karate is a close second and could be the best if determined on who wins the most fights.

Answer

All the Shaolin stances are appropriate for fighting situations, otherwise they would not be there. Each stance has its particular strong points suitable for particular situations.

Many people, including some karate masters, regard genuine Shaolin Kungfu as the greatest martial art in the world. Many Japanese karate masters, including the founders of a few karate styles, went to China in the 19th and 20th centuries to learn from Shaolin masters. Today a few karate masters have learned Shaolin Kungfu from me.

They learned Shaolin Kungfu at the height of their karate career not because they forsook karate. On the contrary, it was due to their love of their art that they wanted to enhance it from suitable teachings of Shaolin.

When one is exposed to the genuine teachings of Shaolin, which not only is a very effective fighting art but also gives excellent health and leads to the highest spiritual attainment, it is difficult for him not to recognize its greatness.

Question 11

I would dearly love to learn Shaolin some day, but would never forsake karate-do. The only thing is that I find you seem not ready to see at least the slightest good in any other form of martial art whatsoever, which I think is quite close-minded.

Answer

It is understandable that you and many other people think I am close-minded. Many others think I am boastful, and I am a big liar. But I am only truthful, and dare to speak my mind.

First of all, I would like to say that my believe in Shaolin being the greatest is made not because I practice the Shaolin arts. It is the other way round — because Shaolin is the greatest, I practice it. If karate or Taijiquan or any other art is better, I would have practiced that other art.

You and many other people, including those who practice external Shaolin forms, simply have no idea of the tremendous scope and depth of the Shaolin arts. Even if you concede that Shaolin is better than karate, you may think it is slightly better, or the most two or three times better. If I were to tell you it is a hundred times better, a thousand times better, you would not believe it. You would think I am mad, and many other people would be infuriated. But I honestly think the Shaolin arts are more than a thousand times better. There is simply no comparison.

I sparred with international sparring champions, and they were convinced enough of the superiority of Shaolin that they became my students. I had been ambushed by large groups of people in real fights, and managed to come out unhurt. Yet, I have not actually hurt anybody, despite a lot of sparring and many real fights. But these were nothing compared to the other wonderful benefits of Shaolin.

Except for a throat infection and a few occasional headaches and toothaches, I have been free from pain and illness for as long as I can remember, which is perhaps 30 years. I enjoy my work and play everyday. I am always happy, and remain peaceful and calm even in demanding situations.

I have helped countless people overcome their illness and pain, and have literally saved many lives. Many people have personally told me their lives have been enriched beyond their dreams after learning the Shaolin arts from me. Some people even regarded me like a god! Imagine someone dying, and doctors were quite helpless. I was thousands of miles away. I transmitted chi to him, and not only he survived, he later became healthier and happier than before his illness, which doctors had said was incurable. This has happened a few times.

My Shaolin training has opened my heart and has liberated my spirit, and I have also helped many people open their hearts and liberate their spirit. Many of my students and I have directly experienced what great spiritual masters have recorded in their writings, and which most ordinary people would regard as myths. We know what Cosmic Reality or the Universal Mind — called by some people as God — is, because we have had glimpses of it — or Him. I don't think any other martial art, perhaps with the exception of Taijiquan, can enable me to accomplish even a few of these wonderful benefits.

Yet, my attainment in the Shaolin arts is far behind that of my master's. And our attainments are nothing compared to the Shaolin potential. When you know all these are true, not just from intellectual understanding but from direct experience, you would appreciate the huge gap between Shaolin and the other martial arts.

Question 12

I would like to put before you another quotation I have learnt, that is, “ultimate mastery comes not off the body, but off the mind.” This means that whatever art you practice, you must seek the unification of mind and body (which all arts emphasize) and this possibly leads to one becoming the best martial artist.

Answer

Do you really understand the quotation “ultimate mastery comes not off the body, but off the mind”? It does not necessarily mean “that whatever art you practice, you must seek the unification of mind and body”.

Do you really understand what unification of mind and body means? Do you even know what mind is?

It is not true that all arts seek unification of mind and body. In fact most arts, including most martial arts, pay attention only to the body; some even deny the existence of mind.

Like you, most people merely know the dictionary meanings of these words. You would not know their real meaning — the meaning the words intend to convey — unless and until you have direct experience of them. A proverbial example is the mango. If you had not eaten a mango, you would never know how a mango taste, no matter how much you might read about its taste.

Of all martial arts, only Shaolin and Taijiquan directly and purposefully train the mind. This is because both Shaolin and Taijiquan were originally meant for spiritual cultivation. In Shaolin terms, the mind is called “xin”, which is often translated as “heart”. In Taijiquan terms, the mind is called “shen”, which is usually translated as “spirit”.

Some Chinese martial arts, like the internal styles of Bagua and the more external style of Hoong Ka, pay some attention to the mind in passing. The mind is involved in developing internal force, where it is often called “yi”, which is usually translated as “will”.

Most other martial arts, including Chinese styles like Wing Choon and Choy-Li-Fatt and non-Chinese styles like karate and taekwondo, pay little or no attention to mind. When these exponents talk about mind, what they usually mean is mental focus or intellectual reasoning, which are very different from the concept of mind in Shaolin, Taijiquan, Bagua and Hoong Ka.

Virtually all Western martial arts, like Western boxing and wrestling, deny the existence of mind as it is conceptualized in Eastern tradition. If a Western boxer or wrestler ever says “use your mind”, he means “use your head to think”. In Eastern concept, the mind us very different from the head.

Hence depending on their background and experience, as well as the context the quotation is used, “ultimate mastery comes not off the body, but off the mind” may mean differently to different martial artists. To many karate exponents in Western societies it may mean that to have the best result in karate, one has to be mentally focused on his action, which is another way of saying to seek a unification of mind and body.

This will be superficial to Bagua and Hoong Ka exponents. Being focused is a pre-requisite, not the ultimate mastery. If you cannot be focused, you may have fun in martial sport, but cannot be competent in a serious martial art, for you may lose your life.

So, what does that quotation mean to Bagua and Hoong Ka martial artists. It may mean that if you only use your physical body in training or in combat, your achievement will be limited by physical factors like age and size, but if you use mind you can surpass these physical limitations. Hence your opponent may be a muscular mass at 20, and you may be a fragile-looking woman at 80, yet you can be more powerful than your opponent. Such an idea is quite unthinkable in karate, but accepted as fact in kungfu.

A genuine Shaolin or Taijiquan master will interpret the quotation at an even higher level. Your quotation is similar to the common kungfu saying that “the highest attainment in kungfu is in the mind”, which is often mentioned but seldom understood. At the highest level, it means all the training leads to the liberation of mind, called Enlightenment in Shaolin, and attaining the Tao in Taijiquan. Some Japanese karate exponents may have an inkling of its meaning, but most Western karate exponents will have difficulty understanding what that really means.

Question 13

Lastly, is chi hard too cultivate? How long does one have to practice before results surface?

Answer

If you are properly trained, it is easy to cultivate chi; if not, it is very difficult. Many karate masters, as well as masters of other external martial arts have chased after chi for decades but to no avail.

Yet, if you attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course, Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course, or Intensive Taijiquan Course, you will cultivate and experience chi on the very first day of your training! Using chi and mind, you can develop so much internal force during the course itself that you may feel you have never been so powerful before. Yet, internal force which you will directly experience in the course, has baffled external martial art practitioners for centuries.

But do not think that by merely attending the course you can be powerful. You will acquire the fundamental skills and techniques to cultivate chi and to develop internal force, and have an unmistakable experience of chi and internal force during the course itself, but you have to continue your daily practice after the course.

If you do not practice, your internal force will flow away. Is the force wasted? No. It nourishes your body and mind, and enables you to get the best from your daily work and play.

I would recommend you to attend any one of my intensive courses. You will experience at first hand many of the concepts explained in these answers, and may immediately realize why I have placed Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan so far above other martial arts.

But bear in mind that the purpose of attending am intensive course is not to prove or disprove what I have said is true. The purpose is, as I believe you are a promising and sincere martial artist, to give you a chance to experience for yourself some of the best things in martial arts, things that many martial artists have talked about but have little opportunity to experience. Whether you would change to Shaolin Kungfu or stay with karate, or incorporate some teachings into karate, is your privilege and own choice.

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