December 2006 (Part 2)

SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Dr Damian Kissey

The honorary organizer, Dr Damian Kissey speaking at the graduation dinner of the Sabah Intensive Chi Kung Course of March 2002

Question 1

I am at present beginning my second year studying Traditional Chinese Medicine and Shiatsu massage. I have some martial arts background and have been practising the chi kung exercises from your books (Chi Kung for Health and Vitality and The Art of Chi Kung) for the past year.

— Martin, UK

Answer

Practicing chi kung will bring your martial art to levels that you may not have thought possible before. Not only you will be relaxed and mentally clear even in your sparring, you will not be panting for breaths or feel tired after practicing in solo or in combat for more than an hour. Translated into everyday life, it means you both work and play better and longer.

If you have sustained internal injuries in your martial art training, the chi kung practice will clear the injuries, and then make you healthy physically and emotionally. This is an important aspect many martial artists neglect or are not aware of.

Even if they do not practice free sparring where sustaining internal injuries is common nowadays but surprising is routinely left unattended to, they often develop energy blockage unknowingly by tensing their muscles and adopting an aggressive attitude. It is ironical that many people started martial arts because they wanted to improve their health, but often become more unhealthy physically and emotionally as the result of their practice!

Question 2

I am forty one years old and in good health

Answer

Today many people practice chi kung because they want to overcome illness, especially so-called incurable diseases. In the past it was different. It was rare to have an opportunity to practice chi kung. Most people were already healthy when they started chi kung. They did so for three main purposes, namely to build internal force for martial art, to attain mental freshness for intellectual pursue, and to cultivate the spirit for spiritual development.

Today it is also rare to have an opportunity to practice genuine chi kung, especially of a high level. But today gentle physical exercise that many mistake for chi kung is plentiful, and most practitioners may not realize it. Hence, if you are already healthy, you will get even more benefits when you practice genuine, high level chi kung. Among many other benefits, you need not be sick at all, have vitality to enjoy your work and play, and occasionally experience spiritual joy.

Question 3

In studying Shiatsu, I have realised that to make a good shiatsu practitioner, a good understanding and practice of Chi Kung is vital.

Answer

While understanding and practicing chi kung will undoubtedly improve one's study and practice of shiatsu or related arts like acupuncture and massage therapy, in my opinion it is not essential. One can still be a very effective shiatsu practitioner, or an acupuncturist or massage therapist, without knowing or practicing chi kung.

On the other hand, many of my students who are acupuncturists and massage therapists by profession, have reported tremendous improvement in helping their patients recover. A patient that would normally requires 10 sessions, often recovers in just 5, or even 3!

I recall Dr Daniel of Belgium telling me that this affected his income but as a true doctor he was very happy to do it. Later he told me that this actually boosted his income as he was able to treat more patients faster, with a bonus that his patients did not have to wait too long in queues for treatment.

Lifting the Sky

“Lifting the Sky” is considered a wondrous exercise in Shaolin Wahnam as it can be practiced for so many different purposes at vastly different levels by both beginners and masters. Here Sifu Eugene Siterman and Sifu Anthony Spinicchia, both of Shaolin Wahnam USA, practice “Lifting the Sky” at the pool-side of Sifu Anthony's house.

Question 4

Having felt the difference within myself through following the exercises in your books, I feel that iI would like to learn more and take the training further and I think that to do this effectively would only be possible under your guidance.

Answer

Yes, there is a vast difference in results between learning from my books and learning from me personally. Many students told me that they already had good results learning from my books. But when they attended my intensive chi kung courses, they told me on the first day that the difference was incomparable.

For example, if by practicing three exercises for half an hour a day, one could generate some chi flow after six months of daily practice, his result is quite remarkable, considering that most people do not have any chi flow even after practicing for many years. However, in my courses a student could generate a more powerful chi flow by performing an exercise for 15 minutes on the first day. Chi flow is the essence of chi kung.

Question 5

I am writing to ask you if I could be considered to attend your intensive Chi Kung classes in Malaysia in 2007.

Much of my life has been spent searching for a way to live in a beneficial manner. I now believe that I have found this in being able to help people through Shiatsu and Chi Kung.

Answer

I am glad to have a sincere student like you. I shall conduct an Intensive Chi Kung Course in Sungai Petani , Malaysia from 3rd to 7th January 2007, and another one in Sabah , Malaysia from 1st to 5th March. Both courses are the same, though held at different places. Please choose the one you like and apply to my the honorary organizer, Dr Damian Kissey , for the Sabah course.

The intensive chi kung course will certainly enrich your life as well as the lives of other people, but it is not an instructor-training course. In other words, you are not qualified to teach others as an instructor even when you have successfully completed the course. But the skills and increased proficiency you will acquire from the course will enable you to help people in other ways.

Question 6

To be able to train with a master would not only be an honour but also I would know that I was doing the exercises correctly and able to gain better results from my training.

Answer

You have made a very important point that many practitioners do not realize or may not appreciate. As a result they waste a lot of time and miss a lot of benefits. Worse, some developed adverse effects from their incorrect practice.

As a rough estimate, more than 80% of those who practice chi kung today, especially in China, get less than 10% of the benefits they would have got had they learned from genuine masters. They also spend more than 10 times the effort and time.

The reason is actually straight-forward, though it may not be obvious. These 80% only practice gentle physical exercise. The techniques they perform are genuine chi kung techniques, but they lack the skills to perform them as chi kung. Consequently they get the benefits of gentle physical exercise, like loosening their joints and muscles, having better blood circulation, and being more balanced and graceful. But they do not get the benefits of chi kung, like overcoming pain and illness, noticeable increase of mental freshness and vitality,

As part of our effort to disseminate right information, we in Shaolin Wahnam have explained this crucial point frequently in the hope that this may help dedicated students derive the best benefits for their time and effort. Understandably other people may have different views.

Sparring in Shaolin Kung Fu

Modern wushi is different from traditional kungfu. Combat training, as shown by participants at the Switzerland Regional Kungfu Course of August 2006 in the picture above, is essential in kungfu but not normally taught in modern wushu.

Question 7

I am struggling at the moment, not with my Chi Kung training which is going great but with a deep blockage. My sleep is severely disturbed. I have no problem falling to sleep but I wake up in the middle of the night and can't go back to sleep.

I have done this for around 2 years so it is very frustrating. I feel that my Chi is working hard on this blockage at the moment since my sleep is even shorter than before. But still, every night with too little sleep is wearing me down. Can you assist me in some way to help me clear this blockage?

— Niklas, Sweden

Answer

Yes, you are undergoing some cleansing. Don't worry about it, just carry on your daily practice and enjoy it. Your sleeping problem as well as other health problems will be solved. This is fantastic but true.

Many people who have no exposure to high level chi kujg like ours, may not believe it, though the basic philosophy is so simple. Good health is a result of harmonious chi flow. Due to some causes your chi flow has been blocked in some places, and in your case it results in you waking up in the middle of night and you can't go back to sleep.

The fantastic thing is that you don't even have to know what caused the blockage and where the blockage is. Your daily practice generates chi flow. By maintaining your daily practice, your chi flow will eventually break through your blockages, irrespective of whether you know what caused the blockages and where the blockages are.

It is the same as digesting your food and clearing away harmful viruses. As long as your chi flow is harmonious — in Western terms here it means as long as the energy that works your digestive system and immune system is working naturally — you will effectively digest your food and clear away harmful viruses irrespective of whether you know what enzymes digest what proteins or what antibodies neutralize what viruses.

Letting your chi flow to clear the blockage that causes you sleeping problems may take some time. So, meanwhile you can do the following exercise for immediate relieve. Remember that this remedial exercise only gives you immediate relief; it does not solve the root problem which is due to some energy blockage somewhere in your body. To solve your root problem you have to practice chi kung daily to ensure harmonious chi flow.

The same principle applies to other health problems like gastritis, asthma and depression. Taking medical drugs provides immediate relief, to overcome the illness one has to overcome the root problem, which in traditional Chinese medical terms is referred to as energy blockage. Practicing high level chi kung daily is an excellent way to overcome any energy blockage.

The remedial exercise, which can be used to overcome many sleep problems, is as follows. Lay comfortably in bed. Relax and smile from your heart. Perform “Lifting the Sky” about 15 times. The head of your bed may prevent you from lifting your hands up the usual way. It doesn't matter. Just lift your hands as high as your can.

Unlike in regular practice, here the purpose of performing “Lifting the Sky” is not to generate an energy flow, but to enable you to relax physically and mentally. Once you are physically and mentally relaxed, you can go to sleep easily, and you will probably sleep like a baby till early next morning. But should you wake up in the middle of the night, repeat the remedial exercise without fuss and question.

“Without fuss and question” here means you do not get out of bed, blame yourself why you are such a lousy sleeper or ask why couldn't you sleep like other people do. Just perform “Lifting the Sky” about 15 times and return to sleep like a baby.

Question 8

I want to learn the most precious art of Wushu in the Shaolin Temple under the able guidance of Shaolin monks. I contacted the representative of China in India at the Chinese Embassy in the cultural section. He suggested me to contact you through your website.

— Avinash, India

Answer

If you wish to learn wushu from modern Shaolin monks in the Shaolin Temple, you should contact the Shaolin Temple in China. There are also a few Shaolin Temples outside China. The monks in these modern Shaolin Temples also teach wushu. You can find a lot of information about the Shaolin Temples and their wushu programmes if you use some search engines on the internet.

I do not teach wushu. What I teach is traditional Shaolin Kungfu, which is different from modern wushu. Please see my website http://shaolin.org for details.

LINKS

Overview of the Questions-Answers Series

Selected Reading

Courses and Classes