September 2006 (Part 3)

SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Sifu Wong and his Family

Having a happy family is an important teaching in Shaolin Wahnam, and Sifu Wong demonstrates it by his personal example. This photograph taken a few years ago shows Sifu Wong, his wife and their two youngest children enjoying their holidays in Holland.

Question 1

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

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.

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 introuduce 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.

Question 2

I am interested in studying Shaolin Kungfu in the Shaolin Monastery. I am 26 years old, and I have been taking Shidokan and other martial art courses for some years, but my goal is not only to improve my martial art skills, but to find another view of seeing life in general.

— Michailidis, Greece

Answer

Traditional Shaolin Kungfu is no longer taught in the Shaolin Monastery in China today. Until recently, modernized wushu was taught in numerous wushu schools around the Monastery by modern Shaolin monks, but these wushu schools were moved elsewhere to make room for the further development of the Monastery.

Modernized wushu is a magnificient art and is expected to be included in the next Olyimpic Games to be held in China. Modernized wushu is widely taught in China, as well as by modern Shaolin monks in numerous Shaolin Temples outside China.

But modernized wushu is different from traditional kungfu, although their forms are similar. Traditional kungfu is a martial art where force training and combat application are very important, whereas modernized wushu is a sport for recreation and demonstration. Combat application and force training are generally not included in modernized wushu. Moreover, in great genuine kungfu like Shaolin, spiritual cultivation is important, whereas it is absent in modernized wushu.

Nevertheless, today most traditional kungfu practitioners use Kick-Boxing instead of genuine kungfu forms in their sparring. This is because the methodology for kungfu sparring has been generally lost. They also have little or no spiritual cultivation in their kungfu training.

There is, however, some difference between modernized wushu taught by mainstream wushu instructors in China today, and that taught by modern Shaolin monks. The forms taught by mainstream wushu instructors are standardized wushu forms invented by the National Wushu Council of China, and they fall into seven categories of Long Fist (Changquan), Southern Fist (Nanquan), Tai Chi Forms (Taijiquan), Knife Tecniques (Daoshu), Staff Techniques (Gunshu), Sword Techniques (Jianshu) and Spear Techniques (Zhangshu). Mainstream wushu instructors do not teach combat application.

At first modern Shaolin monks taught the same standardized wushu forms, but later they teach Northern Shaolin kungfu sets like Continuous Fist (Lianhuanquan), Little Majestic Fist (Xiaohungquang) and Lohan Fist (Louhanquan) as well as Northern Shaolin weapons. They also teach combat application, but they use Kick-Boxing techniques instead of traditional kungfu forms in their sparring.

Hua Tou

The great Chinese doctor, Hua Tou, who developed the famous chi kung exercise called Five-Animal Forlic

Question 3

Tell me more about the proper techniques for the Five-Animal Frolics. I have found studies for the Bear and the Crane but not the others.

— Wayne, USA

Answer

The Five-Animal Forlic is a famous chi kung exercise first developed by the great Chinese doctor called Hua Tuo about 2000 years ago. The movements of this type of chi kung are represented by five animals, namely the bird, the deer, the monkey, the tiger and the bear.

At first people thought that Hua Tuo invented Five-Animal Forlic by observing the movements of these five animals and then formalized them into chi kung patterns. But later archaelogical and other evidence suggests that practitioners of this type of chi kung went into self-manifested chi movements, which Hua Tuo generalized into five groups represented by the five animals.

Why are there five distintive movements? It is because they are manifested by five different natures of energy issuing from the five major internal organs. Energy from the heart is manifested in movements which resemble those of a bird, from the liver those of a deer, from the spleen those of a monkey, from the lungs those of a tiger, and from the kidneys those of the bear.

Question 4

Also I have been working on the beginnings of the development of the Golden Elixir and would like to know if you can suggest a master that may live in my area to guide me. I am afraid that I will miss the opportunity to achieve this with improper self training. If it is possible to self direct this with step by step instructions, I would very much like to study this. However I have heard that this is impossible since certain signs occur along the way that are critical to understand in order to proceed with the next segment. Is this true?

Answer

Making a golden elixir and eating it to attain immortality was a life-time occupation of many Taoists in the past. There have been no records that any Taoists ever succeeded in being immortals using this method, but there were records that some of them died as a result.

Creating a golden elixir is actually an arcane description of advanced chi kung exercises like Dan Tian Beathing and Big Universe. There are many records that Taoists attained immortality using this method.

I do not know of any master in your area who can teach you to attain immortality. Even if there is one, I doubt he will teach you just because you want to learn it. Teacing you to become an immortal is more valuable than making you into a king.

You are wise to know that it is utterly foolish to attempt developing a golden elixir by self-taught methods learnt from a book or a video. It is equally foolish to learn from someone who claims he can teach you merely because you ask him to.

Question 5

I often see kungfu practitioners bounce about in their sparring. Isn't it better to use stances?

— Olaf, Holland

Answer

Yes, it is certainly better to use stances. This is what stances are for in sparring.

But most kungfu practitioners, including many instructors, today have discarded their stances — in both sparring and force training. They prefer bouncing about in sparring, and throwing their body weight at sand-bags when developing power in punching.

When asked why they still use stances in their solo practice, they say the stances are meant to teach certain combat principles and to facilitate body movements. Saying this has become trenchy, they do not actually know what principles are taught or how stances facilitate body movements.

Their reply also defeats their purpose. If they believe in what they say, i.e. stances teach combat principles and facilitate body movements, then they should use them in sparring and real fighting.

Indeed, among other benefits, stances enable the practitioner to apply internal force efectively and to move faster, which are two importnat principles in combat. Stances greatly facilitate body movement, such as shifting the body back and then forward, without moving the feet, which is another important factor in effectie oombat.

Choe Family Wing Choon

Sifu Wong applies a typical kungfu technique from Choe Family Wing Choon on Jack during sparring. Some practitioners of popular versions of Wing Choon Kungfu may be surprised that this is a Wing Choon technique.

I am interested in Wing Choon. Is there anyone of the Choe Family Wing Choon in California, USA? I wanted to learn from Mr. X since he is the Grandmaster of your family style but he says he will not teach me. He was also very rude, not at all like you Sir.

I don't know if there is anyone in the USA teaching Choe Family Wing Choon. Choe Family Wing Choon is an exclusive style, not easily taught to outsiders.

Most kungfu masters are conservative. They normally would not want to discuss their art with others. This might be the reason why you thought Mr X was rude.

Mr X is not the Grandmaster of Choe Family Wing Choon. Although he is accomplished, he is relatively junior in this family style.

The most senior disciple of Sifu Choe Hoong Choy, the Patriarch of Choe Family Wing Choon, was my siheng, Sifu Yeong Cheong. I tried to persuade him to teach but he declined. I then made suggestions to preserve Choe Family Wing Choon for posterity, and he agreed to some of them. Unfortunately he left us for a better world before we could implement the suggestions, and he took his art with him as he had no disciples to succeed him.

The three other most senior of Sifu Choe Hoong Choy's disciples are Sifu Peng Sifu Chai and Sifu Hock. (I would not reveal their full names because I am not sure whether they would like to be known.) Alhough they are my junior, they know much more Choe Family Wing Choon than I do, having trained under Sifu Choe Hoong Choy as his inner-chamber disciples for a long time.

When I heard about Mr X who did some wonderful work spreading Choe Family Wing Choon in the West, I asked Sifu Peng and Sifu Chai who Mr X was as I could not remember meeting him while learning from Sifu Choe Hoong Choy. They told me I had met him although I did not pay attention to him at that time. He was a young student from Indonesia studying in Penang (Malaysia). He joined the school at the time I was about to leave. Mr X later furthered his studies in the United States, and continued to train Choe Family Wing Choon there. He returned to Penang once to consult with his seniors and gather some useful information.

Question 6

I know that Choe Famiy Wing Choon is a profund art but no masters are teaching it publicly. Would this result in the art being lost in future?

Answer

This is also my major concern.

I tried to persuade the most senior disciples of Sifu Choe Hoong Choy to pass on their art to posterity, offering my help in whatever ways I can. However, they politely declined.

This may come as a surprise to some Westerners. This is a cultural difference between the East and the West. Some Westerners would grasp any opporunity to teach, sometimes callng themselves masters and grandmasters. But genuine Eastern masters often do not want to teach.

I am glad Mr X is popularizing Choe Family Wing Choon in the West. I hope he will teach and spread this wonderful art and keep it alive. However, based on what I have read about him, I believe there are three important secrets in Choe Family Wing Choon that he may not know.

He may not know what the other two secrets are, but I am quite sure he knows he lacks at least one essential secret which he realizes has much impeded his teaching of Choe Family Wing Choon. I would like to share this essential secret with him on the condition that he will pass on Choe Family Wing Choon to posterity. I hope those who have the interest of Choe Family Wing Choon at heart may inform Mr X of my offer, and that he may contact me.

Question 7

I understand that Choe Family Wing Choon is seldom shown in public because its practitioners do not want to reveal its secrets. But can you at least tell me the main differences between Choe Family Wing Choon and the other styles of Wing Choon widely practiced in public?

Answer

The two most obvious differences are the number of sets and the use of stances. There are only three unarmed sets and two weapon sets in the popular versions of Wing Choon. In Choe Family Wing Choon, besides the three unarmd sets of “Siu Lim Tau” (Little Thought), “Cham Kiew” (Sinking Bridge) and “Phew Chee” (Thrusting Fingers) which are practiced as one set called “Siu Lin Tau” (Little Beginning), there are many other unarmed sets, like “Fa Khuen” (Flower Set), *Fu Hok Seong Ying“ (Tiger and Crane), ”Shui Ta“ (Essence of Combat), ”Chui Pat Seen" (Drunken Eight Immortals) and Choy-Li-Fatt (Choy-Li-Fatt Kungfu), and besides the Butterfly Knives and the Long Staff, there are many other weapons like the Single Knife, the Spear, the Big Trident, the Big Knife and the Kungfu Bench.

In the popular versions of Wing Choon, short stances, especially the Goat Stance and the Four-Six Stance, are used. In Choe Family Wing Choon, besides the short stances, long stances like the Horse-Riding Stance and the Bow-Arrow Stance are used. Moreover the Phoenix-Eye Fist and the Leopard Punch, which are absent in the popular versions, are often used in Choe Family Wing Choon.

Hence, Choe Family Wing Choon has a much wider range of attack and defence techniques than the popular versions. Techniques like swinging the whole arm on the opponent's head or moving sideway to a Bow-Arrow Stance to strike with a Leopard Punch at an opponent's ribs may seem un-Wing-Choon-like in the popular versions but are often used in Choe Family Wing Choon.

Less obvious is the training and application of force. Although the masters of the popular versions are small-sized and elegant yet very powerful, many practitioners develop big muscles. Their training often involves bag work and weight-lifting. In Choe Family Wing Choon, big muscles and external methods of force training are discouraged. Force is mainly trained internally through the practice of the basic set, “Siu Lin Tau”, and the art of “Chi Sau” (Sticking Hands).

LINKS

Overview of the Questions-Answers Series

Selected Reading

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