August 2008 (Part 2)

SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Lifting the Sky

Besides many other benefits, “Lifting the Sky” strengthens bone energy and gall-bladder energy

Question 1

I am one of your students who attended the Qigong classes in Las Vegas. Thinking back, I realized how generous you were as I remembered back in Sept.2006 you let me take the Intensive Qigong Course while at the same time offering to me that I could pay you back any time. I declined the offer due to my own personal insecurities and disagreements with my parents on this issue. I suspect this was disrespectful and if so, I wholeheartedly apologize.

— Jeff, USA

Answer

Don't worry about this small thing. Honestly, I have forgotten about it. You were not disrespectful. You had the right to accept or decline the offer. Anyway, it is thoughtful of you to mention it.

Question 2

Second-guessing again, I also realized how insecure and paranoid I was back then, even when I was exchanging e-mails with you, Sifu. Unconsciously, I was also being selfish as I continually made long paragraphs about me and my problems and emphasizing how dire my situation was. I'm sorry for wasting your time with my petty lower middle-class problems, Sifu. I hope you accept my apology.

Answer

How one writes often tells more about himself than what he writes. The first thing that impresses me about your latest e-mail is that it is clearly written and respectful. It shows you have progressed much since the last time you wrote to me.

Question 3

As you can see, I'm still somewhat nervous and paranoid when writing this reply, but largely because I don't want to offend you and show any disrespect to you Sifu, because I don't want to alienate myself from a great master. Sorry if this sounds like I'm trying to “suck up to you”, but I'm just trying to be honest. I always feared that you would potentially say something very negative about me, this fear probably being a result of my own paranoia and insecurities and the stereotypes that I had in my head that I had about unforgiving.

Answer

Your fear mentioned here is unfounded. Masters love sincere students, even when they may not be quick in their learning. But you are both quick and sincere. You have learnt from your past mistakes and have made much improvement.

What you need now is more self-confidence. You can improve your self-confidence remarkably by practicing what you have learnt froe me, especially “Lifting the Sky” and “Pushing Mountain”. The improvement in your self-confidence will be intrinic, i.e. it happens from inside as a result of your practicing chi kung regularly, and not from your outward attempt to be confident.

How does practicing chi kung regularly improve self-confidence intrinsicly? According to traditional Chinese medical philosophy, confidence is related to energy and how upright a person stands. The more energy he has, and the more upright he stands, the more confident he becomes.

To be confident and brave is “da tan” in Chinese. Word by word, “da tan” means “big gall-bladder”. “Big” in Chinese often means “strong”, and here it refers to the energy in the gall-bladder. Masters in the past discovered that the stronger a person's gall energy was, the braver he became.

Standing upright is related to one's bone energy. The stronger a person's bone energy is, the more likely he stands upright, which in turn increases his self-confidnce. Indeed, in Chinese when you say a person has “gu qi”, you mean he is upright, especially morally. Word by word, “gu qi” means “bone energy”.

“Lifting the Sky” and “Pushing Mountain” are two exercises to develop energy, especially bone energy and gall-bladder energy, and to enable you to stand upright.

Lifting the Sky

If you have to use Kick-Boxing or other martial art techniques in your sparring, even if you can fight well, then you are not practicing genuine kungfu

Question 4

Recently, in early-mid August, I started practicing Qigong again. But this time, I tried my hardest to never stop practicing. I did Lifting the Sky, Pushing Mountains, and Carrying The Moon, each for about 15 times so that by the time I did all of them, it was already 20-25 minutes. This was too much, so I shortened the amount of times I did each exercise to about 10 each so the total would be about 15 minutes just like you said in your last e-mail.

Answer

The advice to perform “Lifting the Sky” or “Carrying the Moon” for about 15 repetitions is for beginning students in our school. Those who learn from books or videos will have to perform more repetitions.

We also advice our beginning students to practice for about 15 minutes per session. Most other chi kung practitioners need to practice about an hour. This is because we are cost-effective in our practice. We achieve in 15 minutes more than what most others achieve in an hour. This may sound boastful but is true.

We also remind our beginning students not to practice more than 15 minutes per session in general. This is because if they practice longer, they may have too much energy for their physical body to handle. But as they progress and their physical body becomes stronger, they may lengthen the time of their training if they wish.

However, once a while when they come out of their training session and discover that half an hour or even an hour has passed, it is alright, especially if they feel fine and pleasant after the training. Feeling fine and pleasant is an indication that their training is correct. If they feel tired and unpleasant, it indicates that they have over-trained which may be harmful. But if this happens only once a while, there is nothing to worry about because their chi flow will be more than enough to overcome the adverse effects.

Why is 15 minutes recommended for beginning students? It is the best time-frame for them to attain the best result. If they practice for less than 15 minutes, they get less benefit than what they should get. If they practice for more than 15 minutes, they face the risk of over-training.

Question 5

I just have so much trouble doing “Standing Meditation” and letting myself go into a chi flow. I tried to relax and loosen myself, but I have trouble balancing myself unless I “stiff up” and apply pressure to my legs. I'm sorry if it seems like I'm not listening to you, but if I just relaxed and didn't care about my position, I would fall to the ground or perhaps hit my head against the sharp corners of my bed. I don't know why this is so. I must be really dumb or something. I don't know what to do. As a result, I never once had any Self-Manifested Chi Movement. Can Sifu give any advice here?

Answer

“Relax” means just that, i.e. relax. It does not mean you allow yourself to loose balance or fall to the ground. You can still have good balance and stand firmly on the ground when you are totally relaxed.

Do you know that according to science, humans are not supposed to stand on their feet. Their feet are too small to support their body weight. What othrodox scientists and most people do not know is that it is not the bones and muscles that support the body, but the energy flowing through them. If the energy is not flowing, even with the bones and muscles the body will collapse.

If you are relaxed, your chi flow may sway your body. Sometimes the flow is so strong that it moves you from your position. All you need to do is to move along with the flow. You don't have to stand fixed on the same spot. Sometimes the chi flow may move you onto the ground. Thiis is to enable you to go into the best position so that the chi can work on your health problems. Students suffering from arthritis and rhumatism often roll on the ground in their chi flow.

But, if for some reasons you do not wish to roll on the ground, you can control it. You just move about on your feet with the chi flow, or you may slow down and stop. These skills will become easy with practice.

Question 6

Sifu, I know this is a really stupid question but are there any exercises that you taught us in the Las Vegas course that was related to losing weight all over your body, removing all your acne from your face, and also letting your hair grow back?

Answer

In theory, any chi kung exercise can achieve the desirable result you mention. In practice, Self-Manifested Chi Movement and “Carrying the Moon” which you leanred from me, are excellent choices.

On the other hand, chi flow always works for your best benefit if you allow it to do so without unnecessary interfere nce. This is the essence of “wu wei”, the well known but little understood Taoist philosophiccal term often translated by Western authors as “doing nothing and everything will be done for you”.

Taoist masters are usually secretive. What these authors and most people do not realize is that here the Taoist masters only tell you half the secret. The other half is “you wei”, which means “appropriate action”. First you perform “you wei”, then you go to “wu wei”. In chi kung context, first you perform the appropriate exercise, then you let go spontaneously and enjoy the benefits without interfering the chi flow.

In terms of life maintainance and performance, your acne and white hair are not top priorities. Chi flow will solve other more urgent problems which you yourself may not know. Then it may, if you practice chi kung regularly and long enough and have no other more urgent problems to solve, it will look after your acne and hair.

More of Jeff's questions are found in the next issue, August 2008 Part 3 .

Chi Flow

Chi flow in our school, as shwon above in an Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course, can be very vigorous, with practitioners enjoying themselves on the ground

Question 7

I would like to be a certified chi kung instructor. Can you let me know how long it would take and how much you charge? Do I have to take an Intensive Chi Kung course if I take an instructors' course? When is your next certified chi kung instructors' course to be held?

— Wai Beng, Malaysia

Answer

We do not offer any instructors' training course to the public.

Our instructor-trainees are selected for training from our own students who have shown high moral character, high attainment in the arts they practice, and willingness to help to spread the wonderful benefits of our arts irrespective of race, culture and religion. When they have proven their teaching and organizing abilities, they are confirmed as certified instructors.

With a few exceptions due to specific reasons, all our chi kung instructors have attended at least one Intensive Chi Kung Course, all our Shaolin Kungfu instructors at least one Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course, and all our Taijiquan instructors at least one Intensive Taijiquan Course. Many of them have attended special courses.

Those who are used to long years of chi kung and kungfu training may be surprised that some of our instructors have spent only two or three years with our school, although many of them have trained for many years with other masters in other schools. Unlike many other practitioners who often measure progress by the number of years they have trained in their arts or by the number of techniques they know, we measure progress by the benefits we obtain from our practice.

For example, if a chi kung practitioner can generate an energy flow and attain good health and vitality after a year of training, we consider him more advanced than those who have trained for many years yet have no experience of chi, and are still weak and sick. If a kungfu practitioner can develop internal force and effectively apply kungfu for combat after a year of training, we consider him more advanced than those who have trained for many years but become tired easily and cannot use their kungfu to defend themselves. Our instructors not only have these benefits but also are able to teach deserving students to acquire them.

Question 8

I have a new patient who saved her daughter's life ten years ago by giving her one of her Kidneys. Can a kidney donation (living with one Kidney) reduce a person's jjng? And if so do you have any recommendations to this lady?

— Racheli, Israel

Answer

Yes, if all other things were equal, a person living with one kidney has less “jing” or essence than normal persons with two kidneys. He (or she) will have less energy, stamina and endurance. However, in real life other things are not equal. If his one kidney is strong and healthy, it can function better than ordinary persons' two kidneys.

In the case of your patient, knowing that she has saved her daughter's life will enhance and open her heart. In traditional Chinese medical philosophy, the heart is the “Emperor”, which means its strength and well being will influence all other organs. An enhanced, open heart will therefore have beneficial effects on her, making her stronger physically and spiritually than most other people.

She can further strengthen herself if she practices high-level chi kung like ours, especially exercises like “Pushing Mountain” and “Nourishing Kidneys”.

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