July 2009 (Part 2)

SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Internal Force

Grandmaster Kai Uwe gives an impromptu demonstration of internal force during a Warrior Project. One course participant attempts to bend his arm while another chops him with a palm strike.

Question 1

I have been trying many different ways to increase my internal force for many years, with some ways simply a form of folly. My main problem though was trying to do so in a short amount of time with the smallest amount of inconsistent effort.

— Andrew, USA

Answer

This is a very common mistake. I am glad that you realize the mistake and be able to benefit from it.

It is also useful to remember that while there is a lot of good information in books and the internet, there is also a lot of rubbish. One must be careful to distinguish genuine knowledge from thrash.

Question 2

I stumbled upon your teachings by first doing research of the Three-Circle Stance, as I learned that first to try and increase internal force. Then, you and your students gave me many insights to practicing Horse Stance Training and Lifting the Sky through your books, forums and websites.

Answer

I am glad that you have found our information helpful. Helping sincere students to benefit from the arts we teach, even if the students do not learn from us directly, is one of our cherished aims.

For those practicing on their own, "Lifting the Sky" is an excellent choice. It is simple and safe, yet it can bring a lot of benefits.

Three-Circle Stance

Grandmaster Wong performing the Three-Circle Stance

Question 3

I remember you saying that if you mind hard work then forget about genuine good results from training. I then set it in my heart to do these exercises everyday no matter what. I put aside all of the so-call "methods" of gaining internal force and only focused on practicing what you taught.

Answer

This was a wise decision. If you respectfully follow the instructions of the exercises I describe in my books or webiste, you will certainly obtain good results.

There are three requirements for success in any art, namely the method, the teacher and the student. The methods I describe in my books or website are the best for the purpose. My instructions are clear and simple, and serve as a good teacher. If you follow the instructions respectfully, including not worrying unnecessarily, you are a good student.

Question 4

I had the goal of staying in the Horse Stance for 15 minutes or more. My problem was I focused on the time, not the correct practice. I did have some adverse things happen.

I practiced "Lifting the Sky" and "Flowing Breeze and Swaying Willows" to help minimize and reverse the potential harm. I then remember seeing one of your senior students say "1 minute of correct practice will give you more benefits than an hour of incorrect practice." I then remembered you saying to "relax, relax, relax."

Answer

Though you did not learn from a living teacher, you had the right conditions for obtaining good results from your practice.

You set an objective. You followed a good method. You rectified your mistake when you realized it. You performed some remedial exercises correctly to clear away harmful side-effects due to wrong practice. You follow good advice humbly and respectfully.

Well done. Congratulations.

Spiritual Ecstasy

Spiritual ecstasy during a Aen course

Question 5

After about one month of training, I focused on proper and safe training first. Then after a week, I tried not to expect anything with my practice, as that itself may hinder results.

I did everything proper: Focusing at dan tian, proper stancework (I learned Horse Stance, then applied your principle of pyramid form and going as low as comfortable),relaxing, smiling from the heart. I did "Lifting the Sky" 20 times before and "Flowing Breeze Swaying Willows" afterwards (this is my normal practice), two times a day.

Then, today, I practiced outside in the early morning. I had no clock to look at; I focused mainly on doing the stance properly and relaxing. Right away, I "felt" relaxed and "sinking" into my stance. No tensing the buttocks, no wobbling legs, no pain in the thighs. In fact, because I was so used to pain in the practice, I thought I was doing it wrong!

Answer

I am proud of you. You have done everything correctly. You are a shining example that by following instructions respectfully from book or website, one can get good results practicing on his own.

Your last sentence above is interesting. This, in fact, was exactly what some students reported to me. Many of their friends, who learned from other teachers, considered a training session fruitful only when they suffered pain!

Question 6

But then as I gently focused on my dan tian and breathing counts, I felt a feeling like a cool wave of water washing over my stomach, then at my torso, then back at my dan tian. Still, no pain. Without looking at a clock, I felt that I lasted about 3 to 5 minutes or more. I counted way past my usual breath limits, still no pain.

Then, it became unbearable after a while so I went into "Flowing Breeze Swaying Willows". I focused at my dan tain and relaxed. Then I felt a cooling buzz at my hands and dan tain and head.

Then, a quick feeling of joy and that same buzz flashed all over me in a second!!!! I was so happy, I knew that I finally felt internal force!!! But I ruined the moment by overthinking about the feeling. I finally relaxed and enjoyed the flow, which felt intermittent. Afterwards, I felt like how I feel when first waking up from deep thought -- refreshed, calm yet alert. I walked around and rubbed my eyes.

Answer

Thank you for this beautiful and truthful description, and congratulations for your good result. Yes, you finally felt internal force.

This was a remarkable achievement. Many people, including some masters, have toiled for years, yet did not experience any internal force, some to an extent that they eventually thought that internal force was not real.

Yet, for you this was only the beginning. Once you have felt internal force in your training, you know you have been practicing correctly and are inspired to continue. More wonderful results will come. As you progress, you will also have clarity of mind besides a lot of energy, which will enable you to have better results no matter what you do!

One-Finger Shoot Zen

Sifu Andrew Barnett demonstrating “One-Finger Shooting Zen”.

Question 7

I feel grateful that you are helping me achieve this and teaching me such a wonderful style/art. I must do my best to someday see you in Malaysia or elsewhere, the only reason why I practice this way is because time, money and responsibilities do not permit me (as yet) to come to you and learn from you directly. Also, to fully honor, respect and cherish this gift you have given me, I must make sure to practice this everyday.

Answer

I shall be very glad to have a sincere student like you. While the benefits you are experiencing now are remarkable, the benefits you will get when you learn personally from me in my intensive course are quite incomparable. Meanwhile, please feel free to contact me or any of our certified instructors if you have any doubt or questions regarding your practice.

Question 8

I will refuse to practice One-Finger Shooting Zen now, in hopes that I may learn it from you directly. I fear of practcing the art and not having control over it, harming my loved ones. I've heard stories of masters unintentionally harming others with this technique. If my worries are unfounded, then sorry. But, I know that a technique like that needs supervision at first to practice it.

Answer

It is wise of you not to attempt One-Finger Shooting Zen on your own but that you will one day learn personally from me. Nevertheless, it is not as alarming as you thought when accidentally applied on others.

One-Finger Shooting Zen is a treasure of Shaolin Wahnam. Practicing it incorrectly at the beginning may spoil your progress in future. On the other hand, practicing it correctly can bring benefits that many people may think not possible.

LINKS

Overview of the Questions-Answers Series

Selected Reading

Courses and Classes