SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
MAY 2011 PART 3

Shaolin Kung Fu

Practicing kungfu demands much time and effort, but brings a lot of benefits if practiced orrectly

Question 1

If you could lend me some of you wisdom and help Id be greatly in your debt, and I thank you for you time and efforts.

— Chris, USA

Answer

I am always happy to help those who sincerely seek advice on kungfu or chi kung.

My advice is always given honestly and generously, but often it is not what the seekers want to hear. Some seekers already have their own answers. They only hope the advice they seek confirm what they already have in mind. This is not wise.

Wise seekers should first of all make sure that the persons to whom they seek advice are experts in their fields. The seekers should be polite and humble in their quest for advice. Yet, they should not accept the advice solely based on the reputation of the advisers; they should acess the advice to the best of their understanding and experience.

For example, if a lot of people following the same advice do not get the desired result, it is unwise to follow the advice even if it is given by someone ackowledged by the public as an expert. Surprisingly it may be, such a situation is not uncommon. It is also wise to have a second, and even a third opppinon from other experts, especially when the advice concerns the seekers' lives.

Question 2

I've been researching myself and training without help from instructors. I do have weights and some equipment, and I have taken a vow of the life time commitment to kungfu.

Answer

Do you realize that there are two points here where you have not acted wisely?

One, you wish to commit yourself to something for life, yet you do so based on your own limited knowledgte and experience, without first learning from some experts. Isn't this unwise?

Two, to be committed to something means you are going to stick to it through thick and thin. You had practiced kungfu for only 4 1/2 month on your own without proper instruction, yet you took a vow of life time commitment to kungfu. Is't this unwise too?

Do not commit yourself to anything yet until and unless you are sure you can do it correctly and happily, and that your effort will bring benefit to you and other people.

Wahnam Taijiquan

Taijiquan is kungfu

Question 3

Please, Sir, I ask for your direction, wisdom, and any advice you can give me to help me in my life long journey in kungfu and wushu. I have been a student for 4 ½ months and I've improved vastly since I started and I want to keep going.

Answer

I would recommend that you learn from one of our certified Shaolin or Taijiquan instructor Please see our List of Certified Instructors . Then attend my my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course or Intensive Taijiquan Course . Please note that Taijiquan is kungfu.

If it is not feasible to learn from one of our certified instructors, learn some kungfu forms from a kungfu (including Taiji) or wushu instructor in your area, then attend my intensive course.

If this is still not feasible, then learn from one of my kungfu books and videos. Learn the forms as best as you comfortably can. When you attend my intensive Shaolin or Taijiquan course, I shall correct your mistakes. You should then focus on learning kungfu skills from my course.

You would have to make some effort, but this is the least you could do if you want to commit yourself to kungfu for life.

If you think you can made vast improvement on your own in just a few months, you have no idea how vast and deep kungfu is.

Question 4

I want to be the best I can be and always pushing to make myself better. Can you please help me. I'm a 23 year old central Illinois resident trying to make good on my lack of resources. Although I'm limited I have not been discouraged at all. It has made me more ambitious and more eager to learn.

Answer

It is always commendable to be the best you can in whatever you do. This is one of our cherished principles.

But you should not push yourself. You should enjoy whatever you want to do for a lifetime. If you don't enjoy doing it, choose something else. This doesn't mean you don't have to put in time and hard work. Doing anything worthy enough to be a lifetime pursue certainly involves a lot of time and hard work, but you should enjoy doing it.

Your country is in a land of freedom and opportunities. You are free to do whatever you like to do, within the limits of moral and legal laws, and you have a lot of opportunities to do so. Not many people in other parts of the world have such freedom and opportunities. But you still have to put in time and effort. You can't become a master of kungfu or any discipline just by wishing.

Horse-Riding Stance

Horse-Riding Stance

Question 5

What is the best way to develop force? For the past week I have been trying to improve my horse stance and I am now up to 4 minutes but it is still really hard past the 2 minute mark.

— Dan, USA

Answer

Different people have their different ways of force development that they consider the best.

Force may be classified into two main types -- external and internal.

Two main ways to develop external force is to hit a sand bag, and to strike your arms at wooden poles.

The most common way to develop internal force is stance training, though many people who practice stance training may not know that it was meant to develop intenral force. They do so because they have been told by their teachers, and mostly they practice wrongly!

Had the practice been correct, there would not be so mnay people today, including masters, who do not believe in internal force. In other words, had stance training been practiced correctly, many people would have internal force, and whether internal force is real or not will no longer be a question.

Th most important stance in stance training is the Horse-Riding Stance. In Taijiquan today, it is the Three-Circle Stance. Considering past masters who had internal force as the criterion, the best method of force training is stance training, especially the Horse-Riding Stance. It is called "zhan zhuang" in Mandarin , or "chiat ma" in Cantonese.

Like most people, it is likely that you have practiced your Horse Stance wrong. How do I know? It is simple. If you had been practicing it correctly and can remain at it for 4 minutes, you would have developed a lot of internal force. You would not have asked me the questions you do.

There are only two main steps in stance training.

  1. Get the form correct.
  2. Relax, relax and relax.

So, if you have practiced wrongly, you have made one or both of the following mistakes:

  1. Your form is wrong, like you lean forward or backward instead of being upright.
  2. You aare not relaxed, like you are mentally stressful, intellectualizing, or physically tensed.

If stance training is so simple -- there are only two steps -- why have so many people practiced wrongly. It is simple, but not necessarily easily. Many people, for example, do not know how to get the form correct, and most people cannot relax. Hence, it is best to learn stance training from a competent teacher who himself has successfully employed it to develop internal force, and who is willing to teach you.

Question 6

I learn some breathing techniques to improve force and one of them is performed on a horse stance. Would it be best if I just focus on my horse stance for now or should I incorporate the breathing techniques too?

Answer

If you look at my instructions on stance training above, there is no mention of breathing. This means you need not worry about breathing. Just let your breathing be spontaneous.

There is also no mention about whether you should wear a blue shirt or a green one, eat fish for dinner or drink tea before going to bed. These means you need not worry about these things and any things not mentioned while practicing your stance training.

Just get your from right, and relax, relax and relax. As said earlier, it i not easy to get these two instructions correct. So learn from a competent teacher.

Three-Circle Stance

Three-Circle Stance

Question 7

I was just looking over the methods for Iron Palm training in Sifu Wong's book "The Complete Book of Shaolin" and I was wondering if this method could be used while punching a sand bag, not only to strengthen the knuckles but also in time greatly increase the force of the punches the same way that it increases the striking power of the palm in Iron Palm.

Answer

When you take Jane out for a date, use her name. Call her Jane, don't call her Jill.

When you take Jill out for a date, use her name. Call her Jill, don't call her Jane.

Similarly, when you train Iron Palm, use Iron Palm training method, not a method for punching sand bags.

When you train punching a sand bag, use sand bag punching method, not a method for Iron Palm.

Question 8

Is it possible to learn from Sifu Wong Kiew Kit privately if I go to him. I have a hearing disability that makes hearing in groups difficult.

— Joe, UK

Answer

Yes, you may learn privately from me in a Personalized Course. It takes three days and the training sessions are from 8 to 10 in the morning and 5 to 7 in the evening each day. The fee is 5000 euros. Please make such private arrangement with my secretary at shaolin@pd.jaring.my .

I do not normally offer personalized courses, because they are usually not necessary. Such courses are necessary only to people who need special teaching, like those who cannot stand upright on their own. In this connection, I am proud to say that I have helped people who initially could not stand on their own to be able to walk and run immediately after the course. But in your case, you do not need such a course.

You can learn from me in an Intensive Chi Kung Course . It also takes three days and the training sessions are also from 8 to 10 in the morning and 5 to 7 (or 4 to 6 when the course is held in Sabah) in the evening each day. The fee is 1000 euros. But you will not be learning in private. The teaching is to a group. Many people who suffered from so-called incurable diseases have overcome their health problems after practicing on their own for about six to nine months after the course. I offer such courses about twice a year. Please check my website for the dates.

You also can learn from me at my regional courses in many parts of the world. These regional courses are of different topcis of different levels, ranging from the most fundamental "Generating Energy Flow" to advanced chi kung like "Sinew Metamorphosis". If you have not learnt from me or any of our certified instructors before, you should take "Generating Energy Flow".

Understandably, those who have learnt from other schools before may think that "Generating Energy Flow" is too low a level for them. This is a big mistake. Not only our "Generating Energy Flow" is a requirement for taking other more advanced courses, many have found "Generating Energy Flow" by itself is of a much higher level than they could imagine even though they have practice chi kung elsewhere before for many years. Information about my regional courses can be found at my website .

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