SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
AUGUST 2011 PART 3
In these months I explored the Whanam Shaolin website and read some instructive pages. I remain amazed and fascinated from the variety of arts which can be learned. Thus the idea that I would like to deepen my knowledge of chi kung (not only Tai Chi) took shape quite definitively.
— Massimo, Italy
Many students and even instructors in our school are amazed at not only the wide variety of arts we offer but also the depth of benefits we achieve with these arts. Some are concerned whether they could cope with this wide range of arts and high level of attainment.
A brief explanation of the philosophy and history of our school will make this clear. Our school, Shaolin Wahnam, was founded at a time when kungfu and chi kung were deteriorating to a ridiculous level where most kungfu practitioners could not use their art for combat and chi kung practitioners had no experience of chi! Hence, a main aim of our school is to preserve and pass on to posterity the secret methodologies and wonderful benefits of these great arts.
We started modestly with what we call the fundamental stage. In Shaolin Kungfu and Wahnam Taijiquan this fundamental stage is divided into 12 levels, where we focus on basics, combat application, internal force and basic weapons. In chi kung, we focus on good health, vitality and longevity using patterns from the Eighteen Lohan Hands to generate energy flow and perform self-manifested chi movement.
But because kungfu and chi kung have been reduced to such a ridiculous level where their essence is lost, even our fundamental stage appears very advanced to many people. For example, to those who have never been exposed to the depth of kungfu and chi kung, when we use kungfu patterns to overcome complicated combat situations, develop internal force from stance training, or generate energy flow to overcome so-called incurable illness, many people were amazed. Indeed, some course organizers suggested that we labelled these fundamental courses as masters' courses!
We also faced criticism from sceptics who just did not believe in internal force or such diseases like cancer and diabetes can be overcome, despite first hand testimonies from students who have experienced these benefits. Our policy is not to bother with these sceptics; whether they believe in our attainment or not is their business, and we continue to share our secrets with those who sincerely want to learn from us, irrespective of their race, culture or religion.
We have by now generally covered our fundamental stage, and have moved to our intermediate stage. At this intermediate stage we pass on the treasures of past masters, crystallized in classical sets like Tiger-Crane, Dragon Form, Five Animals, Pa-Kua, Tantui, Eagle Claw, Praying Mantis, Siu Lin Tou, Iron-Wire, Triple-Stretch and Flower Set. In chi kung, we move on to peak performance in daily life and spiritual cultivation, with courses like Cosmic Shower, Cosmic Breathing and Merging with the Cosmos, using techniques from Sinew Metamorphosis and the Small Universe.
A few of our advanced practitioners and instructors have moved on to the advanced stage. Here kungfu practitioners specialize on advanced arts like Golden Bell, chin-na, dim mark and chi kung practitioners on chi kung healing and Big Universe.
Our wide spectrum of arts may bewilder some of our students, especially those practicing Shaolin Kungfu and Wahnam Taijiquan, and they may be anxious that they could not learn all these arts. Actually they need not learn all the arts taught in the school. They can just select those arts that suit their needs and aspirations.
Then, why do we teach so many arts? There are two main reasons. It is an important aim of our school to preserve and pass on these great arts to posterity. We provide a wide range for our students with different needs and aspirations to choose from.
Many of our chi kung students learn from us because they want to overcome their illness, which conventional medicine and other therapies could not overcome. They realize their objective by practicing generating energy flow and self-manifested chi movement which are taught at our fundamental stage. Those who wish to have vitality to enjoy their daily work and play, and to attain spiritual fulfilment progress to our intermediate and advanced stages.
Our kungfu students learn from us because they want to learn genuine Shaolin Kungfu or Taijiquan. Many are satisfied when they can apply kungfu patterns for combat, develop internal force and experience spiritual joys, which they can obtain even at our fundamental stage. Those who wish to progress further and be part of the process in preserving and passing on great kungfu to posterity can move on to the intermediate and advanced stages where they learn classical sets and specialized arts.
Editorial Note : Massimo's other questions can be found in the August 2011 Part 2 issue.
The Eighteen Lohan exercises (of which I know the two you taught at Finale Ligure), Golden Bridge, Iron Wire, and One-Finger Shooting Zen all appear wonderful to me.
The Eighteen Lohan Hands, first taught by the great Bodhidharma at the Shaolin Temple more than 1500 years ago, form the basics of our chi kung training.
Golden Bridge and One-Finger Shooting Zen, though advanced arts by themselves, are taught at the fundamental stage of our Shaolin training. They are our main methods in developing internal force, mental clarity and spiritual fulfilment.
Iron Wire is one of the classical kungfu sets at our intermediate stage. It represents some excellent methods to develop internal force passed down by past masters.
Arts at the fundamental stage are most important. All students learn and practice them to build a solid foundation for future development.
Arts at our intermediate stage are selective. Students select arts that they like from a wide range of alternatives. For example, instead of selecting Iron-Wire for internal force training, they may select Siu Lin Tou or Triple-Stretch.
Golden Bridge and Iron Wire are integral to Kung Fu practise.
Golden Bridge and Iron-Wire are great arts, but they are not integral to kungfu practice. In other words, one can attain a very high level of kungfu without practicing Golden Bridge and Iron-Wire.
Golden Bridge is at the fundamental stage of our Shaolin training programme. This means all our Shaolin students practice Golden Bridge. Our Taijiquan students may practice Golden Bridge if they want, but it is not necessary to do so. Instead, they practice Three-Circle Stance, which is found at the fundamental stage of our Taijiquan training programme.
Iron-Wire is a selective art at the intermediate stage of our Shaolin training programme. There are many other alternatives. This means that Shaolin students can select Iron-Wire if they want to, or they can select other arts. Those who practice Tantui or Praying Mantis, for example, may select the Eighteen-Lohan Art (which is different from the Eighteen Lohan Hands).
Can Golden Bridge and Iron Wire be useful also to other people?
Golden Bridge and Iron-Wire are useful to other people, including Taijiquan practitioners and those who do not practice any martial art. Of course, they must be practiced correctly. Unfortunately, many people today do not practice Golden Bridge and Iron-Wire correctly, and this may bring harmful side-effects.
Both Golden Bridge and Iron-Wire are excellent for developing internal force and mental clarity. With more internal force and mental clarity, no matter what we do, especially in our daily life, we can do better. This is a very important point in our teaching. We do not practice any kungfu or chi kung exercise for the purposes of kungfu or chi kung only. The kungfu or chi kung exercise we practice should enrich our daily life.
There are other exercises besides Golden Bridge and Iron-Wire that also develop internal force and mental clarity. There are many alternatives in our school. Our students, with the guidance of our instructors, choose the best exercises according to their individual needs, aspirations and other factors.
For example, chi kung students who are not interested in kungfu may choose "Flicking Fingers", also known as "Golden Dragon Tapping on Ground", from Sinew Metamorphosis instead. It is less demanding, and needs less time and effort than Golden Bridge and Iron-Wire, but also produces a lot of internal force and mental clarity.
Can I hope to learn them in the future? Usually at which practise level can a student approach these arts?
Yes, as a Shaolin Wahnam student you have the opportunity to do so when you are ready. You also have a wide range of alternatives to choose from, if you like.
Golden Bridge is taught to all Shaolin students at the fundamental stage, about 3 months after they start learning from us. Iron-Wire is taught at the intermediate stage. Depending on one's progress, it can be between 1 to 3 years after his first Shaolin lesson.
I suppose they must be learned and practised one at a time.
The answer is yes and no, depending on various factors.
In our school a student learns Golden Bridge first, and Iron-Wire much later. But when he has learnt them, he may practice them at the same time period if he wishes.
This is the procedure we use in our school because we find it cost-effective. But other people may use different procedures. They may learn Iron-Wire first, then Golden Bridge. Or they may learn both together, or just any one without the other.
My aunt is having stomach cancer (3rd stage). She would like to overcome her cancer by learning chi kung from Grandmaster Wong. Does she need to attend a personalized course?
— Lim, Malaysia
No, it is not necessary to attend a Personalized Course. She just needs to attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course. If she practices what she will learn from me three times a day, once in the morning,, once in the evening, and once at night, she will have a good chance to recover good health.
In fact, she does not need to practice all the exercises taught in the course. She needs only to focus on those exercises for generating energy flow. Other more advanced exercises taught in the course like massaging internal organs, building internal force and enjoying a cosmic shower, can be left aside for the time being, to be taken up again after she has recovered. But if she wants to practice them too, that is fine.
From the chi kung perspective, cancer is due to energy blockage. A simple, direct and effective way to overcome cancer is to clear the energy blockage. Generating energy flow, which will be taught in the Intensive Chi Kung Course, is an excellent way to do so. Many of my students have overcome cancer in this way.
Can my aunt learn chi kung with you when she is doing chemotherapy?
Yes, she can.
The chi flow as a result of her chi kung practice will reduce or even eliminate the harmful side-effects of chemotherapy. The chi flow will of course also clear her energy blockage and help her to regain good health.
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