SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
SEPTEMBER 2011 PART 2

Hungry Tiger Catches Goat

The Shaolin Kungfu from Uncle righteousness' lineage in our school and the Shaolin Kungfu from Wong Fei Hoong's lineage are similar as both came from the same source, the Venerable Chee Seen of the southern Shaolin Temple on Nine-lotus Mountain in south China. The pattern above, "Hungry Tiger Catches Goat", from Uncle Righteousness' Tiger-Crane Set is the same as that from Wong Fei |Hoong's Tiger-Crane Set.

Question 1

Some days ago a cardiologist visited my children (6 and 7 years old) and diagnosed a minimum heart murmur. No other heart anomalies were detected. He also said there was nothing to worry or to do and that they could do sport. Really they practise swimming since three years and they have fun all along without any problems.

— Massimo, Italy

Answer

As the cardiologist has confirmed that there is nothing to worry about regarding the minimum heart murmur, you and your family should not worry about it.

It is understandable that you, or any person, would find the diagnosis disturbing. The cardiologist was very kind to assure you not to worry about it. He went further to assure you that your children can do sport.

Lesser doctors may just tell you about the heart murmur, and not give you any assurance not to worry about it. I believe that doctors are required by law to tell the truth, and if they don't do so, they may face the possibility of their patients sueing them later on. Not many people realize this difficulty doctors face, and they start to worry unnecessarily over situations when their organs may occasionally not working in perfect conditions.

It may be comforting to know that no human beings are perfect. Normally healthy persons may also have occasions when some of their organs are not functioning in perfect conditions. Our organs are extremely strong and resilient. In fact,most people are functioning at about 30 percent of their potential, but they are still not sick. This explains why chi kung or kungfu masters over 60 are healthier and have more vitality than many young people at 25. Their organs functioning at 80 percent potential are better than average 25-year olds functioning at 30 percent.

Hence, when a specialist doctor tells you not to worry, you should not seek worries unnecessarily. The following case will benefit many people. Dr Damian Kissey, my senior disciple, told me that once he was giving a radiographic diagnosis to a patient who suspected that he had cancer though he did not mention his fear to Dr Damian. Despite telling the patient many times that there was nothing wrong with him, he kept asking Dr Damian whether he was alright. With his rich experience, Dr Damian could read the patient's fear.

"Do you want to have cancer?" Dr Damian asked?

The patient was surprised.

But before the patient could say anything, Dr Damian told him authoritatively, "You don't have cancer. Now go back and enjoy your life.".

The patient beamed with joy. The first statement was tremendously comforting. The second statement was excellent advice.

Question 2

However I would like that they overcome this problem.

How can I do? Is "Lifting the Sky" useful for this purpose and, more importantly, do you think that, exceptionally, I can show it to them (I ask for permission)? Would it be necessary to make them perform a phase of chi flow?

P.S. With regard to me, I am well and feel good with my hip joint

Answer

The cardiologist was sincere and courageous to tell you that there was nothing to worry about or to do. According to conventional medicine at the present stage of development, there is nothing one can do to correct the minimum heart murmur. More significantly, it is not necessary. If it were necessary, the good doctor would have recommended it.

But from the chi kung perspective, you can do something beneficial. In the chi kung paradigm, the heart murmur or any disorder is due to energy blockage. Those unfamiliar with chi kung or traditional Chinese medical philosophy will find it ridiculous. Every disorder is due to energy blockage? In the same way, those unfamiliar with science will find it ridiculous that all things are made of atoms.

"Lifting the Sky" is an excellent exercise for your children. Yes, you can teach them, but you must not teach them at the level you learned from me. What you learned from me was at the mind level. For your children, teach them at the physical level, without worrying about mind and without worrying about energy.

"Without worrying" means just that. It does not mean the mind and the energy aspects are not present, but you don't worry about them and you don't make any special effort to teach them these aspects.

Ask yoiur children to be relax and not to think of anything. Teach them the form of "Lifting the Sky". Make it fun. This means even when they make some mistakes, unless the mistakes are serious like tensing themselves or asking questions when they are supposed to be not thinking of anything, ignore the mistakes. For example, if their arms are not as straight as you want them to be, or their hands are not at right angles to their arms, just let them be. Let them enjoy the exercise.

After about 30 repetitions, ask them to stand upright and be relaxed. If they have some chi flow, ask hem to enjoy the chi flow. If the flow is too vigorous, ask them to slow down. (You don't have to worry how vigorous is vigorous.) If they don't have any chi flow, it doesn't matter. Just keep still as comfortably as they can. Enjoy the chi flow or standing still, or anything in between, for about 5 to 10 minutes. Then complete the session. Practice once in the morning and once in the evening or at night.

Not only your children will overcome their heart murmur, they will also be healthy and smart. I am glad of your hip-joint recovery, though that is expected.

Lifting the Sky

"Lifting the Sky" demonstrated by Grandmaster Wong during an Intensive Chi Kung Course in Sabah

Question 3

The Lam Sai Wing lineage and your lineage have similarities, but your lineage makes more sense to me. The Lam Sai Wing lineage is more physical and external, yours is more internal.

— Csaba, Canada

Answer

Wong Fei Hoong and Lam Sai Weng were great Shaolin masters.

What they taught was similar to what I learned from my sifu, Uncle Righteousness, because they all traced back to the same source, i.e. the secret Shaolin Temple on the Nine-Lotus Mountain in Fujian Province of south China.

Wong Fei Hoong was Lam Sai Weng's sifu. Wong Fei Hoong's sifu was his father, Wong Kai Ying. Wong Kai Ying's sifu was Luk Ah Choy.

Uncle Righteousness' sifu was Ng Yew Loong. Ng Yew Loong's sifu was Chan Fook. Chan Fook's sifu was the Venerable Harng Yein.

The Venerable Harng Yein was the senior classmate of Luk Ah Choy. Both learned from the Venerable Chee Seen, the abbot of the secret southern Shaolin Temple.

Hence, the lineages are as follows:

Chee Seen -> Luk Ah Choy -> Wong Kai Ying -> Wong Fei Hoong -> Lam Sai Weng

Chee Seen -> Harng Yin -> Chan Fook -> Ng Yew Loong -> Uncle Righteousness

The Shaolin Kungfu I learned from Uncle Righteousness was also quite physical, similar to what practitioners from Lam Sai Weng's lineage practice. The internal aspect, known as noi kung (or nei kung in Mandarin), was taught only to inner chamber disciples.

In Lam Sai Weng's lineage, the main approach to internal force is the Iron-Wire Set. In Uncle Righteousness' lineage it was the Triple-Stretch Set.

Nevertheless, as you have rightly mentioned, the Shaolin Kungfu we practice in Shaolin Wahnam today, including the legacy passed down from Uncle Righteousness, is more internal. Although I had heard of noi kung or internal art in my early kungfu days, it took me about 15 years before I could really understand and experience what internal art was, whereas a typical Shaolin Wahnam student today would have direct experience of internal art within a year at the most! Some Shaolin Wahnam students even experience internal force on the very first day. This is ridiculous but true.

It is pertinent to add that I was a dedicated as well as fast student, and I was one of Uncle Righteousness' very few inner-chamber disciples. If it took me 15 years to have internal force, it would take other Shaolin or Hoong Ka practitioners if they were lucky enough to be inner- chamber disciples of masters who taught internal force, a similar length of time, but probably longer, to have internal force too. Not many practitioners were as lucky, and some would have started teaching. Hence, it is understandable why most Shaolin or Hoong Ka practitioners today do not have internal force, though internal force is definitely found in this school.

Then, why is it that Shaolin Wahnam students can have internal force within a year, or even in one day? There were many events leading to this incredible and unprecedented situation, but I shall very briefly sum them up as follows.

Much of our internal force training in Shaolin Wahnam came from what I learned from another of my sifus, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, whose lineage is also traced back to the southern Shaolin Temple, not the secret southern Shaolin Temple on the Nine-Lotus Mountain but the open one at the city of Quanzhou also in Fujian Province of south China. Sifu Ho Fatt Nam's lineage was as follows:

The Venerable Jiang Nan -> Yang Fatt Khun -> Ho Fatt Nam.

The Venerable Jiang Nan and the Venerable Chee Seen were classmates at the open southern Shaolin Temple at Quanzhou in Fujian Province of China.

Not many people know that there were actually two southern Shaolin Temples. Some know that the Shaolin Temple was burnt twice during the Qing Dynasty, but they thought that the first burning was at the northern Shaolin Temple in Henan. This was incorrect. The northern Shaolin Temple remained throughout the Qing Dynasty. It was burnt in 1928, 17 years after the Republicans had overthrown the Qing. Its burning was by rival warlords using modern weapons, and had nothing to do with kungfu.

Sifu Ho Fatt Nam's main approach to internal force training was One-Finger Shooting Zen. Unlike most other masters who taught only the external forms of the internal force training method, but not the internal aspects, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam taught both the forms and the internal aspects, not just to inner-chamber disciples but to all students right at the beginning of their kungfu career.

Still it took me many months practicing One-Finger Shooting Zen before I could experience internal force. But over many years of my teaching, I have improved the methodology of internal force tremendously. Students who attend my intensive courses, for example, can experience internal force on the very first day of the courses! It is understandable if people do not believe this.

How is it that I could improve my teaching methodology so unbelievably? One main reason is that I have a turn-over of many classes a year. Most teachers teach in a regular manner, with the same class learning from him the whole year, or at the most two or three classes. I have more than a hundred classes a year! Nowadays I don't teach regular classes. My classes, each one complete by itself, now take only a few days. In other words, most teachers teach the same method only once with his class, but I teach the same method many times with many classes. This gives me a lot of opportunity to improve my teaching methodology.

Question 4

I was on a search for what I knew was Hoong Ka, but it wasn't really. You teach real Hoong Ka, real Tiger Crane, and of course other styles as well.

Answer

What you have practiced is Hoong Ka. The forms are genuine, but the essence is missing. What is the essence? It is internal force and combat application.

This is the same with most kungfu practitioners of all styles today. Their external forms are genuine. Their lineages are genuine. But they cannot use their forms for sparring, and they do not have internal force. For sparring they use kick-boxing, for force training they use weights. They comfortably forget, or dare not accept that past masters in their lineage used kungfu forms for fighting, and used kungfu methods to train internal force.

They may not realize it but some are actually insulting the past masters in their own lineage when they say that kungfu cannot be used for combat or internal force is not real. They implied that their past masters were liars or fools.

Shaolin Kungfu

Dr Damian and Grandmaster Wong, like kungfu practitioners in the past, use stances and kungfu pattertns - not kickboxing - in sparring

Question 5

Now, I don't know what to say since I am so used to physical activity and the Hoong Kuen I practiced was more physical. The question is whether I want to pursue something on the next level, something of a higher level.

Being an open minded individual, my answer is to try going to a few classes and start learning to see if I am capable of learning this art, as well as enjoying it as I have enjoyed the Lam Sai Wing Hoong Kuen in the past.

Answer

What you have learnt is not wasted. All you need to do is to add the essence, i.e. combat application and internal force.

Attending my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course is ideal. It is a comprehensive as well as in-depth course that ranges from fundamental to masters' levels. And you complete the course in only 5 days!

Many people may think I am talking non-sense. They ask how much one could learn in 5 days when they have spent years, and have learnt nothing except beautiful external forms, and punching and kicking one another randomly.

You will be surprised at what my students achieve in just 5 days at the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course. They develop internal force on the very first day, and by the end of the course they can effectively use kungfu for free sparring. These two points alone are enough to justify my claim that the course brings students to masters' level.

Please note that the course does not turn students into masters in 5 days. They still have to practice for a long time to become masters. But in 5 days the students are able to perform what kungfu masters should be able to do but many actually can't. Not many masters today have internal force, and fewer still can use their kungfu for free sparring.

Yet combat application and internal force, while essential in any genuine kungfu training, are not the results we value most in my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course. What we value more is that the course makes our students better persons in all their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects. As a result of having attended the course, they will do better in whatever they do, in work and in play.

What we value most, for those who are lucky to have the experience, is a spiritual awakening. Their spirit literally expands into the Cosmos. They feel joy, inner peace, and a tremendous sense of freedom. It is a life-changing experience.

Those whose exposure to kungfu is only beautiful forms for demonstration or pinching and kicking one another using kick-boxing may attack us as liars, as they could not believe what I have said can be true. What these skeptics believe or not believe is their business, and we in Shaolin Wahnam are not going to waste our time on them. But for those sincere in wanting to learn genuine kungfu, and are humble enough to learn, Confucius' advice is pertinent here. "Rather be a fool for a few days than a fool for life." If they attend my course and find my claims untrue, they are fools for a few days. If what I have said it true and they miss the opportunity, they are fools for life.

Question 6

I was very excited at first about Southern Siu Lam. Now, because I've only known a lower level of it, I don't know what to think? But, don't get me wrong, Wong Sifu. I still love Southern Style Kung Fu. I am just overwhelmed about what it really is, and to see it in action. I am literally flabbergasted.

Not only I am speechless and overwhelmed, but I am so amazed that you learned from the lineage of Southern Siu Lam. Even in your videos you answer a lot of questions that before were like gaps missing. And they make sense. It seems unbelievable, but the fact is that you are here, you exist, you practice it, and it works. This is what satisfies this feeling of disbelief, your very existence.

Answer

Thank you for your kind words.

A main reason why I established Shaolin Wahnam was my real concern that seeing their rapid degradation, the greatness and wonderful benefits of genuine kungfu and chi kung would be lost to posterity within two generations. There was a real possibility that in future kungfu practitioners would have no internal force and would be unable to use kungfu patterns for combat, and chi kung practitioners would not believe in chi!

But now I know that won't happen. I am very proud of my students. If I were to retire tomorrow, my students would pass on the greatness and wonderful benefits of genuine kungfu and chi kung to posterity irrespective of race, culture and religion.

Although our school has the widest spread of practitioners in the whole of kungfu and chi kung history -- we have students in all the six continents -- we are still the rare minority who develop internal force and use kungfu forms for combat, and who benefit from energy flow -- like kungfu and chi kung practitioners did in the past. The overwhelming majority of kungfu practitioners the world over use muscular strength and kick-boxing, and the overwhelming majority of chi kung practitioners do not know what energy flow is.

But the seed of genuine kungfu and chi kung has been sown in Shaolin Wahnam. These wonderful arts will not be lost to posterity.

I would like to tell you one of the many wonderful benefits of chi kung which we share with the world. I just returned home after conducting a three-day personalized chi kung course. On the first day an elderly gentleman attended my course in a wheel-chair, accompanied by his wife. The chi kung healing was so effective that on the second day he could run! Then, acting on my advice, he and his wife went to town for shopping -- of course without the wheel-chair.

His wife also attended my personalized chi kung course a few years ago. She suffered from Parkinson's Disease. After the course the so-called incurable Parkinson's Disease was gone. Wouldn't it be a great pity if such wonderful benefits were lost to posterity?

internal force training

"Ta-chong", or force training on stance, was an important method used by past masters to trainin internal force. Heew Grandmaster Wong demonstrates a "ta-chong" technique from Uncle Righteousness' Triple-Stretvh Set

Question 7

I have contacted one of your instructors here in Canada. He is very knowledgeable. He strongly emphasizes health and chi and of course, self defense. We've discussed quite a bit about the history of Nam Siulam. Wong Fei Hong's Hoong Ka and your Hoong Ka which is the original.

Your videos and your instructor here educate me so much as to what Hoong Ka really is. Hoong Ka is Nam Siulam. As it was passed down to various lineages styles were added and taken away. Some capitalized on only one style while others capitalized on the idea that the more you know, the more you have in your arsenal.

Your history and your Hoong Ka fill in all the gaps for all of the Southern Styles that I have ever encountered. When I watch my friend who is a sifu of Choy Li Fut, I can see that he starts of with pretty much the same form as the Wong Fei Hong Hoong Ka and the original Hoong Ka which you practice.

I am that much more amazed when I watch practitioners of other Southern Styles after watching your videos on the original Nam Siulam Hoong Ka.

Answer

You are perfectly correct in your observation. Hoong Ka is Nam Siulam or Southern Shaolin. It was passed down without any conscious change. What Hoong Hei Khoon, Luk Ah Choy and the Venerable Harng Yin passed down to posterity was what they learned from their sifu, the Venerable Chee Seen

As Nam Siulam or Southern Shaolin was passed down to various lineages, new styles developed from it. Some focus on certain aspects of Southern Shaolin, like Wing Choon focusing on short, fast strikes, whereas others combine a few styles, like Choy-Li-Fatt combining Choy Ka, Li Ka and Lohan Kungfu.

It is remarkable that you can see the truth, and take appropriate action. Congratulations for your clear-sightedness and courage.

Shockingly, not many kungfu practitioners can do this. They lack your clear-sightedness and courage.

Most kungfu practitioners of any styles, perhaps with the exception of Taijiquan which I shall explain presently, know what kungfu is. They know, for example, that past masters of their own lineage used kungfu patterns for fighting and had internal force.

Hoong Ka practitioners, for example, have seen movies of how Wong Fei Hoong and Lam Sai Weng fought. They used Hoong Ka patterns elegantly and effectively. There are also books still in extant describing how past masters used kungfu patterns for combat.

Movies and books also show how past masters developed internal force. The most important method was stance training. They did not use weight-lifting, push-ups and rope-skipping. They were elegant-looking, not muscle-bound.

Yet, most of these modern practitioners do not know how to apply their kungfu patterns for combat. They bounce about like Boxers and spar like Kick-Boxers. They use weight-lifting, push-ups and rope-skipping to train muscular strength, and many seem to be very proud of their big muscles.

Taijiquan is kungfu, which is the Chinese way of calling a martial art. Many people today, especially in the West, do not realize this fact. They mistakenly think that Taijiquan is a form of gentle physical exercise. But all Taijiquan movies and books clearly show past Taijiquan masters had internal force and used Taijiquan patterns for combat.

It is only logical that if one uses Kick-Boxing for sparring, and weight-lifting for force training, he is not practicing what past masters in his own lineage did. I beleive many such practitioners can see the truth, but they lack the courage to do something about it.

Worse, these practitioners are not getting the benefits their practice is purported to give them. In fact many of them are getting more unhealthy the more they train, and they cannot defend themselves, though some may be good at punching and kicking others.

It is obvious to any casual observer who is honest with himself that we not only practice what past kungfu masters did, but also we enjoy the benefits our practice is meant to give. Not only we have internal force and use kungfu for combat, but also we are relaxed, happy, healthy and full of vitality.

An important aim of our school is to preserve kungfu -- all kungfu, not just the styles we practice. We do not tell practitioners of other styles or schools to leave their styles or schools to join us. Instead we tell them that they can learn from us whatever is useful, and return to teach it to their own styles or schools. They can benefit much from our excellent methodology of combat application and internal force training -- using the techniques of their own styles or school. We even say that they don't have to mention they have learnt from us. We have been ridiculously generous.

But not many people appreciate this unprecedented generosity. As I have more courses to teach than time to teach them, I am not going to waste time on people who do not appreciate this opportunity, and focus on students who are already in our school.

Question 8

With busy schedules in these modern times, I am attempting to pursue your original Nam Siulam Hoong Ka from your instructor here. Your instructor is a very nice person. He answered all my questions. Indeed, this is very exciting. I certainly hope that this is the gap in my martial art life that Nam Siulam will fill.

Answer

I am glad you are learning from one of our certified instructors. Our instructors are well trained not only in kungfu teaching and performance but also in kungfu history and philosophy. I am sure you will find your training rewarding and enjoyable.

When you have learned the basics, you should attend my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course in Malaysia to deepen what you have learned. You can then return home to practice under the supervision of your instructor. Our regular classes and intensive courses complement each other.

An important tenet of our school is not to accept any teaching on faith alone or on the reputation of the teacher. We encourage our students to assess the teaching based on their understanding and experience.

Hence, questions like "How do I know I have internal force?" or "How do I know I am a better person physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually?" do not arise in our students because they know from direct experience. In the same way, when you are holding an apple, you won't ask, "How do I know I am holding an apple?" You know from direct experience.

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