SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
JUNE 2012 PART 3
Can Sifu kindly explain more about heart to heart transmission in our Shaolin Wahnam tradition?
— Sifu Zhang Wuji, Singapore
It is often said that the highest arts are transmitted from heart to heart. Not many people really understand what it means. Many more don't believe this is true. But we in Shaolin Wahnam have a lot of experiences in heart to heart transmission. That is a main reason why we have such fantastic results in a very short time.
The meaning of heart to heart transmission is straight-forward; there is no play of words. But like other terms such as chi flow, focused at the dan tian, and spiritual expansion, many people do not know what it really means though they know all the words because they do not have the direct experience.
On the other hand, those who have direct experience, like our students, may not be able to articulate what the experience is like because they do not understand the mechanics behind their experience and also because they lack the necessary vocabulary. In other words, although they benefit from heart to heart transmission, they do not know what happens in a heart to heart transmission. They also lack the vocabulary to describe the transmission.
What is transmitted from heart to heart may be techniques, tactics, strategies, skills or intuitive understanding. The transmission may operate at different levels.
Let us take an example of a transmission of a skill from heart to heart at the lowest level. Suppose a lady student has bruises in her arms after applying "Single Tiger" on a "Black Tiger" of a powerful sparring partner while practicing Combat Sequence 1. You wish to transmit to her the skill of using minimum force against maximum strength.
If you just tell her, or instruct her, or demonstrate to her, she is unlikely to have this skill no matter how many times and for how long you do so. Of course, it will be worse if she attempts to learn this skill from books or videos. But she can have this skill within a few minutes if you transmit it to her from heart to heart.
Here is how to do it. First you explain to her that her wrists are bruised because she knocks her wrists against her opponent's stronger wrists. You tell her that she can avoid the bruising if her arm "leans on" instead of "knocks against" an opponent's arm. Also, she can use minimum force, instead of brutal strength.
You asks her to punch you with a "Black Tiger!, and you respond with a "Single Tiger" showing her the mistake she made by knocking against an opponent's arm. Then she punches you a second time, and your respond again with a "Single Tiger", but this time showing her the skill of leaning on instead of knocking against her punching arm.
Ask her to tell you the difference she feels. She would tell you that in the first case she felt your wrist knocking hard on her wrist, whereas in the second case your arm gently touched hers. You would enlighten her further by explaining to her that the defence lies in the legs, where you withdraw into a False-Leg Stance, and not in your hands where most people mistakenly think that your arm wards of her attack.
Next, you reverse roles. Correct her subtle mistakes like the timing of her response, where she places her arm, the amount of force to use, and the angle of the arc in the leaning movement.
Many people will accuse us for being boastful and become angry at us when we say our students can gain in six months what others may not in three years. This is a good example. A smart student may acquire the skill, not merely learn it, in 5 minutes. An average student may take at the most half an hour, whereas other students will keep on knocking their wrists against their opponents' arms after many years of training.
Why do we call this heart to heart transmission? Isn't it a demonstration and imitation of skills? Outwardly, it may appear like you demonstrate to your student what to do, and she imitates your action. But if you just demonstrate and she just imitates, you may carry on for months and yet she does not acquire the skill.
The demonstration and imitation is just a part of the learning process. The initial teaching starts from your heart, and the acquiring of the skill permanently remains in her heart. You explain to her and lead her step by step in a heart-felt way, and she absorbs your teaching in her heart, manifesting only outwardly in correct forms.
This is an example of a heart to heart transmission at the lowest, relatively physical level. Much of the heart to heart transmission is at a higher, mental level.
Let us take another example of chi flow. Why are our students able to generate a chi flow in a day, or at the most a month, whereas other people may practice for years to no avail. A main reason, of course, is heart to heart transmission. "Heart" in classical Chinese often means "mind" in modern English.
First we lead our students into a chi kung state of mind. We as teachers also enter a chi kung state of mind. Then, when we give instructions for them to generate a chi flow, it is not from our mouth to their ears, but from our mind to their mind, or from heart to heart.
We may give instructions that come out of our mouth, but they originate from our heart. Our students may listen to our instructions through their ears, but they enter their heart.
Aren't instructions of other teachers also originated from their heart? Don't instructions heard by other students through their ears also enter their heart?
No, not in the context of internal arts. Many teachers do not really mean what they say when they ask their students to be relaxed. They may give such an instructor but they rarely take the trouble to check that their students are relaxed. Most of them do not even give this essential instruction.
On the other hand, their students do not really take the instructions into their heart. The instruction to be relaxed, if it is ever given, may enter one ear and go out from the other. Nether the teacher nor the students really follow the instruction to be relaxed.
At very high level of heart to heart transmission, verbalization may not even be necessary. The master transmits his teaching from his mind to the mind of the students.
Some people may think this is crazy, but mind to mind communication is not uncommon in our school, even amongst our students. You probably have had such an experience too. When sparring with an opponent, sometimes you know what he is going to do before he actually does it. You have picked up his thoughts, which precedes his action.
This is not the same as a master transmitting a lesson to his students from mind to mind, or heart to heart, but it gives an example of mind to mind communication. Heart to heart transmission is another form of mind to mind communication. Needless to say, when we have such powers, we must be very careful never to abuse it.
In all other courses taught by Sifu, we are told to learn the form of the set as best as we can, and concentrate on the skills at the course. But Markus has told me that in the case of the Iron Wire set, even learning the form is not encouraged.
Markus is right, In fact he is acting on my advice.
The Iron-Wire Set is different from the other kungfu sets where I asked students to learn the set before the course. Iron-Wire is very powerful, and students derive the best benefits by learning the internal force development and their respective forms at the same time from a competent teacher.
It they learn the forms on their own, they may get the physical techniques correct, but they are unlikely to get the skills for developing force wrong. This will not only hinder their force development later on, but may bring harmful effects.
In "Pushing Mountains", the direction of the qi flow and the hands is opposite from that in the Small Universe. After doing "Pushing Mountains", the Small Universe automatically starts flowing even though the directions are different.
The physical movement as well as chi flow in "Pushing Mountains" are in the same direction of the Small Universe.
As one pushes out his arms, chi flows along his arms from the back of his body to his hands, in line with the Small Universal chi flowing from his "hui ying" to his "bai hui". As he brings back his arms, chi flows from his hands to his body, in line with his Small Universal chi flowing from "tan chong" to his "qi hai".
I do not quite understand what you mean when you say your Small Universal chi flow and the chi flow of Pushing Mountains are in different directions.
Do you mean that as you bring back your arms, your chi flows from your hands to your body, and then up the ren meridian to your head instead of down to your "qi hai"? If this were the case, it would interfere with the Small Universe, which would not be flowing in its normal way.
Or do you mean that as you push out your arms, your chi flows from your "dan tian" to your arms and then to your palms, while the upward flow from the "dan tian" continues to your head? This would also interfere with the Small Universe, which would not be flowing normally.
Or do you mean that as you bring back your arms, chi flows from your palms to your body, then down to your "dan tian", while simultaneously you feel chi flowing up the du meridian at your back. This is in line with the Small Universe flow.
Whatever the directions of your "Pushing Mountains" chi flows are, so long as you feel comfortable, it is fine. If the "Pushing Mountains" chi flows are in an opposite or different direction as the Small Universe. the Small Universal chi flow would not be flowing at the same time. Another breathing mode with a different manner of chi flow would have taken over.
Editorial Note : Later when Sifu Zhang Wuji met Grandmaster Wong, he demonstrated the movement of "Pushing Mountains". The issue in question was the "rounding" of the extended arms in an upward, instead of a downward, direction which Sifu Zhang Wuii thought might interfere with he Small Universal chi flow. Grandmaster Wong explained that the movement was correct, and it did not affect the Small Universal chi flow; in fact it contributed to the Small Universe.
External fighters can also have a great deal of force and have tactics and strategies. For example, the qinna of an internal martial artist may have little effect on a MMA fighter. The MMA fighter also feint and distract an opponent before going for his legs. What then should a Shaolin or Taijiquan exponent do to nullify these advantages of other fighters, or what should a Shaolin or Taijiquan exponent do to gain an advantage?
Employ the principle, "Avoid an opponent's strength; attack his weakness."
If your qinna, even if it is your specialty, has no effect on your opponent, don't use qinna on him. If you use qinna, use it as a feint move. Use other attack techniques, like striking or kicking his vital points, such as his neck, knees or groin, or fell him and follow with a coup de grace.
If your opponent is more forceful than you, don't meet him head-on. Attack his sides or move to his back.
If your opponent is very good at feint moves, avoid his moves, regardless of whether they are feint or real, by moving backwards or to a side, with or without moving your feet. When he least expects it, strike his striking limbs or other parts of his body when he makes his moves, regardless of whether they are feint or real. When he is taken by surprise, cover him adequately and move in with a coup de grace.
All these counters must be well rehersed. Don't just apply them in combat without adequate prior practice.
I have found myself wondering how I should simulate an instant change or a surprised counter. If, in my mind, I simulate an unexpected surprise, that is not really a surprise after all.
It is a surprise to your opponent, not to you. In fact, you know the move very well as you should have practiced it hundreds of times. You would also know what likely responses your opponent will make, and you will spontaneously follow up accordingly.
Suppose you have planned to apply Combat Sequence 1 on an opponent. As you are about to launch your third Black Tiger, he moves back. Instantly you move forward slightly to your left side and execute a right side kick. This is an instant change from a Black Tiger to a Happy Bird. This is no surprise to you; you have practiced this sequence of movements hundreds of times. But it is a surprise to your opponent.
He has three likely responses. He is taken by surprise and is being kicked. Or he jumps back or aside haphazardly. Or he is well trained, and counters with "Lohan Strikes Drum".
Irrespective of which one of his three likely responses, you bring back your right leg after the kick, move forward slightly to your right, and execute a second left Happy Bird. Immediately, you move forward, cover him adequately, and fell him onto the ground with "Fell Tree with Roots". End the combat with a decisive strike.
However, if he moves forward as you are about to kick him, irrespective of whether it is your first or your second kick, and irrespective of whether his forward movement is by design or by chance, you bring your kicking leg a step backward and simultaneously use your other leg as a sweeping kick at his knee. This is an instant change from a Happy Bird to a Naughty Monkey. Immediately fell him onto the ground and finish him with a decisive strike.
Suppose he catches your kicking leg, by design or by chance. Move forward swiftly with "Elephant Stumps Ground", fell him and complete with a coup de grace.
You must practice all these moves with an imaginary opponent hundreds of times before hand. Only then you apply them in real combat.
The same principles apply to surprised counters, where you as a responder suddenly counter attack your opponent as he moves in to attack you. The counter is a surprise to your opponent, but not to you. You need to practice surprised counters hundreds of times on your own before applying them on real opponents in combat.
As your opponent moves in to attack, you intercept, deflect or neutralize his attack and simultaneously counter-attack him. It Is very important that you yourself are very safe as your counter.
As in the case of instant change explained earlier, your opponent has three main types of response. He is hit by your counter-attack, he jumps back, or he responds correctly to your counter-attack. You follow up with your planned sequence according to the type of his response.
I experience tightness and anxiety in my chest, and pressure in my head and sinuses. I am currently practising 'Lifting the Sky' and 'Butterfly Dancing in front of Flowers', which is helping. I was wondering if you think these exercises are appropriate, or if you could suggest any alternatives or additional exercises?
— Ed Hawker, UK
Lifting the Sky and Butterfly Dancing in Front of Flowers are excellent to overcome your problems.
The important point is not just the exercises, but how you practice the exercises. In other words, it is the skills rather than the techniques that are more important. The skills here are entering into a chi kung state of mind and generating an energy flow.
If you have these skills, any chi kung exercise will solve your problems, but Lifting the Sky and Butterflies Dancing in Front of Flowers are the best for your situation.
The course "Generating Energy Flow" is excellent for developing these skills. As you continue your daily practice, you will find more and more wonderful benefits once you have overcome your present health problems.
How do we know we have a cosmic shower?
— Helmann, Switzerland
It is the same as a hot shower in your bath room. You know you have a cosmic shower in your chi kung practice or a hot shower in your bath room when you experience it.
Why do other people take a few years to achieve a cosmic shower whereas we take only one day?
It is because of our excellent teaching methodology. I transmit the skill from heart to heart to you and other students, resulting in you having the cosmic shower immediately.
Other people have to develop the skill on their own. This may take a few months, if they are lucky. In many cases the students may never develop the skill at all. They only perform the technique without the skill, and usually they do not even know of their predicament.
This, indeed, is the norm. Hence, other practitioners, including instructors, may practice chi kung techniques for years, but without the necessary skills they would never have any chi kung benefits like overcoming illness, attaining good health and enjoying vitality. They practice chi kung as gentle physical exercise, with physical benefits like loosening joints and muscles.
Other people may attack us as being boastful or belittling other practitioners, though actually we are sharing a big secret with them which can bring them much benefit. Whether they listen is their business, and we are not interested to argue with them.
- Why is it Easy to Practice Iron Wire Wrongly?
- Really Amazing
- The Grandmaster's Frustration
- The Emerald Isle
- How to Initiate an Attack or Respond to It