SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
NOVEMBER 2016 PART 3
I have been reading through your Q-A and I was reflecting on how you used to teach the Small Universe rather than transmitted it.
— Sifu Mark Appleford, Chief Instructor of Shaolin Wahnam UK
I do not make a formal distinction between teaching and transmitting. Nevertheless, there may be a difference in mind-set, or in emphasis. When I teach, I also transmit. Similarly, when I transmit I also teach.
As I improve in my teaching methodology, I also improve in the effectiveness of my transmission. Hence, both my teaching and my transmission were not as effective a year ago than what they are now.
Normally I teach, and in my teaching I transmit, often without being clearly conscious of the transmission. But when I purposely transmit, like in teaching Cosmic Breathing, I am clearly aware of the transmission. In distant chi transmission, it is most obvious. I transmit, and I don't teach in distant chi transmission.
It is simply ridiculous but true that now I can activate the Small Universe in students who are ready, in just a few days of a Small Universe Course!
How did you teach someone the Small Universe in 6 months?
That was my best in my teaching methodology at that time. It was remarkable as I myself took more than 2 years to accomplish the Small Universe, and it was incredible, as most other masters would take about 10 years.
I took only more than 2 years because my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, sped up my progress by teaching me reverse breathing, which I later called the Forceful Small Universe. Other masters who attained the Small Universe in 10 years used abdominal breathing.
Activating students in a few days is quite different from teaching students in 6 months to attain the Small Universe, though many people, including many teachers, may not recognize the difference.
In activating the Small Universe in a few days, the students already have the required amount of energyi for the Small Universe. I teach them the techniques, and transmit them the skills to do so.
In teaching the Small Universe in 6 months, the students may not have the amount of energy for the Small Universe. The six months are required to build up this amount with the best available techniques and skills.
The techniques and skills are the same in activating in a few days and in teaching in 6 months. The difference lies in the amount of energy required for the Small Universe.
What were the stages or phases of how you taught them?
The various stages or phases of how I taught students to attain the Small Universe in 6 months are as follows:
- Abdominal Breathing.
- Submerged Breathing.
- Long Breathing.
- Forceful Small Universe (using reverse breathing).
- Gentle Small Universe (using abdominal breathing).
As mentioned earlier, the stages are the same in teaching and in activating students to attain the Small Universe. The difference is in the amount of energy.
In activating, the students already have the required amount of energy. They need the techniques and skills to activate the Small Universe flow. In teaching, the students may not have the required amount of energy. They use the same techniques and skills to build the energy, and also to activate the flow.
How did you know when they were ready to move to the next stage?
I knew from experience as well as from observing the effects of the students.
From experience if the students follow my teaching instructions, they would acquire the required amount of energy during the various stages.
By observing them, like the glow on their face, the shine in their eyes and the richness of their voice, I can access their development.
What were the optimal factors that a student would need to start the Small Universe?
The optimal factors are that he is healthy, and is willing and able to follow my instructions.
If he is sick, physically or emotionally, he has to recover from his sickness first.
If he tries to be smarter than me, even when he is not overtly disrespectful, like when I ask him to breathe gently but he breathes forcefully thinking that this will give him more energy, he will not be successful in attaining the Small Universe in 6 months.
Even when a healthy student may not have much energy to start with, as our techniques and skills are so effective, attaining the Small Universe in 6 months in realistic and reasonable.
Can one become combat efficient in Taijiquan by practicing Pushing Hands?
— Dave, Australia
No, by just practicing Pushing Hands one cannot be combat efficient in Taijiquan unless he also practices Striking Hands.
It is a common misconception amongst many Taiji practitioners, including some masters, that by practicing Pushing Hands one can become combat efficient. This misconception is at least better than many practitioners who do not realise that Taijiquan is a martial art and mistakenly think it is some form of physical exercise.
Pushing Hands is an ingenious method to develop combat skills. But to be combat efficient, one also has to apply combat techniques. How would a Pushing Hands practitioner defend against a kick or a felling attack, for example, if he does not know the defend techniques?
But if he knows the defend techniques, Pushing Hands will greatly enhance his combat efficiency. In other words, if a Taiji practitioner only knows some defence techniques but does not have the necessary skills, like responding correctly and spontaneously with force and speed, he will be unable to defend against opponents' attacks even when he knows the defence techniques.
This is indeed the situation of most kungfu practitioners who can perform beautiful kungfu forms but cannot apply them for combat. But they do not realise the cause of their inability to fight is due to their lack of combat skills, and not due to not knowing defence techniques.
Pushing Hands is excellent in training combat skills like being relaxed, generating an energy flow, developing internal force, using opponents' force, and responding correctly and spontaneously. Having acquired these skills, a Taijiquan practitioner must learn appropriate defence techniques, such as what he would do if an opponent strikes, kicks, attempts to fell or applies chin-na attacks on him. These techniques are learnt in Striking Hands.
"Striking Hands" is a short form for "Striking, Kicking, Felling and Chin-Na Hands". "Hands" here means techniques.
It was the first time I practiced chi kung in Shaolin Wahnam. Just now when entering into a chi kung state of mind, I felt a wave of heat and energy surging up from my body. Was this correct?
— Colin, New Zealand
That was not only correct, it shows you did very well in the training session.
When I first had this experience myself, after many years of training, I was very excited. As I had read many chi kung classics, I knew this was an indication of high-level chi kung achievement. It is just ridiculous but true that you experienced this on the very first day of learning chi kung from us.
Chi, or energy, is flowing in us all the time, though most people may not realise it. When you are relaxed and not thinking of anything in a chi kung state of mind, not only you are perceptive of this energy flow, your energy flow actually increases tremendously in volume and power.
The sensation of heat is due to the energy. As the weather now is quite cold, your energy flow gives you warmth. If the washer is hot, the same energy flow will make you feel refreshed.
Some people may need a paradigm shift to appreciate this concept. How could the same thing give different result, they ask. How could the same energy flow make a practitioner feel warm when the weather is cold, and make him feel refreshed when the weather is hot? Or, in the case of healing which has happened to many students, how could the same chi kung exercise overcome indigestion in some people, and control excessive secretion of digestive juices in others?
the answer is that practicing genuine chi kung harmonies yin-yang. When the weather is cold, which can be symbolised as excess yin, practicing chi kung makes him feel warm, i.e. increasing his yang. When the weather is hot, which can be symbolised as excess yang, practicing chi kung makes him feel refreshed, i.e. increasing his yin.
If a person does not produce sufficient digestive juices to digest his food, which can be symbolised as insufficient yang, practicing genuine chi kung enables him to produce the right amount of digestive juice by increasing its production, i.e. increasing yang. If he produces too much digestive juices that causes him to have stomach ulcers, which may be symbolises as excessive yang, practicing genuine chi kung will enable him to produce the right amount of digestive juices by reducing its production, i.e. reducing yang.
When I was enjoying chi flow after performing Separating Water about 8 times, I was aware that energy was flowing in and out through my nose and mouth vigorously. Was that alright?
Not only that was alright, but it also showed you had done very well.
During chi flow, a practitioner needs not worry about his breathing. It is means that it is alright if he is breathing in and out, or just breathing in and not breathing out or just breathing out and not breathing in, or neither breathing in nor out. Here “breathing” refers to the modern sense of taking in and giving out air.
Even when he is not breathing in the modern sense of taking in and giving our air, be is breathing in the classical sense of energy exchange between his body and the Cosmos. Hence, even when he is neither breathing in nor out in the modern sense, he is till exchange energy with the Cosmos. In other words, even when no air passes through his norse or month, energy still passes though his body to the Cosmos and vice versa.
In your case, when breathing in and out is vigorous through your nose and month, the exchange of energy between your body and the Cosmos is also vigorous. But you are not tired or out of breath. The huge flow of energy through you results in tremendous amount of internal force being developed
If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at stating your name, country and e-mail address.
- Various Eighteen Lohan Arts
- Training in Grandmaster Ho Fatt Nam's School
- Different Chi Flow in Various Taijiquan Styles
- Taming Tiger Combination Set
- The Oasis of Santa Fe