IT IS A COMMON MISTAKE TO PRACTICE THE IRON WIRE SET AS AN ISOMETRIC EXERCISE
Do you run any courses on the teaching of Iron Thread Chi Kung? I would very much like to learn this series of exercises and would be grateful for any advice on where to find teachers.
— Grifford, USA
AnswerBy "Iron Thread Chi Kung" I presume that you meant the famous "Iron Wire Set" of Hoong Ka Kungfu. In Chinese (Cantonese) it is called "Thit Seen Khuen".
"Iron Wire Set" is an advanced set of chi kung exercises that builds tremendous internal force. Internal force brings good health, vitality, longevity, mind expansion and spiritual development besides combat efficiency as well as increased proficiency in whatever we do. Although I have taught it to some people, I do not teach this set on a regular basis.
The master best known for the "Iron Wire Set" in recent time was Sifu Lam Sai Weng, who was an inner-chamber disciple of the great Shaolin master, Wong Fei Hoong. Fortunately, masters from the direct lineage of Sifu Lam Sai Weng are actively teaching today. Their kungfu style is usually called "Hung Gar" (Hoong Ka). You should be able to find them if you make a search on the internet. An effective way is to type "Hung Gar" into the input box of Google search engine.
The following advice is important. "Iron Wire Set" is a set of chi kung exercises, and not a set of isometric exercises. But it is often performed incorrectly as a set of isometrics. In chi kung, a practitioner is relaxed, and the aim is to train energy and mind. In isometric exercise, a practitioner progressively tenses his muscles, and the aim is to build muscles and muscular strength.
To the uninitiated, isometric exercise looks similar to chi kung exercise. When an "Iron Wire Set" practitioner brings his arms together or extends his hands outward, irrespective of whether he performs it as isometric exercise or as chi kung, his arms or hands may vibrate. The vibrations are different, and an initiated observer can readily tell one from another. But uninitiated observers usually can't see the difference, which is a main reason why many people practice "Iron Wire Set" wrongly.
The vibrations of a genuine practitioner are due to the tremendous internal force generated from his practice. The vibrations of a mistaken practitioner are due to the excessive tensing of his muscles. A telltale sign is that the genuine practitioner is relaxed whereas the mistaken practitioner is stressful. Other signs, which may not be so readily noticeable, are that the genuine practitioner feels fresh and agile, energized yet peaceful, whereas the mistaken practitioner feels exhausted and blocked, emptied and irritable.
Reproduced from Questions 8 in Selection of Questions and Answers — January 2007 Part 1
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