PRINCIPLES AND PRACTICE, INSIGHT AND INTEGRITY
Saying that Shaolin Kungfu is a martial art, is stating a principle. Applying Shaolin Kungfu in combat, like what these participants at a regional Shaolin Kungfu course do, is realizing the principle in practice.
The following discussion is reproduced from the thread Dispelling Ignorance and Untruths: A Case Study of Baguamonk's Posts started in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum on 25th September 2006.
Shaolin Wahnam members, including instructors, regard our discussion forum as an extension of our training.
Sifu Jordan Francis
Sifu Jordan Francis
Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam England
12th October 2006
Principles and Practice, Facts and Opinions
To be frank, any one of my brother or sister instructors in Shaolin Wahnam could pick out every one of the 10 points in your recent post to show their ignorance, untruth or other weaknesses. If we do this, it is not because we want to belittle you (on the contrary, I honestly believe you will benefit greatly from this discussion), or that we are arrogant and want to show how clever we are in public debates.
We do this for two important reasons. One, Shaolin Wahnam members, including instructors, regard our discussion forum as an extension of our training. In this case, it provides us with opportunities to develop mental clarity, coherent presentation as well as deepen our understanding of kung fu philosophy. Two, we also use our forum to disseminate quality information .
Nevertheless, I shall not discuss all the 10 points here, I shall discuss only 3 which are more immediate to the topic in discussion.
1 If a Chen Style practitioner punches speedily like a Boxer, his art will look like Boxing.
2 If you claim to use Taijiquan for combat but actually use Boxing or Kick-Boxing, then you are lame.
3 This thread should not be called “Dispelling Ignorance and Untruths” because what are discussed are opinions and not facts.
I am very glad of the first two points above that you mentioned. They are precisely the points we in Shaolin Wahnam are trying to tell kung fu circles in particular and the public in general. So here we are in perfect agreement – at least in theory.
But in practice – please correct me if I am mistaken – judging from your posts you seem to lack the skills and techniques to put the two principles in action. In other words, although you believe that a Chen Style or any Tai Chi Chuan practitioner should use Tai Chi Chaun punches if he wishes his art to look like Taijiquan instead of Boxing, you are unable to do so in practice. So you still punch like a Boxer.
Secondly, although you believe that if you claim to use Tai Chi Chuan for combat, you should actually do so, you can’t. So you still use Kick-Boxing techniques.
What you do in this connection is actually the norm today. Most Chinese martial artists today, and as you have mentioned before, including many masters, use Boxing, Kick-Boxing and other martial art techniques for combat. Some of them are formidable fighters using non-kung fu techniques. But the issue is not whether they are formidable fighters or not; the issue is whether they use kung fu, including Tai Chi Chaun, techniques.
We in Shaolin Wahnam are very fortunate still to have the sparring methodology to use kung fu techniques for combat. As part of our effort to restore the past glory of kung fu, my Sifu is incredibly generous to share this sparring methodology with others, irrespective of whether they learn from Shaolin Wahnam. Such a generous gesture is incredible and unprecedented in kung fu history. You may therefore better understand why we respond so passionately when guests come into our forum and loudly proclaim that kung fu techniques cannot be used for fighting.
Let me make an important clarification. We are convinced that kung fu is effective for combat. But we have never claimed that we are formidable fighters. While we have full faith in the combat efficiency of kung fu, we are also aware that if our opponents are more skilful, irrespective of whether they use kung fu or other martial arts, we can be beaten. We have no illusion about that.
The third point concerns opinions and facts in our discussion. While much of our discussion involves opinions, it is based on facts.
To appreciate the difference between facts and opinions , let us have a few examples.
If you say that in combat, bouncing about is more effective than using stances, it is an opinion. There is no definite right or wrong. Bouncing about may be more effective for you and many people, but for others (and in the real world today, they will be a rare minority) using stances may be more effective.
If a practitioner bounces about and punches like a Boxer does, he is practicing Boxing, although he may (mistakenly or ignorantly) call it Tai Chi Chuan. This is a fact. If you say it is an opinion, it is a case of twisting the facts.
If you practice Tai Chi Chuan forms but use Kick-Boxing for combat, and think this is more effective than using Tai Chi Chuan techniques, this is an opinion. Many Tai Chi Chaun practitioners actually have this opinion, and they are of course entitled to it.
But if these practitioners say that Tai Chi Chuan techniques cannot be used for combat, then it is ignorance and their ignorance is a fact.
Let us take an example from a previous post. You mentioned that Bruce Lee’s understanding of Wing Chun was not incomplete because he understood Wing Chun basics, and that was all it mattered to you.
My contention was that your statement showed your ignorance. I would call this a fact, not an opinion.
I did not merely make a statement even though it was a statement of fact. I substantiated it with evidence. I explained that using stances and low kicks were basics in Wing Chun, but Bruce Lee discarded stances and his kicks were typically high. Moreover a performance of Jeet Kune Do, Bruce Lee’s art, whether in solo or in combat, was basically different from a performance of Wing Chun. But you were ignorant of all these facts. Hence, in this case dispelling ignorance involved facts, not opinions.
Insight is derived from mental clarity, and mental clarity can be deeloped through the training of chi kung, Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan. The picture above shows a chi kung review class with Grandmaster Wong in Malaysia
Sifu Jordan Francis
Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam England
12th October 2006
Confusing Cause with Effect
Originally Posted by Baguamonk1
As I said, I am not going to respond in this thread anymore. It is a useless thread to me, but to you guys it is well worth it. I hope it has brought you insight, and allows the integrity of the Wahnam ideals to remain intact.
Whether you wish to respond or not is your right and privilege, though I hope you would, because far from being useless, it would benefit you much.
While our effort in this thread is worth it -- otherwise we would not waste our time here -- you are mistaken to think that it has brought us insight and allowed the integrity of the Wahnam ideals to remain intact.
You have confused “ root and branch ”, which is a kung fu term meaning cause and effect. Our having insight is the “root” or cause. Because of our insight, we can see the fallacies of your posts, whereas you can’t. It is not the other way round; it is not due to your posts that we develop insight.
However, your posts revealed that you lacked this insight. As a result you made some untrue statements. But, as I mentioned before, I believe your untrue statements are not intentional, they are due to your ignorance.
How does one develop insight? In our case, it is from our mental clarity. We developed mental clarity from the training of our Shaolin Cosmos Chi Kung, Shaolin Kung fu, and Wahnam Tai Chi Chaun as internal arts. If you train a genuine internal art, you should develop mental clarity. If you read the posts by Shaolin Wahnam members, including students, you can see that they all exhibit mental clarity. If you practice three internal arts, and still lack mental clarity, you should start to examine what has gone wrong.
Thank you for your wish for the integrity of our Shaolin Wahnam ideals remaining intact. From your post I can sense you are sincere, and we appreciate that. But thanking you is one thing, dispelling ignorance is another.
Irrespective of whether you have posted and irrespective of what you post, the integrity of our Shaolin Wahnam ideals will still remain intact. Here again you have confused root and branch, or cause and effect. Our integrity is the cause not the effect of our response to your posts. It is because of our integrity that we respond the way we do; it is not because of your posts that we start to have integrity.
Dispelling Ignorance and Untruths: A Case Study of Baguamonk1's Posts
- Part 1: Bruce Lee and Chinese Martial Arts
- Part 2: Ignorance Concerning Internal Force and Combat Application
- Part 3: Are Stances Important, and Is Chi an Out-Dated Term?
- Part 4: Duty to Point Out Mis-Information for Benefit of Students
- Part 5: Chinese Martial Arts and Spiritual Cultivation
- Part 6: Stance Training and Mental Clarity
- Part 7: A Lesson on Mental Clarity and Coherent Presentation
- Part 8: Principles and Practice, Insight and Integrity
- Part 9: Restoring the Former Glory of Kungfu
- Part 10: Chi is Real
- Part 11: Modernized Wushu is Different from Traditional Kungfu
- Part 12: Don't Throw away your Legacy
- Part 13: How Mental Clarity Can Benefit Us
- Part 14: Deriving Benefits from this Thread