October 2001 (Part 3)
SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
My mother has been diagnosed separately by two doctors (specialists in orthopaedics and thaumatology) to have tendinitis elbow and sprained lowback. The doctors said they were due to degeneration. Sifu Wong, do you think that Chi Kung can effectively eliminate her problem?
— Fai, Hong Kong
From the chi kung paradigm your mother's elbow and lowback problems are simple to be overcome. Understandably many people may think I am not serious, or that I am boasting. I am only telling the truth.
If I report some of the bone problems I have helped my students to overcome, many people would call me a big liar. Here are some random examples. People whose vertebrae were fused have had their problem solved within a year. People who came to my chi kung classes in clutches, walked away without clutches. People whose neck, back, arms or legs were immobilized had their bandages and braces discarded after an hour of treatment. I would add that these accomplishments were the norms and not the exceptions.
The unfairness is that those who would call me a big liar would never bother to check whether what I claimed was true. And it is simple, though it would take time and effort, to check. One way is to find out from my organizers (whose particulars are found on my home page) the people who personally witnessed such accomplishments. Do not ask just two or three witnesses, ask a hundred. Surely it is most unlikely a hundred random witnesses would collaborate with me to lie.
Sometimes I am asked why don't I prove to sceptics, or to the world, the truthfulness of my claims. The reason is that I have better ways to spend my time, such as helping those who come to me for help, or just spending time with my family. Moreover I do not want controversial publicity. Right now I have more classes than I can handle. Some organizers have to wait for a year before I can visit them to teach classes.
These recoveries are not recent accomplishments. They have been going on for years, and I did not make attempts to publize them. Why then do I now report them on the internet? While I do not want controversial publicity such as in issuing and accepting challenges, which will drain my time unnecessarily, I believe that making them known in a reasonable way will offer a golden opportunity for those who need such help, to seek it — if they wish.
The doctors advise her to avoid carrying heavy things and do some swimming. She has undergone some physiotherapy and has been on medication for months. She already had two injections of steroid. I know that steroid has unhealthy side-effect and there is a definite limit as how many injections one can ever have in his/her whole life. Yet her problem still persists, now even her right forearm starts aching, her lowback improves a bit though.
Chi kungfu and western medicine look at illness and pain differently. According to the chi kung paradigm, which uses Chinese medical philosophy, pain is the symptom of energy blockage. Hence, swimming and physiotherapy which work on muscles and not on energy, and taking drugs like steroid are only treating the symptom. Unless the energy blockage is cleared, her pain will persist, though it can be temporarily dulled by medication.
Chi kung is excellent for relieving pain because the forte of chi kung is clearing energy blockage, which is working on the root cause of your mother's problem. Western treatment is unable to solve her problem because the concept of energy does not exist in western medical philosophy.
It is legitimate for someone to ask how can we be sure that the chi kung paradigm and not the western paradigm is correct. What we are concerned here is not which paradigm is correct, but which one produces result. There is no doubt that practising chi kung relieves pain. I have countless students who had suffered chronic pain for years, and had the pain relieved, sometimes after just one chi kung session! It is incredible but true.
Relieving pain is just a stepping stone. When her energy blockage is cleared, your mother as a whole person, which of course includes her arms and low back, will be stronger and healthier than even before she had her health problems.
If so, which Chi Kung exercises (in “The Art of Chi Kung” and “Chi Kung for Health and Vitality”) are particularly effective in relieving her problem? And what is the approximate fee you would charge for curing this type of disease?
In high level chi kung, any exercise can help your mother overcome her problems. The fee for personal consultation with me where I shall treat only one person, is quite high, US5000 for 3 days.
But she does not need a personal consultation. Her problem is simple enough for her to get good result by attending my three-day intensive chi kung course. The fee is US1000.
I cannot guarantee a 100% cure, but I can say she has more than 80% change of recovery. And if she is not satisfied with the course, she does not have to pay any fee. If she is interested, please contact my secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Having read past Q&A series, I realize that swimming is detrimental to health. I have a hypothetical question: Suppose two “identical” persons, one who doesn't do any exercise at all, and the other is the same except he does a moderate amount of swimming on a regular basis. Which one do you think will have better health in the long run?
You must be mistaken. I said that vigorous exercise like jogging and weight-lifting is detrimental to health. But swimming is recommended. In the hypothetical question, the swimmer will have better health.
However, of one does not do any exercise at all, and the other does jogging or weight-lifting, the jogger or weight-lifter will have poor health in the long run. It is because he over-works his internal organs with his vigorous exercise.
Sifu Wong, I am extremely grateful to you for your generosity and kindness in sharing this wonderful art of Chi Kung to us. You are one of the greatest who contribute unreservedly to the well-being of mankind. I have read your books and found them to be written in a very clear and easy-to-understand English. Reading your books was actually a pleasure. “The Complete Book of Tai Chi Chuan” is a bit harder to me, because of the inherent difficulties in learning/visualizing complex movements.
Thank you for your kind comments. You should learn Tai Chi Chuan from a living instructor. Even if he teaches only external Tai Chi forms, you will at least get the forms correct, which is the basic requirement. You may then use my book as a guide.
I've practised the chi kung exercises in your books for about 2 months. I am already experiencing their benefits; I'm now calmer, more cheerful and optimistic, more energetic, less prone to worry/anxiety, fear, anger. I can only imagine how much better it would be if I am to learn personally from you.
I am glad of your good results. You are absolutely right. Your results will be much, much more if you learn personally from me. Many people have told me this after confirming it from their personal experience. It is worth many times the effort and money spent to attend my intensive chi kung courses.
The setback is that after experiencing such good results like what you have described, you may think that that is all chi kung can give you. You may think that by learning from me personally you can get my verification of your benefits, but not much more. It is difficult for you and other people to believe that what you have benefited by practising on your own, though remarkable when compared to what you were before, is just touching the surface of the great, wonderful benefits of genuine chi kung.
Below were some of my experiences during self-manifested chi movements:
In one instance, I felt chi moving along my spine from the bottom to my head. After chi had reached my head, I started hitting my head vigorously, yet in a seemingly systematic fashion.
Sometimes I was like performing ballet dance, my arms hanging sideways at my chest level, and I was rotating at very high speed.
Sometimes I was like performing Tai Chi Chuan. The movements were gentle and graceful.
Sometimes I yawned a lot during the exercise, and felt very sleepy but not tire afterwards.
My tongue was tuck to my upper palate; my face muscles twisted involuntarily; and I was making strange noises, laughter and uproar; sometimes like talking nonsense.
I performed movements like the Big Windmill, Circulating Head, and Hula Hoop.
I hit my body vigorously including my chest, waist, low back, thigh and head.
Recently, most of my movements were Tai Chi Chuan or Kung Fu like. The other types of movements became much less frequent.
Now when I relax myself, my body would perform self-manifested chi movement without the need to perform the dynamic chi kung patterns first. Are these the normal course of development?
Yes, these are the normal course of development. Congratulations, you have done exceptionally well.
When I perform “Lifting the Sky”, sometimes my heels would rise naturally as I move my arms upwards. This usually happens when I have “warmed up”, after maybe 10 repetitions of “Lifting the Sky”. My heels rise to the highest point when I push up at the sky. Should I let my heels rise naturally or should I try to keep them on ground?
You should keep your feet on the ground. This is the standard way of performing “Lifting the Sky”.
But if your heels naturally rise to the highest point when you are pushing up your hands despite your effort to keep them on the ground, then follow the natural movement and have your heels raised.
How do I know that I am practicing the Yi Jin Jing the right way and that I am receiving the benefits from the practice?
— Kenneth, Singapore
In theory you know you are practising Yi Jin Jing, or Sinew Metamorphosis, correctly when you obtain the benefits Yi Jin Jing is reputed to give. And you know you are receiving the benefits from the practice when you are actually receiving them from the practice.
In principle it is like asking “How do I know I am travelling to Malaysia the right way and that I have arrived in Malaysia.” You know you are travelling to Malaysia the right way when you attain the objective of your travel, i.e. arriving in Malaysia. And you know you have arrived in Malaysia when you have actually arrived.
In practice there is no way you can know you are practising Yi Jin Jing or any internal art correctly because there is no reference for you to compare, unless you learn the art from a master or a competent instructor. You may read that Yi Jin Jing gives you tremendous internal force, but how do you know what internal force is so that you can assess your practice.
In the same way you may read that Malaysia is a beautiful country where people of various races and cultures live in peace and harmony, or you may have seen pictures of Malaysia, but how do you know that you have arrived in Malaysia until you have actually arrived.
I just taught a Yi Jin Jing class at Corte de la Frontera in southern Spain where students learned two Yi Jin Jing exercises. Nobody ever asked whether he was practising the two Yi Jin Jing exercises correctly, or how he could know he was receiving benefits from his practice. The reason was straight-forward. Every body knew from direct personal experience. Every body who did the two exercises felt peaceful and happy, as well as tremendous internal force. These are the benefits practising Yi Jin Jing correctly will give.
I am trying to find any information on the hard-to-find style Ta Sheng Pi Kwa Kung-fu
— Shawn, USA
Ta Sheng Pi Kwa Kungfu is a style made up of two styles, namely Ta Sheng which is Monkey Style, and Pi Kwa which is a Northern Shaolin style with extensive use of the arm in chopping and “hanging” attacks.
The current patriarch is Sifu Chan Sau Choong who lives in Hong Kong. An outstanding disciple of Sifu Chan Sau Choong is Chan Koon Thye, who was a sparring champion in a Southeast Asia Pugilistic Tournament, and who acted excellently in some kungfu movies as the great Shaolin master Hoong Hei Khoon.
A famous set of this style is “Wuid Fatt Ng Hou Khuen” which means “Agile Techniques Five Monkeys Set”. The five Monkeys are Intelligent Monkey, Agile Monkey, Wood Monkey, Stone Monkey and Standing Monkey. They symbolize tactics, agility, internal force, hard force and upright position (in contract with the typical low-bending position of the Monkey Style).
Why is kung fu every day going to be muay thai? I can trace that in fights, techniques and methods, and kungfu fighters and trainers are applying muay thai methods.
— Ercan, Mexico
Kungfu and muay thai (Thai Boxing) are vastly different. Because the term “kungfu” is popular, some unscrupulous instructors who may know a little kungfu but are mainly trained in other martial arts like karate, taekwondo or muai thai, teach their arts but use the name of kungfu.
On the other hand, there are low-level kungfu instructors who cannot use kungfu techniques to fight, so they incorporate muai thai fighting techniques in their training. You probably saw one of these bogus kungfu schools.
Is it not harmful for kung fu? I am a muay thai trainer, but couldn't understand this approach, since I am of the opinion that muay thai is muay thai, kung fu is kung fu, karate is karate.
Yes, such bogus kungfu schools are very harmful to kungfu. Incidentally, true kungfu, which places much attention to force training and combat application, is very rare today. The kungfu that is popularly taught today consists mainly of kungfu forms, with little or no training in using these kungfu forms for combat. These instructors usually turn to other martial arts, including muai thai, when they teach sparring.
A true kungfu master would not wish to train as in muai thai because from the kungfu perspective muai thai training is harmful to health. For example, kicking a coconut tree a few hundred times every day, which is a typical muai thai training method in Thailand and Malaysia, will develop very powerful and fast kicks, but it also causes a lot of harm to the student. Getting hurt in sparring, which occurs in every muai thai training session, without any attempt to cure the injuries, is very bad for health.
Many masters of other martial arts, including muai thai trainers, have learnt chi kung from me to overcome the internal injuries they had suffered from years of their training. If you frequently have pain in your body, you should overcome your internal injuries before it is too late.
I would strongly recommend you attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course for details. Should you come for such a course, please identify yourself to me so that I can pay personal attention to you to help you overcome your injuries.
I trace this approach also from your defence techniques giving much space to muay thai (ie.defence against muay thai low kick, elbow, knee etc). What is the reason behind?
I do not explain combat techniques against muai thai only. Typical kungfu defend and attack techniques against other martial arts are also found in my website.
The webpages you refer to, where I explain Taijiquan techniques against typical muai thai low kick, elbow and knee attacks, were posted to answer some readers' questions.
Another important reason behind such webpages is to illustrate the application of traditional kungfu, so that kungfu students will attempt to use kungfu techniques instead of borrowing from muai thai and other martial arts.
I think if this approach continues in this way, in the future there will be not too much difference between kung fu combats (sanda, etc) and muay thai. Kung fu will be a more hybrid style than Kyokushin which has also been effected by muay thai.
I reckon that when you mentioned “this approach” you meant the blind borrowing from muai thai and other martial arts by kungfu students.
You don't have to wait for the future. Right now there is no genuine traditional kungfu combat, even in China. Except the initial poses before the combatants actually spar, what kungfu students demonstrate in their sparring in public tournaments as well as in their own training classes, are kickboxing, taekwondo, karate or children fighting.
Sanda, which means “miscellaneous fighting” in Chinese and refers to kungfu sparring, is no longer kungfu sparring. It is boxing or kickboxing. Typical issues of sanda students are how to throw a hook punch as in boxing or how to avoid a knee strike as in kickboxing, and not issues like how to use a tiger-claw or avoid a phoenix-eye fist, which are typical kungfu techniques.
Nevertheless, kungfu sparring using typical kungfu forms like tiger-claw and phoenix-eye fist, horse-riding stance and unicorn step, is still practised in my kungfu classes, which are the exception and certainly not the norm of kungfu classes around the world.
The kungfu sparring in my kungfu classes, whether in Shaolin or Taijiquan, are characteristically different from that in muai thai or any other martial arts. My students need not wear special kungfu uniforms, or have the words “Shaolin” or “Taiji” printed on their shirts, but as soon as you see them spar, you will know for sure that they practise Shaolin Kungfu or Taijiquan.
I do not know about other kungfu schools, but for my school, Shaolin Wahnam, you can have no fear at all that Shaolin Kungfu or Taijiquan will become a hybrid style. Any suggestion to exchange kungfu for muai thai, karate, taekwondo or kickboxing indicates the person making the suggestion has no sense of what genuine kungfu is. It is like suggesting to throw away diamonds in exchange for sand.