August 2008 (Part 1)
SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What are the specific benefits of the Cosmos Stance and how should I integrate it into my practice?
— Paschal, Ireland
The main purpose of the Cosmos Stance is for practicing Cosmos Chi Kung, where the stance is used when tapping cosmic energy. Its main benefit is enhancing results. In other words, we may use other stances or postures to tap cosmic energy, but using the Cosmic Stance, when one is ready, produces the best result.
However, when one is not ready, it may not produce good result, or may produce adverse side effects. Hence, in our school, begining and intermediate students use the Wuji Stance, which is standing upright and relaxed, to tap cosmic energy. For them at their level, this is the best posture.
You should use the Cosmos Stance only if you have attended my Small Universe Course. Otherwise it would be better to use the Wuji Stance, which is not only safer but produces better result for those not familar with the Cosmos Stance. But if you like, you may try the Cosmos Stance for fun, or for comparison. If you feel uncomfortable, go to a chi flow to cleanse out possible adverse effects.
The term “Cosmos Chi Kung” above is used in its specific sense. It is the specific type of chi kung that my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, taught me. In essence, it is similar to what we now call “Forceful Small Universe”, which is the fourth step in our Small Universe training. The first three steps are “Abdominal Breathing”, “Submerged Breathing” and “Long Breathing”, and the final step is “Gentle Small Universe”.
When my sifu taught me, he taught me only this one step. With just this one step, but with a much longer time, I attained the Small Universe, and later the Big Universe. Years later in my teaching, from my own personal experience as well as understanding classical description of the Small Universe, I introduced the other four steps to help my students attain the Small Universe faster.
It took me a few years to attain the Small Universe, which was a great achievement. My early students took about six months, which was considered impossible by many people. In the Small Universe Course I offered to selected disciples last year, they accomplished the Small Universe in a few days. It is no wonder that some people call us big liars.
My sifu did not mention the “Small Universe” or the “Big Universe”. I used these terms many years later in my teaching when I realized the effects and benefits of this training were the same as those of the Small Universe and the Big Universe as described in chi kung classics as well as by other masters, including my two other sifus, Sifu Chee Kim Thong and Sifu Choe Hoong Choy.
At the time, when I asked Sifu Ho Fatt Nam the name of the chi kung I was training under him, he told me it was “Siu Lam Wan Yun Yeit Hei Kung”, which was in Cantonese pronunciation. In Mandarin, it is “Shao Lin Hun Yuan Yi Qi Gong”, which is word-by-word “Shaolin Cosmos One Energy Art”, or “Cosmos Chi Kung” for short. My sifu also explained that “One” refers both to the infinitestimally smal as well as the infinitely big.
I am not sure whether by “Cosmos Chi Kung” my sifu was refering to that particular art he taught me or the whole range of chi kung taught in his school. I guess it was more likely to refer particularly to tapping cosmic energy at the Cosmos Stance. It was in line with what I later discorverd in my research. I found out that Cosmos Chi Kung was an ancient art, was very powerful and was practiced by top masters in the past.
Their method as described in the classics was the same as what my sifu taught me, except that breathing and visualization were not emphasized. Basically it was remaining at the Cosmos Stance and letting cosmic energy “soak” in, which was exactly what my sifu taught me at the advanced level.
But with my understanding of chi kung philosophy as well as the tradition of writing classics, I believe that what was described was only the essence. Preliminary exercises leading to this essence, which were probably similar to what my sifu taught me, were not mention so as to “hide secrets in the open”. Someone finding the classics and attempting to tap cosmic energy at the Cosmos Stance will not have any result because he has not practiced the preliminary exercises.
My sifu did not teach me many chi kung methods, and when he taught me he referred to them by the names of the techniques, like “Lifting the Sky”, “Separating Water” and “One-Finger Shooting Zen”. This was in line with traditional practice. He did not say that these techniques were all part of Cosmos Chi Kung.
Our Shaolin Wahnam members would be glad to know that the result I got per training session was far less than what a typical Shaolin Wahnam student now gets from training under a certified Shaolin Wahnam instructor. Roughly, what a typical Shaolin Wahnam student achieves a day, I would need many months to achieve! There are many reasons for this incrediable result. One main reason is that now we tap cosmic energy right at the beginning of our training. At my time I started tapping cosmic energy only after a year or two of chi kung practice. Hence, it is fitting to call our style of chi kung "Shaolin Cosmoc Chi Kung".
It seems that I am going to miss the Chin-Na course because I did not learn Shaolin Kungfu with you before this. Can Sifu make an exception to me? As I have stopped 3 years, any promise by me to practice regularly will be useless, but these 3 years I found that I developed some skills of being patient to undergo period of difficulty to achieve certain goals.
My martial arts experience put together is only about 6 months of Japanese Jujutsu, which deals with locks and throws, but I do not know combat applications. I can perform all basic Shaolin stances except Unicorn Step. I can only perform several combat sequences slowly, with certain moves, spacing incorrect, sometimes forgetting moves. My force training is only about 4 months of Horse-Riding stance since 2008. I chose Jujutsu because I couldn't find (or maybe not aware of) Chin-Na in my area.
I apologize for asking exception while you have clearly stated the qualification of this course. Whatever your advice will be, I accept. I just hope that I will have a chance to participate when you offer an Advanced Chi Kung or an Intensive Shaolin Kungfu course in the future.
— Jason, Malaysia
You are not ready for the Chin-Na course yet. Even when we consider only the techniques, which form just an aspect of the course, there are 72 combat sequences and their counter sequences to learn in just five days! You do not just apply a chin-na technique on an opponent; you have to prepare the situation, which calls for tactics and strategies. Many people consider us crazy, but by now we are quite noted for achieving what others would consider impossible.
There are a few reasons why we can achieve the so-called impossible. One important reason is that we ensure our students are ready for the teaching.
I would suggest that you attend my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course. Although it is classified as basic in our school, it is very advanced by most other standards. You will not only learn the skills and techniques but actually attain the abilities in five days what most kungfu practitioners may not attain in 10 years!
For example how many kungfu practitioners of more than 10 years experience you know who have internal force or can apply kungfu techniques in free sparring? Or how many of them can spar for two or three hours without panting or feeling tired. Incredible it may be, but you can achieve all these in just five days.
But you must be able to perform basic kungfu forms and movements reasonably well, and are willing to work hard. Otherwise, you are not ready.
Lastly, I am grateful to be able to learn from you in the last course. I think Shaolin Wahnam is a one-stop place for those who want to learn genuine Chi Kung and Kungfu. The secrets of training, and the correct path of training are made available to the public in a direct, reliable and easy-to-understand manner.
This, in my opinion, normally makes people forget about the fact that, great and genuine Chi Kung and Kungfu masters are hard to find, and those willing to teach are even harder to be found. Sifu, you are not only willing to teach, but very friendly and patient to teach. I also forgot such facts in the past.
I am grateful to be taught personally by Sifu. I think if a total beginner can be taught by a competent instructor, it is considered good. But if he can be taught personally by a grandmaster, he is very very lucky.
Thank you for your kind words. It is much appreciated. I also appreciate that many of our Shaolin Wahnam members, especially instructors, have expressed similar kind thoughts to me.
I am very, very lucky to have inherited the marvelous Shaolin arts (and also Taijiquan). I do not want such marvelous arts to be lost. There was a real danger that they could be. When world known Shaolin "masters" declare that Shaolin techniques cannot be used for fighting, when world known Taijiquan "masters" do not believe in internal force, and when most chi kung "instructors" today have no experience of chi, you can have a good idea how real the danger is.
But now I am assured that our arts will not be lost. As far as I know, our school has the widest spread in all of kungfu and chi kung history. I do not know of any kungfu or chi kung school that spreads over the world as widely as we do.
More significantly, we have dedicated teachers and appreciative students. We have teachers who gave up their high-paying jobs to teach, earning fees that are not even a portion of their former salaries. We have students who wake up at five in the morning to train, not once a while but everyday.
If we sincerely want to preserve these marvelous arts, we just have to reveal some secrets. Actually many of these secrets, which bring important results, are not secrets in the traditional sense. They were teaching points any student practicing genuine chi kung or kungfu in the past would know.
For example, to be relaxed and focused, which is the most basic requirement in a chi kung state of mind, was what any student in the past would know and do when he practiced chi kung, otherwise he would not be practicing chi kung! But today chi kung has been so debased that most practitioners do not know this "secret".
This "secret" is found in most chi kung instructions, but most practitioners merely read this instruction to be relaxed and focused without putting it into practice. This is one great "secret" that we highlight in our teaching and which we also share with the public. If chi kung practitioners, even though they may not learn from us, appreciate this "secret" and put it into their practice without changing any other things, they will enhance their result by at least three times.
To ensure your own safety first is an essential point in any kungfu training. In the past, any kungfu student or student of any martial art, would know and practice this "secret". But today when martial arts are practiced as sports, many martial artists display a total disregard of their own safety when they move in to attack, and they are not even aware of it. If warriors were to fight the way modern martial artists do, they would be killed or maimed.
Equally shocking but more damaging is that many martial artists today do not seem to realize they are not only not getting the benefits for which they practice their arts, but they are actually becoming worse of than before they started their practice!
Many people practice a martial art because they want to be healthy and be able to defend themselves. But they actually become less healthy than before their martial art career. They also cannot defend themselves, though they may be good at hitting others.
In our school, we pay much attention to setting aims and objectives and assessing our practice to see how well we realize them. We share this "secret" openly with the public. If martial artists put this "secret" into their practice, they would reap more benefits.
Over the past few years I have noticed a growing redness and inflammation of my knuckles on both hands. Only since approximately the start of 2007 did my hands start to cause me some minor discomfort. It was an intermittent dull pain that I was mainly attributing to the nature of my work as a physiotherapist.
— Luke, Australia
It may or may not be related to growing redness and inflammation of your knuckles, but as a physiotherapist it is recommended that you take some measures to prevent the bad energy of your patients from back-flowing into you. Physiotherapists trained in the Western tradition normally do not take this precaution, as they do not believe in chi flow.
A simple but highly effective method is "Flicking Water". Lift up your hands to your breast level, and simultaneously raise your heels. Then flick down your hands at your sides as you lower your heels onto the ground, breathing out at the same time. Flick your hands as if you are flicking away some water on your wet hands. Repeat this about ten to twenty times after each treatment session.
I went to my doctor and had a blood test to assess for arthritis, and the result showed a positive display of two major indicators of rheumatoid arthritis. His plan following this was to reassess in 3 months time to see if anything had changed. This was when Craig showed me his Art of Chi Kung book that I read and subsequently began to practice from.
All I started doing from the book on a daily basis was Standing Meditation, "Lifting the Sky" and "Carrying the Moon". I would also have periods of quiet sitting most days, too. The most enjoyable part of this initial practice was the deep relaxation that I was getting from the training.
The results I have been getting vary everyday. Some days I seem to reach a deep level of relaxation, and others I can't seem to relax at all. I am guessing this is all past of the learning experience though.
I had a follow up blood test after 3 months, which showed only one positive indicator for rheumatoid arthritis. The most reliable and newly developed indicator of rheumatoid arthritis (anti-CCP antibody) was negative on this blood test. The plan after this was to reassess again in 6 months, which is where I am at right now.
Obviously you are getting good results from your chi kung practice even though you learn from my book. Carry on and enjoy your practice.
Another issue I have been trying to address with my Qi Gong practice is a tremor that I have had for about 5 years now, which was diagnosed by a neurologist as a "benign essential tremor". It basically involves a subtle tremor of my arms and hands; in particular when I try and use any extensor muscles of my arms, forearms, hands and fingers.
This tremor is always much more noticeable when I'm nervous, and is almost negligible when im totally relaxed. When I reach deep levels of relaxation during my practice, my tremor seems to completely disappear.
I am continuing to practice standing meditation, lifting the sky and carrying the moon most nights. In terms of how I am progressing with chi flow, I seem to be improving in focusing my tingling quite specifically down into my hands.
One very interesting aspect of high level chi kung is that you need not worry about what problems you have or what cause those problems. All you need is to practice diligently and consistently, and enjoy your practice without any intellectualization. Your problems will then go away. This may sound ridiculous to many people, but it is the best description I can give to an interested enquirer without going into jargons and details.
High level chi kung has to be learned from a competent teacher. Often it is not the techniques but the skills that make the chi kung high level. In other words, the same chi kung exercises can provide low-level, middle-level or high-level results depending on how you practice them.
You are already getting good results by practicing from my book. If you learn from a certified Shaolin Wahnam instructor, your results will be at least 3 times better. If you attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course, your results will be at least five times better.
I have also recently been sweating quite profusely from my perineum during practice, which upon asking Craig; he seems to think it is the huiyin meridian opening up to some extent, allowing for greater flow throughout my body.
Sweating is one of many ways Nature helps you to clear away toxic waste that could have caused your health problems. You may even be smelly for some time. Don't worry if this happens. It indicates a lot of rubbish is coming out from inside you.
What I would like to ask you, Sifu, is for any advice or recommendations you may have for my practice, and any changes or progressions that you think I should make. I understand that my training will always be limited to a relatively low level if I am to just train according to the instructions in the book, but if there is anything you can think I would benefit from that would be greatly appreciated.
Don't worry and don't intellectualize. Just enjoy your daily practice.
- Incredible but True — Dispersing Clouds
- From Pre-Arranged Sparring to Combat Efficiency
- Combat Applications of Shaolin Sword against Sabre and Samurai Sword
- Beautiful Carolina
- What is a Martial Art?