July 2008 (Part 2)
SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
Good day Sifu.
I attended an Intensive Chi Kung Course in November 2003 in Sungai Petani. I want to thank you for the wonderful course and your generous teaching. It's been a long time since we met at the course in 2003. I am sure you are always energetic, smiling, as I can recall, and also as I can see on your web page all this while. Also my regards for Simou and your family. And Wahnam Secretary too.
— Jason, Malaysia
It is wonderful to hear from you and to know what you have been doing all these years.
Thank you for your kind thoughts for me, Simou, my family and the Shaolin Wahnam Secretary who has been very helpful to me all these years.
Thanks to my chi kung and kungfu training, I am not only energetic but also always smiling. Indeed, many people have asked me the secret for my vitality despite my being over 60 and my cheerfulness. The secret is that I practice what I teach, namely both the Shaolin philosophy and the Shaolin arts.
The Shaolin philosophy and arts have given me tremendous joy and meaningful living. I always feel that I have been so lucky and so blessed, for which I am very grateful.
I particularly feel blessed now when Simou, on one of her infrequent occasions, joins me in this Europe teaching trip. We flew in from Malaysia about three weeks ago and landed on Nice, a beautiful French city by the Mediterranean Sea. We rented a car and drove along the scenic Rivera coast to Monte Carlo. As we had no interest in gambling games, we by-passed the famous casino.
We drove along the unbelievable highway linking France and Italy that was literally built in the sky, all the way going through mountains by tunnels and across valleys by high pillars with coastal towns hundreds of meters below. We arrived in Ligure Finale in Italy at the hotel of Attilio, one of my senior disciples. At this hotel called Punta Est, anywhere you look is like a painted picture.
Then we drove across northern Italy into Austria and arrived at Gutensteine, where I conducted some regional chi kung courses.
Then we drove across Austria from East to West, from Vienna, the music capital of the world, to Salzburg where the “Sound of Music” was filmed. The whole of Austria is a garden, and we were driving through this garden in spring.
We drove through Switzerland where the mountains were still covered with snow. When we passed through St Morriz, the holiday town of the rich, its big, famous lake was just about to thaw.
We returned to Attilio's beautiful hotel in Italy where we gave some regional chi kung courses. After enjoying Attilio's delicious food, though Simou kept to her Italian-style Cantonese fried rice specially prepared by the chef for her, and enjoying Attilio's and Riccardo's company, we drove into France.
The scenery and architecture in France are quite different from those in Italy, Austria and Switzerland. They all have a beauty of their own. Interestingly, we found that Chinese restaurants in France were managed by Vietnamese who usually provided buffet-style fast food rather than order-by-menu dishes.
From France we entered Spain, and now we are in Barcelona giving some regional courses. We just completed a wonderful course on “Cosmic Breathing” where many participants had deeply spiritual experiences like finding themselves expanding into the Cosmos. Tomorrow we shall drive to Madrid, one of my favorite cities of the world where I had my first taste of mouth-watering jarmon and tapas.
Within 6 months after the course, I was practicing diligently, but ridiculously neglected your advice to progress gradually, especially the Horse-Riding Stance. Then, as a freshman in society, various problems in life occurred, and I just managed to practice periodically since then. The practice stopped completely one year after the course
It is very helpful to know that there are three parts to a successful achievement of any art. They are the method, the teacher and the student.
Many people have wasted a lot of time, as much as ten or twenty years, because they are not aware of this fact. Many people mistakenly think that they know an art once they know the method. This, of course, is not true.
In today's information age, we can readily read up good methods from books or the internet, though we must be aware there is also a lot of rubbish. We can, for example, read up excellent methods on surgery from good medical text books, but of course no one would think of operating on a patient in this way. Knowing surgery methods is vastly different from being proficient in the art of surgery.
In the same way, one may know chi kung or kungfu methods and practice them, but still not proficient in the art. He needs a good teacher to teach him the skills to perform the methods well.
It is common that different teachers teaching the same material produces vastly different results. This is commonly evident in schools and universities where students have vastly different results although they learned the same material from the same teachers.
But the most important part of this three-part requirement for success in any art or learning is the student. Even when he has the best method and the best teacher, if he is unwilling or unable to learn or practice according to the requirements of the method and the teacher, he will not obtain any good result.
In your case, you made three mistakes as a student. You did not progress gradually. Next, you did not practice regularly. Then you did not practice at all.
We all make mistakes. The foolish never realize or admit they have made mistakes, and continue making mistakes, often the same ones. The ordinary know that they have made mistakes but do nothing about them. The wise recognize their mistakes and learn from them. Now you can choose to be foolish, ordinary or wise.
In 2005 and 2006, I faced periodic tough challenges in jobs and life, I was mentally fatigue. I questioned many things around me, my future path of career, my religion, my purpose in life, my decision to practice chi kung and kungfu, etc. All these problems came in waves after waves.
In mid-2006 I faced the biggest problem in my job that I took a risky decision to change my path. Maybe luck has changed to be better, the risky decision has brought me a good outcome. In 2008, when my other concerns of life become not concerns, I resume my chi kung practice.
Congratulations for the good outcome resulting from your courage to change the path of your job.
You may be pleased to know that what you did is actually common among students in our school. Many of them changed their jobs or became their own boss soon after learning from us. They were not necessarily unhappy in their jobs to start with. But they discovered that the jobs they were doing then did not enable them to realize their potential. So they took a big decision to change their jobs, and it turned out to be a very good decision.
This is no co-incidence. Our training provides them with mental clarity and courage. With mental clarity they could see that the jobs they had could not lead to the type of life they wanted, and with courage they changed the path.
Their new paths will turn out to be better than their previous ones. Why is this so? It is because of their good circulation of chi as a result of their chi kung or kungfu training. In Chinese “good circulation of chi” is “hou yun qi”, which means being lucky.
I did not continue chi kung practice during the troubled years, not to mention kungfu. Many of your students have become instructors. Well, I think the timing was not right for me. Out of 10 persons who practice chi kung or kungfu, maybe only 2 persons can succeed. I belong to the other 8 right now.
You are quite right that only 2 or 3 out of 10 persons who practice chi kung or kungfu will be successful. However, our school is an exception. We have a success rate of about 60 to 80 percent.
There are many reasons why 6 to 8 persons out of 10 in our school will succeed in realizing their aims and objectives in their chi kung or kungfu training. One very important reason is that our result comes very fast, often immediately.
For example, in chi kung our students usually experience a chi flow on the very first day they learn from us, or at the most within a month, whereas in most other school students experience a chi flow only after many months or even years, if at all. In my regional kungfu course, where the teaching is more intense, fresh beginners experience internal force and are able to apply kungfu for sparring by the end of the course, which usually takes three days.
In our regular kungfu classes taught by our certified instructors where we purposely spread out our teaching over a longer period of time for the students' benefit, they can experience internal force within a few weeks and are able to use kungfu for sparring within a few months. In most other schools students would consider themselves lucky if they experience internal force or are able to apply kungfu for sparring after a few years.
Many people not exposed to our teaching, may think we are boasting, and some call us liars. But this is the truth, and we are not afraid to say it. Almost anyone can test out whether what we claim is true or not simply by joining our classes.
Hence, having experienced the result of their practice, our students are motivated to continue, whereas in most other schools students have to practice for a few years before they can tell whether their practice can bring the result they want.
Because you are in our school, you didn't belong to the other 8 who failed but the other 2 who did not succeed. But if you choose to be wise and learn from your mistakes, you will belong to the other 8 who succeed.
I resolve to be the two who succeed, but I am very afraid that eventually I'll be the other eight who fail. Perhaps action speaks louder than words. Only my regular practice may justify my resolution. Your fee structure is also a big motivation for one to train, and to value the art.
As mentioned above, if you fail in your chi kung or kungfu training, you will be in the minority of 2 or 3 out of 10. Given the many advantages we have over other schools, succeeding is the norm. Again, we may sound boastful, but this is the truth.
More importantly, the choice is up to you. This is a great advantage. In many schools, students may work very hard, yet they fail to achieve the result they hope their practice will give. Sometimes they have dedicated teachers, yet the students do not obtain desirable result. Why? It is mainly because their method is incorrect.
If teachers teach and students practice gentle physical exercise but mistakenly think it is chi kung, no matter how dedicated and diligent the teachers and students are, they will only get the benefits of gentle physical exercise, like good balance and flexibility, but never the benefits of chi kung, like good health, vitality and longevity.
If teachers teach and students practice external forms and kick-boxing, no matter for how they practice and how good their demonstration or fighting may be, they will not have internal force or be able to use kungfu for combat.
Yes, action speaks louder than words. This is actually what we emphasize in our training, though we also have sound philosophy so that we can have both faster and better result.
Don't worry about having stopped your practice for a few years. Your wanting to resume practice is good enough. Practice whatever you like from what you learned at the Intensive Chi Kung Course.
Don't even worry whether you make any mistakes in your practice. Even if you do make some mistakes, your chi flow will be more than sufficient to overcome whatever side-effects the mistakes may have caused. The important point is to enjoy your practice. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to contact me.
The feeling after each session is really making me amazed, despite the fact that I have stopped for 3 years! For the first time, I have a deeper understanding of “vitalized”, “refreshed”, “joy”, “feeling powerful”, “clear blockage” that are mentioned frequently by Wahnam members.
Sometimes some pain after exercise just gone after expansion in standing meditation! But I feel sad that I am still practicing Lifting the Sky and Horse Stance while other Wahnam members have moved on to advanced stage.
There are two ways of looking at anything, the negative way and the Shaolin Wahnam way. What you did was the negative way.
The Shaolin Wahnam way is as follows. You just resumed your regular practice yet you are amazed at the result. You have direct experience of what Shaolin Wahnam members frequently mention, like being vitalized, refreshed, joyful, powerful and clearing blockage. Most other people who may have practiced chi kung for years have never experienced such benefits.
Other Shaolin Wahnam members who have been practicing regularly have moved on to advanced stage. This should inspire you that if you practice regularly you too will progress as they do. And the time and effort you need to spend on your practice is far less than what most other chi kung students have to. You need only to practice just one exercise for 15 minutes a day, whereas many others will need to practice about 10 exercises for an hour.
Progress in our school is measured not by the number of techniques you know but by the benefits you get. Even if you do not learn any more techniques but just practice “Lifting the Sky” for 15 minutes daily, you can achieve benefits that many other chi kung practitioners, including some masters, may not dream to be possible. Having good health and vitality is expected in our school. But don't forget that many other chi kung practitioners are not healthier or having more vitality despite having practiced for many years.
As you progress in “Lifting the Sky”, you may experience spiritual expansion. You will feel tremendous joy, peace and freedom. Most other practitioners only know such terms in words.
Editorial Note: Answers to Jason's further questions are continued in the next issue of the Question-Answer Series.
Several months ago, I was struck by a car while riding a bicycle — and I walked away miraculously. A “gym rat” all my adult life, I was unable to continue that rather pointless lifestyle because of my muscular injury, but since picking up your book, I have regained much of my muscle and agility, and especially my flexibility, which I once thought was lost after I left off martial arts training in my teens. I'm now 27.
— Clifford, USA
I am very happy that you have recovered your muscular functions and flexibility. Congratulations.
Continue your practice from my book. If you have the opportunity, learn from one of our certified Shaolin Wahnam instructors. You may have benefits that you did not think possible before. Better still, attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course, which is open to beginners, or Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course, which requires prior martial art experience.
Rarely these days do I see the inside of a gym, and my martial spirit is re-awakened. Your book has deeply affected my life, and continues to do so. The world is magic again for me
From the perspective of internal art cultivation, working in a gym is detrimental to health. Energy which is meant to work internal organs is locked in muscles.
Secondly the internal organs which are already deprived of energy, have to do more work. Thirdly, toxic wastes that result from gym work are often not disposed in time and thus left in the body.
Practicing genuine, high-level chi kung is the reverse. It clears your blockage, enabling energy to flow smoothly. Secondly it increases your volume of energy, enabling your internal organs to work better. Thirdly, it disposes off toxic wastes from your body.
Indeed, the world is magical when you have good health, mental clarity and a lot of energy to enjoy work and play everyday.
- The Mechanics of Fa-Jin or Exploding Force
- Listening to Winds and Catching Goats
- Flowingly Still
- Is there Further Training after an Intensive Course?
- Incredible but True — Dispersing Clouds