NOVEMBER 2009 (Part 3)
SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
I would first like to thank you again for sharing so much information on One Finger Zen last time you were in Gainesville. I am gradually reaching deeper and deeper levels of enjoyment in all aspects of my training.
— Adam, USA
It is nice to hear from you. The time at Gainesville was wonderful. Your Sifu made some special effort to get me to restaurants with excellent food. Your Sipak, Riccardo Salvatore, who has made me always looking forward to every meal in Portugal, feels a bit threatened now. Please tell your Sifu again that I much appreciated his effort.
I am very happy that you are reaching deeper and deeper levels of enjoyment in your training. This was what past masters refered to as the "subtle joys" of kungfu. It is a greater achievement than combat efficiency. When you can find subtle joys in your kungfu training, you will find joys in all aspects of your daily life.
I have been practicing "Fierce Tiger Cleanses Claws" along with my "One-Finger Shooting Zen" practice for some time now. I am planning on doing a Tiger Claw course, but I have some questions I hope you would shed some light on before I get started.
"Fierce Tiger Cleanses Claws" is the essence of Tiger-Claw training. I am grateful that my Sifu, i.e. your Sitaikung Ho Fatt Nam, who himself specialized in Tiger-Claw and Dim Mark (using One-Finger Zen), taught me this great secret.
The first question relates to the jabbing beans exercise. I know this is considered a water-buffalo method, but since I'm young and have plenty of time to train, I would be willing to dedicate some time to it if it fits with my aims and objectives.
I wish to have a complete Tiger Claw in terms of the gripping aspect, but I'm not concerned with the ability to strike with the finger tips. Does jabbing beans add to the gripping force, or is the force derived purely useful for striking?
Even when you are young and have plenty of time to train, you should use your time wisely. In this case, your choice of having a complete Tiger Claw training, including jabbing beans, is wise.
Although jabbing beans is particular useful to develop force for striking with the fingers, it also enhances other aspects of Tiger-Claw, including gripping, as well as kungfu in general.
One important aspect of jabbing beans that students should know, but actually many don't, is that incorrect practice may affect the eyes. Another important aspect is that the jabbing into the beans should be performed in a relaxed manner, and not with tensed muscles as many uninitiated students usually do. The secret is to let chi flow to your fingers to strengthen them, not to condition and harden the fingers, which may affect the eyes.
But these will not be a problem for you. As you are familiar with internal force training, you know how to relax and let your chi flow. Even if you make some mistakes due to carelessness or forgetfulness by tensing your fingers or arms, your chi flow in the same or other training sessions will clear the blockage.
Most other students do not realize that they should relax while jabbing the beans. Even if they know, they may not actually relax, especially those who mistake this external training as hard conditioning. Hence, their training may cause energy blockage in the meridians (read as "nerves" in Western terms) in their fingers, which are connected to the heart and the eyes. These external students need to take medicinal concoction regularly to clear the blockage.
But you need not take such concoction. Your chi flow is many times more effective in clearing blockage if there is any. If there is no blockage, your chi flow will increase the internal force of your fingers.
It is important that you do the following supplementary exercise. Place 10 threads or tiny beans on one side. Use your thumb and index finger, then your thumb and middle finger, your thiumb and fourth finger, and your thumb and little finger each time to pick up a thread or a bean and move it to the other side.
After you have moved all the threads or beans, do the same with your other hand. Repeat the procedure many times. The objective is to maintain the flexibility and normal functions of your fingers despite the jabbing of beans. Perform this about once a week.
Does the order of training Jabbing Beans, Tiger Claw Push-ups, and Clawing Jars make a difference in the final force of the training program?
No, it does not make much difference.
The only jars I can find have screw-on lids, so at the bottom of the lid there is a ridge. Does this ridge have an effect either on the force built or the energy flow to the finger tips?
Yes, it has an effect, but the effect is not much. It is better to practice with such jars than not practice at all.
I have been practicing Chi Kung since January 2009 on the basis of your instructions in your book "Chi Kung for Health and Vitality". I try to adhere to your instructions very strictly.
In the last 2.5 months my high blood pressure has reduced to the normal level. This has resulted in my doctor reducing the potency of my medication by about 50%. Furthermore, within one week of commencing Chi Kung practice, I have been getting very good sleep at night. I sincerely thank you for this.
— Kaushik, India
Congratulations for your good result. Considering that you are practicing on your own from my books, you have done very well.
However, over the last one week I have been experiencing a substantial dip in vitality and my energy levels, although normally I am physically and mentally a very active person by nature.
Other than the hypertension problem (detected in November 2006) I do not have any history of illness. I do have a mild problem in the lower back (injury from soccer playing), though I am reminded of it only if I sit in a hunched position for sometime. It doesn't pain, but I take a little time (2-5 seconds) to assume an erect stance while standing up.
An occasional dip in your progress is not uncommon. You need not worry about it.
It is likely that the energy you have generated from your daily practice is now working to clear the blockage on your lower back, resulting in a dip of vitality.
Chi kung works at different levels. At the first level, it overcomes illness that you are aware of, like you hypertension problem. At the next level, it overcomes disorders that you may have forgotten, like your lower back injury, or problems that you may not even be aware of at all. You are now at this level. You may feel some pain as chi flow clears your blockage. Don't worry about it.
At the third level, when chi has cleared your problems, it will strengthen you, giving you a lot of energy and mental clarity to enjoy life wholesomely. Then it will increase your energy volume, enabling your energy flow to last a long time, giving you longevity. At the highest level, practicing chi kung expands your spirit, enabling you to be with God, or whatever name you call the Supreme.
I practice the following patterns twice every day (mornings and evenings) :-
- "Lifting the Sky" (10 repetitions)
- "Carrying the moon" (10 repetitions)
I also practiced "Pushing Mountains", "The Big Windmill" and "Deep Knee Bending" for a few days, but have eventually discontinued these patterns.
If you perform only one exercise per session, I would recommend that you practice 30 repetitions, followed with a gentle chi flow and concluding with standing meditation. (Those who have learnt from me or any certified Shaolin Wahnam instructors need to practice only about 15 repetitions.)
If you perform two exercises per sessions, you should practice each exercise about 15 repetitions. Adjust the numbers of repetition accordingly if you perform more than two exercises so that the total number of repetition is around 30 to 40. However, some exercises like "Turning Head" and "Merry-Go-Round" do not require too many repetitions.
Assuming that I may have been making mistakes in my practice, is there any instructor of Shaolin Wahnam Chi Kung in India who can guide me? If not, may I most humbly request you to enlighten me about the right path to follow?
At present there are no certified Shaolin Wahnam instructors in India. You are doing very well on your own. Carry on as you have been doing, and enjoy your daily practice.
If you wish to deepen your practice, attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course. Although you already have good results now practicing on your own, you will be amazed at the even more wonderful results learning personally from me at the course.
- On God, Buddha and Immortals
- The Small Universe and Shaolin Cosmos Chi Kung
- The Frying Point
- Fundamental Feathres of a Lion Dance Drama
- Taming the Tiger