SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
FEBRUARY 2010 PART 2
Wishing all Shaolin Wahnam Family Members and Friends
Happy Chinese New Year
My parents are very unreasonable. Every time I mention Shaolin or Intensive Courses, my father gets very annoyed. I asked him very kindly if we could attend one of your courses later if I would try to do better in school and work hard collecting money, but he said no.
Still, I uphold the Ten Shaolin Laws and despite my parents being unfair, I try to do my best in making them proud and happy.
— Bjarni, Ireland
I would like to share two great universal truths with you.
One, all parents love their children and want the best for their children, although often the children do not realize it, and sometimes think their parents are unreasonable.
Two, one of the best blessings anyone can cultivate is to be kind to his parents. There are many ways you can be kind to your parents. One way is to spend time with them. Another way, as you have rightly said, is to make them happy and proud of you. Upholding the Ten Shaolin Laws is an excellent way to do so.
I really want to learn authentic Shaolin arts and help spread them. I thank you for giving me and everyone that great opportunity.
In Shaolin training, it is important to set our priorities. This means we do the most important thing first, the next important thing second, and so on. As a 14-year old young man, your top priority is not to learn kungfu or chi kung. Your first priority is to be a good son to your father and mother.
Your second priority is also not to learn kungfu or chi kung. Your second priority is to be a good student in school. To be a good student does not necessarily mean you always score top marks in tests and examination. If you can also score top marks, that will be a great bonus. To be a good student means you obey your teachers, do your homework, study your lessons, take part in extra-mural activities of your school, and be friendly with your classmates.
If you become a good son to your parents and a good student in school, you will achieve more than being good in Shaolin Kungfu. Your parents, your teachers and I shall be very proud of you.
When you have fulfilled these two priorities, you can then think of learning Shaolin Kungfu as your third priority.
I have been constantly worrying about my health. I am in a lot of imbalance but my parents don't seem to notice that.
Instead of worrying about your health, you should do something to be healthy. You need not attend any of my courses but by following the following advice you can attain reasonably good health.
Go to bed before 11 p.m. every night and wake up before 7 a.m. every morning. If you can go to bed before 10 and wake up before 6, it is even better. In this way you will be able to attune yourself to heavenly bodies in the universe and obtain the best cosmic energy radiated by them.
Once a while, like spending time with your friends, if you go to bed or wake up later, it is alright, but in general you should follow the folk wisdom of "early to bed, early to rise, make a person happy, healthy and wise."
Practice "Lifting the Sky" every morning after waking up. You can learn the exercise from my books. Perform the exercise about 20 to 30 times in a gentle and relaxed manner without any muscular tension and without thinking of anything. Then stand upright, close your eyes and enjoy the stillness. If you have generated any chi flow, enjoy the chi flow.
Complete the session by thanking God or any term you call the Supreme for the wonderful cosmic energy you have received that will make you healthy and strong physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. If you do this every day, you will soon overcome any imbalance you may have.
I would really like to attend your Intensive Chi Kung Course or Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course. But I can't make it this time. Will you be holding more Intensive Courses in the future? If you are, then I will be forever grateful.
Yes, I shall continue to offer these courses in future.
While you may attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course as a fresh beginner, you need to have some prior kungfu expereicne to attend my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course. You should be able to perform basic kungfu stances and patterns before you think of applying for this course.
Preferably you should also be familiar with the 16 Fundamental Shaolin Combat Sequences as well as have spent some time, say 3 months, on Golden Bridge, otherwise you would find much difficulty following the course.
The 16 fundamental combat sequences will be taught at the course. Then, why must one know these 16 fundamental Shaolin combat sequences beforehand. This is because the onus of my course is to help students develop skills and not just learn techniques. If they do not know the techniques beforehand, they will be focusing on learning them during the course instead of focusing on developing skills. They will not obtain the best benefits of the course. In fact they would be wasting their time and money because they could learn these techniques from any of our certified Shaolin Kungfu instructors or similar techniques from any instructors in their home area at a cheaper price and probably get better results too.
For your sake as well as those who may be thinking of attending my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course, I shall elabourate. Many people do not differentiate between skills and techniques. They think, erraneously, that if they know the techniques they can be proficient in the art, any art. This is a big mistake, and it results not only in their waisting a lot of time but also their failure to become proficient in whatever they do.
A lot of people know kungfu techniques but they do not have the skills to use these techniques in sparring. As a result they spar like children or like kick-boxers instead of as kungfu practitioners. More significantly, they do not have the skills to use these techniques to increase their vitality and mental clarity which in turn will enrich their daily life.
They may know in theory what kungfu techniques to use to defend against punches and kicks, but when they spar they will be hit badly. They know that by practicing kungfu they can be relaxed in sparring, but they become nervous and anxious when facing an opponent. They may have read and also believe that by practicing genuine Shaolin Kungfu or Taijiquan, they can spar for an hour without feeling tired, but in reality they become panting for breaths after a few minutes.
Differentiating between skills and techniques is more significant in daily life. Have you wondered why some students study for hours yet fail their examinations, while others study for shorter time yet do well? Have you also wondered why many sales-persons struggle to make a living while some sales-persons make a lot of money to have comfortable living? The techniques of the students in their studying and the sales-persons in their marketing are about the same, but the skills are very different, which result in many being just mediocre and a few being successful.
It is these skills that you will learn in my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course. Skills like good timing and spacing, wise and quick decision making, using energy flow and operating in mental clarity that students will learn at the course, enable them not only to be able to spar efficiently without feeling tired, but more importantly to do well in their daily lives.
So, if you have not prepared well for the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course, you may realize that your father's advice is wise after all and is made for your own good. An excellent way to prepare for the course so that you can get the best benefits from it is to learn Shaolin Kungfu from a certified Shaolin Wahnam instructor near your home. If this is not feasible, you can learn kungfu or other martial arts from a local instructor. If this is also not feasible, you can learn some basic kungfu forms from my books.
But you should do this only after you have fulfilled the first two top priorities, namely to be a good son to your parents and a good student in school. In our school, Shaolin Wahnam, we place great importance on having the right priorities. We place duties before aspirations. Being a good son and good student in school are duties, being proficient in Shaolin Kungfu is an aspiration.
I am glad you value my intensive courses highly. Indeed, they are unique. My Intensive Chi Kung Course enables students to progress from very basic chi kung skills like generating an energy flow to masters' skills like tapping energy from the Cosmos. My Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course enables students to develop internal force and apply Shaolin techniques and skills in free sparring. Actually it is a training for leadership, helping students to surpass all physical, emotional, mental and spiritual levels.
I have got your other book too (Chi Kung for Health and Vitality) and I have studied both books very carefully because I find the theory behind Chi Kung very interesting.
— Jan, Sweden
It is worthwhile to note the difference regarding theory between Eastern and Western culture. In Eastern culture, a theory is an explanation of what has happened.
For example, when we say in chi kung theory that illness, any illness, is the result of energy blockage, this theory is formulated after experience. Chi kung masters over many centuries discovered from their experience that when people had energy blockage, they became ill. The experience came first, the theory followed.
In Western culture, when we say taking too much sugar will cause diabetes, we formulate a theory that excess sugar causes diabetes. The theory comes first, experience follows. After formulating this theory, we go into the real world to find examples that justify our theory.
I believe that the word "theory" originally meant "explanation", but we have used it so often in place of the word "hypothesis" that we often forget its original meaning.
Realizing the difference may highlight some important points for us. It is interesting that from the Eastern perspective, even if the theory were wrong, i.e. even if illness were not caused by energy blockage but by some other factors, the fact remains that when people have energy blockage, they become ill. This fact existed first, the formulation of the theory came later.
But more significantly, chi kung masters over many centuries discovered from their experience that if the patients overcame their energy blockage, they regained their good health. We have a lot of confirmation of this fact in our chi kung classes. Different students in the same class had different illness. We normally did not even ask what their illness was. We taught the different students with different illness the same chi kung exercises to generate energy flow to clear their energy blockage. After a few months, they reported that they regained good health.
On the other hand, if we question diabetes patients, we would find that the intact of sugar of diabetes patients before the incidence of diabetes was normal, not excessive. And of course after being diagnosed that they have diabetes, they take little or no sugar, yet they still suffer from diabetes. Interestingly, other people, like me, who take a lot of sugar do not have diabetes. It is quite surprising why our medical scientists do not question the theory that taking a lot of sugar causes diabetes.
I have read every answer in your "Questions and Answer" to find anything more about the movements, breathing and so on.
You can find a lot of useful information from my Question-Answer Series. You can also use the Question-Answer Index though at present it is far from ideal. Using the Google Search Engine at the start of my homepage to look for particular information is also very helpful.
I have now practiced "Lifting the sky" and "Carrying the Moon" for 3 months. I can feel a flow in my hands and sometimes down a bit in my arms but I have a great problem with exhalation. One in and one out makes me out of breath.
If you can feel some chi flow after just three months of practice, the result is quite remarkable. Congratulations.
Your problem is probably due to your over concern about how to exhale. Indeed the more you worry about how to exhale correctly, the more difficult you will find your exhalation. Just open your mouth gently and exhale. It is that simple. If you just breathe in gently through your nose, and breathe out gently through your mouth, you will find you will have more stamina, instead of being out of breath. You will also find it very pleasant.
If you have the opportunity, I would recommend that you attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course. You will be able to generate a chi flow within the first hour of the course. And in three days you will acquire chi kung skills that many practitioners regard as the reserves of masters, like tapping energy from the Cosmos, directing your chi to wherever you wish in your body, enjoying a cosmic shower, and expanding into the Cosmos.
My big problem which got me interested in Chi Kung is that I am suffering from very annoying "tics". I am sure you know what it is. I hope to be able to reduce it a bit by doing Chi Kung. Maybe I have too much energy or too little.
I am sorry I don't know for sure what "tics" are. Do you mean you have hiccups?
Whatever tics may be, they are not due to too much or too little energy. It is due to energy blockage, irrespective of how much or how little energy you have.
Why do you just hope to reduce your problem? You should not just hope to, but actually eliminate the problem all together. When you succeed to clear your energy blockage, your tics and any other health problems if any, would go away.
A Shaolin Wahnam instructor once mentioned that problems were opportunities for growth. Take this tics problem as an opportunity to practice high-level chi kung so that you will continue to enjoy your happily married life with your wife.
Editorial Note: Jan's other questions are posted in the February 2010 Part 3 issue.
- The Joy of Being with Others
- Simple in Language, Profound in Meaning
- Shaolin Iron-Wire Set
- Combination Set of Taming Tiger
- Moving In to Attack Without Being Hit