SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
APRIL 2012 PART 2
I have a new student who also teaches Tai Chi "dance" locally. (Actually, I have roughly a half dozen students who previously taught Tai Chi dance). This student looks fit, but he has several health issues, which is why he came to me. He's gotten great results from our Qigong and Tai Chi Chuan.
He wants to start using our method to teach. He's been very humble, and he admits that he is not a master. But he has only been learning from me for a few months, so I don't think he's ready to teach. On the other hand, he's already teaching.
What should I do with students like this? In fact, I have a few other students who are in similar situations, whether they teach Tai Chi dance, Kung Fu, Yoga, or some other art.
Typically, I tell students that they need to spend a few years being a good student before thinking about being a teacher. But what if they are already teaching,?
— Sifu Anthony Korahais., Chief Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam USA
You are right. This student is certainly not ready to teach like the way we do. If he attempts to do so against your advice, he is likely to cause adverse effects on his students, and certain to degrade the great art of Tai Chi Chuan as what is being done now by Tai Chi Dance instructors.
Many people would think we are selfish, that we want to keep the excellent teaching methods for ourselves. This, of course, is not true, though many people may not understand why it is so even if they believe us. I shall explain.
If we were selfish, we would not have taught the way we do. We would have kept the secrets for advanced students who have been learning from us for many years. It is a fact that even beginning students learn and benefit from us much more than other advanced students form their masters.
Why is it that our students can benefit in a few months what students in other schools would need a few years if they are lucky. Most other students would never have the same benefit no matter how long they train. Understandably, those not exposed to our teaching would think we are boastful or arrogant, but it is true.
Let us take the two fundamental aspects of Tai Chi Chuan, or any kungfu style for that matter, as an example. How many Tai Chi Chuan practitioners today have internal force and be able to apply their Tai Chi Chuan patterns in free sparring? Probably less than 10%.
How long did it take these less than 10% of Tai Chi Chuan practitioners the world over to have internal force and be able to use their Tai Chi Chuan patterns for combat? At least a few years.
The other 90% Tai Chi Chuan practitioners would never have internal force nor be able to use their art for combat no matter how long they may train. In my case, it took me more than 10 years before I could develop internal force and use kungfu for free sparring, and I was a fast learner. Yet, all our Tai Chi Chuan students would have internal force and be able to use Tai Chi Chuan for combat after a few months.
Why are we so efficient in our teaching. They are many reasons. One important reason is that we transmit skills, not merely teach techniques. The teachers of the elite 10% teach techniques, and their students have to practice and practice for many years before they acquire the necessary skills. Our students get the skills immediately because we transmit to them.
What this student sees are just the techniques. He is unaware of the skills transmitted to him by you. Even when he uses the same techniques to teach his own students, but without the transmitted skills, his students would still have to practice and practice for a few years to get similar results.
For example, if you tell this student to stand still and relax, he soon will have a chi flow. If he tells his own students to stand still and relax, not only his students would not have a chi flow but they would also be tensed and intellectualizing.
What is more serious is that this student would not know if his students make mistakes, like being tensed and intellectualizing, which can cause them serious adverse effects. Even when he finds out the adverse effects, he does not know any remedial exercises to help his students rectify the adverse effects. For example, if by tensing, a student blocks his energy flow along a nerve that goes to his kidneys, not only it will affect his kidney function now but also affect his life span later on.
This won't happen to our students because we know what we are doing, and not only we have remedial exercise, we also have safety precautions built into the training exercise itself that will automatically erase any adverse effects our students may have due to incorrect training even without the students or ourselves doing any thing extra. But an untrained teacher like this student does not know what he is doing. He has no safety precautions and no remedial exercises.
As he had been teaching before he joined our school, he can of course carry on teaching the way he did. But if he loves Tai Chi Chuan and his students, which he presumably does, he should not teach the way we do because he is not trained to do so. If he does not follow your advice, he has to leave our school.
How would you explain that some people are carefree, healthy and live long lives without doing any chi kung?
— Dargo, Germany
Some people are born with good chi. Hence, they are naturally healthy and live long lives. They do not need to practice chi kung for good health and longevity (this does not mean they do not benefit from chi kung if they choose to practice). They practice chi kung for fun and other benefits, like expanding their mind and experiencing spiritual joys.
As an analogy, some people are born rich. Hence, they naturally enjoy a comfortable life. They do not need to work for a living (this does not mean they do not benefit from working if they choose to work). They work for fun and other benefits, like helping others and developing their talents.
Being carefree is an excellent way to be healthy. Indeed, often one can get more health benefits by merely being carefree than practicing some low-level chi kung. When you are carefree, both your mind and body are relaxed. When you are relaxed, you promote good energy flow, which leads to good health.
But how do you have energy flow if you do not practice chi kung? Energy flow is natural. You need not practice chi kung to have energy flow. But if one's energy flow is blocked, practicing chi kung is an excellent way to restore and then enhance it.
Stress is the most important factor that cause energy blockage resulting in illness. Tensing one's muscles and having continuous thoughts are two sure ways to be stressful. Everyone is being attacked by viruses, exposed to negative emotions and subjected to cell mutation all the time, but normally his natural chi flow, described in Western terms as the natural functioning of his physiological and psychological systems, especially his defence and immunity systems, is sufficient to overcome these disease-causing agents.
Sometimes there may be an increase in these disease-causing agents, like in an epidemic or when he is subjected to severe emotions, which causes energy blockage, i.e. weakening of his physiological and psychological functioning, but often it is stress that causes the energy blockage, resulting in sickness. Regardless of the intermediate causes of energy blockage, once the blockage is cleared and smooth energy flow is restored, or in Western terms once all his physiological and psychological systems function properly again, he will regain his good health.
Why some people spend a lot of time on meditation, discover their blockage but remain very stressful?
The term "meditation" has been badly translated from Sanskrit and classical Chinese which means "mind training" or "spiritual cultivation", but since its usage has been long established, people continue using the term.
In Sanskrit, meditation is known as "dhyana". In classical Chinese, it is known as "entering Zen", "entering Tao" or "entering silence".
In English "meditation" comes from the verb "meditate", which implies using the mind to reason and intellectualize. This is exactly what should not be done in mind training and spiritual cultivation practices. Even when a meditator has to "think", his "thinking" is different from reasoning and intellectualizing. It refers to thinking or visualizing intuitively, not thinking intellectually.
A lot of people may sit in a meditation posture, like a lotus position, but they do not really train their mind or cultivate their spirit. A lot of thoughts enter their mind and made them stressful. Moreover, sitting at a fixed position too long may also cause them physical tension. Mental stress and physical blockage are two sure ways to cause energy blockage, which in turn hinders their mind training and spiritual cultivation.
They may discover their blockage, but they have no effective methods to clear it. Chi kung, of course, is an excellent way to clear both mental and physical blockage.
To be relaxed physically and mentally is the pre-requisite as well as the most basic benefit of meditation as mind training and spiritual cultivation, as well as of chi kung. It is ironical that today many people become more stressed the more they practice meditation!
What does God want us to do?
— Reto, Switzerland
This depends on who asks the question and who answers it. In other words, different people in different situations would have different answers.
To most people, it is earning a lot of money in an honest way. To a pious follower it is to serve God. To a monk it is to return to God.
From our Shaolin Wahnam perspective, it is to live a meaningful and rewarding life for ourselves and other people. An excellent way to do so is to follow the guidance provided by the Buddha, namely
- To avoid evil
- To do good
- To cultivate the mind
What happens yf a patient cannot practice the healing techniques because of incapacitation and is located far from certified healers? To be more specific, if a patient has brain tumour which by normal medical means is incurable, is there any way to help the patient from a distance?
— Kyriakos, Greece
I do not know about other masters or healers, but for us, if a student or patient wants our help he must come to us; we do not go to him. If a patient suffering from a so-called incurable disease does not even bother to make any effort to come to us, when we have a good record of helping many people overcome so-called incurable diseases, we do not want to waste our time on him.
We are glad to say that we have helped many people overcome illness that Western medicine considers incurable, like cancer, cardio-vascular diseases, diabetes, asthma, chronic pain, depression and phobia. But we must state clearly that we do not guarantee any cure.
Sitaikung, what do you mean by good chi?
— Rafael, Venezuela
Good chi or energy is chi that gives you benefit.
Chi that neither gives you benefit nor harms you is neutral chi.
Chi that brings you harm is evil chi.
For example, if the bacteria inside your body do some useful work for you, they are good chi. If they just remain in your body doing nothing, they are neutral. If they make you sick, they are evil chi.
You have developed quite a lot of internal force just now performing Reverse Hanging of Double Hooks. If you let the chi flow into your body and nourish your internal organs, it is good chi as it brings you benefit.
In this case, the chi won't be neutral because even if you do nothing, the chi will maintain life, which brings you benefit, making it good chi.
But if you use your internal force to break tables and chair, which lands you in trouble, then the chi is evil.
Are the arts you teach the original, or have they been modified?
The chi kung, Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan I teach are both original and have been modified.
I did not invent chi kung, Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan. They are the same as the arts taught in the past. It is not just the forms that are the same. More importantly, the philosophy, essence and benefits of chi kung, Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan I teach today are the same as the philosophy, essence and benefits of chi kung, Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan in the past.
How do we know that the arts are the same as those in the past? We can readily check with both the verbal and the pictorial records of these arts. The forms of our chi kung, Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan are the same as those recorded in the past. For example, we do not bounce about like in Boxing, but use proper stances as those in the past did.
More significantly, we practice chi kung as an energy art, and not as gentle physical exercise. We derive benefits like overcoming pain and illness, and attaining good health, vitality and longevity, like what was mentioned in past records. We practice Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan as high-level martial arts, and derive benefits of good health, combat efficiency and spiritual cultivation.
It is pertinent to note that many schools today, while preserving their forms, have lose the philosophy, essence and benefit of chi kung, Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan. Many chi kung practitioners today practice chi kung as gentle physical exercise instead of as an art of energy. Many Shaolin and Taijiquan practitioners today cannot use their Shaolin and Taijiquan patterns for combat; they use kick-boxing. They also have no internal force, and are unware of spiritual cultivation, two essential features of Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan in the past.
Notwithstanding this, over many years of my teaching I have made much modification to the chi kung, Shaolin Kungfu and Taijiquan that I teach. The modification is made to meet expedient needs for the more effective teaching and better benefits for our students. I was always aware of the modification I made, and fully understand the reasons for making it, carefully maintaining the philosophy, essence and benefits of the arts.
For example, while past chi kung practitioners needed many months of practice before they could experience a chi flow, which is an essential feature of chi kung as an energy art, our students in my regional and intensive courses can experience a chi flow on the very first day!
This is possible because I make modification to my teaching. Instead of just teaching the techniques to their students and letting their students developed the necessary chi kung skills on their own as past masters did, I transmit the necessary skills to our students on the very first day and tell them to employ these skills while performing the techniques.
Past Shaolin and Taijiquan students would need to practice for at least a few months before they could develop internal force and apply their patterns for combat. Our students now can develop internal force and apply Shaolin and Taijiquan patterns for combat within a few days!
They can do so because I have made modification to my teaching. Instead of letting their students discover the skills of internal force haphazardly, and work out their own combat applications through trial and error as past masters did, I teach our students internal force skills and combat applications systematically.
It is hard for others to believe but true that with appropriate medication in my teaching methodology, our students can achieve results in the original arts much faster than what past practitioners did.
Why is it that we can gain in two days what others cannot gain in many years?
Why is it that we can gain in two days what others cannot gain in many years?
This is incredible but true. Even I myself would not believe it twenty years ago. But over the many years of teaching, I have improved our teaching methodology to such an incredible extent that our students can achieve in two days what others may not in many years.
It is understandable if others do not believe this claim, and some attack us for being boastful. It is just ridiculous, though true. What they need to do is to take some courses for two days and find out. We are ridiculously generous in this respect. We teach the public, including our severe critics, secrets that many masters would keep only for their special students. But if they do not want to find out, that is their business. We do not want to waste our time arguing with them.
How do we achieve this incredible result. There are two main reasons. We are ridiculously generous, and we have an excellent methodology.
Take a basic benefit -- generating energy flow. Generating energy flow is fundamental in chi kung. If a practitioner does not have energy flow, even when his chi kung technique is correct, he is performing the chi kung techniques as gentle physical exercise, and not as an energy art.
It is energy flow, not the chi kung technique, that enables a practitioner overcomes pain and illness, and attain good health, vitality and longevity. As an analogy, it is cash flow, and not the job you do, that enables you to overcome your economic needs and leads a comfortable life.
Most practitioners today cannot generate an energy flow. It is because they do not realise that they need to perform their techniques with the necessary skills to generate an energy flow. If they lack the skills, they may perform the techniques correctly, but there will be no energy flow. And if there is no energy flow, they will be unable to overcome pain and illness, and unable to attain good health, vitality and longevity.
To continue the analogy between energy flow and cash flow, you may know the techniques of selling. But if you lack the skills of selling, people will not buy from you and you will have no cash flow. Without cash flow, you will be unable to overcome your economic needs, and unable to lead a comfortable life.
Once a while, when conditions are favourable, someone may buy from you. But this sale is haphazard. As it happens only once a while, it does not have an accumulative effect to give you a constant cash flow which is needed to maintain your economic life. In the same way, once a while, when conditions are favourable, some practitioners may attain an energy flow. But it is haphazard and has no accumulative effect, and thus ineffective in giving them good health, vitality and longevity.
If they are lucky, this haphazard energy flow may happen once a twice a month. These haphazard happenings are too far apart to have any accumulative effect, and accumulative effect is very important in chi kung. Hence, it does not matter for how many years they may practice, these haphazard energy flows are insufficient to give them desirable chi kung benefits.
For our students, we transmit the necessary skills to them on the very first day of their learning from us so that they are able to generate an energy flow on their own right at the start. Further, we lead them to operate chi kung at the energy level and the mind level.
Other practitioners, if they ever succeed in develop some chi kung skills after months or even years of trials and errors, operate chi kung at the physical level. (They normally do not know the difference between the physical, energy and mind levels of chi kung.). Operating at the energy and mind levels is many times more powerful than operating at the physical level.
Hence, our students can gain benefits in two days what other practitioners many not gain in many years. As you have witnessed in our two days of chi kung training, the energy flow is so powerful that it moves our students vigorously, some rolling on the ground and others crying and making interesting noises, which are nature's ways of clearing their emotional blockage. This is the norm in our chi kung practice. How often can one see such results in other practitioners who may have practiced for years?
- What is Genuine, Traditional Taijiquan
- The Use of Internal Force
- The Spirit of the Monkey
- From You-Wei to Wu-Wei, from Control to Spontaneoity
- Taming Tiger Big Trident