SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
MAY 2013 PART 2
Shaolin Kungfu is a martial art full of compassion. Does having an element of threat contradict this feeling of compassion?
— Diederick, Netherlands
The answer can be yes or no, depending on various factors, like one's philosophy and application of martial arts.
For us the answer is no. Having an element of threat does not contradict our feeling of compassion.
The main reason for applying the element of threat is to enable us to be efficient against opponents attacking us in a threatening manner.
And most opponents attack us or anybody in a threatening manner. Some are so infused with threatening attack that they even neglect their own safety.
When our students face the same attacks but minus the threat, like in our combat sequence training, they can handle the attacks competently. But when there is a lot of threat, like tremendous force and fast speed, our students lose their composure and are being hit badly. It is not because they lack the skills and techniques to handle the attacks, but because they are not used to the element of threat.
So we have to introduce the element of threat gradually and systematically so that eventually our students can spar or fight even when the situations are very threatening. When threatening situations to other people are no longer threatening to them, they can be more efficient as well as comfortable in being compassionate to their opponents.
It is worthy of note that threatening to hurt an opponent is not the same as actually hurting an opponent. You may threaten him, but you may not hurt him. When a situation requires it, you may actually hurt him or even kill him, yet still be compassionate.
Some people may wonder how can one kill and still be compassionate. He can. Killing and compassion are two different issues. One can kill and still be compassionate, like letting an opponent die quickly and painlessly. On the other hand, one can let an opponent live and be very cruel to the opponent.
I have mentioned a few times that we are training a martial art, not some dance-like demonstration to please spectators. If another martial artist mocks and challenges our school to a public fight, we shall not hesitate to hurt him decisively, or even kill him, if it is absolutely necessary. We must have the courage and righteousness to do so.
You would be pleased to know that having an element of threat is mentioned in some Shaolin classics as a requirement for effective combat. Like you, at first I was concerned how threat can be congruent with Shaolin Kungfu as a compassionate martial art. But over the years I have realized the wisdom of past masters who recommended this.
Should a pregnant woman practice chi kung?
— Feredicia, Italy
If she already knows how to practice chi kung correctly, she can do so but she must practice at a low level with gentle movements and gentle chi flow. Stretching, vigorous movements and vigorous chi flow are not suitable. She must also remember that a baby's needs are different from those of an adult.
If she has not learnt chi kung before, it is advisable for her to delay learning and practicing chi kung after her delivery.
Such precautions are made not because practicing chi kung is not beneficial to a pregnant woman but because we want to avoid possible wrong practice or over-training.
There is, however, an excellent chi kung exercise that every pregnant woman should practice, and it is as follows.
Sit, stand, lie down or be in any comfortable stationary or moving position. Enter into a chi kung state of mind. For those who do not know what a chi kung state of mind is, just gentle breathe in and out about 10 times.
Have a gentle thought that the baby is developing wholesomely and beautifully, and when the time is right the delivery will be safe and pleasant. It will be.
This exercise is very simple and can be practiced any suitable number of times a day. Although it is a serious exercise dealing with serous matter, it should be performed as if for fun.
What exercise do we choose in our daily practice?
— Massimo, Italy
A short, practical answer is that in your daily practice you can choose any exercise you have learnt from me.
For the best results, follow the three golden rules of practice:
- Don't worry.
- Don't intellectualize.
- Enjoy your practice.
These golden rules can answer most, if not all, your technical questions.
For example, if you wonder whether you have chosen a wrong exercise to practice, Rule 1 tells you not to worry about it.
If you ask whether you should go to vigorous chi flow or stand fairly still after performing your chosen exercise, Rule 2 tells you not to intellectualize over it.
To follow Rule 3, of course you have to practice to enjoy it. What happens if you actually have chosen a wrong exercise? Don't worry, your chi flow will be more than enough to overcome any adverse effects the wrong exercise may have caused. If you worry, you may not have any chi flow and the adverse effects may harm you.
Suppose you go to vigorous chi flow instead of standing fairly still when standing fairly still will actually give you more benefits. Don't worry and don't intellectualize because even the lesser benefits will be more than enough for your needs. If you intellectualize you may not have any chi flow at all.
Let us take an analogy. You need $2000 a month to live, and you can choose to do job A or job B. You choose job A and earn $20,000. Had you chosen job B, you would have earned $30,000. But that doesn't matter. You earn 10 times more than necessary for you to live. Had you hesitated and not worked, you would have earn nothing.
Is it reasonable to say that you would earn $20,000 when you only need $2,000? We arrive at the figures as follows. Most other types of chi kung just help you to maintain well-being. If we take $2,000 as the unit of cash flow to maintain basic economic life, we take 2000 units of energy flow to represent the amount of energy for maintaining basic healthy life.
But our chi kung does more. How much more? For most other types of chi kung, if a practitioner can generate an energy flow after 100 days of practice, he would have been a very good practitioner. You take only one day of practice, which is 100 times better. Energy flow is the essence of healthy life, just as cash flow is the essence of economic life. Let us be modest, and assume that our chi kung is just 10 times (instead of 100 times) better. Hence, it is reasonable to say that you would earn $20,000 when you need only $2,000.
You have to work to earn this $20,000 or 20,000 units of energy flow. If you worry or intellectualize, you may not have any energy flow at all.
These 3 golden rules of practice are wonderful. They will free you from worrying and intellectualizing unnecessarily, so that you can focus on just practicing and enjoying the practice.
But these golden rules are applicable only in our case where we practice high-level chi kung. Most other chi kung practitioners do not have our tremendous volume of chi flow to enjoy this luxury.
This philosophical answer is for your intellectual pleasure. If you like, in line with the 3 golden rules, you can forget about the philosophy and just choose any exercise to enjoy your practice. The benefits will automatically come.
I know my parents are not getting any younger, and I really wish that they will practice Shaolin Wahnam chi kung to become healthier, live longer and be with us on this earth for some quality time together.
— Sifu Lee Wei Joo, Malaysia
One of the best gifts you can give to your parents is to get them practice our chi kung. It will enhance their life qualitatively and quantitatively. You will add life to their years, and years to their life.
It is not advisable for you to teach them. It is well known that people don't get much benefit by learning from a family member even when the family member is a great teacher.
Ask your parents to learn from any one of our certified Shaolin Wahnam instructors, or attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course. Pay the fees for them. Tell them that the fees have been paid, and if they don't attend, the money will be wasted.
We can never repay our parents enough. It is a great pity that most people realize this fact too late. It is great to realize it while you are still young and your parents still have a long time here.
Many people think of becoming rich so that they can buy a beautiful house for their parents in their retirement, or give them a lot of money to enjoy their old age.
What they don't realize, or realize too late, is that parents do not want a big house or a lot of money from their children. All they want is that their children spend quality time with them, and bring home grandchildren for them to play with. A parent's happiness really does not depend on whether their children are rich or poor.
Editorial Note : Sifu Lee Wei Joo's other questions can be found at May 2013 Part 1 issue of the Question-Answer Series.
I also want to repair my relationships with my siblings. I admit I was a poor elder brother to them.
Have good thoughts about them, speak well to and of them, and carry out actions that will benefit them.
Spend time with them. Have meals together once a month, or better once a week.
I know this may sound unbelievable to other people, but I feel that I have a spiritual group of disciples over there as well when I transmitted the essence of Shaolin Kung Fu to the dhama protectors and other spiritual beings at a temple in Orlando, FL.
This may be true or it may just be your imagination, but other people would dispute it or think you crazy.
They cannot dispute and they will admire you for your good work if your achievement is physical, like having many students in your kungfu class, winning free sparring competitions to resore the greatness of kungfu, and curing many people of so-called incurable diseases.
It is also good for you. Forget about your spiritual work, at least for the time being, and focus on the physical. Ours is a kungfu and chi kung school, not a spiritual development organization.
I realize that, having the opportunity to learn genuine Shaolin Kung Fu, is such a tremendous blessing. When Maitreya Buddha comes, the world will experience the blossoming of the Age of Laughter. I sincerely believe that you are Maitreya Buddha, or perhaps one of the spiritual predecessors, to sow the seeds of the blossoming of an enlightened age for humans of this world.
Thank you for your very kind comments. But I don't think I am Maitreya Buddha, I am far below that level.
Nevertheless, I am glad I bring happiness and health to many people. But it has never been my intention to save the world.
I also want to pass on the arts to deserving students and people, but sometimes I feel like it is a tremendous responsibility that is very hard to achieve. Sifu, please kindly advise.
We ourselves must be convinced that what we do is noble and righteous before we begin doing it. This is our unfailing principle.
There is no doubt that to be a teacher is a tremendous responsibility. We are a father to those we teach. We will only teach our students what we would like to be taught to our own children. We must not mislead our students or waist their time.
It never arises that a teacher's responsibility is hard to achieve. A good teacher realizes right at the start that his responsibility is not easy, yet he has no doubt that he will achieve it. If you are not ready to shoulder this responsibility, you should not teach. You have a choice.
The minimum requirement of a good teacher is to be professional and ethical. Being professional means he knows what he is teaching. Being ethical means he ensures what he teaches brings benefit.
If a Shaolin Kungfu teacher teaches kick-boxing, for example, and does not even know that it is not Shaolin Kungfu, he is unprofessional. If his students derive harm instead of benefit, like being routinely injured in free sparring and becoming more and more aggressive, the teacher is unethical. Unfortunately many kungfu and chi kung teachers today are both unprofessional and unethical.
- The Chameloen
- Free Sparring Competition Committee Mission Statement
- Tactical Retreat of Shaolin Kungfu
- The Weakness of Double Yang
- Combat Applications of Cloud Hands