SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
JULY 2014 PART 3
If it's chi flow that gives us the health and vitality benefits of chi kung, why are there so many different chi kung exercises?
— Sifu Marcus Santer, England
Before answering your question, it may be useful to give some general background. The fact that it is chi flow, and not the chi kung exercises themselves, that gives health and vitality benefits, is not widely known in chi kung circles. I believe I am the person who openly publicizes this fact.
Indeed there are many chi kung facts that we in Shaolin Wahnam know very well, but are not widely known or appreciated by most other chi kung practitioners. The following are some important examples. Being in a chi kung state of mind is essential in performing chi kung. If there is no chi flow, what is performed is just gentle physical exercise. Skills and techniques are different. We practice chi kung because of the benefits it gives us.
Saying that we are the first to publicize the fact it is chi flow that gives benefits, does not mean that chi kung practitioners in the past did not experience chi flow, or did not have benefits derived from chi flow. They did, but because they did not know this fact explicitly, they took a long time to have the benefits, and only a small portion of practitioners succeeded in getting remarkable benefits.
There are a few reasons why there are so many different chi kung exercises.
One important reason was historical. People from different time periods developed different exercises to attain health and vitality.
Another reason was geographical. Different exercises would be practiced by people from different areas.
A third reason was resources. Different teachers knew different chi kung exercises, and they could teach only those exercises they knew.
Another reason was need. A person who wanted to overcome illness would practice different chi kung exercises from those of another who wanted to develop internal force.
It is worthy of note that the early masters who developed these various chi kung exercises might not know the fact that it was chi flow, and not the exercises, that gave benefits. Even when we know this fact, we may still want to choose different exercises to practice to meet our different needs.
Why couldn't we just have Lifting the Sky, Carrying the Moon and Pushing Mountains?
We could just have Lifting the Sky, Carrying the Moon and Pushing Mountain to generate a chi flow. Since it is chi flow that gives benefits, these three exercises are enough. Indeed, just any one of the three exercises, or any one of countless chi kung exercises, would be enough.
But if we have the opportunity to learn more exercises, it is certainly better. Not only the different exercises give variety, but the resultant chi flow from the different exercises is also different in nature, intensity and purpose.
It is like when a person has a small car, it is sufficient for his need of transportation. But if he can have the opportunities of more cars, it is better.
For enhancing energy flow these 3 patterns are enough. So why are there 18 Lohan Hands?
Whether these three exercises are enough for enhancing energy flow, or just generating energy flow, depends much on how we interpret the word "enough".
If we interpret "enough" to mean just needed to generate an energy flow, the three exercises are enough. If we interpret "enough" to mean sufficient to provide a variety of energy flows for different purposes, the three exercises are not enough. If a practitioner wishes to produce a lot of internal force in a short time, for example, he would need other exercises like Flicking Fingers and Reverse Hanging of Double Hooks.
As an analogy, it is like asking whether it is enough for a person to earn 3000 pounds a month. If "enough" refers to just feeding himself, 3000 pounds a month is enough. If "enough" refers to buying a new car and building a big house, 3000 pounds a month is not enough.
From the historical perspective, the 18 Lohan Hands came first. The three patterns – Lifting the Sky, Carrying the Moon and Pushing Mountain – were selected by me for the Intensive Chi Kung Course, and later for a regional course on Generating Energy Flow.
In teaching generating energy flow in a regional course, these three patterns were sufficient to achieve the course objective. It was not necessary to teach the other exercises of the 18 Eighteen Lohan Hands.
In the Intensive Chi Kung Course taught in the early years, besides using the three exercises to generate an energy flow, we also used them to massage internal organs, to direct chi to wherever we wanted, to develop internal force and to experience self-manifested chi movement.
All these skills were taught before I discovered that it was chi flow, not the exercises themselves, that gave all chi kung benefits. Later as my teaching methodology improved, other skills like running round the distance of a football field without feeling tired and without being out of breath, Cosmic Shower and Merging with the Cosmos, were also included in the Intensive Chi Kung Course.
Hence, in the case of the Intensive Chi Kung Course, just these three patterns are enough. There is no need to employ other patterns of the 18 Lohan Hands or any other chi kung exercises.
However, we are elite, especially those who attended my Intensive Chi Kung Course. Most other practitioners would be unable to acquire these skills and their resultant benefits by practicing just these three patterns. They need the other patterns of the 18 Lohan Hands.
Even when they practice all the 18 patterns of the 18 Lohan Hands, they may only be able to generate an energy flow. If they wish to enjoy self-manifested chi movement, build internal force, have a cosmic shower or merge with the Cosmos, they will need other more advanced exercises. And they cannot attain the skills and the benefits in just three days.
Can one practice Chi Flowing at Muscle Level if he has insufficient yin?
— Bruno, Italy
Yes, he can.
Irrespective of whether a person has insufficient yin, insufficient yang, excessive yin or excessive yang, any one of which will result in illness, he can practice chi kung, which will harmonize yin-yang, which means he will regain his good health.
In everyday language, insufficient yin means having a structural defect or being structurally weak, in contrast to functional defect or energetically weak, which is described as insufficient yang.
For example, a person’s heart has a structural defect like a valve is damaged, or is structurally weak though there may not be any defects. Both situations are described as insufficient yin in the organ heart. This yin insufficiency results in yin-yang disharmony. In Western terms, he has a heart problem.
If this patient practices chi kung, energy as a result of his chi kung practice will repair his structural defect if he has a damaged valve, or strengthen his heart if his heart is structurally weak.
How does chi know whether he has a damaged valve or his heart is structurally weak? And how does chi repair the damage or strengthen the heart? We don’t have to worry about these questions and intellectualize unnecessarily because these are natural processes.
Just like when you eat some food, you don’t have to worry how much of the food is protein and how much is carbohydrate, and what types of enzymes will digest the protein and carbohydrate, it is a natural process that your food will be digested. Or when bacteria and viruses get into your body, and this happens all the time, you don’t have to worry and intellectualize what types of bacteria and viruses they are and how your antibodies fight them, your natural processes will do all this work.
What the patient needs to do is to practice chi kung. This is yu-wei, after which he goes to wu-wei, which is often described by some writers as “don’t do anything and everything will be done for you”, though these writers probably do not understand what they write because they merely translated from chi kung classics without actually understanding them. What happens is that the chi from the chi kung practice restores the natural functions of the patient to repair his structural defect or overcome his structural weakness.
If it is natural for the patient to repair his structural defect or overcome his structural weakness, then why was he sick in the first place? It was because energy was blocked from doing its natural work. Chi kung clears the blockage and restores his natural functions.
This concept of yin-yang harmony can be very useful to Western doctors if they condescend to learn something from it. In this case the heart problem is due to insufficient yin. If a doctor thinking that a patient’s heart is not functioning, attempts to improve the function by injecting stimulants, it is increasing yang, thereby further aggravating yin-yang disharmony. This may kill the patient. It is like putting a big engine in a already weakened small car.
Insufficient yin where the patients’ organs are too weak to function normally although there may not be any structural defects, are often the case when doctors do not find anything wrong with their patients. An understanding of yin-yang harmony but still using Western medical treatment, can enable doctors to help their patients more effectively.
I'm 9 years old. I really like Shaolin kungfu and I was wondering if you could teach me over emails?
— Issac, USA
Unless you are already proficient in Shaolin Kungfum you can't learn it over e-mails. You may learn kungfu techniques over e-mails, books or videos, but you won't be able to have the skills. You have to develop the skills by learning from a competent teacher.
Just as in many aspects of life, in kungfu skills are more important than techniques. This is a very important fact many people do not know. Because of this ignorance, not only they do not derive benefits from their training, they often harm themselves.
Let us take an example to illustrate the difference between techniques and skills.
You can learn very good football techniques or swimming techniques by reading good books on football and swimming. But you still cannot play football or swim well. It is because you do not have the skills although you know the techniques from reading.
We have some good Shaolin Kungfu instructors in the United States. Please see our List of Certified Instructors.
It is important to learn from a good instructor. If you learn from a mediocre instructor, you may harm yourself, like sustaining a lot of injuries while sparring.
Is there any difference between the internal force developed from Reverse Hanging of Silver Hooks and Horse-Riding Stance?
— Dr Gortou, Austria
Yes, there is some difference.
Relatively, the internal force developed from Reverse Hanging of Silver Hooks is flowing, whereas that from the Horse-Riding Stance is consolidated.
Please bear in mind that the comparison is relative. By itself the internal force from Reverse Hanging of Silver Hooks is consolidated, but compared to the internal force from the Horse-Riding Stance it is less consolidated.
Given the same time for training, Reverse Hanging of Silver Hooks produces more internal force than Horse-Riding Stance. For example, in our 18-Lohan Art course, students performed Reverse Hanging of Silver Hooks twice, each time for about 10 seconds. Yet they produced more internal force than someone who performs the Horse-Riding Stance for 3 minutes.
However, this is possible in our case where our students have some chi kung background. This is one important reason why all those who wish to take other chi kung courses, must first take “Generating Energy Flow”. Without the ability to generate an energy flow, one cannot develop any internal force in a short time using Reverse Hanging of Silver Hooks. If he persists in performing this exercise for a long time, he may develop energy blockage instead.
As most people are unable to generate an energy flow like we do, it means that most people cannot develop internal force using Reverse Hanging of Silver Hooks. This is a main reason why the Horse-Riding Stance is still the most important method to develop internal force.
If we perform both Reverse Hanging of Silver Hooks and Horse-Riding Stance correctly, Reverse Hanging of Silver Hooks can produce more internal force and in shorter time. However, it is easier to perform the Horse-Riding Stance correctly.
The reason for both these situations is because Reverse Hanging of Silver Hooks work on the energy level, whereas Horse-Riding Stance works on the form level.
In Reverse Hanging of Silver Hooks, the posture is such that practitioners create two long reservoirs of energy at the arms and at the legs. When they release the “gates of the dams”, a tremendous amount of energy flow is generated, resulting in a lot of internal force.
In Horse-Riding Stance, the posture is such that cosmic energy flows in and gathers at the dan tian as well as “soak” up the body of the practitioners, resulting in a lot of internal force.
In the Sinew Metamorphosis session just now, I sent chi to my internal organs like in Bone Marrow Cleansing. Was it alright?
No, it was not alright. You did not have harmful effects because of your subsequent energy flow. Without the energy flow, energy might be locked up in your internal organs, which could cause you serious trouble.
You should perform the exercise the way it was taught to you. You should not try to change the method of the exercise. This is very important, especially in very powerful exercise like Sinew Metamorphosis and Bone Marrow Cleansing.
It is very good that you asked this question. My answer here will prevent many students making serious mistakes in their practice.
Earlier you mentioned that by practicing one exercise a practitioner gets better results that practicing more exercise. But now you recommend that we choose three exercises from the 18 Jewels. Which will give us better results, practicing just one exercise or three exercises?
Practicing just one exercise produces better results than practicing three exercises. As an analogy, doing one job gives you more income than doing three jobs.
In the case of the 18 Jewels, the three exercises constitute one set of exercises. As an analogy, presenting your product, selling your product and collecting payment constitute one set of your job as a salesman.
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