SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
JULY 2018 PART 3
I have been practicing chi kung Shaolin for the last year every day. I was instructed first by Sifu Simon at la Montana Azul for one week. Then Sifu Simon taught me the 18 Lohan Hands. I just finish your book The Art of Chi Kung. This art heals my life, body and spirit in a profound way.
I'm interested to ask you if it is possible to become a chi kung instructor under your guidance and teaching. What is the process? How long it takes? What would be a first step to start this process?
— Patrick, Costa Rica
Sifu Simon of Montana Azul is a good and dedicated teacher. It is hard to get a good, dedicated teacher today. I am glad that your chi kung practice has healed your life, body and spirit in a profound way. Keep on practicing everyday. More wonderful benefits will come.
However, a good chi kung practitioner may not necessarily be a good chi kung instructor, though an instructor must first be a good practitioner. Practicing an art and teaching the same art need different skills
There are certain requirements in our school to become a certified instructor. Being a good practitioner in the art he teaches is a second requirement. The first requirement is to be of good character. A practical way to attain this requirement is to practice our Ten Shaolin Laws.
Our chi kung instructors have attended my Intensive Chi Kung Courses, which gives a comprehensive and deep understanding and performance of the art. They must also be interested in teaching.
I follow an established tradition when appointing instructors. The appointees must be among the most senior in our school. There is, however, no fixed time as how long they have been training in the art. There should also be a need for teaching the art in the area they stay.
The first step to become a certified instructor is to practice the Ten Shaolin Laws. The second step is to be a good student.
We have a lot of students in Costa Rica who have practiced chi kung for many years, and who fulfill the requirements to be instructors. Hence, it is unlikely that you will be appointed as a certified chi kung instructor in our school.
Sinew Metamorphosis is genius. Who discovered it and why do we generate so much energy?
— Sifu Attilio Podesta, Shaolin Wahnam Italy
Indeed, Sinew Metamorphosis as practiced in our school is very powerful. The great Bodhidharma taught Sinew Metamorphosis when he was at the Shaolin Monastery in Henan Province in China for nine years from the year 527.
I don't know who discovered Sinew Metamorphosis. I believe it evolved from other powerful internal art exercises.
We can employ Sinew Metamorphosis to generate a tremendous amount of energy because we activate all the twelve major meridians in our body. For example, in Flicking Fingers, or Golden Dragon Taps on Ground, we bend our palms to the maximum. By flicking our palms, we activate the flow of energy along the three hand yin meridians at the arms.
The three hand yin meridians in turn activate the flow of energy of the three hand yang meridians at the fingers. The three hand yang meridians activate the three leg yang meridians at the head to flow all the way down to the legs. At the toes, the three leg yang meridians activate the three leg yin meridians to flow up the legs to the body, where they continue as the three hand yin meridians. The circle of energy flow thus continues endlessly.
What is the meaning of "chi kung"?
— Lucas, Italy
"Chi" means "energy" and "kung' means "work" or "art". Chi kung is working on energy, or an art of energy.
Chi kung practitioners, if they practice chi kung, know what energy is, from direct experience, just as you know you are sitting on a chair from direct experience. Yet, many practitioners, not from our school, ask what chi is after practicing chi kung for some time. Asking the question shows that they do not have any chi experience.
Chi kung students in our school don't have to ask this question because they know what chi is from direct experience. In the same way, kungfu students in our school do not ask what internal force is because they themselves have internal force.
"Chi kung" is in English spelling. In Romanized Chinese spelling it is written as "qigong". But "qigong" is pronounced like "chi kung", and not as "ki kong".
If an English speaking person thinks it is funny, it is actually the other way round. "Q" in Romanized Chinese is pronounced like "ch" in English, and "g" and "o" like "k" and "u". Just like "Jose" in Spanish is pronounced like "ho-say" in English spelling, and not like "jos". Actually English is funny. We say "mather" and "bas" , for example, although they are written as "mother" and "bus".
I practiced chi kung before in another school but I did not have chi flow. I just join your class and I have chi flow in the first half an hour. Why is it so?
Two main reasons why you could have a chi flow, which gives us wonderful chi kung benefit in my regional course whereas most other people could not, are because we understand the philosophy behind chi flow, and I transmit the skills of chi flow to you from heart to heart.
Our certified instructors can also help their students to have a chi flow in one day, but because they have at least 3 months in their regular class whereas I have only 3 hours in my regional course, they will take a longer time to help their students with chi flow for the students' benefit.
Not only we understand that we must enter into a chi kung state of mind to have a chi flow, we also are able to teach our students to do so. Other students in other schools, like you before, do not know this important point. They also do not know that it is chi flow, not the chi kung techniques, that give them chi kung benefits.
Most practitioners in other schools think, wrongly, that the chi kung techniques give them the chi kung benefits. For us in Shaolin Wahnam it is certainly not so. The chi kung techniques practitioners in other schools practice are correct, but they do not enjoy the benefits.
A very small percentage of practitioners (not in our school) may enjoy chi kung benefits after practicing for a long time, like 20 years. These practitioners entered a chi kung state of mind and had chi flow, but they usually did not realize it. Because these occurrences did not happen every time, though they might have practiced every day, they took a long time to have the benefits.
In our case, I transmitted the skills of entering into a chi kung state of mind and chi flow to the students. They did not have to practice the techniques for some time to develop the skills on their own. Hence they had a chi flow on the first half an hour of our course.
You have mentioned that we can classify chi kung into three levels, the level of health, the level of peak performance, and the spiritual level. You also have said that Sinew Metamorphosis is very powerful. What level is Sinew Metamorphosis?
The classification is different. We classify chi kung into three levels according to their functions, which are for health, including overcoming illness and having vitality and longevity, for peak performance with focuses on mental clarity and internal force, and for spiritual cultivation, including expanding into the Cosmos.
We can also classify chi kung by the amount of energy it generates. If it generate a little energy after a long time, we say the chi kung is of a low level. If it generates a lot of energy in a short time, it is of a high level. Intermediate chi kung is somewhere in between.
The energy generated form the chi kung practice gives us a lot of benefits. It can enable us to overcome illness, to have good health, vitality and longevity, to attain peak performance and to experience spiritual joys.
Sinew Metamorphosis generates a lot of energy in a very short time. It is, therefore, high-level chi kung. However, many people who practice Sinew Metamorphosis, or any type of chi kung, only perform the external form, and therefore do not enjoy any chi kung benefits. Some people will be angry at this statement, and accuse us of being egoistic. That is their business. I am only stating a fact.
In our school when students are knowledgeable and skillful, they may perform high-level chi kung, like Sinew Metamorphosis, at a low-level or a middle level. However, if they wish to fulfill a low-level need, like overcoming an illness, it is more effective as well as safer to practice low-level chi kung, instead of high-level chi kung performed at a low level.
It does not mean that low-level chi kung is of little value. In our school, we consider chi kung like Five-Animal Play and Eighteen Jewels, as low-level because it produces relatively less energy, compared to high-level chi kung like Sinew Metamorphosis that produces a lot of energy. But low-level chi kung is very useful. It overcomes or prevents so-called incurable diseases like cancer, diabetes, arthritis and heart disorders.
Can we practice different plays of different animals in one practice session? For example, in the same session, can be practice the bird play, then the deer play?
— Jose, USA
Yes, you can. You may, for example, practice the Bird Play and then the Deer Play in the same training session. For us in Shaolin Wahnam, the time of the training session for the two plays is still 10 minutes, not 20 minutes.
You may also practice 3, 4 or all the 5 plays in one training session, but the total time for the practice is still about 10 minutes. You may practice just 1 play or 2 plays, and the time is still about 10 minutes.
You may also combine chi kung techniques from other types of chi kung. For example, you may practice the Monkey Play, followed by Lifting the Sky and Pushing Mountain. Or you may practice Abdominal Breathing, then the Tiger Play. Irrespective of what chi kung exercises you choose, the recommended time of practice per session is 10 minutes.
Most students in other schools may need a longer time for practice. Usually they practice for an hour. We don't mean to be boastful; your practice of 10 minutes produces better result than others who practice for an hour.
Can you practice for an hour, or even half an hour? It is not recommended, as you are likely to over-train, unless you are at a master's level or are very advanced. Spend the 50 minutes for rewarding activities, like talking to your parents or taking your girlfriend out.
Why are there five animals in the Five-Animal Play? Why not four or six?
It is because there are five organ systems manifesting five different types of chi flow movements.
These five organ systems refer to the five storage organs, or zang, and six storage organs, or fu, in Chinese physiology. The five storage organs are "yin" organs, and the six storage organs are "yang" organs.
The five "yin" organs and the five "yang" organs, which correspond to five major emotions which relate to the five animals in Hua Tuo's Five-Animal Play are as follows.
- lung -- colon -- sorrow -- tiger
- kidney -- urinary bladder -- fear -- bear
- liver -- gall bladder -- deer -- anger
- heart -- pericardium -- bird -- joy
- spleen -- stomach -- monkey -- anxiety
It is said that when a patient has a certain illness, he must practice a corresponding animal play. For example, if he has kidney stones, he must practice the Bear Play. Does he get well if the animal play he practices does not correspond to his illness? If he has kidney stones, does he get well if he practices the Bird Play?
What you say is generally true. As kidney stones relate to the kidney system, and the kidney system relates to the Bear Play, practicing the Bear Play will overcome the illness. If the patient practices a Bird Play or a Deer Play, which relate to the heart system and the liver system, he may not overcome his illness.
For this reason, practitioners of Five-Animal Play practices all the animal plays. This will ensure overcoming any illness.
However, if the Five-animal Play is very powerful, like that practiced in our school, a patient can overcome his kidney stones or any illness irrespective of what animal play he practices. For example, the Bear Play is most suitable for him. But if he practices only the Bird Play or only the Deer Play, he can also overcome his kidney stones or any illness.
In fact, as long as he practices genuine powerful chi kung, provided he does not practice wrongly or over-train, he can overcome any illness. This is because all genuine chi kung provides good health, vitality and longevity, and overcoming illness is a stepping stone to good health.
In theory, all genuine chi kung provides good health, vitality and longevity. But if the chi kung is low level, the effect is little and it takes a long time. Patients with serious illness may not have sufficient time.
Why do many chi kung practitioners still have their illness, though not serious, even when they have practiced chi kung for many years. Their chi kung is not even low level; it is not genuine chi kung. It does not give the benefits that practicing genuine chi kung would give. Unfortunately they constitutes more than 80% of chi kung practitioners all over the world. They use genuine chi kung techniques to practice gentle physical exercise.
If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at stating your name, country and e-mail address.
- Five-Animal Play and our Chi Flow
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- Important and Different Characteristics of Five Chosen Sets in the Glory of Shaolin Kungfu Course
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