SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
DECEMBER 2021 PART 3
In addition to Dragon Strength, I have started to revisit the Ho Family Flowing Water Staff. It is an amazing set and I have to thank both you as well as Sichanggung for sharing it so openly!
You kindly advised us that a good way to train eye sight is to observe a candle flame at night. Is there a suggestion for the distance the candle should have and the duration of the observation? Would adding the Eight Shaolin Eye Exercises be useful?
— Steffen, Germany
AnswerDragon Strength and Flowing Water Staff are wonderful kungfu sets.
I placed a choss stick, not a candle flame, at the altar of the Earth God some years ago. I was about 10 feet away, and I trained for about 10 minutes.
The Eight Shaolin Eye Exercises will be very useful.
The university has already offered me the position of teaching qigong to the Chinese medical class.
— Miguel, Netherlands
I am glad that your university has agreed to let you teach qigong to the Chinese medical class. It should be geared to an experience of qi, or energy, and to enter into a qigong state of mind.
It would be appropriate if you can use the thematic approach so that doctors can use these methods in their healing. The 18 Jewels would be a good method. Your sifu would be proud.
When practicing the Bow-Arrow Stance, should the upper body be completely straight upright or slightly leaning forward? Is it the same, when performing "Black Tiger Steals Heart"?
In standard Wu Ji Stance, should the palms be facing straight to the back or is this only in special occasions like "Big Windmill" of 18 Lohan Hands or "Cosmos Stance"?
How is the weight distributed in "Unicorn Stance"? I and other instructors remember 50:50 or 60 percent at the back. But at the "Practitioner Course" you mentioned to have 60 percent at the front foot.
In "Single-Leg Stance", should the ankle of the lifted foot be gently straightened or just hang down in a relax manner until it becomes straight after time?
When training to control one's punches against a wall or with a partner standing upright, which version should we use? A or B?
When training "Chop the Hua Mountain" alone should the chop be made in a straight line forward to hit frontal with the wrist bent or in a curve to hit the temple from the side with the wrist more straight?
Which Chi Kung exercises are best to boost the Wei Chi or immune system?
— Sifu Leonard Lackinger, Shaolin Wahnam Wien
Kungfu is alive. While it is a standard poise, you can adjust the pattern to suit your particular situation.
While practicing the Bow-Arrow Stance, it is best to keep the body upright. On the other hand, you can have the body slightly leaning forward, especially if you don't reach the opponent if your body is upright. However, in practice (especially for those with internal force) it is not advisable to lean forward. It is the same when performing "Black Tiger Steals Heart".
In the Wuji Stance the palms should face the body. On special occasions, like in the "Big Windmill" or the "Cosmos Stance" they face the back.
In the "Unicorn Stance" the weight of legs should be 50-50. On special occasions you can have 60 percent of the leg in front or at the back. This is only feasible when you are performing the "Unicorn Step", i.e. you are transitional.
In the Single-Leg Stance, the foot should be pointed, i.e. the upper part of the foot above with the toes immediately below.
Your videos are clearer. It was a pity that we didn't have videos in my early training days.
In training one's punch as in "Black Tiger Steals Heart", the body should be upright and the elbow straight but not locked. You should use position A.
In "Chop the Hua Mountain" the chopping hand should be frontal. But if the chop is aimed at the temple or the collar bone of an opponent, the chop should be a curve.
Among the best exercises to boost the "wei qi" or the immune system, are "Pushing Mountain" and, surprisingly, "Deep Knee Bend". These exercises should be performed as chi kung and not as gentle physical exercises.
Sifu, is Triple Cultivation the essence of Wudang Kungfu? Was the essence of Shaolin Kungfu in Zhang San Feng's time different to triple cultivation at the Shaolin Monastery since it was he who brought it to that higher level? If so, what was the essence of Shaolin Kungfu during the Song and Ming Dynasties?
— John, Ireland
Triple cultivation was the essence of Wudang kungfu.
I don't know whether it was Zhang San Feng who brought it to the highest level, but triple cultivation was in Shaolin Kungfu for some time, like during the Song and the Ming dynasties.
People think of "jing", "qi" and "shen" (or the cultivation of the physical body, the energy and mind or spirit) as triple cultivation, but when I trained a kungfu set as a student, I just trained a kungfu set. I learned chi kung (or qigong in Roamized Chinese) and meditation separately. Nevertheless, I was aware that my energy and my mind were involved, as I did train chi kung or meditation separately. In other words, I was aware of triple cultivation when I trained a kungfu set.
In Shaolin Wahnam, when a student trains a kungfu set, he is also aware of his energy and mind, but he is more aware. He also has chi flow and standing meditation at the completion of his kungfu set, but I didn't. These chi flow and standing meditation will enhance his kungfu set. I believe it is a matter of awareness.
However, when a practitioner from outside Shaolin Wahnam performs a kungfu set, he just performs a kungfu set. In other words, he does so physically without any awareness of energy and mind. Most practitioners do not know their combat applications, and cannot apply them in daily lives.
Can we train Iron Palm and Cotton Palm at the same time and would the training of both compliment each other? Would training either Cotton Palm or Iron Palm have an overflow effect and help us to acquire consolidated force or flowing force respectively in our fingers?
In other schools where the two arts conflict, Iron Palm is trained sepratedly from Cotton Palm. But in Shaolin Wahnam, the two different arts can be trained at the same time, because we know their philosophies. But if you train Cotton Palm, there is no need to train Iron Palm.
If we compare Iron Palm with Cosmos Palm, Iron Palm is iron whereas Cosmos Palm is gold. Iron Palm is nowhere when compared with Cosmos Palm. Iron Palm is third class kungfu, whereas Cosmos Palm is first class kungfu.
Cosmos Palm is like Cotton Palm, which is first class kungfu and is like gold, except that Cotton Palm is "soft" and flowing. The overflow effect does not work. Cosmos Palm can be hard if you want to. But if you have Cotton Palm, it is not necesary to have consolidated force.
Seeing the numerous benefits of internal martial arts, and how some internal arts (like Xing Yi Quan) were actual battlefield arts, wouldn't it be fruitful for law enforcement and soldiers to train in such methods?
— Nareshwar, India
Xingyiquan (Xing Yi Quan) is not suitable for ordinary people. It is a martial art that has much profundity in simplicity. If a practitioner of Xingyiquan has learned 100 techniques, he uses a few simple techniques not because they are simple but because they are profound. It was not for no good reasons why Xingyiquan was for generals while Eagle Claw Kungfu was for soldiers.
Marshal Yue Fei, the famous Sung dynasty marshal, founded both Xingyiquan and Eagle Claw Kungfu. By itself, Eagle Claw Kungfu is also a sophisticated martial art, but it is less sophisticated or less profound than Xingyiquan.
A suitable martial art for law enforcement officers is Shaolin Kungfu. Please see The Overview of Southern Shaolin Kungfu for Non-Shaolin Wahnam Members which ranges from the very simple to the very profound.
The webpage I mentioned is low-level to Shaolin Wahnam members, but is high-level to most people. If you follow the exercises correctly for a year, you will not only be able to defend yourself but are healthy, full of vitality, enjoy longevity, peak performance and spiritual joys irrespective of religion.
I may sound egoistic, but it is true that most martial artists today just hit one another generously; and they are not healthy -- the two aims of practicing a martial art, namely to defend oneself and to be healthy. Martial art schools are plentiful, but it is difficult to find a genuine kungfu school.
A common complaint I read is that because of the gender, size or weight of soldiers or cops, they can be less effective than their peers when handling much bigger or aggressive targets. Wouldn't training in an art that focuses on negating such aspects be beneficial for those in this profession?
A main reason why gender, size and weight are decisive factors in combat is because most people use muscular strength. A 60 year-old women is generally less powerful than a young man of 30. But a genuine Shaolin Kungfu practitioner uses internal force.
Muscular strength and internal force use different factors for their power. Muscular strength depends on mass and momentum, whereas internal force depends on relaxation and smoothness of energy flow. For example, with internal force I have good health, vitality, longevity, peak performance and spiritual joys. More importantly I have not been sick for more than 50 years.
And if so, why isn't it more commonly done? Have you trained any soldiers or officers in the past?
It is not commonly done because information is actually imperfect. Moreover, most genuine masters are not keen to teach.
Most martial art schools today teach fighting disregard of their own safety. These schools are controlled by people who do not understand that "safety first" is the first principle of any combat.
I haven't trained any soldiers but I trained national ministers of a big nation.
If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at stating your name, country and e-mail address.
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