Lifting the Sky

Lifting the Sky


There are so many chi kung exercises in Shaolin Wahnam. Which one is your favorite and why?

— Bertrand, France


My favorite chi kung exercise, the one that I have performed the most often, is Lifting the Sky.

It was also the first chi kung exercise I learned and successfully practiced as chi kung. I learned it from my third sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam. This was also the first exercise he taught me, even before the Horse-Riding Stance or One-Finger Shooting Zen.

The first chi kung exercise I learned was the Horse-Riding Stance which I learned from my first sifu, Uncle Righteousness, but I practiced it as kungfu and not as chi kung. At that time my kungfu, like the kungfu of most people today, was physical, unlike now in Shaolin Wahnam where our kungfu is also chi kung and meditation.

Later I also learned other chi kung exercises on my own, like the Eight Pieces of Brocade, but, like most people today, I practiced them as gentle physical exercise and not as chi kung. I knew about the difference between gentle physical exercise and chi kung much later, at a time when I had already started teaching to the pubic.

When I learned from my second sifu, Sifu Chee Kim Thong, I learned San Zhan, which was the fundamental kungfu set in Wuzuquan to develop internal force. In other words, San Zhan was chi kung, or an art of energy, but at that time I did not have this understanding and practice it at a physical level, albeit in a relaxed manner without tensing any muscles.

Incidentally this raises an important point. Chi kung has to be performed in a relaxed manner, but performing an exercise in a relaxed manner does not necessarily make it into chi kung. I practiced San Zhan for two years but did not succeed in develop energy to be converted into internal force.

The first time I experienced energy, but not yet internal force, was practicing Lifting the Sky. The first time I experienced internal force was a few months later in my training of One-Finger Shooting Zen. Thus, for me, the first exercise that led me to chi kung was Lifting the Sky, and the first exercise that led me to internal force was One-Finger Shooting Zen.

However, besides its sentimental value, there are other good reasons why Lifting the Shy is my favorite chi kung exercise.:

  1. It is easy to perform, yet the benefits are wonderful.
  2. It is hard to make mistakes, yet results come quickly.
  3. At a physical level, it is an excellent exercise to stretch myself and to have a good posture.
  4. At an energy level, it generates an overall energy flow.
  5. At a mind level, it leads quickly to relaxation and to enter into a chi kung state of mind.
  6. It is convenient to get energy flowing, or to accumulate energy, for healing purposes.
  7. It is convenient to cleanse myself after healing somebody.
  8. It is a convenient method to generate a vigorous chi flow to cleans injury just caused.
  9. It is a useful exercise to start any physical or mental activity, as well as to conclude it.
  10. Its benefits range from the very basic to the most advanced.

Lifting the Sky is a wondrous exercise in Shaolin Wahnam.

The above is taken from Question 1 March 2015 Part 3 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.


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