8-Lohan Art

Another set of exercises called the 18-Lohan Art


If one can generate an energy flow which provides all the benefits of chi kung, like good health, vitality and longevity, why is it necessary to learn other patterns?

— Dr Damian, Malaysia


Thank you for asking this question. I am sure you know the answer well but you ask it for the sake of other people.

When a practitioner can generate an energy flow using a simple pattern like "Lifting the Sky" or "Carrying the Moon", the chi flow can provide all the chi kung benefits he needs, like good health, vitality, longevity, mental clarity and spiritual joys. Why is it necessary for him to learn other chi kung techniques, like stance training to develop internal force, meditation to develop mental clarity, or to enjoy a Cosmic Shower?

Strictly speaking, it is not necessary, but it is very helpful. As an analogy, when a person can walk, it is not necessary to own a car or to take a plane, but it is very helpful.

There are a few reasons why it is very helpful, and sometimes necessary, to learn other chi kung patterns.

These reasons may be summed up into a few categories, like history, geography, resources, effectiveness, knowledge and ability.

The various methods of chi kung to solve various problems developed due to history. In the early days, people discovered that by blowing to a wound, they could reduce pain, or by making a sound, they could better lift a heavy object.

Later, people discovered that by practicing certain chi kung exercise, they could overcome certain illness. Hence, if some men had eye problems, they could perform eye exercises to overcome their problems. If some women could not bear children, they could perform some fertility exercises to produce children.

Another important factor is geography. A student may know of other chi kung patterns to solve his problems, but if he stays at a place where chi kung teachers only teach certain exercises, the student has to learn these exercises from the teachers. For example, he may know that Five-Animal Play is excellent for providing health and vitality, but Five-Animal Play is not taught in his area. So he may have to learn whatever chi kung exercises taught by teachers in his area.

This brings us to the third category of resources. Five-Animal Play may be taught in his area but the teacher teaching it charges a high fee which the student cannot afford. So he has to learn form a cheaper teacher even when the exercises taught are less effective.

A very important factor is effectiveness. The teachers teaching the appropriate exercise are available, and the student can afford the fees, but certain exercises are more effective than others in achieving certain objectives and aims.

For example, Five-Animal Play can eventually develop internal force, but a student performing "Pushing Mountain" or "Separating Water" from the Eighteen Lohan Hands, can develop internal force more effectively. Eighteen Jewels can make him find life more beautiful, but he can attain this purpose more effectively by practicing Cosmic Shower.

This does not mean that Five-Animal Play and Eighteen Jewels are inferior to Eighteen Lohan Hands and Cosmic Shower. For other purposes, like overcoming illness, Five-Animal Play and Eighteen Jewels are more effective, presuming all other things being equal. It is choosing an appropriate chi kung technique for a certain purpose.

To be able to do so, students must have the necessary knowledge and ability. Students must know, for example, that if they want to overcome illness, they choose Five-Animal Play, but if they want to find life more beautiful, they choose Cosmic Shower. More significantly, they must have the ability to do so. In other words, it is not enough to know that by practicing Cosmic Shower, they can make life more beautiful, but they can actually make life more beautiful by practicing Cosmic Shower.

Unfortunately, many chi kung practitioners today do not have this ability. They may know that by practicing chi kung, they can have good health and vitality. But even when they practice chi kung, they are still sickly and weak. It is more obvious, for those who realize, but many martial artists may not realize it, that by practicing a martial art they can defend themselves and be healthy. In reality, many martial attists cannot defend themselves; they take for granted that in free sparring they will be hit and punched. They also become more unhealthy the more they train their martial arts!

A skillful student may have chosen a less effective exercise, but because of his ability he may attain his aims or objectives more effectively than another student who has chosen a more effective exercise. For example, you may have chosen Self-Manifested Chi Movement to develop internal force. This is actually not a good choice of chi kung techniques. But because you are skillful, you may develop internal force more effectively than another person without skills who have chosen "Pushing Mountain" or "Separating Water".

Without false modesty, we are very lucky in Shaolin Wahnam. Not only we have the knowledge and ability, we also have a great range of chi kung exercises and kungfu styles to choose from. We are so effective that seriously we have to guard against over-training.

The above is taken from Question 1 June 2018 Part 2 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.


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