ISN'T IT A CONTRADICTION TO LEARN KUNGFU AND CHI KUNG FROM BOOKS AND VIDEOS?
You have said many times that we cannot learn kungfu and chi kung from books or videos, but you have asked your students to learn kungfu from videos. Isn't this a contradiction of what you have said?
— Joseph, Singapore
Yours are very interesting questions which reveal many aspects of kungfu training and achievement.
My advice to the public and what I tell my students are not a contradiction, though it may appear to be at surface level. When we go deeper, we can see that different factors are involved.
Those who asked my advice had no kungfu or chi kung experience. Some of them even wanted to be teachers by first learning from books or videos. They had no idea of the depth of kungfu and chi kung. They thought that kungfu and chi kung were like physical exercises they learned in elementary and high school in their physical education classes.
At the best, they would learn the external forms of kungfu and chi kung, and they may even perform the forms beautifully. But they will miss the essence, they will miss the benefits for which these exercises are practiced.
What is the essence, and what are the benefits? For kungfu the essence is combat skills, and for chi kung it is energy flow. The benefits are the ability to defend themselves in kungfu, and good health in chi kung.
The irony is that even students learning from live teachers do not attain the essence nor obtain the benefits. Many people who practice kungfu and chi kung today, including those who have practiced for many years, cannot defend themselves and are still sick and weak. It is certainly worse for those who learn from books or videos.
Not many people understand what we say though they may understand the dictionary meaning of all the words in our explanation. They don't understand essence and benefits, though real life examples are actually plentiful. Some may choose not to believe what we say. That is their right. On our part we give them the advice we honest think is most beneficial to them.
Worst, they may teach these outward forms to others, honestly believing that they are helping to promote the arts. But they are debasing kungfu and chi kung. In fact, unsuspecting teachers, despite their good intentions, teaching merely external forms and missing the essence and benefits, is a main reason why kungfu and chi kung have been debased to such a ridiculous level today.
But the situations with my students whom I ask to learn from my videos are different. Not only my students know philosophically what essence and benefits mean, but also are able to experience the practical results of essence and benefits. In other words, not only my students know that in chi kung they have to generate energy flow, and in kungfu they need combat skills, but also they experience good health and combat efficiency. Learning the outward forms from videos before they attend my courses is to save time so that during the courses we can focus on things not normally taught elsewhere, and which need personal attention.
This is one of the reasons why we can achieve very good results from a course lasting only a few days. Most other students learn only external forms and they continue practicing these external forms for years. They normally learn nothing else. They may sometimes be engaged in free sparring using kick-boxing, which is usually a haphazard exchange of blows. Our students already know the forms before they attend my course. At the course they learn the finer point of the forms, how to develop internal force, how to apply the forms for combat, how to use tactics and strategies, and how to apply their kungfu and chi kung to enrich their daily life.
The above is taken from Question 1 December 2013 Part 1 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.
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