Rotating Knees

Rotating Knees, one of the 18 Lohan Hands


If it's chi flow that gives us the health and vitality benefits of chi kung, why are there so many different chi kung exercises?

— Sifu Marcus Santer, England


Before answering your question, it may be useful to give some general background. The fact that it is chi flow, and not the chi kung exercises themselves, that gives health and vitality benefits, is not widely known in chi kung circles. I believe I am the person who openly publicizes this fact.

Indeed there are many chi kung facts that we in Shaolin Wahnam know very well, but are not widely known or appreciated by most other chi kung practitioners. The following are some important examples. Being in a chi kung state of mind is essential in performing chi kung. If there is no chi flow, what is performed is just gentle physical exercise. Skills and techniques are different. We practice chi kung because of the benefits it gives us.

Saying that we are the first to publicize the fact it is chi flow that gives benefits, does not mean that chi kung practitioners in the past did not experience chi flow, or did not have benefits derived from chi flow. They did, but because they did not know this fact explicitly, they took a long time to have the benefits, and only a small portion of practitioners succeeded in getting remarkable benefits.

There are a few reasons why there are so many different chi kung exercises.

One important reason was historical. People from different time periods developed different exercises to attain health and vitality.

Another reason was geographical. Different exercises would be practiced by people from different areas.

A third reason was resources. Different teachers knew different chi kung exercises, and they could teach only those exercises they knew.

Another reason was need. A person who wanted to overcome illness would practice different chi kung exercises from those of another who wanted to develop internal force.

It is worthy of note that the early masters who developed these various chi kung exercises might not know the fact that it was chi flow, and not the exercises, that gave benefits. Even when we know this fact, we may still want to choose different exercises to practice to meet our different needs.


Why couldn't we just have Lifting the Sky, Carrying the Moon and Pushing Mountains?


We could just have Lifting the Sky, Carrying the Moon and Pushing Mountain to generate a chi flow. Since it is chi flow that gives benefits, these three exercises are enough. Indeed, just any one of the three exercises, or any one of countless chi kung exercises, would be enough.

But if we have the opportunity to learn more exercises, it is certainly better. Not only the different exercises give variety, but the resultant chi flow from the different exercises is also different in nature, intensity and purpose.

It is like when a person has a small car, it is sufficient for his need of transportation. But if he can have the opportunities of more cars, it is better.


For enhancing energy flow these 3 patterns are enough. So why are there 18 Lohan Hands?


Whether these three exercises are enough for enhancing energy flow, or just generating energy flow, depends much on how we interpret the word "enough".

If we interpret "enough" to mean just needed to generate an energy flow, the three exercises are enough. If we interpret "enough" to mean sufficient to provide a variety of energy flows for different purposes, the three exercises are not enough. If a practitioner wishes to produce a lot of internal force in a short time, for example, he would need other exercises like Flicking Fingers and Reverse Hanging of Double Hooks.

As an analogy, it is like asking whether it is enough for a person to earn 3000 pounds a month. If "enough" refers to just feeding himself, 3000 pounds a month is enough. If "enough" refers to buying a new car and building a big house, 3000 pounds a month is not enough.

From the historical perspective, the 18 Lohan Hands came first. The three patterns – Lifting the Sky, Carrying the Moon and Pushing Mountain – were selected by me for the Intensive Chi Kung Course, and later for a regional course on Generating Energy Flow.

In teaching generating energy flow in a regional course, these three patterns were sufficient to achieve the course objective. It was not necessary to teach the other exercises of the 18 Eighteen Lohan Hands.

In the Intensive Chi Kung Course taught in the early years, besides using the three exercises to generate an energy flow, we also used them to massage internal organs, to direct chi to wherever we wanted, to develop internal force and to experience self-manifested chi movement.

All these skills were taught before I discovered that it was chi flow, not the exercises themselves, that gave all chi kung benefits. Later as my teaching methodology improved, other skills like running round the distance of a football field without feeling tired and without being out of breath, Cosmic Shower and Merging with the Cosmos, were also included in the Intensive Chi Kung Course.

Hence, in the case of the Intensive Chi Kung Course, just these three patterns are enough. There is no need to employ other patterns of the 18 Lohan Hands or any other chi kung exercises.

However, we are elite, especially those who attended my Intensive Chi Kung Course. Most other practitioners would be unable to acquire these skills and their resultant benefits by practicing just these three patterns. They need the other patterns of the 18 Lohan Hands.

Even when they practice all the 18 patterns of the 18 Lohan Hands, they may only be able to generate an energy flow. If they wish to enjoy self-manifested chi movement, build internal force, have a cosmic shower or merge with the Cosmos, they will need other more advanced exercises. And they cannot attain the skills and the benefits in just three days.

The above is taken from Questions 1, 2 and 3 July 2014 Part 3 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.


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