HOW DID GRANDMASTER WONG ACHIEVE SO MUCH?
After reading your biodata, I see that you have mastered Shaolin Kungfu, Taijiquan and chi kung. You are a qualified teacher also have an honours degree in humanities and you have a good loving family. How did you achieve so much? How did you stay motivated and focused? I can barely do Taijiquan and study at the same time!
— Ryan, South Africa
Many people have asked me similar questions. I count myself to be very lucky, and very blessed. I work very hard and I enjoy my work. I travel a lot, yet I spend a lot of time with my loving family. All these are possible because of my Shaolin training — kungfu, chi kung and Zen. That is one of many reasons why I am forever grateful to my sifus.
My Shaolin training not only gives me excellent health, mental freshness and clarity, vitality and agility, but also desirable qualities like perseverance, tolerance, courage and righteousness, and a wonderful philosophy of life. Significantly, these qualities were not merely told to me by my sifus, but acquired by me through the training under them.
Right at the start of my kungfu career, I learned the importance of perseverance and tolerance first hand from my stance training. If one does not have perseverance and tolerance in stance training, he just cannot achieve any good result. In chi kung training, when one strengthens his gall bladder and acquires a lot of chi in his bones, he becomes courageous and righteous. In fact the Chinese terms for being courageous (“da dan” — literally it means “big gall bladder”) and righteous (“gu qi”, literally “bone energy”) came from chi kung.
In sparring (confirmed in real fighting), I learned that more important than techniques and tactics were internal force and fluidity of movements, and the most important of all was to be relaxed and calm even in the most demanding of situations. We also employ a lot of combat principles to gain technical, tactical and strategic advantages.
These qualities and combat principles are not merely used in our kungfu training; we transfer them into our daily lives. If you have been trained to be relaxed and calm in a life-death combat, and let you opponent go free when you could have killed him, you will find that many daily situations that are stressful to many people are actually petty, and you can more readily give and take.
In our philosophy, we aim for the best, and are ready to work very hard to get it. In all our endeavor, we are both honorable and charitable. But if we fail to get what we want, we will not be angry, sad or depressed. We make the best of what is available.
It is quite obvious that the way I was trained in the Shaolin arts, which is now implemented in Shaolin Wahnam, is very different from the kind of training in many other kungfu schools today. If one's training is mainly learning lots of kungfu sets, or punching and kicking each others in free sparring, he will not derive the kind of benefits I got from my masters.
With this background information, the answers to your questions become clear. I achieve much because not only I have a lot of energy and mental freshness and clarity, I am also cost-effective. I am clear about the objectives of any endeavor, and choose the best available methods. Hence I can often achieve in an hour what many people may need three.
My job is my hobby. What I do brings a lot of benefits to others as well as to myself. I am committed to my Ten Shaolin Laws, the tenth of which requires me to pass the Shaolin arts to deserving students. And I am dedicated to preserve and pass to posterity the wonderful Shaolin arts.
To be focused is a basic requirement in our training. Indeed, no matter what we practice — whether we engage in sparring, perform a chi kung exercise, or practice flowing or standing meditation — we aim at one (which is being focused) or at zero (which is expanding our mind). Hence it is easy for me to stay motivated and focused in whatever I do.
If you practice genuine Taijiquan correctly, you will be able to study or do anything better. The higher the quality of Taijiquan you practice, the better will be your other performances. This is logical. Taijiquan is a training of energy and mind. When you have improved your energy and mind, whatever you do will also improve. You may find it motivating to know that when I studied at the University of Malaya, while my classmates burned their midnight oil during the examination period, I performed kungfu and lion dance every night, yet I scored A's in all my papers.
The above is taken from Question 1 of March 2004 Part 1 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.