Zhang San Feng

The great Zhang San Feng


How may one apply the Treatise (of Zhang San Feng) in particular to your teachings?

Sifu Tim Franklin, Shaolin Wahnam UK.


Much of my teachings in Shaolin Wahnam is based on the Treatise of Zhang San Feng. Indeed, our instructors and students benefit more from my teachings now than what I benefited from my own sifus. Of course, I am very grateful to all my sifus for their teachings. They were the best I could find, and they taught me the best they could, and I learned the best I could.

The difference, therefore, is due not to my sifu's teaching and my teaching, but due to the Treatise of Zhang San Feng. The main contribution of the Treatise is triple-cultivation. I did triple-cultivation separately, which was a great achievement. Our instructors and students do triple-cultivation at the same time, which is a greater achievement. When I learned from my sifus, I learned kungfu, internal force and spiritual cultivation separately. Now our Shaolin Wahnam instructors and students learn kungfu, internal force and spiritual cultivation all at the same time.

In other words, when I learned kungfu, like "Four Gates" for example, I only learned it at a physical level, like its set and its combat application. For internal force, I had to practice One-Finger Shooting Zen. For spiritual cultivation, I had to practice sitting meditation. But now when our Shaolin Wahnam instructor and students learn kungfu, they also develop internal force and attain spiritual cultivation at the same time.

Our instructors and students also practice energy cultivation, like One-Finger Shooting Zen and Lifting Water, and spiritual cultivation, like standing meditation. These exercises are for enhancement. In other words, if they do not practice these exercises for energy cultivation and spiritual cultivation, they also have internal force and inner peace and happiness by just practicing their kungfu. But if they also practice these exercises, they have more internal force, and inner peace and happiness.

Indeed, considering the amount of benefits from the amount of time spent on practice, our instructors and students now get more internal force and happiness by practicing kungfu, than I got from separately practicing energy exercise and spiritual exercise. In other words, by spending half an hour on kungfu practice, our instructors and students get more internal force and happiness, than I got in my student's days from spending half an hour on an energy exercise, like One-Finger Shooting Zen, or on a spiritual exercise, like meditation.

We in Shaolin Wahnam have become so cost-effective that we have to lower our potential in our practice, like practicing at 30% and not at the potential of 100%. Our instructors and students are specifically asked not to get the most from their practice, as this will lead to over-training, but to enjoy their practice, and not to worry or intellectualize even when they realize they have made some mistakes due to carelessness or forgetfulness.

My practice during my student's days, like that of all dedicated students and masters, was "ku lian", which is "bitter training". The practice of our instructors and students is "not to worry, not to intellectualize, and enjoy the practice". It is almost a joke.

How do we practice triple-cultivation? By entering silence. In chi kung contect, it is entering into a chi kung state of mind. In Shaolin context, it is entering Zen. In Taijiquan context, it is entering Tao. In Western language, it is entering a higher level of consciousness. The Treatise clearly states that "you must empty your mind of all thoughts and not tense any muscles." It is actually so simple, but in practice it is very difficult for most people.

The above is taken from Question 3 of December 2017 Part 3 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.


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