WHAT THE CLASSICS MAY NOT TELL YOU
As a Shaolin grandmaster, your knowledge would be most valuable for those seeking the real art.
— Yasmine, New Zealand
More valuable than knowledge which can be obtained from books or the internet, seekers of the art should personally learn skills from genuine masters and grandmasters.
Not many people may know the difference between techniques and skills. Many people mistakenly think that if they know the techniques of an art and practice the techniques diligently, they will get the benefits that art is meant to give. This is glaringly not so, though most people do not realize it.
The chi kung and kungfu techniques practiced by thousands of practitioners today are correct, yet very few derive the benefits of chi kung and kungfu despite many years of practice. The basic benefit of chi kung training is to have good health, yet many chi kung practitioners are weak and sickly! The basic benefit of kungfu training is self-defence, yet most kungfu practitioners do not know how to defend themselves!
Why? Let me tell you the secret. They have the right techniques but do not have the appropriate skills.
An analogy will make this clearer. You can learn the correct techniques of swimming or driving a car, but if you do not have the appropriate skills you still cannot swim or drive. In the same way, practitioners can learn the correct techniques of chi kung and kungfu, but if they do not have the appropriate skills, they still are not healthy and cannot defend themselves.
Genuine masters are rare nowadays, genuine grandmasters are rarer. If they are willing to teach the appropriate chi kung and kungfu skills, seekers of the arts should not miss the opportunity to learn from them.
May we have the privilege of getting as much information as possible on the Golden Bell art, the training methods, stages, techniques, and so on from you. Of course one cannot learn this art merely from written description. But it would be a treasure for posterity to have a sort of documentary of the Golden Bell art you inherited from your teachers.
A main reason why genuine masters do not reveal the training methods of these advanced arts is because they do not want unsuspecting students to harm themselves by practicing these methods read from books. This is a real, serious reason, though many readers may not believe it.
Moreover, even if the masters were to reveal the methods, without the personal guidance of a competent teacher, students would be unable to carry out the exercise.
A brief description of Golden Bell will illustrate what I mean. I would strongly want readers not to attempt the exercise described below. Without the guidance of a competent teacher, they are likely to harm themselves.
Practice stance training, like Golden Bridge or Lifting Water, for a reasonable period of time. Then practice Abdominal Breathing, or better still, the Small Universe.
Systematically hit yourself with bags of beans, first gently, then hard. The bags should be of double layers to prevent bean dust filtering into your body.
Then hit yourself with bundles of canes. The canes should be treated with medicated wine to prevent contamination. Ram the ends of the canes into your vital points, first gently, then hard.
Then hit yourself with bags of pebbles, first gently, then hard. The bags should be of two layers to prevent dust of the pebbles filtering into your body. Wash the pebbles in running water once a week. Leave the pebbles in a cool place to dry on their own. Do not place them under the sun.
Periodically take medical concoction or perform chi kung exercise to clear any injuries sustained unwittingly.
The hitting with bags of beans, canes and pebbles is actually Iron Shirt training to confirm and consolidate a buffer of chi protecting the body. The training that creates the buffer of chi is the initial chi kung exercise. Hence, many masters, including many instructors in our school, have Golden Bell even without the hitting with beans, canes and pebbles.
There was a story of grandmaster Lam Sei Weng fighting with a Northern Shaolin master who gave grandmaster Lam a double flying kick. Despite the kick landing on him, grandmaster Lam remained unhurt like a solid rock, then with a technique known as Wave-Breaking Hands sent the opponent flying back with his legs broken. Grandmaster Lam had developed Golden Bell, most likely from his Iron Wire Set training, without having to hit himself with beans, canes and pebbles.
The above is taken from Questions 3 and 4 March 2013 Part 2 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.
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