Review of Essence of Shaolin by Sifu Zhang Wuji

Essence of Shaolin

A successful combatant uses a planned sequence when attacking

Sifu Zhang Wuji

Shaolin Wahnam Singapore

8th December 2017

Unlike my previous reviews, I will not be presenting a linear account of what happened day by day. One reason is that my learning and assimilation in this course follows a more circular route, and some lessons sank in only a few days later (and in some cases, years later), and more bizzarely, were transmitted years ago and only became clear today.

The past few days comprised mainly group work to discover the applications hidden in each pattern, but Sifu sped up the process after a while. He took the first 2 days to teach us how to fish, and as we began to see the common threads, he would show us the marvellous applications more rapidly. Some of the applications were not new to me - I suspect those of us who have done enough courses with Sifu would have seen them in one way or another. I saw qin-na applications in just about every pattern because I had gone for the 2008 qin-na course (in my view, still the most intensive course in our school's history. 72 sequences, with 3 applications in each sequence, with the partner side because he has to counter each of the three qin-na locks = 72 x 3 x 2 x 3 ).

Others who have learnt the myriad of sets taught by Sifu over the years would have also been taught the pattern applications. I was gratified to see that some of the applications came right from the 16 basic sequences, which fortifies the tenet that in Shaolin Wahnam, we are given the best at the start.

I am still figuring out why there seems to be so many apparently repetitive patterns in the set. The patterns have different names but seem to be applied in the same way. For example, there are several patterns similar to "Bailing Moon from the Sea", or various reiterations of the Bagua Palm, or double punches. Some situations could use any one of these variations.

Sifu emphasised the need to use a planned sequence or series of them to attack. He made an illuminating point today - a master who would have no trouble defeating a kungfu novice even if he uses an inferior art, simply by virtue of his force and skill. So, he has to lower himself down to the rookie's level or slightly above, so that the rookie can use his techniques to secure victory. A car is superior to a bicycle, but a Tour de France champion can cycle faster than a new driver unless the conditions are more challenging for the cyclist. But as a rule, a car is faster than a bicycle by multitudes.

Essence of Shaolin

When your leg is being gripped, an effective counter is "Double Stars to the Ground"

The above discussion is reproduced from the Post 57 thread Essence of Shaolin in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.



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