Review of Essence of Shaolin by Sifu Zhang Wuji

Essence of Shaolin

"Sifu is still very energetic, doing kicks I hope I can still do at 73."

Sifu Zhang Wuji

Shaolin Wahnam Singapore

11th December 2017

Nice post, John. I am glad we managed to break-fast together before i went to the airport.

To continue your Shakespearean references, I will add that when I reached home, and my family asked "How is Sifu?", a line from "Antony & Cleopatra" came to mind, duly modified: "Age cannot wither [Sifu], nor custom stale [the] infinite variety of [Shaolin Kungfu]". What I did in fact say was "Sifu is still very energetic, doing kicks I hope I can still do at 73."

One application to daily life as a result of the course took place almost immediately upon my return. We were all going to church, when I noticed ominous clouds in the sky. I suggested that we all get umbrellas, but my wife vetoed me and just decided to rush (the church is 1.2 kilometers away). Then, when we passed the bus stop, I said that we should wait for the bus. But apparently, her transport app said we had missed the bus, whereas I sensed that the bus was coming, so she hurried on. 20 seconds later, the bus passed us by.

And immediately after that, rain drops started falling. I diverted with the kids to a sheltered walkway that was slightly longer but would keep us dry 75% of the way. When we were under the shelter, the thunderstorm broke, and in a few minutes, there was a gale and rainwater was overflowing the pavements. My wife? She was caught in the downpour on the other side because she wanted to walk her own way. I then purchased raincoats and umbrellas at the sheltered area which conveniently had shops, and I dispatched my son to fetch his mother from across the road where she was being drenched.

The moral of the story insofar as it relates to the Essence of Shaolin is that one must always be alert to hazards, be prepared with a sequence of counter-measures if they do occur, and to make instant decisions, and to change when there are variations. My wife had at least 2 chances to stay dry but chose to rush into a known risky environment (impending storm).

Subconsciously, I applied my Shaolin training thus:

  1. Offer to go home to grab umbrellas after looking at the sky - Study the opponent and then ask the way
  2. Suggest to take the bus - make modifications based on my instincts, and not rely on third parties
  3. The first two measures having failed, change the route to avoid rain - decisive change / modification
  4. Buy raincoats and brollies and remained largely dry all the way to church - seize the opportunity for victory
My wife's reactions reminded me of Sifu's Tae Kwan Do sparring opponents when Sifu asked them: "What if your leg is caught? What is your counter?". Their answer, as you may recall, was a complacent "See who faster.", which is both ungrammatical and intellectually lazy, as well as tactically naive.

Essence of Shaolin

Taking a bus (photo taken from instead of being caught in rain

The above discussion is reproduced from the Post 64 of thread Essence of Shaolin in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.



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