Baguazhang combat

Sifu Tim and Federich sparring during a Baguazhang course in England

Federich Chu

Shaolin Wahnam USA

17th November 2011

A few days have passed and I am still amazed at the seminars I attended, the Two Finger Zen and Warrior Qigong. They were absolutely amazing! While I was getting some good results from my self-study, those paled in comparison to the few hours spent in Gainesville.

It all started on Friday afternoon when Sigung walked into the studio and said, "Enjoy the flow of life!" My qi flow felt much "deeper" than before and the atmosphere just seemed more conducive to practice. It's strange, I've heard of people having an "aura" or "presence," but Sigung's was by far the strongest and most perceptible I've ever felt; I had no question that it was a discernible and actual presence or force, not just my imagination.

I learnt so much more than what I was expecting! The Two Finger Zen course alone included many patterns that I was introduced to by Sifu in July when he corrected my Tantui, and I feel amazed at how Sigung's instructions deepened the experience and the qi flows.

I found it shocking that "preliminary patterns" such as Lifting Sun & Moon and Lifting Water could generate so much force! The form-flow-force method was immensely enjoyable and enlightening. The amazing power of a simple thought astonished me. The simple direction of letting more and more force flow during Two Finger Zen, and then in the next round letting it consolidate has given me yet another key that was missing in my personal practice.

Just for fun, I applied the form-flow-force method to my Tantui and Yang style Taiji practice and everything felt completely different and alive. Each movement was backed up with far more internal force than I've been able to express in the past. Even my Bagua linear and circle walking feel more alive! Perhaps the most relevant to me as a student was when Sigung explained how we could use the skills derived from Two Finger Zen to aid our thinking and mental clarity.

In fact, I used the technique he mentioned last night while studying for a biochemistry exam; I'm sure I did well, but even if I didn't do as well as I hoped, I was far more relaxed and not mentally tensed while studying or taking the exam. A small but meaningful victory for me at any rate!

After the course, my good friend Terence and I ate at the grille restaurant (I'm afraid I can't remember the name) where we enjoyed excellent garlic bread and pasta. I had a seafood linguine that blew away all of the seafood pasta that I've had in the Midwest. Lousy landlocked state! We then talked back to our motel, but thanks to misreading the map and getting turned around by directions from different people (I'm still shaking my head at the "NW 13th Ave", "SW 13th Ave", "NW 13th St", "SW 13th St", and "S 13th Blvd" fiasco), what should have been a 1.5 hour walk became a 6 hour walk before we gave in and hailed a cab.

After Terence took the Curing the Incurable class (I'm not sure what he learnt, but he was very happy coming out), we ate at the Taste of Saigon a few blocks away from Sifu's studio. I'm not quite sure Terence ate, but I enjoyed a wonderful beef/chicken/noodle broth soup in a bowl twice the size of my head, and we finished with sharing two desserts: an amazing taro/rice pudding with coconut milk that I intend to recreate here in Indiana, and a fried cheesecake with ice cream. Wonderful place and with incredibly friendly waiters!

The Warrior Qigong class was also very enjoyable and powerful, though in a "different" way that I find hard to explain. I now have first-hand knowledge of what could happen if the training is too powerful for my body; while Sigung spoke, though my mind was clear, my body kept wanting to slump, rest, and fall asleep! It's a testament to Sigung's teaching ability that he knew when to back-off in training. While the "old me" from four or five years ago would have been wondering why he spent so much time talking, the present me is able to really appreciate it.

Plus, we learnt a lot about life, qigong, gong fu, and history while Sigung spoke, so all was quite well! Another testament to Sigung's method of qigong was the powerful practices being able to cure disease. One lady there (I'm afraid I'm terrible with names) spoke of her Crohn's disease being cured and weaning herself off of her medications. Having taken a gross anatomy course this past summer and seen the effects of Crohn's disease on the intestines, I was shocked and even more grateful to be able to learn these arts.

I was especially keen to learn Golden Bridge. When I first practiced it (on my own from Sigung's Art of Chi Kung), I stopped after a few weeks because I felt my chest compressing and I simply could not relax into it. A few years later, the simple advice to relax and open my chest have made Golden Bridge much more enjoyable for me.

Perhaps the most astonishing thing I realized during the course was a further opening of my mind to spirituality. When one of the other students (I'm afraid I can't remember his name) asked about qigong healing and Sigung spoke of the role of God, the patient, and the doctor in the whole process, I nearly broke down in tears at the profundity of his message.

I intend to pursue training as a Western medical doctor and still have to learn to let some things be (such as those aspects of life that are out of my control). Thinking back, I find it intriguing that Sigung's message (only a few minutes long!) was able to make me seriously contemplate the existence of God or gods when several years of going to church as a child and teenager and listening to faithful friends and family never made me truly believe.

Terence, being a practicing Jew, was very happy to hear about this, and we spent virtually every waking hour after the courses chatting about the wonderful things we experienced. We didn't get much sleep on the plane ride home on account of all our chatting.

I wish I could have been around for the Shaolin/Taijiquan and the Sinew Metamorphosis courses, but I'd already skipped Friday's classes to attend Two Finger Zen and couldn't find a flight at a good time to get me back at a safe time (1.5 hour drive from Indy back to Lafayette) were I to take the Sinew Metamorphosis class on Sunday afternoon.

But hey, I walked away extremely happy and satisfied. I'm sure there's always next year! While I spoke with Sigung after the Two Finger Zen seminar, he mentioned a few things to me about his plans for the UK camp next year which absolutely convinced me that I have to be there.

Thank you, Sigung, for offering these amazing courses, and thank you, Sifu, for organizing such an amazing weekend!

Have a good day and weekend, folks!

Federich Chu

Two-Finger Zen

Two-Finger Zen

The above discussion is reproduced from the thread Gainesville Seminars in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.



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