36 Strategies

Immortal Li, patron immortal of Shaolin Wahnam Institute

Question 2

We could say that chi flow is the hallmark of our school. Sifu has said that high level masters in the past might have utilized it, though even then they might not have had the philosophy which highlighted it as an essential part of their art.

Is emphasizing chi flow in our teaching, learning and practice an example of "Borrow a Corpse to Resurrect the Soul"?

Also, how important is reflecting on wisdom from the past in order to be creative and solve problems in the present time?

Sifu Mark Blohm


Yes, chi flow is the hallmark of our school. It was Tim Franklin who first said to me that in the future, perhaps 50 years later, perhaps 100 years later, when people pointed to our school, they would identify us with chi flow.

Past masters utilized chi flow to develop internal force, but they did not understand the philosophy as we do. That was a main reason why they took a long time, in terms of years, to develop internal force whereas our students take only months. That was also a main reason why there were only a few masters with internal force amongst countless practitioners, whereas virtually all our students have internal force.

Whether the strategy, “Borrow Body to Reincarnate”, was used, and in our case is used, in developing internal force is a matter of semantics. For some of the past masters with internal force, it can be described that utilizing chi flow to develop internal force was applying the strategy of “Borrow Body to Reincarnate”. In the legend of Immortal Li, our patron immortal, after returning from his visit to see Lao Tzu via astral travel, he had no physical body to enter as his student had cremated his body earlier. So he reincarnated using the body of a lame beggar who just died.

When these past masters realized that chi flow was necessary, or learnt from some source that chi flow was necessary, they used chi flow to develop internal force and achieved their aim faster than other masters who did not consciously use this strategy though they still developed internal force eventually but they took a longer time.

These other masters who took a longer time did not consciously use chi flow, but chi flow still happened, albeit haphazardly. After a long time through sheer dedication, figuratively described as “ku lian” or “bitter training”, this haphazard chi flow accumulated enough to give them internal force. They did not consciously borrow a body to reincarnate, though they did so unknowingly. They did not consciously use chi flow to develop internal force, though they did so unknowingly.’

In our case, especially after I have clearly explained the philosophy of internal force development, we purposely use chi flow to develop internal force. In the Iron Wire course in Barcelona, all course participants found the flow method more effective than the force method in developing tremendous internal force, even though the force method is the orthodox method!

So, in emphasizing chi flow in our teaching, learning and practice an example of “Borrow Body to Reincarnate”? As mentioned earlier, it is a matter of semantics.

I would say no, it is not applying this strategy. My reason for the answer is both practical and theoretical.

In practical terms, when I myself developed internal force using chi flow, and later taught students to develop internal force using chi flow, I did not think of this strategy, “Borrow Body to Reincarnate”. In theoretical terms, while chi flow was an aid and was supplementary in the case of past masters, in our case it is the essence and fundamental in our training. To the other masters, it was their technique that gave them internal force. To us it is chi flow that gives us internal force.

To continue having fun with semantics, we may, if we like, argue that yes, this strategy of “Borrow Body to Reincarnate” is an example in our teaching, learning and practice. Like Immortal Li who would not reincarnate without the borrowed body, we would not obtain remarkable results without chi flow. Like Immortal Li who could reincarnate immediately, we can enjoy remarkable results in a very short time.

There are two invaluable points we can get from this answer besides its content.

One, semantics is fun. We can argue that a chair is a table, or a table is a chair. But we must not be a slave to it. Indeed many people have become slaves to semantics without realizing. They use grandiose terms without knowing what they say, especially in subjects on internal force and internal arts. You can find a lot of examples on the internet and even in some books.

Two, the answer here trains and illustrates mental clarity. We can answer the same question at different levels sensibly. This is possible only with mental clarity. And with mental clarity, we can, amongst other benefits, not only prevent ourselves from being confused by semantics, but also apply semantics to make things clear for our advantage.

If just reading a question connected to the course can bring us such benefits, we can imagine what more benefits we can get by attending the course itself.

It is very important and beneficial to reflect on the wisdom from the past, and to be creative to employ the wisdom to solve problems in the present time.

We can get so many benefits because we are able to reflect on and make use of past wisdom. I have, for example, a huge collection of classics from past masters. These classics represent a crystallization of their teaching and wisdom.

There is no doubt that without the wisdom of the past masters passed down to us through their classics, we would be unable to derive the tremendous results we get. Our cost-effectiveness and progress are unprecedented. We could develop internal force in a few months what past masters would take years. We could practice various other styles of kungfu, like Baguazhuang and Xingyiquan, better than practitioners who have been practicing these arts for their life times.

Many people would think us arrogant and be angry at us for making such statements, but they are true. How long does a master today take to develop internal force? How many Baguazhang practitioners could get to the back of their opponents in sparring, for which Baguazhang was famous? How many Xingyiquan practitioners could apply their signature pi-quan to counter any attack?

We should not just reflect on the wisdom of the past. We should be able to employ this wisdom for practical benefits. Then we could go further. We could be creative and use the benefits derived from past wisdom not only to solve problems in the present time but to change problems into opportunities for improvement.

This is what we have done, and are doing. Our chi flow, for example, has helped countless people overcome so-called incurable diseases. Our internal force has given us good health, vitality, longevity, mental clarity and spiritual joys. The 36 Strategies have enabled us to be more efficient and successful in daily life.

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
22nd January 2014

W36 Strategies

Chi flow is a hallmark of our school

The question and answer are taken from the thread More Fun! 36 Strategies in the Shaolin Wahnam Institute Discussion Forum.



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