THREE LEVELS OF DEVELOPMENT AND OF ATTAINMENT IN COSMOS PALM
As with many things, I assume there are multiple developmental levels of Cosmos Palm (rather than either one has achieved it or not). Could Sifu please describe the levels of development and attainment?
Sifu Andrew Barnett
As you have rightly commented, there are different levels of development and attainment in Cosmos Palm, just as there are different levels in development and attainment in other aspects of life.
To be systematic, let us divide the answer into two main parts, namely development and attainment of Cosmos Palm.
Following the rule of three as suggested by Damian, development is sub-divided into three stages, namely knowing the existence of Cosmos Palm, starting to train it, and attaining the Cosmos Palm. Attainment is also sub-divided into three stages, namely elementary level, intermediate level and advanced level.
Not many people have heard of Cosmos Palm, and even those who have heard about it may not believe it. For this very large group of people, the development in the training of Cosmos Palm is irrelevant.
Amongst the very few people who have heard of Cosmos Palm, and they form the first group of the development of Cosmos Palm, are informed kungfu practitioners, not those who perform external kungfu forms but indulge in generous exchanges of blows. Some informed persons who have heard of Cosmos Palm may not practice kungfu, but they have heard of a very advanced art that makes use of Cosmic energy and may damage opponents without physical contact, even with obstacles in between.
The first group, i.e. those who have heard of Cosmos Palm, is small. The second group, i.e. those kungfu practitioners who have heard of Cosmos Palm and have a chance to train it, is smaller still. This group usually consists of masters who have practiced kungfu for at least 10 years, probably 20.
For a point of mental clarity, it does not mean that those who have practiced kungfu for at least 10 years will have a chance to learn Cosmos Palm, but amongst those who have practiced kungfu for at least 10 years, a very small percentage, and who probably have reached a master’s level, will have a chance to learn Cosmos Palm.
As a rough estimate, out of 1000 persons who practice kungfu and so-called kungfu, including kungfu forms for demonstration and free exchange of blows, about 400 would have continued to practice for at least 10 years. Out of these 400, 100 would have become “masters” by name, and 10 would have become genuine masters. Only 2 of these genuine masters would have a change to learn Cosmos Palm.
The third stage of development is the attainment of Cosmos Palm. While the chance to learn Cosmos Palm is very low, the chance of attaining Cosmos Palm is very high, as high as 80%. Cosmos Palm is taught only to those who have proven themselves to be reliable and of a high moral character, and those who have a change to learn it greatly value it. Hence, out of 1000 persons who practice kungfu, probably 2 persons would have attained Cosmos Palm.
The attainment of Cosmos Palm normally takes many years, about 3 to 5. This is because both teachers and trainees do not differentiate between skills and techniques. They believe that if they know the techniques and train consistently and correctly, they would attain the art. Attaining Cosmos Palm in a 2-day course, as in New Hampshire, is simply ridiculous.
Strictly speaking, it is not attaining Cosmos Palm in 2 days. Those who attend the Cosmos Palm course are already kungfu practitioners, and they have to perform Pushing Mountain, one of the two major techniques in the way I developed Cosmos Palm, for a few months to have sufficient force. Because we differentiate between skills and techniques, our trainees will be able to acquire sufficient force in a few months what other trainees will need a few years. The other technique, Forceful Big Windmill, will be taught at the course. It is easy to perform Forceful Big Windmill wrongly.
For convenience, we can divide the attainment of Cosmos Palm into three levels. The elementary level is when practitioners have reasonable force to damage an ordinary opponent, yet their palms are still gentle.
The intermediate level is when they can channel their force through obstacles to hurt opponents without hurting the obstacles. This level can be demonstrated by breaking a sugar cane supported on two eggs without breaking the eggs, or breaking the bottom of two bricks one on top of the other without breaking the top brick.
The advanced level is when practitioners have progressed beyond the intermediate level, have a clear philosophy of Cosmos Palm, and be able to teach it successfully to others.
Needless to say, the classification of the development and attainment of Cosmos Palm into three levels each, as well as the estimates of success in these levels, are arbitrary and subjective. Nevertheless, they provide a clearer picture in answering the question.
This question and answer are reproduced from the thread 10 Questions on Cosmos Palm in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.