Cosmos Palm

One-Finger Shooting Zen


Can you talk about why someone would train Cosmos Palm over One Finger Shooting Zen?

Sifu Mark Harnett


Both Cosmos Palm and One-Finger Shooting Zen are highly valuable arts, and are rarely taught. In our school, as well as in the tradition of the Shaolin Monastery at Quanzhou during the time of the Venerable Jiang Nan, our Patriarch, One-Finger Shooting Zen was taught to all kungfu monks but Cosmos Palm was taught to only a selected few,

In the kungfu practiced today, where it is either a demonstration of form for show or a generous exchange of blows using Kick-Boxing or other martial techniques, to have a chance to learn either One-Finger Shooting Zen or Cosmos Palm is very rare indeed. It is an opportunity not to be missed. Hence, it is not a question of why a practitioner should choose one art over the other, but he should train any one art if he ever has the chance.

But our school is really funny. One-Finger Shooting Zen is taught to all Shaolin practitioners, and kungfu students can choose to attend the Cosmos Palm course or not. The funnier thing is that the Cosmos Palm course takes only two days, though course participants will still have to practice for a few months to attain the art. Normally it would take other practitioners, if they have the rare opportunity, to practice for many years before he has Cosmos Palm.

Why does it take a few years for other practitioners to attain Cosmos Palm, whereas our practitioners take only a few months, and the Cosmos Palm course takes only two days? It is because we understand the philosophy of Cosmos Palm, we differentiate between skills and techniques, and the necessary skills are transmitted from heart-to-heart to the participants at the course.

But for a philosophical answer, and presuming that he can choose one of these two high-level arts, why would a practitioner train Cosmos Palm over One-Finger Shooting Zen?

Firstly, Cosmos Palm is rarer than One-Finger Shooting Zen. Both arts are very rare nowadays. Talking about the real arts, not just their outward forms, less than 5% of all those who practice kungfu, including form demonstration and generous exchange of blows, have One-Finger Shooting Zen, and less than 1% have Cosmos Palm.

Their outward forms are common. All those who practice Hoong Ka in kungfu, and Nanquan (or Southern Fist) in wushu, use the One-Finger Shooting Zen hand-form They shake their fingers on purpose, instead of their fingers shaking involuntarily due to internal force. The Cosmos Palm hand form is even more wide-spread. All those who use the palm, especially those who practice Taijiquan, Cotton Palm and other internal arts, use the Cosmos Palm hand form. But they only have the external hand form of Cosmos Palm, not its essence.

The second reason is flowing force. The internal force in Cosmos Palm is more flowing than the internal force in One-Finger Shooting Zen. This aspect of flowing force is very useful to those involved in genuine chi kung healing. A healer trained in One-Finger Shooting Zen is effective in his healing, but if all other things were equal, one trained in Cosmos Palm is more effective.

Another reason concerns good health, vitality and longevity. One-Finger Shooting Zen contributes greatly to good health, vitality and longevity, but if all other things were equal, Cosmos Palm contributes even more.

The fourth reason is relaxation. Training Cosmos Palm enables practitioners to be more relaxed than those training in One-Finger Shooting Zen. As relaxation is essential for good health, vitality, longevity, peak performance, and spiritual joys, it is an important consideration for choosing Cosmos Palm over One-Finger Shooting Zen.

Another reasons is contribution towards internal arts. Both One-Finger Shooting Zen and Cosmos Palm develop internal force, which is an essential ingredient of any internal art. But the training in Cosmos Pam is more conducive. Even if a practitioner does not consciously apply his Cosmos Palm into his internal art, the fact that he has been trained in Cosmos Palm is more likely to develop internal force in his internal art movement than if he had been trained in One-Finger Shooting Zen.

In other words, had be been trained in One-Finger Shooting Zen, when he only performs his internal art movement, he may not develop any more internal force (other than the internal force he had earlier developed in his One-Finger Shooting Zen training.) But if he has been trained in Cosmos Palm, just performing his internal art movements can further develop internal force (besides the internal force he already has from his Cosmos Palm training.)

Hence, there are five good reasons why a practitioner would train Cosmos Palm over One-Finger Shooting Zen.

Cosmos Palm

Cosmos Palm

This question and answer are reproduced from the thread 10 Questions on Cosmos Palm in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.