WHY IS IT EASY TO PRACTICE IRON WIRE WRONGLY
Why is the Iron Wire set so easy to be practised wrongly, even by advanced practitioners in our school? Our students and instructors are, for the most part, very skilled in the art of relaxation and know better than to tense when practising any qigong or force training method. Is it because the Iron Wire set involves the making of unfamiliar sounds or are there other factors?
Sifu Zhang Wuji
Yes, it is very easy to practice the Iron Wire Set wrongly. Nevertheless, for students and instructors of our school the chance of practicing it wrongly is much less than that for students and instructors of other schools.
As a rough estimate, if they learn on their own from books or videos the chance of practicing the Iron Wire Set wrongly for students and instructors of other schools is about 99%, whereas that for students and instructors of our school is about 75% and 50$ respectively.
If they learn from a competent teacher, the chance of their practicing it wrong is about 80% for other schools, and about 20% and 5% respectively for our students and instructors.
As usual, other people may become angry at my estimate or think we are boastful. That is their problem, not ours, but my estimate is made honestly and the reasons are as follows.
One important factor why it is easy to practice the Iron Wire Set wrongly is that practitioners lack the philosophical understanding why and how Iron Wire training develops tremendous internal force and mental clarity. This factor is important but many practitioners, including masters, may not be aware of it. Many also do not realize that Iron Wire training develops mental clarity too, though they know Iron Wire develops internal force but they do not know why or how.
Some Shaolin Wahnam students may be surprised because in our school we usually explain the philosophy of what we are doing. Knowing the philosophy is an exception, not a norm, in kungfu training. Even masters who are very powerful and know that their internal force comes their Iron Wire training, do not know how or why the Iron Wire training gives them internal force.
This is where our instructors and students have a big advantage over others. We know the underlying philosophy. When you know the underlying philosophy of an art, you are less likely to practice it wrongly. For example, if you know that doing A and B gives result R, you would do A and B if you want result R. You will also know that if you do C and D, you would practice the art wrongly.
Please note that here A, B, C and D usually refer to skills and not to techniques. Techniques are visible and external, and hence practitioners are likely to perform them correctly. It is usually making mistakes in skills that cause their training to be wrong.
We know all this, but others don't. Others often do not know the difference between techniques and skills.
Another important factor which may not be obvious to practitioners is their lack of exposure to the effects of right practice. This factor, lack of exposure, is related to but not the same as the factor explained earlier, i.e. lack of philosophy. Lack of philosophy concerns theory, whereas lack of exposure concerns experience.
Not only practitioners do not know how and why Iron Wire training produces a lot of internal force and mental clarity, but also they have little chance of seeing the effects of those who have practiced Iron Wire correctly. Hence, it is easy for these practitioners to practice wrongly.
For example, they may become powerful and think that they have practiced correctly. But they fail to realize that their power comes from muscular strength. Because they have little exposure to those who have practiced Iron Wire correctly, who are powerful despite not having big muscles, and have vitality and mental freshness, these practitioners do not realize they have practiced wrongly as indicated by their big muscles, being tired easily and being mentally stressful.
Again our instructors and students have a big advantage over other practitioners. Not only we know the philosophy, we have examples of those with internal force and mental clarity as a result of Iron Wire training. Our practitioners have comparison and reference to check their training.
A third factor why it is easy to practice wrongly is because many practitioners confuse isometric exercise, which is physical, with consolidating force, which is energetic. This is where our students and instructors may fail. They know the philosophy and have exposure, but they may still practice Iron Wire wrongly because they perform isometric exercise instead of consolidating force.
I know this problem well because I myself made this mistake in my early years of practicing Iron Wire. But I had a huge advantage of chi flow. Although I made the mistake, which I did not know at that time, my chi flow overcame the adverse effects of that mistake and still gave me a bonus. It was much later that I discovered the mistake. Not only I could make corrections, but also realizing my mistake enabled me to have a deeper understanding of how Iron Wire training developed internal force and mental clarity. This enables me to help students achieve results in three months what I myself took a year.
Both isometric exercise and consolidating force enable practitioners to be strong. But the former employs mechanical strength and therefore needs big muscles, whereas the latter employs energy flow which needs relaxation and mental focus.
Force from isometric exercise is external and localized, whereas force from energy flow is internal and versatile. External force is limited to age, size and gender, but internal force is not. Localized force is restricted to striking with the arms, whereas versatile force can be used for anything, including good health, peak performance and spiritual cultivation.
Note : The second part of this answer can be found here .
The above question-answer is reproduced from the thread 10 Questions to Grandmaster Wong on the Iron Wire Set in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum