WHAT ARE EXPECTED OF PARTICPANTS ATTENDING THE ESSENCE OF SHAOLIN COURSE
An old photo showing Uncle Righteousness and Grandmaster Wong sparring during a public demonstration
What should be expected from a student before attending such a course by invitation in the categories of internal force, health and free sparring? And what are the requirements for our instructors/masters in these categories?
Dimitri from Shaolin Wahnam Asutria
The Essence of Shaolin course is historic. Those who will attend the course will benefit a lot from it. Many of them will be able to reach the level of the marvelous.
All students attending the course, in fact just to study in Shaolin Wahnam, must be abided by and practice the Ten Shaolin Laws. This is a very important requirement , but is often neglected or taken for granted. Practicing the Ten Shaolin Laws is a practical way to live happily.
Secondly, those who attend the course must know the Essence of Shaolin set well, and be able to perform it with picture-perfect form. It is amazing how far we have progressed. Many people think that knowing the set, even if they may not be able to perform it in picture-perfect form, is a sign of their advanced status. They are correct, because this set is a top secret. It incorporates the best techniques of Shaolin Kungfu, and by extension of all martial arts.
To us it is a requirement to attend the course. Indeed we have the set in video and pictures on my website that anyone can learn it. Because of their training, most Shaolin Wahnam family members will be able to perform the set in picture-perfect form, especially if they make some effort. Other people may not know their form is not only not picture-perfect, but is wrong because it causes them harm. Some people, for example, harm their knees, usually without their knowing, because their Bow-Arrow Stance is wrong.
How does one ensure picture-perfect form? An excellent way is to use the concept of "six harmonies", i.e. three external harmonies of feet, body and hands, and three internal harmonies of elegance of movement, energy flow and mind or spirit.,
In practical terms, the first step to this concept of "six harmonies" is to ensure that the stances are correct, i.e. the external harmony of feet. Following the rule of three as suggested by Damian (Dr Damian Kissey), it is "bad-average-good". "Bad" here refers to stances that bring harm, "average" to stances that are passable, and "good" to stances that bring benefits.
If the False-Leg Stance of a kungfu practitioner is bad, like his feet and legs are not in alignment, he causes energy blockage. If it is good, it enables him to be agile, not just in kungfu but also in daily life. Taking the total number of kungfu practitioners in the world, unfortunately about 50% of their stances, not just the False-Leg Stance, are bad, about 45% average, and only 5% good.
It may not be so bad that it manifests as illness or injury, but it certainly affects the practitioners' lives. But it can also be very bad. A lot of wushu athleles and Taiji dancers, for example, have knee problems and they don't know that ther problems are due to their wrong practice of their stances!
Other people may be angry at what I am going to say, but the stances of 95% of our students in Shaolin Wahnam are good, giving 5% for allowance. Why is it that 95% of the stances of our students are good, whereas 95% of the stances of others are bad or average? A main reason is that not only we understand the philosophy of stances, we teach the skills to acquire the benefits. Most other people do not know why their wrong stances can harm them, or how good stances can bring benefits.
Although it is not a specific requirement, all those who will attend the course, which is by invitation only, already know some basic attack and defence using kungfu. This is not an insignificant achievement, considering that more than 90% of kungfu practitioners today cannot use their kungfu for combat!
It is pertinent to mention that we never claim that those who know how to use kungfu for combat will necessarily beat others who don't or who use other martial art techniques. A kungfu exponent who uses kungfu for combat may be beaten by another person who uses other martial arts.
More commonly, a kungfu practitioner who knows kungfu combat but does not practice it sufficiently can be beaten by a more skillful fighter using other martial arts or who just fight randomly. Without sufficient training, using kungfu techniques becomes a liability instead of an asset, just as without sufficient training a person driving a car is slower than a person riding a bicycle.
With this background knowledge, we are in a better position to answer the question what should be expected from a student attending such a course as Essence of Shaolin in terms of internal force, health and free sparring.
In a nutshell, a student attending the Essence of Shaolin course should have internal force, be healthy and be able to use kungfu, any style, for free sparring. How much internal force he should have, how healthy he is, and how effective is his free sparring are subjective. At the minimum, he should be able to perform Golden Bridge for 5 minutes, Three-Circle Stance for 15 minutes, or the equivalent. He should not be sick. He should be able to apply his Shaolin 18 basic combat sequences, or Taijiquan 12 basic combat sequences, or their equivalent, at least in pre-arranged sparring if not in free sparring.
An instructor or a master will have these requirements at a more advanced stage than a student. Again, it is subjective how more advanced is an instructor or a master over a student. If a student can perform Golden Bridge for 5 minutes, an instructor or a master can perform longer, like 10 minutes or an hour. Not only he should not be sick for a long time, like since becoming an instructor, he is also full of vitaltiy and expect to have longevity if he is below 60. He can beat a student easily in pre-arranged or free sparring, using his learnt combat sequences or in any way he likes.
Needless to say, these requirements, general as well as in terms of internal force, health and free sparring, enable course participants to benefit from the course what is not taught elsewhere. I would not, for example, teach them how to perform the Essence of Shaolin set. They already know this very well by the time they attend the course in December 2017. I would also not teach course participants how to develop internal force. They already have some internal force before attending the course.
I may, for example, highlight certain movements of some patterns for better application in combat as well as in daily life, or teach them to use some patterns in the set to develop certain types of internal force. But if they do not know the set before, or do not have internal force, they will be unable to follow my teaching.
Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
21st February 2017.
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