December 2007 (Part 1)


Shaolin Kung Fu

Teaching genuine, traditional Shaolin Kungfu is highly satisfying as you share good health, vitality and spiritual joys with deserving students

Question 1

I'm fourteen years old and I'm familiar with you from your books, “The Art of Chi Kung” and “The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu”. I find your answers in the Q&A series to be quite profound. Every response is for the benefit of the person who asked the question, although it is apparent that they don't always realize that. I sincerely appreciate and admire your kindness and generosity in answering so many questions.

— Navid, USA


Thank you for your e-mail and kind words.

It is remarkable that you are only forteen years old, yet not only you can write coherently and respectfully, you have the mental clarity to see that the answers in my Q&A series are all for the benefit of the persons who asked the questions.

Many adults today cannot write grammatically and present their ideas clearly. This reflects poorly on their mental ability.

Question 2

I have a vision to become a Shaolin Kung Fu master one day, and I have chosen that path.


Aiming to become a genuine Shaolin Kungfu master one day is an admirable and noble vision. You will not only have good health, happiness, inner peace and other benefits for yourself, but also be able to share these wonderful benefits with other deserving people.

Nevertheless, it is not an easy career, and I will seriously ask you to consider carefully before you commit yourself devotedly to it. Of course, if you have choosen another path, you should also consider it carefully before making a definite decision.

Financially, being a Shaolin Kungfu master does not earn a lot of money. At your age now you would probably think that earning a lot of money is not important. But when you have grown older and have a family, you will realize that while there are many other things more important than money, it is still very important.

You need money, for example, to fulfil your promise to God when you marry your wife that you will provide her and your children well. Of course, you must also provide them with love, care and attention, but without money, it will be quite diffifuclty for you to enable them to live comfortably without worries.

In this respect I am very lucky. My income from my career as a Shaolin Kungfu master has enabled me to provide very well for my family, as well as to help others who are not so fortunate. But I am an exception, not the norm. I am financially comfortable because I am at the top of my profession. Had I chosen another career like banking or business, and were at the top of the profession, my income would certainly be many times more.

My point is not to show that I want to earn more, but to show that if you wish to be financially comfortable as a Shaolin Kungfu master, you have to be very good at it. If you are only an ordinary Shaolin Kungfu master, you may have difficulty paying rent for your school.

You are still young, and have plenty of time to think about your future career. Right now you should focus on your studies, as well as spent quality time with your parents and friends, though you could also spend time practicing genuine, traditional Shaolin Kungfu as a hobby. When you have completed university, if you still consider becoming a Shaolin Kungfu master as a career, you are still in time to work towards your goal whole-heartedly.

Question 3

I've been practicing “Lifting the Sky” on my own using the instructions in your books, for three months. My objectives have been to clear blockages and develop internal force. Currently my arms move quite a bit, moving even above shoulder level sometimes. They also seem to move symmetrically; if a certain motion is done on the right it usually happens on the left too.

At times it feels as if my body is extremely fluid. When my body moves it feels really effortless and good. Most of the standard chi sensations have come and gone, although I can still feel tingling during meditation if I wish to notice it, but as it's more natural now, I don't pay much attention to it.


Your description shows that you have practiced “Lifting the Sky” very well, especially when you only learned it from my books. Congratulations, and keep it up. As you progress further, you may be surprised at even more wonderful results.

Nevertheless, as you have corrected said, don't pay particular attention to them. Let the progress be natural. When they come, fine. If they don't come, fine too.

Shaolin Kung Fu

Combat application is an integral part of genuine, traditional Shaolin Kungfu. The picture here shows Sifu Andrew Barnett practicing Shaolin combat application with his son, Bjoern.

Question 4

I have also noticed that I'm a very different person than from three to four months ago. I used to wish I could be someone's friend when I saw them talking to someone besides me. Now, I'm sincerely happy for them. I'm glad that they are happy. Even when I'm sitting by myself or I'm alone, I'm not lonely. I think I am peacefully content.


This is one of the best benefits anyone can get from practicing “Lifting the Sky” or any other chi kung exercises.

It is amazing that you have such results when you are only fourteen. I am very happy for you.

Yours is spiritual joy, peaceful with yourself when alone and happy for others when in company.

Question 5

Could you please give me advice for the path that I've chosen? I shall be very grateful for anything.


First of all you need to have a sound understanding of what genuine, traditional Shaolin Kungfu is, and what it can do for you and humanity. My book, “The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu”, will give you a good answer. The following is a brief description.

For convenience, genuine, traditional Shaolin Kungfu can be divided into four dimensions, namely:

  1. Philosophy
  2. Form
  3. Force
  4. Application.

The philosophy shows how Shaolin Kungfu should be practiced and what benefits the practice will bring. The form is the vehnicle or substance with which you practice. Force is the powerful behind the practice and the benefits you get. Application is how you use Shaolin Kungfu not just for combat but to enrich your lives and the lives of other people.

For example, if your philosphy designates Shaolin Kungfu as an art to punch and kick one another, then your practice as well as result will be punching and kicking one another. If your philsophy designates Shaolin Kungfu as an art to enrich your and other people's lives, then both your practice and result will enrich your and other people's lives.

The benefits of genuine, traditional Shaolin Kungfu can be classified into three broad categories:

  1. Efficiency in combat as well as in daily life
  2. Good health, vitality and longevity
  3. Mind expansion and spiritual cultivation.

After having a clear concept of Shaolin Kungfu, the next step is to find a good teacher to teach you Shaolin Kungfu according to this concept. It is worth your time and effort to spend some time searching.

If you find a teacher whose concept of Shaolin Kungfu is beautiful forms for demonstration, for example, you will end up with beautiful Shaolin forms for demonstration, and perhaps winning some international competitions. If your concept of Shaolin Kungfu is to have good health, vitality, longevity, peak performance and spiritual joys besides conmbat effciency, you will have good health, vitality, longevity, peak performance and spiritual joys besides combat efficiency.

The next step is to practice regularly and diligently according to what the teacher teaches, and not according to what you think you should practice. This step takes the longest time and effort, and you should periodically access whether you have accomplish the benefits practicing Shaolin Kungfu should give. For example, your practice should give you good health and vitality. If you were becoming more tensed than before and sustained a lot of injuries, you were obviously not getting the benefit your practice should give.

I would recommend that you learn from our certified Shaolin Wahnam instructors. If you cannot find one, you can learn from my books. In either case, attend my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course when you are ready. But if you can find a good teacher from another school, you can learn from him. It is still worthwhile to attend my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course if you have learnt from another teacher.

Question 6

Also, why would one prefer enlightenment over going to heaven?


Spiritual cultivation in any religion or even the lack of an official religion is of the following three ascending levels:

  1. Lead a happy and moral life in this world.
  2. Enjoy bliss in heaven.
  3. Attain Enlightenment, also known in other cultures as Return to God and Merge with the Great Void.

Going to heaven is of a higher level than leading a happy, moral life on earth. Attaining Enlightenment is the highest.

In Western terms, when one goes to heaven, he meets God the Father. God the Father has form. He is different from the pious souls who meet Him. In other words, blissful life in heaven is still phenomenal.

When one returns to God, he merges into God the Holy Spirit. God the Holy Spirit has no form. There is no differenece between the pious souls and all other things, and God. Everything is God. Returning to God is transcendental.

Shaolin Kung Fu

Grandmaster Wong demonstrates a pattern from the Iron Wire Set

Question 7

Is the Venerable Harng Yien, one of Chee Seen's best students, the same person as Kwok Yan, the teacher of Theit Kiew Sam?

— Libor, Czech Republic


The Venerable Harng Yien and the Venerable Kwok Yan were different persons. The Venerable Harng Yein was the sipak (elder kungfu brother of one's sifu) of the Venerable Kwok Yan. Kwok Yan's sifu was the Venerable Sam Tuck, who was the junior kungfu brother of Harng Yein.

Hoong Hei Khoon and Luk Ah Choy, who were very important in many Hoong Ka lineages today, were also the junior kungfu brothers of Harng Yein and of Sam Tuck, and therefore were the “sisook” (junior kungfu uncle) of Kwok Yan. So Theit Kiew Sam would call them “sisookgung” (kungfu junior grand uncle). Hoong Hei Khoon also helped Theit Kiew Sam with his kungfu. This is an important point which may help some Hoong Ka practitioners solve their lineage problem.

Most Hoong Ka (Hung Gar) lineages today regard Hoong Hei Khoon as their First Patriarch, and their kungfu style is named after this great kungfu master. But they have a problem linking their generation line back to Hoong Hei Khoon, because their lineage is as follows: Luk Ah Choy —> Wong Kai Ying —> Wong Fei Hoong —> Lam Sai Weng, from whom many Hoong Ka schools developed.

“Theit Seen Khuen” or Iron-Wire Set is considered by many as the most advanced kungfu set in Hoong Ka Kungfu. “Thiet Seen Khuen” was invented by Thiet Kiew Sam, and Thiet Kiew Sam had learnt from Hoong Hei Khoon, not as a “toutai” or student but as a “tousoon” or “kungfu grandson”. This would then provide some justification to name Hoong Hei Khoon as the First Patriarch.

It is interesting to note that another great master of this lineage, Wong Fei Hoong, also learned from a teacher two generations above him, Luk Ah Choy, who was his “sigung” — a situation similar to many Shaolin Wahnam students, who may one day become great masters, learning from me, their “sigung”.

Question 8

During a recent class, my teacher had us perform some basic Qi Gong exercises to channel our Qi. As the class performed their exercises, it became difficult for me to breathe, and I was forced to lean against a wall. At the same time, two points on my body felt as if they were glowing, a spot on the front of the chest below the shoulders.

My teacher examined me and performed a few tests, and told me that my Wei Qi was that of someone who had been training in Qi Gong for many years, not several months.

Now when I focus I feel the energy rising, and frequently rising to various spots on my head, giving me a brief headache before returning to my base.

Is this sort of thing common in your experience?

— Jason, USA


It is not feasible for me to confirm by reading your description whether your “wei qi” is powerful. But irrespective of whether it is powerful or not, it is unhealthy for you to have breathing difficulty after performing some basic qigong exercise or to have headache after focusing your qi.

Your problems were probably due to your tensing your body or closing your mouth when performing the exercise. Indeed, if your “wei qi” is strong, the harm would be more, because the blockage of your “wei qi” caused by your muscular tension or closed mouth would be worse.

But your problems of breathing difficulty and headache can be easily overcome. Perform “Lifting the Sky” between 20 to 30 times. Please read any one of my books to find out how to perform this wonderful exercise. Breathe in gently through your nose, and breathe out loudly but in a gentle manner with your mouth open wide. This breathing out through your widely open mouth will help to clear your qi blockage. After between 20 to 30 repetitions, stand upright and be totally relaxed. Keep your mouth gently open. Don't do anything or think of anything. If your body sways as a result of your qi flow, enjoy the sway.

Your case does not happen in my school, but is not uncommon amongst other qigong practitioners. Many practitioners have a mis-conception that if their mouth is open, qi may escape resulting in loss of energy. In fact, we purposely open our mouth, especially in powerful exercises, to let qi escape as a safety precaution as well as to facilitate qi flow. If your mouth is close and too much qi has been developed, it can be very dangerous. It is like boiling water in a kettle without an outlet. When qi flows out through the mouth, fresh qi from the Cosmos will automatically flow in, unless you wittingly or unwittingly prevent it, like tensing your muscles. It is the qi flow that gives you good health and vitality.



Selected Reading

Courses and Classes