April 2008 (Part 3)


Internal force

Sifu Markus strikes Ismail with a pole and the pole breaks but Ismail is not hurt. This is due to Ismail's Iron Shirt.

Question 1

What is the difference between internal force and chi?

— Daniel, New Zealand


This is an interesting question which many people have pondered on. I shall, therefore, give an extended answer instead of just a straight-forward one.

“Chi”, spelt as “qi” in Romanized Chinese, is the Chinese word for “energy”. There are many different types of energy, like “tian qi”, “fu qi” and “wei qi”, which literally mean “sky energy”, “luck energy” and “stomach energy”. Figuratively, they mean “weather”, “blessings” and “functions of the stomach” respectively.

But if unprefiexed or undescribed, “chi” by itself means “vital energy”, that is the force that enables you and everyone else to be alive. Without chi, a person is dead.

Internal force is self-explanatory. It is the force that is inside you, that works your internal organs, that digests your food and fights harmful bacteria and viruses, that enables you to work and play, and to carry out countless life activities.

Hence, by the definitions of these two terms, internal force and chi are the same. But in everyday usage, they usually refer to different concepts.

When we mention “chi”, we usually refer to vital energy in general. When we mention “internal force”, we usually refer to a lot of vital energy in accomplishing certain tasks, especially in martial arts, without using muscular strength.

For example, we say we enjoy a chi flow, or we focus onr chi at our dan tian (energy field), We do not normally say we enjoy an internal force flow, or we focus our internal force at our dan tian. On the other hand, we say we use internal force to break a brick, or we can spar for a few hours without feeling tired because we have internal force. We do not normally say we use chi to break a brick, or we can spar for a few hours without feeling tired because we have chi, though technically speaking these two latter statements are correct.

It is like asking what the difference is between “having money” and “being rich”. By definition, “having money” may be the same as “being rich”. But in everyday usage, they may be different. When a person has a few dollars, he has money, but is not rich. He needs to have a lot of money to be called rich.

Similarly, in everyday usage of the terms, when you have chi, you may not have internal force. You need to have a lot of chi to have internal force.

Money is the ingredient. Being rich is an application of a lot of this ingredient. Chi is the ingredient. Internal force is an application of a lot of chi.

Question 2

Through my practice it seems internal force is to do with Sinew Metamorphosis, and chi is to do with the Cosmos, but are they separate like that?


No, they are not separate like what you said. Your conceptualization is incorrect and does not make much sense. Again using the analogy of money and being rich, what you said, in principle, is like saying that being rich is to do with banking, and money is to do with the world.

Sinew Metamorphosis is a powerful exercise to generate chi as well as internal force, just as banking is a powerful process to utilize money and become rich. If you practice Sinew Metamorphosis wrongly, you lose chi; if you practice correctly, you increase chi, if you practice very well, you have a lot of internal force. Similarly, if you practice banking wrongly, you lose money; if you practice correctly, you have more money; if you practice banking very well, you become very rich.

Both internal force and chi have to do with the Cosmos. Everything has to do with the Cosmos. Similarly, both having money and being rich have to do with the world. Everything in the world has to do with the world. So internal force and chi are not separate in the way you said, as both are related to Sinew Metamorphosis and to the Cosmos.

Question 3

I have read your wonderful books such as “The Art of Chi Kung”, “The Complete Book of Tai Chi Chuan”, “The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu”, “The Complete Book of Zen” and “Sukhavati”. Since you know a lot about Taoism and Buddhism, have you ever considered writing a book about Taoism in as much depth as “The Complete Book of Zen” or “Sukhavati”?

— Ahmed, UK


Yes, I would love to write a book on Taoism in some depth.

I find this interesting. My teacher, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, was a great Zen master as well as great Taoist master. In the Chinese society where I learned the Shaolin arts from him, he was better known as a Taoist master. But in the Western society, probably because of his Shaolin mastery, he was better known as a Zen master.

Many people regularly consulted my Sifu for spiritual advice. His Taoist magic, which he always used for good, was very, very powerful — more powerful than what many people would believe. One day there was a Taoist celebration. My siheng, Ah Seng, who was learning Taoism from my Sifu, gave a demonstration of Taoist magic. He chopped his own leg with a sharp, heavy sword.

Normally the sword would bounce away as my Siheng would be protected by Taoist gods. But that day the gods did not come to protect him, and he did not know. This was because the previous night Ah Seng went out with his girlfriend who happened to be in the midst of her menstruation. Menstruated blood is considered “dirty” by Taoist gods, and Ah Seng was contaminated.

So the heavy sword cut right to his bone. Blood splashed out all over the place. Even if he were taken to hospital, he would bleed to death before arrival.

My Sifu quickly but calmly got a piece of paper nearby. With his sword finger (formed by holding the thumb, fourth and small fingers together, leaving the index and middle fingers straight) he drew some magical formula on the paper while he canted some Taoist mantra. He placed the paper on Ah Seng's huge wound. The bleeding stopped immediately. The next day there was not even a scar on Ah Seng's leg! In the range of my Sifu's Taoist powers, this was only middle-level.

It was in his later life that my Sifu devoted time to Zen instead of Tao. I did not have the chance to ask my Sifu for his reason, but Ah Seng suggested why. I still remember Ah Seng telling me that Taoism leads to immortality (which is still in the phenomenal realm) whereas Zen leads to the great Void (which is transcendental).

Golden Bridge

Grandmaster Wong demonstrating the art of "Golden Bridge"

Question 4

I have been practicing Golden Bridge and Yi Jin Jing from your books, and it brings a lot of happiness and chi flow. Is it safe if I continue to train that?

— Xiang, Malaysia


Golden Bridge and Yi Jin Jing are very powerful exercises, and it is advisable to practice them under the supervision of a competent teacher.

However, if your practice brings you a lot of happiness and chi flow, you are doing well. Yes, in this case it is safe to continue your practice.

Question 5

I have a friend who lives in California, USA. His father has bladder and intestinal cancer. He has tried four chemotherapy treatments with no success. I was wondering if you had any information that could help him cure his cancer.

— Michael, USA


Cancer can be cured, and we in Shaolin Wahnam have helped many people overcome cancer.

Please see the following for details.

  1. Qigong: a Cure for Cancer and Chronic, Degenerative Diseases? A Global Interest
  2. Cancer Can be Cured!
  3. Overcoming Cancer and Experiencing Happiness from Within
  4. Can Cancer be Cured?
  5. Bringing Inspiration and Hope to Those Suffering from So-Called Incurable Diseases

According to traditional Chinese medical philosophy, there is no such a thing as an incurable disease. But, unforntuately, this doesn't mean that every patient can be cured. Even when there is a cure, but if the disease has gone beyond a threshold, the patient may not recover. Nevertheless, no patients should give up the hope of restroing good health and enjoying life again.

Obviously, reading good information will enable him to understand his illness better, but by itself will not cure him, just as reading good information on heart disorders will enable a heart patient to understand his heart problems better but the information itself will not cure him of his illness. He should also not attempt to cure himself of his heart problems from the information provided; he has to see a good heart specialist. Similarly, your friend's father should not attempt to cure himself of cancer by practicing from the information given; he should see a good chi kung master.

I would recommend your friend's father to attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course to be held in Sabah, Malaysia from 3rd to 7th June. Please e-mail Dr Damian Kissey for registration. Of course, it is not guaranteed that he will recover, but if he follows instructions and practices diligently he has a good chance of recovery.

Question 6

I was interested in a program that I saw on television in the U.S. where they televised in part a section on Shaolin healing or energy healing. It showed a Shaolin Priest using his hands by rubbing them together and placing them over a swelling in another man's hand and in a moment the swelling was gone.

— Fay, USA


Surprising it may be to some people, placing one's palm over another person's injured part to help the latter overcome pain and swelling is a natural ability, which means any person can do it. The point is that for most people the effect is marginal and therefore unnoticeable. But when the person doing the healing has a lot of chi or energy, the effect is much enhanced and remarkable.

The underlying principle is simple. Pain is due to energy blockage, and swelling to blood blockage. When a powerful source of chi, like that of a master's palm, is placed on the painful or swelling area, energy flows from the higher source to the low source, which is the injured area. This energy flow dispels the energy blockage in the injured area, which results in blood flow, thus reducing or erasing the pain and swelling.

By rubbing his hands together, the healing person first enhances his own energy flow, therefore enhancing the intended result.


Carmen is one of many Shaolin Wahnam students who overcame cancer by practicing high-level chi kung. She learned from Sifu Rama on the Blue Mountain. She is an inspiration for those who wish to be cured.

Question 7

I cannot afford to take the whole course but I would like to purchase your book so that I might learn this type of healing for future use. I don't plan to teach others or use it as a practice. I only wish to use it to help others where medical attention is temporarily unavailable.


You don't have to take a course to be able to perform this type of healing. Mothers often do this to their children. If you practice chi kung or any internal art, your effect would be better.

Nevertheless, there may be considerations deeper that what meet the eye. If you are weak, there may be a back-flow of bad energy from the patient into you. Unless you are trained, there is also a drain on your own energy.

On the other hand, if you are very powerful in chi but untrained, and if the injury is not a simple one but has complications linking with internal organs, you may reduce the surface pain and swelling but cause insidious harm to his internal organs.

This should be a warning to those who think they can be healers by learning from books. A trained healer would open relevant energy points to enable the blocked energy and blood to be cleansed, before transmitting his energy into the injured area.

Nevertheless, in most cases where the pain and swelling are caused by simple hits and falls, rubbing your hands together and placing your warm hands on another person's injured area is safe for both you and the other person, and often reduces pain and sometimes reduces swelling. You can further reduce pain by gently blowing over the injured area.

In my opinion, such natural treatment is better than conventional Western medical treatment of taking pain-killers and applying cold compression. In traditional Chinese medical philosophy, applying cold compression is harmful as it causes energy and blood stagnation which may have far-reaching consequences not readily discernable to those unfamiliar with the Chinese meridian system.

What should one do if he sustains a knock with a big swelling? Chinese traumatology, colloquially known as kungfu medicine, is excellent for overcoming such injuries. A kungfu master may apply a paste of medicinal herbs that will drain away the energy and blood blockage. If the injury is severe and has internal complications, the master may prescribe some medicinal concoction that cleanses the patient's meridians. Later he would also prescribe medicinal concoctions that replenish the patient's chi and blood.

Question 8

Would you please email me the website where I may purchase this book and any other information available?


I would not recommend anyone to learn healing from books. To be a healer not only requires much knowledge but also great skills. One may pick up knowledge from good books, but he has to acquire the skills by learning personally from a master healer.

Most important, healers — any healers, including Western trained doctors — must have high moral values. Someone who thinks that he can heal himself or others merely by reading some books lacks the understanding and sense of responsibility a good healer should have.

Nevertheless, if you wish to read about chi kung healing, the following three books written by me would be helpful:

If you go to the Google Search Engine and type the title of the book you wish to purchase, you will find a list of relevant webpages.



Selected Reading

Courses and Classes