December 2008 (Part 1)
SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
I learned several Chi Kung exercises from you personally in Nottingham, England in October 2004. I practiced the dynamic patterns after the course but did not feel any chi flow and eventually gave up.
— Jim, England
Your not feeling any chi flow was not due to your not practicing enough but due to your not practicing correctly. Even if you practiced correctly during the course, you might practice wrongly on your own at home.
How do we know whether we practice correctly? An excellent way is to check the result according to what the exercise or art is purported to give. All my courses are self-contained, which means that after the course students can practice competently on their own to derive the result the exercise is purported to give. I believe you took my “Generating Energy Flow” course, in which case you should be able to generate an energy flow when you continue to practice on your own at home.
I always have what I call a graduation test at the end of the course, and usually everyone gets a grade “A”. All students usually receive an “A” grade not because I am very generaous, though I actually am, but because they deserve it. Generating an energy flow is the essence of chi kung, without which chi kung degrades into a form of gentle physical exercise missing out all the wonderful benefits of chi kung.
Today, more than 80% of chi kung practitioners are unable to generate an energy flow at will even though they have practiced for many years. For me, it took me more than a year to achieve this result. Hence, if a student can generate an energy flow, he is already at the top 20% of chi kung practitioners all over the world, and if he attains this skill within a day of the course, his result is excellent. If I do not give him an “A”, I would be unfair.
Many people may be interested to know why my students take only a day to be able to generate an energy flow whereas it took me more than a year and when most other chi kung practitioners are unable to even after practicing for many years. There are many reasons, and it takes too much time to explain here, but it suffices to sum up that this is because I am a very good and generous teacher.
Even with very good teachers, there are exceptions sometimes. One or two students may sometimes not be able to generate an energy flow by the end of the course. They should then see me for advice. This statement is not meant for you, but for future sutdents who take my courses. Your course was many years ago, and we are not going to worry over what you should or should not have done. What is important now is to find out what causes you not being able to generate an energy flow.
Before you read on, please be assured that what I am going to say is not a reprimand for a disrespectful student. You are very respectful and I am pleased to have students like you. But I would like to highlight a common mistake made by many students without their knowing and despite their good intentions. The main reason why you cannot generate an energy flow is because you do no follow my instructions, and you yourself do not realize it.
The instructions here are not “visible” instructions like standing upright with feet together, and not standing in a crooked manner with feet apart, or with arms straight and not with arms bent. The instructions are “invisible” like not worrying and not intellectualizing. These “invisible” instructions are more important than the “visible” instructions. You were not able to generate an energy flow because you did not follow these important instructions.
How do I know you failed to follow these “invisible” instructions when I did not see how you practiced at home? It is obvious from the questions you asked me, and it will be explained below.
Recently, I read on the Shaolin Wanham internet forum that you yourself did not experience any chi flow for several months after beginning practice and I realized that I was perhaps giving up prematurely. So I decided to commit myself to practicing “Lifting the Sky” every morning and evening for 15 minutes for six months, even if I did not experience immediate results.
Yes, I am proud to say that today even students at my regional chi kung courses, like the one you attended at Nottingham, get more benefits in a day than what I did in a year! They can generate an energy flow after a one-day course, whereas it took me more than a year.
The benefits students at my Intensive Chi Kung Course get are more incredible but true. Not only they can generate an energy flow, but also they can tap energy from the Cosmos, direct it to wherever they wish in their body, massage their internal organs, have a cosmic shower, develop internal force and sometimes have a glimpse of Cosmic Reality! It took me more than a year to have some of these skills. Most other chi kung practitioners do not have these skills no matter how long they practice.
It is recommendable that you have decided to continue your dedicated practice despite not having the desired result immediately. This itself is a remarkable achievement. It shows not only you have mental clarity to see the value of continuing your daily chi kung training but also your commitment and determination to a task you have decided on. Irrespectively of your chi kung results, your mental clarity, commitment and determination are admirable qualties that will be very useful to you in your daily life.
Notwithstanding this, the fault of your not having an energy flow is not due to insufficent practice but due to your practicing incorrectly. The fault will be explained in the next answer below.
Your guidance is that individuals who have learned directly from you should perform “Lifting the Sky” only 12-15 times and then allow their chi to flow for the remainder of their 15-minute practice time.
However, I have found that 12-15 times is not enough for me to experience any chi-flow. But if I perform about 20-25 repetitions of “Lifting the Sky” and then concentrate internally, I can sometimes experience a very slight internal flow, particularly in my arms. My question is, as I have learned directly from you, whether 20-25 repetitions constitutes overtraining.
It is sufficient for those who have learnt from me or from any one of our certified instructors to perform only 12 to 15 repetitions of “Lifting the Sky”, or even less, to generate an energy flow. But if for some valid reasons they wish to perform more repetitions, they may do so.
But for those who learn from my books, performing just 12 to 15 repetitions is not enough. They have to perform about 20 to 25 times or more. They may still not have an energy flow after performing this additional number of times. They may have to practice “Lifting the Sky” about 20 to 25 times every day for a few months before they can experience their first energy flow, whereas those who have learnt from me or our instructors can have an energy flow on the very first day.
Why is there such a big difference in result when they use the same technique. It is because of the difference in skills. Those who have learnt personally from us have the required skills, whereas those who have learnt from books do not. They will need a few months of daily practice to develop these skills, and even then their skill level is much lower than the skill level of those who have learnt personally from us.
As you attended my regional “Generating Energy Flow” course you would have learnt the requred skills. Then, why were you unable to generate an energy flow when you practiced on your own? The reason was that you did not follow some very important instructions, which were not to worry and not to intellectualize. After performing “Lifting the Sky” about 12 to 15 times, you should let go and enjoy your chi flow. Instead, you concentrated internally. In other words, instead of letting go, you worried and intellectualized.
I would like you to perform “Lifting the Sky” about 15 times. Then just let go and enjoy your energy flow. “Just let go” means just let go. It also means the following. When you feel your chi moving you in any way, you do not tense your muscles which will immediately stop your chi flow. You just follow the flow. If you do not feel any chi flow, you do not ask yourself inside your mind why you do not have any chi flow, or ask what you have done wrong, or start thinking of any thoughts.
In a different session, besides “Lifting the Sky”, you may also perform “Carrying the Moon” about 15 times, or “Pushing Mountain” about 30 times. If you follow my instructions as described above, you will have an energy flow. If you don't have an energy flow, it means you have done something wrong, which is usually tensing your muscles or thinking of any thoughts. But you don't have to worry what did you do wrong. You simply practice again the next day. If you practice daily without tensing your muscles and without thinking of any thoughts, you should be able to generate an energy flow within a week.
We have many certified instructors in England near where you live. See them for some personal help. Log on to our List of Certified Instructors for their contact particulars. I am sure they will be happy to check on your practice for free.
Although this may seem like a trivial question, it is important to me as I have found that I have quite a weak constitution and my energy system tends to “burn out” quite quickly. For example, I have found that if I practice the Three-Circle-Stance for only 30 minutes a day then my system “burns out” after just a couple of days, and I feel no more energy movement until I have rested for several weeks.
Practicing “Lifting the Sky” or “Carrying the Moon” or “Pushing Mountain” is an excellent way to overcome your problem of being burnt out. Don't attempt “Three-Circle Stance” for the time being. You may attenpt stance training later when you can generate an energy flow very well.
It is a common mis-conception to think that if one lacks energy, he should build up his energy with exercises like stance training. In fact, he may become weaker, as in your case. It is like puting a powerful engine in a small car when it is not working properly because petrol is not flowing smoothly to its original small engine.
So my question regarding “Lifting the Sky” is whether I should stick to the 12-15 repetitions as you recommend, and be patient regarding any chi flow, or practice the 20-25 repetitions that give me a slight flow immediately.
You should stick to about 15 repetitions. While patient is important, what is more important is not to worry and not to intellectualize during your practice.
I have a question about Pushing Mountains. I've recently started practicing it and when I do it my palms get warm. Is this normal because it has never happened before with any of the other Qigong that I practice?
— James, USA
Yes, this is normal. It is because you have successfully developed chi, or energy, at your palms. In your other qigong that you practice, you did not have this effect because you did not develop any energy from the training.
Nevertheless, it is helpful to know that if the weather is cold, your palms may become colder after you have correctly practiced “Pushing Mountain”. Those with superficial qigong understanding may mistakenly think that something has gone wrong. They wonder why their hands beomce colder instead of warmer if they have practiced correctly.
The reason is because they also have cleared some blockage at their arms and body. On a cold day, their internal organs need more energy. The energy that they have developed at the palms now flows into their body to enable their internal organs to function properly. Hence, their hands become colder.
But why didn't this happen earlier. It was because of the earlier blockage in their arms and body that prevented the energy from their palms from flowing to where the energy was needed most.
If you don't find it too much trouble, do you have any advice to help me ready myself for Kung Fu training?
An excellent way to start your kungfu training is to define for yourself what kungfu is and why you want to practice it. Some people may think this is redundant, but thousands of kungfu practitioners not only have wasted a lot of time but actually have harmed themselves because they did not know of this advice.
Different people may have different views of what kungfu is, but we in Shaolin Wahnam view kungfu as a martial art that also brings good health and spiritual fulfillment. There are many styles of kungfu, and the ones we practice in our school are Shaolin and Taijiquan. Having defined the art that we wish to pursue, the reason for practicing it is to derive the benefits that this art will give, namely combat efficiency, good health and spiritual fulfillment.
If you accept the definition and reason above, it becomes clear that thousands of kungfu practitioners today have wasted their time and harmed themselves. They have not obtained the benefits their training is supposed to give. They cannot defend themselves with the kungfu they have practiced, though some of them may be good at hitting and kicking other people. They do not have the type of health that kungfu practitioners should have, like being mentally fresh and calm. They show little spiritual advancement. Worse, they often have harmed themselves. They become less healthy than before they started their kungfu training due to injuries from their sparring, and are often stressful and agitated.
Defining your art as well as your aims and objectives will help you avoid the very common mistakes many kungfu practitioners make. It will also give you a clear direction as to where you should find a good kungfu teacher.
I would like to get in shape before I start my Kung Fu training and was wondering if you have any recommendations to help prepare myself.
If you are healthy but not in good physical shape, kungfu training itself will get you in shape as well as increase your physical strength. In good kungfu training where internal force is trained, it will also increase your emotional strength, mental clarity and spiritual awareness. However, if you are sick, you should get well first before commencing kungfu training.
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