November 2008 (Part 1)
SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
What is the relation of the Monkey God, Sun Wukong, who has particular significance for our school, to the Hindu Monkey God, Hanuman?
— Marko, Switzerland
The Monkey God, Sun Wukong, whom we worship is not the same as the Hindu Monkey God, Hanuman. The common relation is that both are Monkey gods, but they are not the same gods.
Sun Wukong helped his master, the great Buddhist monk, Hsuen Zhang, to bring back Buddhist sutras from India to China which the great master translated from the original Sanskrit to Chinese. Hanuman helped the great Indian king, Rama, to fight evil forces.
Sun Wukong's exploits are recorded in “The Western Travel”, whereas Hanuman's exploits are recorded in the “Ramayana”. Sun Wukong is a Buddhist god, whereas Hanuman is an Hindu god.
I have melanoma second stage. After operation, I receive immunotherapy (interferon). I request Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit to help me open my meridians. I trust his help very much. I would like to meet the grandmaster in Europe.
— Anastasija, Russia
What you need is not just opening your meridians but to practice high-level chi kung.
Opening meridians is an ad-hoc measure. If you do not practice chi kung, even if I open your meridians, they will be close again after some time. This is because you are producing toxic waste all the time, and if you chi flow is not strong, the toxic waste will cause blockage.
However, if you practice chi kung, your own chi flow will clear the blockage. My opening your meridians will speed up your progress. But you have to keep up your chi kung practice so that the meridians will remain open, which will help you overcome your illness and give you good health and vitality.
An analogy is a drain. When there is rubbish, the drain will be blocked. You can clear the blockage, but if water is not flowing smoothly, the drain will be blocked again.
I teach in Europe frequently. Please see my website for my time-table.
I am an avid martial artist and have a passion for the arts for many years. I have been studying kung fu for about two years now with my best friend. I have read your book “The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu” and love it. It has helped me tremendously both in body mind and spirit.
— Nick, USA
If you are passionate about Shaolin Kungfu, I would recommend you to learn from one of our certified instructors. Please refer to our List of Certified Instructors. Or you may apply to attend my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course. Many people have told me that it was one of the best things they had ever done in their life.
Learning from me or my instructors personally is vastly different from learning from my books. You will discovered that not only you can develop internal force and apply Shaolin Kungfu for combat, but also you have the philosophy and skills to enrich your life and the lives of others. It will be better if you and your friend can attend the Intensive course or the regional classes together, so that both of you can practice together the combat applications that you will learn.
My concern is in my abdominal breathing. I have trouble “feeling it” grow inside. I have felt tingling sensations and trance like states through my meditation and even my force building exercises.
Many people, including some chi kung teachers, have confused Abdominal Breathing in chi kung with abdominal breathing as performed by ordinary people. In Abdominal Breathing in genuine chi kung, it is chi or energy going to the abdomen. In abdominal breathing performed by ordinary people, it is air going to the lungs, whose capacity is enlarged by pushing down the abdominal diaphragm. Hence, ordinary abdominal breathing is also called diaphragmic breathing.
In chi kung Abdominal Breathing, because it is chi that goes to the abdomen, the rise of the abdomen during breathing in may not be noticeable. Beginners may also not feel it. Trying to push out the abdomen while breathing in, is incorrect practice and may cause adverse side-effects, a common mistake unknowingly made by many who learn from books or from incompetent teachers.
If you observe genuine kungfu masters, you may see their abdomen protrude out slightly like a small drum. This is because of the tremendous amount of chi that they have built up through years of training which may or may not include Abdominal Breathing. If you are a beginner, or even an intermediate student, you won't expect to have this ball of energy.
I'm just wondering if I am doing the chi building right, because I don't want energy blockages, though I have no signs of them. I am being patient and am noticing results, but wonder towards your insight.
It is not easy to tell whether you are practicing Abdominal Breathing correctly by just reading what you have written. Feeling of tingling sensations and trance-like states, even when you feel them at other times, may be an indication that you have developed some chi. But this is not necessarily a good thing, especially when you practice Abdominal Breathing without the supervision of a competent teacher.
If you have not developed any chi and you make mistakes in your practice, the side-effects are just physical which are not as serious. If you have developed chi and you make mistakes, your side-effects will be more serious. Even if you have practiced correctly on your own, you still face the risk of wrong practice in future, with the chance of risk ironically increased by an initial sense of small success.
If you are passionate about Abdominal Breathing, I would strongly advise you to learn it personally from a competent teacher. Otherwise, do not take the risk of possible wrong practice on your own. You can have similar or better results by practicing other exercises with less risk.
This, in fact, is a main reason why Abdominal Breathing is not a standard practice in our school, though we are very competent in teaching it. The nature of the training is such that students practicing Abdominal Breathing need to be closely supervised. The technique is very simple, and because it is very simple it is also very easy for beginning students to practice it wrongly!
Many people may be surprised, but the reason is straight-forward. Basically the technique consists of only one movement. If you make a mistake in this one movement, you will be totally wrong, whereas in techniques where there are many movements, making one mistake is only slighly wrong.
More significantly, our students get similar or better results using other exercises. For example, how many people you know who have practiced Abdominal Breathing for a year can spar or perform similar vigorous activities for an hour without feeling tired, or can make quick decisions in free sparring or in any activities where spontaneous and correct judgment is required?
Everyone who has attended my kungfu courses, where Abdominal Breathing is not formally taught, can spar for an hour without feeling tired, and more than 70% of them can respond spontaneously and correctly to unexpected actions. The issue here is not sparring, which is used as an example. The issue is having a lot of energy and mental clarity.
This does not mean that Abdominal Breathing is not useful. In fact, it is very useful if you can learn and practice it correctly. But you should be clear of the aims and objectives of your training, assess your available resources, and use them in a cost-effective way — lessons that we learn and practice in Shaolin Wahnam not just for kungfu but more significantly for our daily life.
Could chi kung be used to treat acne?
— Joseph, Canada
Yes, chi kung can be used to treat acne. In theory chi kung can be used to overcome any disease. The philosophy is simple and very beautiful. It is so simple that many people, for some reasons, may not believe it is true.
Life is a meaningful flow of energy. When this flow is interrupted, pain or illness occur. The pain or illness many be manifested in countless ways and given different names according to its different symptoms. One example is acne. Other examples are cancer, depression and high blood pressure.
But regardless of whether it is called acne, cancer, depression or high blood pressure, it is a disruption of energy flow. The immediate cause may be many and varied. For example the disruption of energy flow may be caused by dirt in the skin, stress, being continuously exposed to unpleasant environment or having cholestrol chocking blood vessels. But irrespective of the immediate causes, the root cause is a blockage of energy flow. If this blockage is cleared, smooth energy flow resumes, and life goes on smoothly as before. Practicing chi kung, especially high-level chi kung, is an excellent way to remove energy blockage.
Saying that practicing high-level chi kung can overcome any disease is not necessarily the same as saying practicing chi kung will definitely overcome any disease. In the same way, saying that if you earn more than what you spend, you can eventually become a rich man, is not necessarily the same as saying if you earn more than what you spend you will definitely become a rich man.
While the theory is true, in practice other factors are also at work. For example, if your income is very small, even when you spend less than what you earn, you may not become rich. Or you may stop earning before you have become rich, or there may be an unexpected huge expediture. Similarly, if your practice low-level chi kung, the increase in chi flow may be too small to overcome your illness. Or if you stop practicing, or if you are unexpectedly placed in an unhealthy environment, you may not overcome your illness.
I know this may seem like an unimportant use for chi kung, but to me, it would be like using it to relieve stress. This is quite aesthetic, I know, but if so, what would be some good exercises to do.
The most fundamental aim of practicing chi kung is to have good health. Only after having good health, should we think of vitality and longevity to enjoy our work and play for a long, long time. Only when we have the vitality and longevity to enjoy our work, which will enable us to fulfil our personal, family and social duties, should we think of enjoying ourselves in hobbies like sports and philosophy, and pursuing our aspirations like helping others and meeting God.
If one is still sick but thinks of working hard in his job, or neglects his job to indulge himself in games or studies, or neglects his own family to do charitable work, he has a wrong set of priorities.
If you feel stressful because of your acnes, and stress can cause illlness and unhappiness, practicing chi kung to ovevcome your acnes is legitimate.
Any exercise that generates a chi flow will eventually help you to overcome you acne or any illness. Some good choices are “Lifting the Sky”, “Pushing Mountain” and “Carrying the Moon”.
But the natural operation of chi flow also has its set of prioritiies. Chi will flow to where it is most urgently needed. If you have other problems which you may not know but which is more urgent than your acnes in the maintenance of your life, then chi will flow there first and overcome the more urgent problems.
So, if you have been practicing chi kung correctly, and your acnes are still there, it does not mean your chi kung practice has not been beneficial. Your practice may have saved you your life without you knowing. For example, there may be some problems in your heart which you may know know. But chi flow will overcome the problems without you knowing. This is the reason why we have vitality and longevity when we practice chi kung.
I have both “The Complete Book of Shaolin” and “The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu”, so I can do any exercises from those two books quite well. Any others are fine too.
No matter how well you can practice the exercises on your own, it is nothing compared to what you will get when you learn from our certified instuctors or from me in my Intensive Chi Kung Course.
It is difficult for those who have not learnt from us to appreciate this. They may agree that learning from us is better than learning on their own but they can never imagine how great the difference is. They may think it is two times or three times better, whcih is quite a lot. If we tell them that it is more than a hundred times better, they may not believe, or if they do they have no idea what it is.
Indeed, many students have told me that they first thought their benefits were fantastic when they practiced from my books. But on the very first day of my Intensive Chi Kung Course, they told me and other participants at the course, that the result they had even in the very first lesson was simply beyond comparison with what they ever had before.
- Glimpses of India
- When Traveling with Sifu, You Never Really Know What will Happen
- Wu-Wei and the Void
- A Technique to Counter any Chin-Na or Gripping Attack
- Applying the Four Basic Hand Strikes and their Counters to Play with a Boxer