November 2008 (Part 3)
SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
I love the game, because sports create a strongest relationship and brought all the different countries together as one family.
— Joakim, Nigeria
Your view of martial arts is modern and idealistic. I like your view very much and wish that the actual situation of martial arts today is like what you have said. Unfortunately it is not. Your modern, idealistic view does not reflect the modern, de facto situation of martial arts today, nor that of the past.
Martial artists would not like to hear this, but the public today does not have a good impression of martial artists, who are generally regarded as crude and aggressive. There is much truth in the public belief. A typical martial art training session consists of hitting and punching one another.
Uniting people of various countries into one martial art family is a myth. Martial artists generally refuse to accept teachings from other schools, usually regarding one another as rivals. Demonstrating sportsmanship in competition, unfortunately, seldom happens. I have personally seen some shameful examples. Some martial artists were so keen to win that when they were awarded second place, they threw away their throphies!
Years ago I was invited as an honorary adviser to a free-style sparring competiton. In the final one competitor was so overwhelmingly superior to the other that it was clear he would be the champion. But nearing the end of the match, he made what I thought was a beautiful throw. The referee faulted him, saying it was an illegal throw, and to everybody's surprise, declared the other competitor who had been on the receiving end all the time, the winner. The whole hall was shocked. The organizer consulted me and I told him I was very surprised at the referee's decision. The Chief Umpire then over-ruled the decision, and ordered a re-match.
But the teacher of the supposed winner was furious. He and his students created a commotion and threaten to leave. It was disgusing. I clearly remember I thought to myself then that if I were the teacher or the competitor, I would have politely refused the first prize, and requested it to be given to the better fighter. I told the organizer to let them leave, they being a disgrace to the martial art. At this crucial moment, the real winner gallantly offered to surrender the first prize to his defeated but throphy-greedy competitor. I was very impressed with him. He was a hero.
The martial art situation in the past was not better. Schools often regarded one another as enemies and fights amongst them were common. The purpose of martial arts in the past was combat, not sport, sometimes with life-death consequence. In China in the past, there were a few occasions of masters attempting to unite various kungfu schools into a federation, but usually it resulted in masters engaging in life-death duels to be the leader.
Nevertheless, while we in Shaolin Wahnam recognize the de facto situation of martial arts today as well as in the past, we still aspire to the highest ideals of martial art. We train to be scholar-warriors, i.e. those who are successful in both their private and public lives, who excel in their business or profession as well as in their homes and pastimes.
Please I will like to know more about you and your martial arts. I don't mind to convert myself to your style.
I am different to different people. Most martial artists don't like me. The reason, I believe, is that I am not afraid to say the truth, and most people don't like to hear the truth. I am one of the few who are vocal in advocating that kungfu can be used for fighting, and chi kung can overcome illness.
Actually there is nothing very special about these two statements. They are statements of truth, like saying that cars can be used for transporting people, and clean water can quench thirst. The problem, of course, is not as straight-forward. It arises because most people today practice a grossly debased form of kungfu and chi kung. They cannot use their kungfu for fighting, or use their chi kung to overcome diseases. One would expect that these people would be grateful to be made aware that their kungfu or chi kung is debased, and be given a rare opportunity to practice the genuine one. But this is not so. It is one of the idiosyncrasies of humankind to remain blissful in ignorance or be aggressive in defiance.
Many people call us liars because our claims are too good to be true. Most kungfu practitioners cannot apply their kungfu for combat and most chi kung practitioners have no chi experience even when they have practiced for many years. Yet, we claim that our students can attain these results only after a few weeks, even a few days. It is understandable if they find our claims hard to be believed, but it is unreasonable for them to make accusations without checking the facts, and insensible for them not to take advantage of this opportunity fo find out whether our claims are true.
On the other hand, those who have benefited from our arts regard me as a very generous and effective teacher. Some of those who have recovered from diseases that many consider as incurable even consider me a god!
We practice Shaolin Kungfu, Wahnam Taijiquan and Shaolin Cosmos Chi Kung. We consider these arts the best. This is only logical, otherwise we would not practice them. Would you practice an inferior art when a better one is available? Some people do, but we won't.
This may be the main reason why many people consider us boastful. They are mistaken. While we consider our arts the best, and are very proud of it, we are aware that other people may consider their arts better than ours. That is their right and their business.
Hence, we never attempt to convince others to change to practicing our arts. In fact, we often do the reverse. We share many of our secrets with others, encouraging them if they wish to use the secrets to improve their own arts. When someone who has practiced other arts wish to change to ours, we ask him to consider carefully, and if he still wants to make the change, we remind him to be grateful and respectful to his former teachers.
Ever since I can remember the middle of my forehead has been highly sensitive especially if it was touched or even about to be touched. I always knew when other people were in the room without having to look around.
— Stephanie, France
That spot is called the third eye or psychic eye. In Chinese it is called “tian mu”, which means “heavenly eye”.
Psychic abilities, like being able to know the presence of other poeple without having to look at them with your normal eyes, are located at the third eye. Everyone has a third eye, but for most people it is “close”. In other words, in most people the dormant psychic abilities located there are not activated.
You should not poke your finger at your third eye. This may injure it. You should not even do anything that may block your third eye, like leaning your forehead on your arm at a table to have a nap.
My brother suggested that I tried to contact someone in order to learn how to unlock my third eye. He seems to think that there is something special about this pain that I experience and that it has some sort of spiritual or supernatural powers.
To me it's just a pain that is centralized in one spot for no reason. I am naturally a very laid back woman that keeps ideas of power and magic very distant
Your brother is right to say that the thrid eye is related to spiritual or supernatural powers. As mentioned above, everyone has the potential of these spiritual and supernatural powers, but very few people succeed in activating them.
Opening the thrid eye to unlock these powers must be performed by a qualifed person, like a chi kung master or a spiritual teacher. It is very important that these powers must be used for good, and never for evil.
The pain is probably due to the operation of some mechanism, like chi flow, attempting to open your third eye. I would recommend that you learn high-level chi kung from a master who also has high moral values. This will help you to open your third eye.
I would like to remind you again that if your third eye is open and you have psychi powers, you must always use them for good, and never for evil. The law of karma is inevitable. Doing good will always bring goodness; doing eveil will always result in evil.
Actually there is nothing magical or mystical about the thrid eye and its psychic abilities. These abilities are natural or in-born, like being able to smell a good cookie in your kitchen or hear your freind calling from your garden, in contrast to abilities that are acquired, like riding a bicycle or working on your computer. But because they are outside the five senses and are not commonly used, some people regard them as supernatural.
I have been reading your book, “The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu” and have enjoyed studying it. I am very interested to know if you have a master who studied under you in the area where I live. I have wanted to study Shaolin Kung Fu for over 35 years now. I would be starting from scratch.
— Bob, USA
“The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu” is an excellent book. Some people told me that it was the best book on kungfu they had read. It so happened that the book was written by me.
I do not have any certified Shaolin Wahnam instructors teaching in your area, but there are some teaching in other areas of the United States. Please see the List of Certified Instructors for details. If you make some arrangement with these teachers, and travel to learn from them periodically, you can have good results. A few students actually do this. If you have been waiting for 35 years to learn genuine Shaolin Kungfu, it is surely worth your effort. And when you are ready, you can attend my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course in Malaysia.
But if you do not want to travel long distance to learn from our certified instructors in your country, you can learn from any kungfu instructor in your area. It is preferable that he teaches Shaolin Kungfu or wushu. But if this is not possible, you can learn from masters of other kungfu styles. It is quite certain that what they teach will be different from what I have described in my book, “The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu”. It is unlikely that they will teach you internal force or applying kungfu patterns for combat. But if you can learn some good kungfu forms from them, you can then attend my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course to learn internal force and combat application.
However, make sure that the training you will learn from any teacher does not injure your health — physically and psychologically. If the lessons consist much of free sparring where students hit and punch one another using Kick-Boxing, which unfortunately is quite common in many kungfu schools today, I would advise you against taking such classes.
Can a highly trained kung fu master defeat a Muay Thai Boxer in a street fight? I have read an article about a Shaolin master beating a Thai Boxer in the ring.
— Chad, Thailand
Please note that I am answering your question as a Shaolin master. Masters of other martial arts may disagree with what I say. You should consult them to have a balanced opinion.
You and many other people may find my answer unbelieveable, but in a real fight a Muay Thai Boxer would have no chance at all against a highly trained genuine kungfu master Indeed, a Muay Thai Boxer would be defeated by an ordinarly genuine kungfu practitioner. .
Kungfu is a fighting art, whereas Muay Thai is a sport with safety rules. Muay Thai Boxers often forget this important point in real fights, and hence can be maimed or even killed by experienced street fighters in real fights where safety rules do not apply. If you were trained in real fighting as genuine kungfu masters are, you would notice how venerable a Muay Thao fighter is when he moves in to attack, or execute typical knee jabs at close quarters. A street fighter could open his stomach with a knife. A kungfu master who could smash bricks, could also smash his head.
Although the strikes of a Muay Thai Boxer can be very damaging to ordinary persons, they may not be combat ending to experienced fighters. If they were, considering the numbers of hits they routinely sustain in ring fighting, many Muay Thai Boxers would be dead by now. The fact that Muay Thai Boxers can take 10 to 20 hits and still can continue fighting shows the hits are not very damaging. But the strikes of a genuine kungfu master is very damaging. He can kill or main with just one strike.
We are here talking about a highly trained genuine kungfu master, who has tremendous internal force and is very combat efficient. Such genuine kungfu masters are very rare today. Many kungfu masters today cannot really fight! Those who can, use Kick-Boxing instead of kungfu for fighting, and they have no internal force. Such kungfu masters are no match against Muay Thai Boxers.
Do you have more information about kuntao?
“Kuntao” is in Fujian pronunciation, and means the fist. It is the Fujian term for martial art. In Cantonese it is called “kungfu”, and in Mandarin it is called “wushu”.
Many martial art masters from the Fujian Province of south China migrated to Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia in the 18th and 19th centuries. The most famous of Fujian martial arts was “Ngo Chor Kun”, which is “Wu Zu Quan” in Mandarin or “Five-Ancestor Kungfu” in English. “Kun” in Ngo Chor Kun is the shortened form for “kuntao”, just as “quan” in Wu Zu Quan“ is the shortened form for ”quanfa“ in Mandarin. ”Quanfa" is another term for Chinese martial art. Tai Chi Chuan, for example, is Taijiquan, which is the shortened form for Taiji Quanfa.
The most famous master of Ngo Chor Kun or Ngo Chor Kungfu in recent times was Sifu Chee Kim Thong, who was regarded as a national treasure by China. I had the honour to learn Ngo Chor Kun from him. The hallmark of Sifu Chee Kim Thong's kungfu was internal force. And the secret of his internal force was softness.
I still can remember very clearly that during our training, my Siheng Chee Boon Leong, who was the eldest son of Sifu Chee Kim Thong and taught us on behalf of his father, frequently reminded us, “mg men yong lak, mg men yong lak”, which is in Fujian dialet meaning, “don't use strength, don't use strenght”.
I also can remember clearly asking myself how on earth could anybody be forceful if he did not use strenght. But when I practiced “chai shou”, or “Kneeding Hands” with my Siheng, he would gently place an arm on mine, and I could not move it nor move myself away. “Chai shou” is the Ngo Chor version of “chi sau” (Sticking Hands) in Wing Choon, or “tui shou” (Pushing Hands) in Taijiquan.
“How could you be so gentle, yet have so much internal force?” I asked my Siheng. “Practice San Zhan”, he confided the secret to me. “San Zhan”, which means “Three Battles”, is the fundamental kungfu set in Ngo Chor Kungfu. It develops internal force as well as provides techniques for combat application.
“San Zhan” was the fore-runner of “San Chin”, considered the most advanced kata in Karate. Japanese masters taught this set only to their selected disciples. But the way Karate masters practice “San Chin”, with much muscular tension, is totally different from the way Ngo Chor masters practice “San Zhan”, with total relaxation and softness.
Does Shaolin Kung Fu have stick fighting arts similar to the Filipino stick arts? Does Shaolin Kung Fu have sword training similar to that of the Japanese Samurai sword arts?
Shaolin Kungfu is famous for staff techniques. The staff is sometimes considered as the Shaolin weapon. It is different from the Filipino stick art.
There is another kind of staff weapons called the double short staffs. These double short staffs are similar to the Filipino sticks. However, they are not popular in Shaolin Kungfu. Indeed, many Shaolin practitioners do not know about them.
Of course, Shaolin has sword training! But it is very different from the Japanese Samurai sword.
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- Do you know Whay Taijiquan is often Performed Slowly?
- Wrestling Throws are found in Shaolin Kungfu Too
- Glimpses of India