SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
FEBRUARY 2010 PART 3
I have been interested in both Tai Chi Chuan and internal energy for quite some time. I tried practicing Tai Chi Chuan, but I was held back by a medical condition known as Cushing's Syndrome.
— Jonathan, England
Tai Chi Chuan is an internal energy art. But the fact is that today most Tai Chi Chuan schools all over the world practice the art as an external dance-like exercise. If you practice Tai Chi Chuan as an internal energy art, it can help you overcome your Cushing's Syndrome.
Both Tai Chi Chuan as an internal energy art and Tai Chi Chuan as an external dance-like exercise use the same Tai Chi Chuan forms. The crucial difference is that practitioners of an internal energy art use the Tai Chi Chuan forms to work on energy, whereas practitioners of an external dance-like exercise use the same forms to work on their physical body, like joints and muscles.
Cushing's causes weakness in the shoulders and legs and an increase in fat around the midsection. One of the common traits of a Cushing's sufferer is that they have very little fat in their limbs but quite a bit in their midsection.. This fat build up is little affected by caloric consumption or exercise. The cause of the syndrome would be, in my case, a benign tumor in the brain.
Your description is from the conventional Western medical perspective of looking at Cushing's Syndrome. The traditional Chinese medical perspective is different. It views the problem as energy blockage. Energy is blocked from flowing to the shoulders and legs to make them strong, and energy is blocked from flowing to the midsection to digest the excess fat.
Your benign brain tumor is also caused by energy blockage. Energy is blocked from flowing to your brain to prevent the tumor, or to remove it when it started building.
It is signifcant to note that energy flowing to one's shoulders and legs to make them strong, to his midsection to digest excess fat, and to his brain to overcome tumor are natural processes. These processes happen to everybody.
Then, why some people like you have Cushing's Syndrome and benign brain tumor? It is because for some reasons the energy that operate these natural processes is blocked from doing so.
The wonderful thing about chi kung is that you do not need to know what these reasons are. If you succeed in clearing the blockage, energy will flow to the respectice organs to perform its natural functions, resulting in you reaining good health.
Tai Chi Chuan practiced as an internal art is chi kung, Tai Chi Chuan practiced as an external dance-like exercise is not. Besides Taijiquan, you can also practice other forms of chi kung to overocme your health problems.
Despite not being able to practice Tai Chi Chuan, I have been practicing on focusing my internal energy through alternative means.
I can't see any reasons why you can't practice Tai Chi Chuan whether as an internal art or as an external dance-like exercise, although with your health problems you will find it harder, but not impossible, than most ordinary people.
If you practice Tai Chi Chuan as an external dance-like exercise, you will have recreation and socialization benefits, but you may not be able to overcome your health problems.
If you practice Tai Chi Chuan as an internal energy art or any other forms of high-level chi kung, you have a good chance of not only overcoming your Cushing's Syndrome and benign brain tumor but also enjoying good health and vitality.
I hope to soon get an actual diagnosis, but the cost of the surgery is currently beyond my means. Could you recommend some exercises that might help? Even if you don't know any that would cure me, could you recommend some that might reduce the effects of the condition?
In chi kung philosophy, we do not just reduce the effects of pain and illness, we even do not just help you to overcome pain and illness, we give you good health. Reducing pain and managing illness is different from overcoming them. And overcoming pain and illness is different from having good health.
I know of many exercises that bring good health, not just managing or even overcoming pain and illness, and have helped many people do so. "Lifting the Sky" is an excellent example. "Carrying the Moon" is another, as well as all the other exercises of the Shaolin Eighteen Lohan Hands. You can learn about how to perform these exercises from my books or website.
Even if you can perform them by learning from my books or videos, you will not perfomr them as chi kung, you will perform them as gentle physical exercise. Why? Because you lack the skills, though you know the techniques.
It is like learning how to swim or drive a car. You may learn the techniques from books or videos, but you still lack the skills to swim or drive competently. You need to learn swimming or driving from a live instructor.
There is, however, one big difference between learning how to swim or drive and learning chi kung, which many people may not realize. If you learn from a swimming or driving instructor, you are quite sure of learning how to swim or drive. But nowadays when you learn chi kung from most chi kung instructors, most probably you end up learning gentle physical exercise but not chi kung.
Most of the instructors themselves do not realize it. The forms are the same; it is how the forms are performed that make them physical exercise or chi kung.
I would strongly recommend that you attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course. Please apply to my Secretary if you wish to attend. I cannot guarantee that you will definitely be cured of your illness, but I can honestly say you have a very good chance.
I was also wondering about another thing. What are your thoughts on some other possible applications for internal energy aside from combat and health?
There are three main functions of internal energy.
The most important function is to maintain life, like converting your meals into fresh and blood, taking care of countless viruses that constantly attack you, and providing you with mental clarity so that you can think and act intelligently.
The second most important function is to enhance life, like enabling you to enjoy your work and play.
The third function is to enable you to have better result no matter what you do. When you eat your meals, you enjoy your food better. When you play games, you have more stamina.
My wonderful wife (age 73, myself age 75, married for 51 years) has very great pain in her fingers. Some fingers have become crooked and swollen. She has also lost a great deal of her sense of smell after a severe cold. So she got interested when I told her all what I read in your books and in "Answers and Questions". Her dream is to be fit again in her fingers.
— Jan, Sweden
I am very happy that you and your wife are married for 51 years. It is a great achievement.
Now aim for another great achievement. Get younger each day by practicing high-level chi kung so that when you are 85 and your wife 83 in years, you are 60 in life performance.
My oldest student, Robert Trout, was 85 when he started learning chi kung from me. He had to invite me to his apartment in New York because he could not walk out of his room due to a serious heart problem. Two years later at 87, he was so well and fit that he could travel half the globe alone to learn Shaolin Kungfu from me.
Practicing chi kung does not merely overcome diseases. It gives good health, vitality and longevity. In other words, by practicing high-level chi kung, your wife not only can have pain-free and normal fingers, and regain her sense of smell, but also will enjoy life wholesomely with you. She should not just aim to be fit again in her fingers, but fit again to do what a healthy 60-year person can do.
Editorial Note: Jan's other questions are posted in the February 2010 Part 2 issue.
She started practicing Chi Kung and I explained to her in accordance with your information how she should do Lifting the Sky and Carrying the Moon and in a couple of days she could enjoy the flow.
We are doing Chi Kung together every evening. After about four times Lifting the Sky the flow starts in her body. We are doing 10 - 15 repetitions and soon after that my wife's arms and shoulders move very much in all directions, and she is swaying. The hands are very active. Recently she has also begun to feel chi flow on the surface of her hands.
She looks very calm and happy when practicing Chi Kung, her face looks wonderful and she is laughing and enjoys it very much. She does not want to stop.
Not only she is having good results, she is also having a fine time. Very good. Carry on.
Is it better to do 15 repetitions in one session than doing 15 rep spread out on a day?
As a short, quick answer, it is better to perform 15 repetitions in one session than spreading out the 15 repetitions on a day. But it is not a complete answer because the number of repetitions per exercise depends on a few factors.
Generally it is recommended for beginners who have learned from me or any of our certified instructors to perform about 15 repetions of "Lifting the Sky" or "Carrying the Moon" per session. If they choose to perform both "Lifting the Sky" and "Carrying the Moon" in the same session, the recommended number of repetions for each exercise is about 8 to 10, i.e. about 15 to 20 repetitions all together.
For others who learn from my books or webpages, we recommmend that they perform double the number of repetitions, i.e. about 30 repetitions for "Lifting the Sky" or "Carrying the Moon", or about 15 to 20 repetitions each if perform both exercises in the same session. They have to put in more effort, and also get less result, because they lack the chi kung skills that our students have.
Our advanced students need not perform 15 repetitions. After a few repetitions they already can generate a good chi flow, in which case they need not continue with the remaining number of repetitions. But if they wish, or for some particular objectives, they may "tame" the chi flow and continue the repetitions.
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