Breaking Bricks

Sifu Maxime Citerne using internal force to break a brick

Question 1

I am already doing a chi kung form under an authentic master who teaches potent forms that do not need chi kung skills, only mechanical correctness. But we can not break bricks. The skills we gain are sending, absorbing, refining and transforming energy. The training requires about 10 years to have potent effect.

— The-Quy, Germany


Different masters and different schools have different philosophy and teaching methods. The main aims of practicing chi kung in our school are to have good health, vitality, longevity, mental clarity and spiritual joys irrespective of religion. Our students have quite good results after a year.

Although many of our students can break bricks, it is not an important reason why we practice chi kung. Our philosophy is that if a person can break many bricks but does not have good health, vitality and longevity, then his training has been in vain.

Even in our Shaolin and Taijiquan training, breaking bricks is not a priority. You may find many video clips on my website showing our instructors and students breaking bricks, like here and here. This is just for fun, as well as a test of internal force. One who can break bricks easily may not necessarily be a good fighter!

Question 2

I have trained daily already 3 years a form which I only get parts every month but I am slowly coming to level 2. You wrote in the Q&A of your webpage about increased cold resistance. I sometime have to work in a room with 20 degrees below zero and I do not need any special clothes. But the problem is I seem to improve very slow because I have no qigong skills.


Being able to work in a room at 20 degrees below zero without any special clothing is a remarkable ability.

The following description of chi kung approaches may or may not apply to your training methods, but it will be beneficial to know.

Chi kung training may be classified into three approaches, via form, via breathing, and via mind. It must be kept in mind that this classification is based on emphasis and is for convenience. All chi kung training involves form, breathing and mind, which in Chinese are "jing", "qi" and "shen". But if the training emphasizes performing form, we classify it as via form; if the emphasis is on breathing or mind, we classify it as via breathing or via mind.

Chi kung via form is safe but it takes a long time to have results. Chi kung via mind produces powerful result in a short time, but it must be performed under the guidance of a master or competent teacher as faulty practice may bring serious side effects. Chi kung via breathing is in between these two types.

We may take the chi kung exercise "Lifting the Sky" for a comparison. Presuming all other factors were equal, students practicing "Lifting the Sky" via form for a year may have a sense of well-being. If they are sick with diseases like diabeties, viral infection and phobia, practicing "Lifting the Sky" via form may not be powerful enough to enable them overcome their sickness.

If they practice "Lifting the Sky" via breathing, they will have a sense of well-being in three months. For those who are sick, they would overcome their sickness after a year of practice. If they practice via mind, they will have a sense of well-being in a week. After a year of practice, they will have bouncing energy and mental clarity to enjoy their work and play. For those who are sick, they would overcome their sickness in about six months.

We in Shaolin Wahnam have very good results in a short time because we practice chi kung via mind.

Lifting the Sky

Any chi kung exercise, like "Lifting the Sky", can be practiced at the form, energy or mind level

Question 3

Since I read your books, "The Art of Chi Kung", "Chi Kung For Health and Vitality", and your Questions-Answers I believe I could improve by learning from you and gain deep insight of the forms I learn/will learn from my current chi kung teacher. Years passed since I did "Lifting the Sky". Now after refining the breathing I did this exercise again and I say it is a very good exercise which makes the energy pass strongly through the body.


In our school we focus on skills, like attaining a chi kung state of mind, regulating our breathing, and generating an energy flow. These skills you will learn from us can be applied not only to any forms of chi kung but more significantly to our daily life. There is no doubt that with these skills you will improve the results of any forms of chi kung you choose to practice.

If you practiced chi kung before by way of forms only, now by entering into a chi kung state of mind and regulating your breathing, you can attain the same result as before in less than a quarter of the time. If you have been easily tired physically and mentally before, with the new skills you will be fresh and full of vitality the whole day.

Question 4

It is really hard to do this exercise in the beginning. My arms could not be lifted to the end posture because of the lack of breathing and the flow of qi. It looks more like half "Lifting the Sky" and half "Spreading Water". Now I can bring my arms with the flow into the posture as described. I have very much fun as with each repetition the flow tries to open more of my body.


"Lifting the Sky" is actually a very simple chi kung exercise, but it has profound results.

Your mistake was probably you breathed in too forcedly, causing your chest filled full of air before you could lift your arms above your head. If you breathe in and out more gently, you will have better result.

It is a common mistake amongst those who learn on their own to breathe too forcedly. They have the mis-conception that the more forcefully they breathe in, the more forceful they become. They forget that except for some special exercises, all chi kung masters advise practitioners to breath gently.

The more gentle the breathing the more forceful will be the result. The uninitiated may wonder how can this be. It may become clear if they understand that it is not air but intrinsic energy that is being breathed in and out, and when the breathing is forced, the flow of intrinsic energy will be impeded.

Taijiquan on the Blue Mountain

Taijiquan on the Blue Mountain. Sifu Barry, Sifu Piti and Sifu Rama are in the foreground of the picture.

Question 5

My chi kung teacher believes that Tai Chi is just sport and does not develop any inner power or cultivate any energy, while I myself, you, Sifu Wong, Sifu Wang Liping's students and also one from my family and one of my father's friends who is a Tai Chi practitioner said that it does.


Your chi kung teacher is mistaken. All Taijiquan classics and all Taijiquan masters in the past recorded that Taijiquan cultivated chi or energy, and developed internal force. We in Shaolin Wahnam know that this is true from our direct experience.

Without internal force which comes from chi, Taijiquan will be inadequate not only for combat but also for health. It degrades into a dance. Only those who have not practiced genuine Taijiquan, or who practice Taiji as a dance say that there is no internal power or energy cultivation in Taijiquan.

Question 6

Is it possible that you open the three important energy points when we meet? More important: Can you open them? Or are the Shaolin Damo Qigong the only people who can open them? How much do I need to pay you then if you accept to open the points?


Opening energy points is relatively easy. All our Shaolin Wahnam instructors as well as many students can do so. Many other chi kung and kungfu masters besides those practicing Shaolin Damo Qigong can open energy points.

There is no need for you to request me or any of our Shaolin Wahnam instructors to open your energy points. If you practice our chi kung the way it is taught to you, your energy points will be open. This in fact is a fundamental purpose of practicing chi kung. If your energy points are close you will not have an energy flow.

If you practice chi kung via form correctly, you may have an energy flow in a year. However, most chi kung practitioners today have never experienced an energy flow even though they may have practiced for many years. Why is this so? It is because actually they have not practiced chi kung, they only practice external chi kung forms as physical exercise, or they have practiced chi kung wrongly.

How long would you need to practice to have an energy flow in my course in Frankfurt in September. Just one hour. This may sound boastful, thought it is never meant to be. You can easily find out whether it is true when you attend the Frankfurt course.

As I have said, you need not request me to open your energy points because they will be opened by your energy flow. But if you still want me to do so, I shall charge you 500 euros, which is the fee for my private consultation, which may last between 10 minutes to an hour.

Shaolin Kungfu in Germany

A regional Shaolin Kungfu course in Germany

Question 7

When enough people in Germany want an Intensive Seminar in Germany, would you give a seminar if they are willing to pay a little more so that you can fly here and stay in a hotel?


I offer two main types of courses, intensive and special courses which are usually conducted in Malaysia, and regional courses conducted in many parts of the world. The fee for an intensive chi kung course is 1000 euros, and that for a regional chi kung course is about 250 euros.

If there are more than 10 people in Germany or anywhere in the world interested to take an intensive chi kung course, and if I have avaliable time, I can fly there to conduct the course. The participants will also have to pay for my transport, food and accomodation.

Sifu Kai Uwe, the Chief Instructor in Germany, is my organizer for regional courses in Germany. If you have a group of people interested in regional courses, please contact him at or Tel: 49-69-9043 1678, 49-179-690 5135.

Question 8

Could you please help me with a question I've had for some time, that is: can watching too much television impact negatively on the mind? Or, to state my concern differently: can watching too much television disrupt the harmony between jing, chi, and shen?

— Warren, South Africa


Technically speacking, anything too much is harmful. We should aim for the golden mean.

But realistically, watching too much television does not negatively impact the mind, or disrupt the hamony amongst jing, chi and shen. It may (or may not) affect the person in other ways, like leaving him little time to do other worthwhile things, but from the perspective of the mind, it would not make him duller and stressful, or from the perspective of jing, chi and shen, it would not make him clumsy, short of stamina, or lacking in concentration.



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