internal force

Demonstration of internal force by Sifu Kai Uwe -- while one martial artist is trying to bend his unbendable arm, another is chopping at his neck

Question 1

Sigung, many of my Taijiquan students leave after a few months. They are the ones used to Taiji dance, but not Taijiquan. Those who are serious about Taijiquan are very grateful for our teaching. What do you advice me to do?

— Sifu Andrea Zilo, Switzerland


Let those students leave, and wish them well. Taijiquan is not for them. They are only interested in Taiji dance.

The difference between Taijiquan and Taiji dance is not just in the benefits, but also in the training. Of course Taijiquan brings more wonderful benefits, like good health, vitality, longevity, mental freshness, spiritual joys and combat efficiency, whereas Taiji dance brings only socialization and loosening joints and muscles. Students have to work hard for these Taijiquan benefits. If they do not want to work hard, they have to leave -- on their own or ordered by you.

Our instructors are generally too soft on their students -- though I myself have become much softened over the years due to the influence of Western culture! Sometimes we need to he harsh to be kind. For example, we may have to insist that our students stay at their stance for 15 minutes, and whack them, literally or figuratively, if they don't, instead of massaging their muscles when they complain of muscular pain after 5 minutes.

Some people may tell you it is their life mission to learn Taijiquan and teach it to the world. They want to be masters over night, but they are not prepared to pay their fees or to practice hard. Sometimes they even expect you to feed and house them. These are not the types of students we want. After learning from you, they are likely to debase the art into a dance.

A good way to distinguish half-hearted students who seek Taiji dance from serious students who seek Taijiquan is to charge high fees. If you charge 50 euros when other Taiji dance instructors charge only 30 or teach for free, your fees are expensive, and half-hearted students expect you to teach Taiji dance when you actually teach Taijiquan.

If you charge 200 euros, serious students will know that what you teach is different from what 30-euro teachers teach. The question of being expensive becomes irrelevant. In fact, considering the benefits the students will get, the fees are cheap. Other people may think you are money-minded; that is their problem. We know that it is not true as you earn much more in your regular profession than teaching Taijiquan due to your love for it.

Question 2

I know of a person who suffered from a disease confirmed by many doctors to be incurable, but I am very sure our chi kung can cure him. He does not believe in chi kung. How do I convince him to practice chi kung to cure his disease?


You don't have to convince him at all, but tell him of the possibility of his being cured by practicing our chi kung, and give him examples of people who are cured of similar diseases. Let him make his own decision.

If he does not believe us, do not waste time on him. Spend your time on other deserving people. Compassion is not convincing skeptics to believe us, but offering to share with others, irrespective of their race, culture and religion, the wonderful benefits we enjoy.

I clearly remember the occasion when I asked my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, why he didn't prove to skeptics the truth of our claims.

"You're naive," he said, "don't waste your time on sceptics. There are many other people in the world who need our help. Spend time on the deserving."

I did not grasp his wisdom then. But over the years, it has been proven time and again how wise he was.

Tai Chi Chuan, Taijiquan

Taijiquan is not a dance

Question 3

In the past Shaolin masters were not only great fighters, they were also great medical practitioners, whether it be chi kung healing, die da, herbal medicine or acupuncture.

— Sifu Lee Wei Joo, Shaolin Wahnam Malaysia


This is very true. All my four sifus were great medical practitioners.

Hence, to continue this noble tradition, I offer a Chi Kung Healing course to deserving students.

I choose chi kung healing over die-da (treatment for injuries from felling and being hit), herbal medicine and acupuncture because chi kung healing is both more simple and more profound than the other healing arts.

In the Chi Kung Healing Course I shall share with deserving students the philosophy, techniques, skills and experience in helping countless people overcome so-called incurable diseases, including cancer, heart problems, diabetes, chronic pain, asthma, viral infection, depression and phobia. A special feature will be helping people who have been in wheel-chairs to walk again.

Editorial Note :
This question was asked and the answer given before the Chi Kung Healing Course of October 2011. Due to a long waiting list, the question and answer are released only now.

Question 4

Is internal force useful for people who do not practice marital arts?

— Konchia, Spain


Yes, of course. There are three main functions of internal force{

  1. To maintain life
  2. To enhance life
  3. To enable you to do better no matter what you do

The force that digest yours breakfast and turns it into good energy for you is internal force. The force that works all your life processes to enable you to live is internal force. Actually everyone has internal force. But when we say that Sifu Daniel has internal force, we mean he has a lot more internal force than ordinary people.

Maintaining life is the most important function of internal force. It is also the most often neglected. Some masters have a lot of internal force, but they use it for combat or demonstration instead of maintaining life.

The second function of internal force is to enhance life. There are countless manifestations of this function. Many people come back from work tired, and just seat themselves in front of their television set without actually watching it.

When their wife and children talk to them, they ask them to keep quiet so that they can rest after a hard day's work. It is not that they don't love their wife and children, they just don't have energy left to spend with their wife and children,

But if you have internal force, you will bounce home with energy even after a hard day's work which you also enjoy, and spend quality time with your wife and children. This is enhancing life.

The third function is similar but not the same as the second function. Internal force enables you to do better no matter what you do! This is fantastic. No matter what you do, you will have better result because of internal force.

For example, previously you needed five hours to complete a job. Now you can do the job in three hours and have better result. Previously you became tired after a game. Now with internal force you can continue playing and playing, and not become tired.

internal force

Sifu Nick and Sifu Tim, both of Shaolin Wahnam UK, sparring during an Asking Bridge course in Fingland

Question 5

In terms of my meditation practice I currently focus on the inner sound current during formal sitting periods. I have used this particular technique periodically over the last eight years. It was for me an evolution of meditating on normal sound which I had to do whilst living beside a busy main road.

My references for this practice were passages from a translation of the Surangama Sutra. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

— David, UK


You are attempting advanced meditation by reading from books. This can be dangerous. I strongly advice against it. Learn meditation, which is an advanced art, from qualified teachers -- not just from any teachers.

Question 6

I discussed the same question with a master at a Buddhist abbey. She had the view that I was using the "who is" technique to suppress thoughts and it would be better to focus on the inner sound current as I had said that I found it easy to perceive this in the monastic environment. I would be interested in the Shaolin/Chan perspective on the inner sound technique,


Different schools and different teachers have different methods of practice. The methods you mentioned are not used in our schools.

spiritual joys

Students experiencing spiritual joys during a Zen curse in London in 2011

Question 7

I have been attending sesshins for the last 7 years at the abbey. I use Shaolin qigong as a body practice to complement zazen.


I do not know what you mean by using Shaolin qigong as a body practice to complement zazen. You may practice different methods at different times if you like, but do not mix different methods of different schools together.

If you want to practice qigong learnt from us, use the methods that we have taught you. Do not add other methods from other schools into our methods. Similarly if you wish to practice the arts you have learnt from the Buddhist abbey, use their methods. Do not add our methods to theirs.

Many people add methods of different schools together, thinking that this would improve their result. They may not realize it, but they are trying to be smarter than the masters of these different schools. Tacitly they imply that these masters are fools, or at least not as smart as them. At best they waist their time, worse they may harm themselves seriously.

Question 8

I wrote to you because I was worried about not having experienced spiritual or psychic results from your qigong courses.


The basic aim of our qigong courses is to give you good health, vitality and longevity. Having spiritual or psychic experiences is a bonus, not a basic aim. Although many of our students have experienced expanding into the Cosmos, if you do not have such experience you need not worry about it at all.



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