SELECTION OF QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
JUNE 2016 PART 1
I hope that the world is treating you very kindly.
— Frederick, USA
The world, and all the people and events in it, and all the divine beings that people normally do not see, are treating me very kindly. I am very grateful for all these blessings.
I am full of good health and vitality, despite being over 70. I meet with beautiful people, see beautiful places and enjoy delicious food all over the world.
When I encountered minor difficulties -- and I don't have any major difficulties -- like not knowing how to get to an expressway or not having the right currency to leave a paid car park, there was always someone who emerged from nowhere to help me. Such luck happened so frequently that my wife commented that we must be blessed by divine presence.
When a person is lucky, he will be treated kindly. The Chinese word for being lucky is "hou yun qi", or "ho wan hei" in Cantonese pronunciation. "Hou yun qi" word-by-word is "good circulation of energy". I am assured of "hou yun qi" or being lucky by practicing chi kung everyday.
My own practice has been progressing quite well, interestingly, despite spending less time per practice session.
This is no surprise. I am sure you know the reality in our school that "less is more".
It is now early in the morning in Ireland, and yesterday I completed teaching a Sinew Metamorphosis course. The course was planned for 6 hours in two sessions, but we completed the course in just 4 hours and had better results than expected!
During the course, except the first session where I initiated students into a chi kung state of mind, I purposely lower the standard of attainment by not entering too deeply into a chi kung state of mind in most practice sessions and performing the techniques at a form level.
I had to lower the level because, as requested by Joan, the organiser, students learned all the 12 Sinew Metamorphosis exercises in 6 hours. Had I maintained the same level of Sinew Metamorphosis as in other courses where students normally performed just 2 exercises, the training would be too powerful.
Yet, it was very powerful. I had to cut down the course time from 3 hours per session to 2 hours per session, or else the students would have been excessively over-trained. I had to conserve their endurance for the grand finale.
Indeed, towards the end of the course before the grand finale, students took just 3 minutes to practice Sinew Metamorphosis! Yet, in the 3 minutes they developed more internal force and obtained more benefits than I did in my student's days when I had to practice Sinew Metamorphosis for about an hour!
The best had yet to come. In the grand finale I led students to use the internal force developed to expand into the Cosmos. It was an extremely beautiful spiritual experience. At the end of the course when I asked for feed-back, more than 60% of the class indicated by a shower of hands that they had a spiritual expansion beyond their physical body.
It was a one-day course, and the class included some beginners. I didn't have such an experience of expanding into the Cosmos practicing Sinew Metamorphosis for many years in my student's days. It was just ridiculous.
I was lucky enough to receive your autobiography as a gift and it has been one of the best books I have ever read. Needless to say, your life has been full of adventure, and I am happy and grateful that you have shared not just your experiences, but also your skills.
The chapters towards the end which discussed how to be a good student, how to be a good teacher, and the method of heart to heart transmission at different levels were mind-blowing. I must commend and thank you again for your excellent writing skills.
Honestly, those who don't have a copy of my autobiography, "The Way of the Master", will miss a lot. There are many interesting real-life stories which some people may not believe that they actually happened. Even if readers are not interested in the subject matter of the book, they will still enjoy reading the stories.
A lot of secrets on chi kung and kungfu are shared. In fact, both the editor and the proof-reader of the book were very surprised the secrets were shared so openly and asked whether I would still want the secrets to be included.
In the special edition of the autobiography there is also a disc showing videos of kungfu sets and weapons sets, some of which are considered secrets by many kungfu masters. Some weapons shown include those that are seldom seen today, like the double rods, the round hammers and the battle axe.
I read about Cosmic Shower and that evening, following the instructions on how to have a Cosmic Shower and, amazingly, had one! It was the first time that I'd clearly felt the meridians in my body and it was an amazing cleansing experience. After my practice, I just paced around my apartment saying, "Wow...wow!" for a few minutes before going to sleep. It was one of the most amazing experiences I've ever had.
Congratulations for being able to practice an advanced art like Cosmic Shower from a book and experience the results.
Some practitioners who have practiced chi kung for many years may not even believe chi and meridians exist, yet you could have a direct experience of the meridians. This is indeed a remarkable achievement.
In addition to my own practice, I have some interesting experiences with a kung fu master here in town. He and I chatted somewhat regularly about kung fu and he was kind enough to teach me some principles from his Asking Bridge and we had some friendly sparring.
He also let me spar with some of his students, which has been an interesting experience and proved to me just how useful learning kung fu from you is, especially the emphasis on foundation, internal force, and combat application.
I was very keen in free sparring in my young days, and actually went out to look for people trained in kungfu as well as in other martial arts to spar with. I am happy to say that I remained unbeaten all these years.
Before I learned from Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, I was unbeaten not because I was good in combat but because I was smart. Firstly I looked for opponents whom I believed I could beat. Then I studied their way of fighting and practiced at home how to beat them according to the way they fought. I did a lot of homework before the actual sparring.
After learning from Sifu Ho Fatt Nam my combat efficiency improved tremendously. Without false modesty, I could beat many good fighters, including world champions, professional fighters and martial art masters. Nevertheless, despite my unbeaten record, I never glamorise fighting. I honestly believe that the greatest benefits of kungfu lie in giving us good health, vitality, longevity, mental clarity, peak performance and spiritual joys.
I summarized my more than 20 years of friendly sparring and some actual fightings into an ever-vicarious strategy and taught it generously to instructors and students in our school. I was frustrated that they did not follow my strategy though many of them honestly thought they did. For example, I told them to practice combat sequences and use kungfu techniques on their opponents. But they learned defences against their opponents' typical attacks, and fought like their opponents.
I do not blame them because actually we do not pay much importance to winning fighting competitions. We are more concerned with having good health, vitality, longevity, mental clarity, spiritual joys and peak performance in daily life.
He was also kind enough to teach me the principles of his qigong healing, which mainly focused around "pulling out" blockages before dispersing them using a hand-form like the Dragon Claw or Tiger Claw, and channeling qi through the palm to replenish the depleted qi in the patient.
He also taught me a way of sensing blockages in someone's body by focusing my qi at my palm and then passing my hand over a person's body, feeling for places where the qi radiating from the person's body was weak.
I was very grateful to learn his method, and he asked me to assist him in some healing sessions with some people who come to him for help, mainly with muscular-skeletal problems such as muscle sprains or bone contusions.
A few weeks ago the master himself had a heat stroke. His senior student asked me to help him with some qigong healing and we channeled qi to him. We gave him another session of qi healing a few days later, and the master took several weeks off to rest and recuperate. While he is not one hundred percent recovered, he is once again moving and speaking with the vitality of a young man.
Did I do the right thing? I realize that I might have insulted you by learning this method from that master without consulting with you first.
What you did was not wrong but I would not recommend it. Instead of lamenting over it, you should use it as an opportunity for improvement, and be grateful for the experience.
I don't feel insulted if you didn't consult me before you learned from that master or anyone else.
I think the master is a nice person, but his philosophy of healing and mine are different.
My philosophy is that a healer should be properly trained, not one who just picks up some healing methods incidentally. A healer has a great responsibility, and must take his job seriously and professionally, His patients' well-being depends much on his skills and knowledge, as well as his dedication and professionalism.
A healer is like a father to his patients. If his children were sick, he would give the same kind of treatment to his children as he would to other patients. He must never threat his patients as guinea pigs. When he takes up the case of a patient, he must have full confidence that he can help the patient recover, otherwise he must ask the patient to see someone more capable.
When a healer prescribes any treatment to his patients, he must clearly know what will happen to the patients. He cannot leave the prognosis to chance. Should there be any serious side-effects, he should choose other alternative treatments. If there are no other alternatives, he should carefully consider whether the side effects would be more harmful than the illness itself, the risks involved, and the chance of the patients' recovery.
A healer should not only cure patients' illness but also help them to get back to normal as soon as possible. He should never prolong unnecessary treatment. He should always think in terms of his patients' interest, not his own.
Editorial Note: Frederick's other questions are continued in the next issue, June 2016 Part 2
Why is it important for us to perform the form correctly?
— Omar. UK
It is important to perform the form of a kungfu set, like San Feng Wudang Set, correctly because the success of its combat application depends on its correct form. If the form of a kungfu pattern is not correct, not only it looses its combat effectiveness, it may also offer opportunities for opponents to counter-attack.
Let us take a simple example. An opponent executes a middle thrust punch, like Black Tiger Steals Heart. An exponent responds with Shift Horse Ask Way from the San Feng Wudang Set. This response is excellent when the form is performed correctly. It minimizes the opponent's force, and places the exponent in a favourable position to counter-attack without little opening for the opponent.
However, if the form is incorrect, not only the same response does not give the exponents these advantages, but also it offers the opponent opportunities to defeat the exponent. If the exponent does not rotate his waist, for example, he will not be able to minimize the opponent's force. If he does not sink back in his stance, he may be too close for the opponent's attack. If he does not position his legs correctly, he exposes his groin for the opponent to attack. If he leans backward or foreard, his balance is unfavourable for him.
The wrong form places the exponent in an awkward position. Even if the opponent may not be successful in his initial attack, the awkward position of the exponent makes it easy for the exponent to continue, and makes it difficult for the exponent to respond.
Hence, picture-perfect form is very important in kungfu, even for beginners. If beginners have their form correct right at the start, they don't have to spend much time and effort relearning it later on.
However, you may notice that I am not particular about form for beginners in chi kung. In fact, for beginners if their form is not perfect, though not incorrect, I usually ignore it. The main reason, for ignoring minor mistakes as well as for not particular on picture-perfect form, is that I want beginning students to get on to energy flow as fast as possible.
If I pay too much attention to picture-perfect form, beginning students will be unduly worried about their form, get out from the chi kung state of mind and perform the chi kung technique as gentle physical exercise. Even with imperfect form, so long as the students relax and do not intellectualize, they can generate am energy flow.
As students progress, we pay more attention on form. When students have reached an advanced level, they could have picture-perfect form. Hence, I often mention in class when teaching a new technique that beginning students need not worry about details but just get the general picture right, whereas advanced practitioners can focus on finer points, like picture-perfect form.
However, we have come full-circle. We have become so cost-effective that sometimes I tell advanced practitioners to purposely get their form wrong, to tense their muscles , or to intellectualize sometimes so that they may not have too powerful result from their practice to prevent over-training! This is a big joke to other people.
Nevertheless, instructors whether in chi kung or kungfu, whether they teach beginners or advanced students, must have picture-perfect form. It is because they are models for their students to follow when practicing any kungfu or chi kung techniques.
If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at stating your name, country and e-mail address.
- Internal Arts of Grandmaster Ho Fatt Nam
- Fundamental Skills of Chi Kung and Living a Righteous Life
- History and Philosophy of Dragon Strength Set
- Butterfly Knives
- To Prove that Qi is Real and Qigong is Not a False Healing Art