Small Universe

Small Universe

Question 1

Dear Sifu,

I hope that you are well.

— Sifu Mark Appleford, Chief Instructor of Shaolin Wahnam UK


You should change "I hope that you are well" to "I know you are well". Make the necessary change in all such statements. You will be the person who will get the most benefit.

Question 2

It got me wondering about how other schools teach the Small Universe as a foundation course.

They often teach the Small Universe using the pearl of energy to go round the Small Universe rather than a constant flow.


Other schools, I believe, just teach the techniques of the Small Universe.

If a school or a teacher teaches the Small Universe as a fundamental course, it is a clear indication that the school or the teacher does not know what the Small Universe is.

Those who teach the Small Universe by using a pearl of energy going round the body often result in harm. They cause blockage of energy flow.

Even if the students succeed in creating a pearl of energy, which is difficult, there is no connection between one pearl and another, which means that the flow of energy between the various pearls is interrupted. This is not good for health. Good health is the result of smooth energy flow, not having isolated collection of energy.

If students make mistakes in creating the pearls of energy, which is quite likely, the adverse effect is worse. They will create energy unbalance and a lot of blockage.

Healthy and Happy

To be healthy and happy is a basic benefit of practicing the Small Universe

Question 3

I know that you teach it over three days and at all levels if the students are ready.


It is actually ridiculous (in a good sense) that I teach the Small Universe to those who are ready in three days, and more ridiculous that the students have the result of the Small Universe. It is not just teaching the techniques of the Small Universe, but the students having the Small Universe and enjoying its benefits.

To ask how do our students know they have the Small Universe and enjoy its benefits is, in principle, like asking how do people know they are sitting on a chair or walking on the ground.

Our students know they have the Small Universe or enjoy its benefits by direct experience, just as people know they are sitting on a chair or walking on the ground from direct experience. If people stand on a table, for example, they know from direct experience that they are not sitting on a chair or walking on the ground.

Those who have no experience of the Small Universe or its benefits, will never know even when academic answers are given correctly. Just like if a person has never eaten a durian, no matter how accurately a description of a durian taste is, the person will not know its taste.

Question 4

Could you teach the Small Universe on just the medical or lower level?


Yes, I could if I want to. But I would prefer to teach the Small Universe at all levels, not just the medical or lower level. It is because it is just a simple transfer of skills to other levels. As an analogy, if I can teach students to sit on a chair, I shall also teach them to sit on a table, a stool, a sofa, a stone, a bench or any other things.

If I can teach a person the Small Universe to overcome an illness, which I would take what you mean by a medical level, I shall also teach him how to apply the Small Universe for other tasks, like attaining peak performance in his work and play, and being peaceful and happy in his daily live.

Or, do you mean the Big Universe at the medical level, as distinguished from the Big Universe at the spiritual level? I would if I have the time, and I usually have the time, because the transition form the medical level to the spiritual level takes a relatively short time once a practitioner has attained the Medical Big Universe.

Horse-Riding Stance

Horse-Riding Stance

Question 5

And if you could how long would it take and what would the benefits be?


It depends on at what level the students are. If they are ready, they can attain the Small Universe at the medical level in three days, like what students did at my Small Universe Course where they not only attained the medical level but also other levels, and not only the Small Universe but also the Big Universe!

If the students are fresh beginners, and they are willing to practice everyday, and I am willing to teach and supervise them everyday, they will need six months of daily practice to attain the medical level of the Small Universe.

As a comparison, I myself took about 2 years. Past masters took about 10 years.

Honestly, I am not willing to teach students everyday for six months to attain the Small Universe. I would prefer then to learn from our instructors, get themselves ready and attend my Small Universe course.

The benefit of the Small Universe, especially at a medical level, is best summed up in the proverbial saying that "When one has attained the Small Universe, he will overcome hundreds of diseases", which means all diseases, including so-called incurable diseases, irrespective of whether the practitioners know them!

But if a person wants to overcome any diseases, including so-called incurable diseases, I would recommend him to practice the Five-Animal Play, the Eighteen Jewels, Self-Manifested Chi Movement, or the Eighteen Lohan Hands, rather than the Small Universe. Any one of these types of chi kung is more effective than the Small Universe. And he does not have to learn from me, he can learn from any one of our certified instructors.

Question 6

Hypothetically what would a student need to do to prepare for a course at this specific level?


He must practice the Ten Shaolin Laws. If the course is to help him overcome any illness, or to attend my Intensive Chi Kung Course, he does not need to do anything else except to practice what he has been taught twice a day, about 10 minutes a session. To attend a Small Universe Course, participants must have attended my Intensive Chi Kung Course, or have reached a similar level of attainment in our school.

If he is a fresh beginner and presuming I am willing to teach him everyday for six month to attend the Small Universe, I would prefer him not to learn chi kung elsewhere, except from our certified instructors. This is because I would prefer him to start from fresh, instead of having to relearn what he has learnt which is more difficult.

If he has learnt gentle physical exercise thinking it is chi kung, he would have to make a paradigm shift. If he has learnt wrongly, it would be worse. I would sound arrogant mentioning these points, but I am sincerely telling the truth.

At the course he should be a good student. He should listen to and practice at the stage I am teaching, and not thinking of stages we have passed. There are 5 major stages in the Small Universe. If I am explaining Stage 3, for example, he should listen to and practice Stage 3, and not thinking of Stages 1 and 2. Keeping at the stage I am teaching is important when a lot of material is presented in a short time.

After the course he should also be a good student, which in practical terms means he should practice according to what the teacher asks him to, like in his daily practice he should aim at only 30% of what he attained at the course.

He should not practice according to what he thinks the art should be practiced, like trying to get the best he can, adding other material into what he has learnt, or intellectualizing unnecessarily.

combat using kungfu patterns

To be able to use kungfu techniques for combat is a basic aim of kungfu training

Question 7

I live in Brighton England, and I would like some advice on how to improve and get remarkable results. We are dedicated but have no master, and there are not many in our area.

— Ben, UK


It is always wonderful to answer questions from those who are sincere and dedicate.

I would like to say, right at the beginning, that you may find my answers different from what you may have expected, but it is the truth and is given with your best interest in mind. Indeed, 20 years ago I myself might not believe in what I say now.

Brighton is a beautiful town. I used to have my UK Summer Camp at Brighton every year for many years. Now we have the UK Summer Camp at Guildford.

You will certainly progress faster and get more benefits if you have a real, generous master. I used to tell sincere seekers to learn from any real, generous master, not necessarily from our school. But later I discovered that the "masters' they learned from, could not provide them the benefits they want. You can read the qualities of a good master here.

So now I just ask them to learn from certified Shaolin Wahnam instructors. Honestly, I want to help sincere seekers save time. But, understandably, many people may think I want to market our school.

Editorial Note: Ben's questions will be continued at February 2017 Part 2 issue of the Question-Answer Series.

Question 8

We practice daily at 5 am on the beach for 1-2 hours. We are not particularly interested in the art of fighting as we are in the mastery of our energy/chi.


Someone who wakes up at 5 am and practice for 1-2 hours everyday is certainly dedicated.

But dedicated training may not necessarily bring the desirable results you want. Many martial artists who routinely hurt themselves, and therefore not healthy, are very dedicated. Many chi kung practitioners who still take medication on a routine basis are also very dedicated.

Besides being dedicated, you must also train smart. It may be difficult for many people to believe, but it is true that our typical students get more benefit in 15 minutes of training than what other people get in one hour. So if you use our methods, you just train for half an hour a day, instead of 2 hours, presuming that you get similar benefits in 2 hours what our typical students get in half an hour.

But you don't get similar benefits as our typical students. How do I know if I haven't seen you train? There are two good ways for me to find out.

One, the very fact that you have written to me for help, which by itself is a good thing, shows that you are not getting the results you want. If you are getting good results, you won't write to me for help.

Two, from what you have written, I know you are not getting good results. For example, you mentioned that you spent 40 minutes on stance training. If you have good results from your stance training, you need not practice for 40 minutes. I really do not mean to belittle you but just to show you the effectiveness of practicing smartly. I believe our typical students get more internal force and more mental clarity, which are the two results of stance training, in 5 minutes than you get in 40 minutes.

What are the desirable results from chi kung training and from kungfu training? In other words, why do we practice chi kung, or practice kungfu? It is important to know the answers so that our daily practice is purposeful. Many practitioners have wasted a lot of time, in terms of many years, because they do not appreciate these answers.

Briefly the benefits of chi kung training can be summarized into three levels:

  1. To overcome illness, and to have good health, vitality and longevity.
  2. To attain peak performance.
  3. To attain spiritual cultivation, like being peaceful and happy at a lower level, and to have a glimpse of Cosmic Reality, often called God in Western culture, at a higher level.

Hence. someone who has practiced chi kung for a year or two and know a lot of chi kung exercises, and can even perform these exercises beautifully, but is weak and sickly and have no zest for life, has wasted his time.

Similarly the results of kungfu training can be summarized into three levels:

  1. To be able to use kungfu for combat
  2. To have good health, vitality, and longevity, and to attain peak performance.
  3. To attain spiritual cultivation, like being peaceful and happy at a lower level, and to have a glimpse of Cosmic Reality, often called God in Western culture, at a higher level.

Hence, someone who cannot use his kungfu for combat, though he may not win, and is often angry or stressful, has not accomplished his purpose of learning a martial art.

You may be surprised that while other practitioners may try to get the best from their training, our students are earnestly advised to aim at only 30% of what they can get at a course with me or with their instructors. More than 30% may lead to over-training.

If you have any questions, please e-mail them to Grandmaster Wong via his Secretary at stating your name, country and e-mail address.



Selected Reading

Courses and Classes