SPECIAL BENEFITS OF WUZUQUAN
Sifu, you said that you benefited a lot while you were preparing to teach this Wuzuquan course (December 2012). Can you please tell us what the benefits are for Sifu as well as for the Wuzuquan course participants?
— Dr Damian Kissey, Malaysia
AnswerOf course. Each time when I prepare to teach a course, I benefit much. But the benefits from preparing to teach the Wuzuquan course are enormous. It is also very satisfying; it indicates how far I have progressed in both my teaching and my own kungfu performance.
When I learned Wuzuquan from Sifu Chee Kim Thong, regarded as a living treasure of China, more than 30 years ago I had no internal force. Sifu Chee Kim Thong's school was well known for internal force. The main vehicle to develop internal force was to practice San Zhan, the fundamental Wuzuquan set.
I practiced San Zhan for two years but still could not feel any internal force in me. Now I have just returned from a Wuzuquan class on the first day of the course. This afternoon, during lunch break, many course participants told me that the internal force they had developed in the first session by practicing San Zhan was so tremendous. This is ridiculous but true. I could not develop any internal force after practicing for two years, but course participants at the Wuzuquan course developed a lot of internal force on the very first day!
My Wuzuquan training has benefited me very much, and I am very grateful to Sifu Chee Kim Thong and his eldest son, Siheng Chee Boon Leong. Using San Zhan to develop internal force is one of the great benefits of attending the Wuzuquan course.
The benefit is more than that. It is not just developing internal force using the Wuzuquan method, but having a chance to use San Zhan to apply various internal force training methods from other great arts like Taijiquan, Iron Wire, Triple Stretch, Flower Set and Siu Lin Tou. The result was mind-blowing.
Other people may ask how do our course participants know that they have successfully developed internal force. In principle it is the same as asking how you know you are happy. The answer is the same. If you are happy, or if you have internal force, you will know it from direct experience. It is also confirmed by many tell-tale activities like sparring for a few hours and not feeling tired, having a lot of energy to enjoy work and play, and mental clarity to see things clearly.
Many people think that San Zhan is excellent for internal force training but not for combat application. They think that one needs to learn other techniques from other Wuzuquan sets or elsewhere in order to fight effectively. Indeed I had this thought when I was learning San Zhan. I was puzzled how techniques from San Zhan could be used against kicks, felling attacks and chin-na.
The patterns in San Zhan are so simple -- or so they appear to be. Actually they are very profound. They can be used to counter any attacks! Herein lies the fourth benefit. Not only you have in a short San Zhan set enough techniques to counter all attacks, the experience in attaining this ability enables you to understand the combat applications of other kungfu sets even when you may not have learned these sets before! It is interesting. By looking at a kungfu set for the first time, you can tell the person performing the set the combat applications of the patterns in it which he may not know although he may have practiced the set for many years.
This leads to the fifth benefit, which is closely related to the fourth. Course participants may have a aha experience where they discover a basic principle they can use to defend against any attacks. Even more beneficial, they may relate this principle to daily life to overcome many problems. I have mentioned this principle a few times elsewhere, but combat application in Wuzuquan brings out this principle significantly. On the other hand, they are countless Wuzuquan practitioners who are not only ignorant of this principle but do not know any defence against any attack.
One setback amongst many of our students is their lack of threat in their sparring. As a result, they are unable to handle opponents in combat who are actually less knowledgeable and skillful than them. The nature of Wuzuquan sparring is such that it is ideal for overcoming this setback. Course participants can face threatening opponents, they themselves can exhibit threat, yet the free sparring can be safe.
Related to this element of threat is the ability to win free sparring contests. Of course in other kungfu courses, participants also learn free sparring, but Wuzuquan sparring is particularly suited to modern needs where most combatants fight like Boxers or Kick-Boxers irrespective of the styles of martial art they practice.
In my personal way, these benefits are very meaningful to me both as a teacher and as a performer. When I first learned Wuzuquan, I had no internal force and did not know how to use Wuzuquan techniques for sparring. Now not only I can generate a lot of internal force from my Wuzuquan practice and effectively use its techniques for combat, I can teach them to students in just five days. It indicates my progress in both my kungfu performance and teaching.
The special benefits of the Wuzuquan course can be summed up as follows:
- Use San Zhan to develop internal force
- Be introduced to other important methods of internal force development
- Apply apparently simple patterns for combat
- Knowing the combat applications of other kungfu sets
- Discovering a basic principle of defence in combat as well as in daily life
- Overcoming the element of threat
- Winning free sparring contests
The question and answer will be posted in the Question-Answer Series., but due to a long waiting list will only appeal in the October 2013 Part 3 issue.