Shaolin as Taijiquan

How would you practice Shaolin Kungfu as Taijiquan?

The following discussion is reproduced from the thread 2006 Intensive Kungfu Course - Live (Almost) started in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum on 2nd February 2006.

Zhang Wuji
Shaolin Wahnam Singapore
5th February 2006

George very kindly allowed me to write this post even though he was first in the queue. I know I said I would not post until I got home, but there are two reasons why I just had to.

First, Sifu encouraged us to contribute our experiences, and second, I am just too inspired by SIfu's teaching today to go to bed without recording it.

I will let George post his excellent account of what we learnt today. I will share how Sifu introduced a teaching methodology that I am 100% certain has never been seen before. He told us to practice our Combat Sequences 5 to 8 as if they were Taijiquan patterns. Immediately, that changed everything for me, and it is not just because I am a Yang Taijiquan student.

Suddenly, it became crystal clear what he meant by flowing movements. The way Sifu explained it is so brilliant that I have difficulty putting this in words. He said that if our movements are flowing, our very attack or defence merges with the cosmos, and even our breathing is attuned to the flow of the universe.

I will have to continue this tomorrow, as I am taking longer than expected. Over to you, George.

Persevere in correct practice

George George
Shaolin Wahnam England
5th February 2006

Day 4

Staying up a little late, but no regrets, as a big group of us spent a few hours talking over dinner.

In the morning we practiced Carrying the Sun and the Moon and then the first part of the One Finger Shooting Zen, with emphasis on no use of muscular force and using a few visualisations to move the energy down the lung meridian. I think I have a bit of a problem letting go and I worry too much about the form.

Sifu also did a teaser demonstration of some Chin-Na on a few lucky students (like myself) and it was totally painless (Sifu put a bit of effort to make it that)

We practiced combat sequences 7-8 and then linked up 5-8 into the Fierce Tiger Speeds Through Valley set.

In the afternoon we had a nice sea-food lunch (which apparently includes chicken - 'sea chicken' anyone?

Then we went to the archaeological museum nearby, which was wonderful - that place has really lovely energy. One of our two resident Frenchmen was even caught practicing "Golden Bridge" in front of one of the old temples there. On the way back we stopped by a fishing village (must be where they get the chicken?) and bought fresh coconut juice (in the coconut) from a lady that wielded a large meat cleaver in a scarily proficient way. She then hacked open the coconut for us to eat the jucy insides - it tasted nothing like the dry coconuts we get in English supermarkets.

In the afternoon we practiced attacking with Sequences 5-8 as one continuous attack.

Then (as Wuji said) Sifu had us practice the sequences as Taijiquan. I have my doubts about my efforts but Sifu's examples looked simply beautiful. He makes it look so easy (it probably is, in comparison to other things.) I am glad Wuji posted, because for some reason I forgot about it when I was writing my notes after the class.

We then practiced patterns 1-8 as self-choice in an increasingly fun way. First we attacked with any 2 sequences as a single attack. Then we dropped a pattern (again self-choice) from each of the two sequences, then 2, then 3 patterns (except if we did one of 1-4, obviously.) Then, we dropped 2, or 3 and added another self-choice set on the end. Then, it was the defender who added the extra combat set, except that the defender did not know when the attacker finished his improvised attack and had to pick a time to insert his sequence.

Sifu gave us an introduction to kicks. By default using them is a disadvantage, so they should only be used when the advantages (e.g. being able to sneak in a strike with your 'third arm') outweighs this. Do not use kicks at all until each kick has been practiced at least a few thousand times.

We were taught the Art of 100 kicks.

The day ended a bit down for me. I almost caused Jordan some serious injury, if it were not for Sifu healing the damage. Thank you Sifu for being (in addition to everything else) the safety blanket for my incompetence.

I am off with Wuji to get it off my chest (quite literal with a Chi Kung session).

P.S. There was more singing today.

George Shaolin Wahnam England

Joko Sifu Joko Riyanto
Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Indonesia
6th February 2006

Hello, George.

I love reading your posts, and my gratitude for your daily reports of the Intensive Shaolin KungFu Course.

Congratulations! By now you must be attending your graduation dinner with our beloved Sifu. My Taijiquan classmate Kevin (Wuji) must be there also, as well as my Chikung classmate Maxime from France. My best regards to them and all the other participants.

Quote -- Originally Posted by Wuji

"He told us to practice our Combat Sequences 5 to 8 as if they were Taijiquan patterns"

Wow, really inspiring!

Quote -- Originally Posted by George

"Sifu gave us an introduction to kicks. By default using them is a disadvantage, so they should only be used when the advantages (e.g. being able to sneak in a strike with your 'third arm') outweighs this. Do not use kicks at all until each kick has been practiced at least a few thousand time."

Thanks for sharing Sifu's advice.

Sifu Durkin, thanks for your inspiring posts about preparation for the Intensive Course.


kai xin... hao yunqi...
Be happy and joyful... and share the joy with others Mp>

Shaolin Kung Fu Sparring

Sparring is an important aspect in the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course

Michael Durkin Sifu Michael Durkin
Shaolin Wahnam England
6th February 2006

Dear Joko,

Thank you for your comments, it is a pleasure for me to see others achieve enjoyment out of life, and on Intensive Kung Fu courses too

I just think back to when I went for my first Intensive Kung Fu course, wo, it wasn't easy I can tell you. When I came back home I had no one for 2-3 hundred miles for me to train with from Shaolin Wahnam, I was alone.

Now there are schools springing up all over the United Kingdom and Ireland, I can't imagine how much this will benefit new students to Shaolin Wahnam !

Take care,

Michael Durkin
Shaolin Wahnam England - Manchester
Come learn with us -

George Sifu Andrew Barnett
Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland
6th February 2006

I'm with you on this Mike. The first course was very very hard (by my definition). The only real preparation I had was some dynamic Chi Kung exercises which I had learned from Sifu some few months previous. Ok, I did practice some Horse Riding Stance before going and read Sifu's book "The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu" too --- but that was all I had. And even my stance wasn't quite right

By the second course I had apparently made a lot of progress from solo practice (no partners for hundreds of miles) which surprised me. Mind you, I think that Sifu made the second course easier too .... or maybe he didn't .... hmmmmmmmmm??

Now that all of this additional material is being made available on Sifu's site .... and considering the wealth of opportunites for students to prepare with Shaolin Wahnam instructors all over the globe I think Sifu may have to consider making the course harder again


Andrew Barnett
Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland

2006 Intensive Kungfu Course -- Life (Almost)