INTERESTING STORIES AND HOW GRANDMASTER WONG LEARNED THE AMAZING ARTS
Sigung has always amazing and inspiring stories to tell. Can Sigung please tell us some stories (personal or from some famous Kung Fu masters of the past) related to Marvelous Fist, Golden Bell and The Art of 1000 Steps? Can Sigung also tell us some personal experiences about how he learned these arts from Sitaigung?
One of the most interesting stories my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, told me was about striking without physical contact. My sifu spent some time visiting famous masters. I didn’t ask how old was my sifu then, or whether he had become an established master. I did the same thing many years later. I was not an established master then. It was before I set up Shaolin Wahnam Association, the fore-runner of our school, Shaolin Wahnam Institute.
My sifu met an old master. I could not remember the details, but I think my sifu asked the old master about advanced Shaolin arts many people had thought were lost. Instead of describing in words, the old master decided to demonstrate in action. There were some banners hanging near the celling some distance away. The banners were still as no wind was blowing. The old master struck across space towards the banners. Each time he struck the banners moved.
The old master asked my sifu to stand behind one end of a long, low wall. The old master struck at the other end of the long, low wall, and each time he struck my sifu felt a gush of force hitting him.
These two examples showed internal force traveling though empty space, which was a key factor of Marvelous Fist, Strike-Across-Space Palm as well as One-Finger Zen. The old master did not use his fist, but used his palm. So it was not Marvelous Fist but Strike-Across-Space Palm.
My sifu had trained One-Finger Shooting Zen by then. So while speaking with the old master, my sifu used his One-Finger Zen to make circles across the master, who felt his stomach ichy.
My sifu told me that he used dim mark in real fighting, applying the force of One-Finger Zen, only once. A huge man insulted his mother. So my sifu dotted an energy point near the throat of the huge man. He dropped to the ground immediately and white foam came out of his mouth. My sifu had to carry him to a suitable place to retrieve him.
Before learning from my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, when I was undergoing teachers’ training at the Malayan Teachers College in Kuala Lumpur, a college mate told me a story about Marvelous Fist, though both he and me did not know it was called Marvelous Fist then. He told me that an old master punched against a wall which was a few feet away from him. Each time he punched, my college mate could clearly hear a loud echo coming from the wall.
I repeated a similar feat on the Blue Mountain a few years ago, not with fists but with double palms in the pattern “Double Worshipping of the Buddha”. At that time I was preparing to teach a special Wing Choon course. I was lying in bed at night, and recalled that Ng Mui, the teacher of Yim Wing Choon who invented Wing Choon Kungfu, had tremendous internal force, and I knew she developed her internal force from “Double Worshipping of the Buddha”.
So I got up from bed and practice this pattern. I can clearly remember that each time I thrust out my double palms I could hear a loud echo coming from a wall. I decided to stop practicing in case some people thought there was an earthquake.
My most unforgettable story of Golden Bell was when a chi kung student chopped me with a sharp chopper with full force. He was the same student I helped to overcome serious heart problems some months ago. He swung the chopper in readiness for a chop on me, but I thought he was joking in his exaggerated movement. But before I realized it, the chopper was coming full force at me, hit my stomach and was bounced off about 20 feet away. I am sure that someone who did not have high-level Golden Bell would have his stomach open and the insides pouring out.
Golden Bell saved some instructors from serious injury, though most of them did not train Golden Bell formally. Eugene and Dr. Foong, for example, respectively fell from skiing and from a first floor. If not for their Golden Bell, they would be seriously injured, but they just stood up as if nothing had happened.
Golden Bell also saved a student from Scotland his life, although he did not undergo formal Golden Bell training. Those who were present thought he would be dead from the way he fell. But he only sustained minor fractures and was out of a hospital soon. Later he resigned from our school due to some flimsy reason. Honestly I am glad he left our school. I would not want an ungrateful student in our school. The reason for his resignation was unreal, but even if it were real, if learning from our school had saved his life, which he publicly acknowledged, the least he could do was to remain a dormant student.
The Art of Thousand Steps also saved my niece, who was only about five at that time, from serious injury. She tumbled down a stairs of about 30 steps. I was at the front door of the house away from the stairs. I raced to the stairs, and up the stairs to catch her before she tumbled down only 2 steps. This was before I set up Shaolin Wahnam Association in Sungai Petani.
Once I ran back from Shaolin Wahnam Association, which is about 6 kilometers from my house in Sungai Petani, because I could not drive my car due to flooding. A senior student of the Association, who was a marathon runner, ran with me. The student was considerate, asking me a few times whether I would need a rest. I completed the run back to my house without feeling tired and without panting for breath. The student did not know I had trained the Art of Thousand Steps.
Many of these stories are found in my autobiography, “The Way of the Master”. Secrets of the training as well as principles for happy living are also found.
The very first things I learned from my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, were “Lifting the Sky” and “One-Finger Shooting Zen”.
I remember my sifu telling me, “One-Finger Zen and Tiger Claw are two of the most advanced skills in Shaolin. We teach them right at the start so that students have sufficient time to practice these skills. Practice One-Finger Shooting Zen everyday.”
Little did I know at that time that one day I would develop two of the most advanced arts of Shaolin, dim mark and chin-na, and these two of the three ultimates of Shaolin depend on the skills in One-Finger Shooting Zen. My sifu did not explain the Shaolin arts the way I now do in Shaolin Wahnam. But I was a good student, and I followed my sifu’s advice, for which I am very grateful.
The third ultimate of Shaolin, neigong or internal art, comes from “Lifting the Sky”. Although I had been learning Shaolin Kungfu for about 15 years then, and had heard of internal force, and actually experienced it on the receiving end when I learned Wuzuquan from my other sifu, Sifu Chee Kim Thong, I owed much of my internal force from “Lifting the Sky”. “One-Finger Shooting Zen” also gave me a lot of internal force.
The internal force came slowly but surely. My sifu did not explain to me the philosophy of internal force, but as I said earlier, I was a good student, and I just followed my sifu’s instructions. I also made sure I practiced correctly.
My first evidence of internal force, this time not on the receiving end, was when I broke a brick. I trained Iron Palm on my own for about two years from a modern classic. This was after learning from Uncle Righteousness, and before learning from Sifu Chee Kim Thang and Sifu Ho Fatt Nam. But I could not break a brick. Then one day, after having trained One-Finger Shooting Zen for many months, I broke a brick with my palm.
I kept on training One-Finger Shooting Zen everyday. Later I could break a bottom brick, i.e. the bottom of two bricks laid one on top of the other, without breaking the top brick. This was a manifestation of Strike-Across-Space Palm.
Years later I could also employed One-Finger Zen for dim mark without physical contact. More importantly, I used One-Finger Zen for healing, usually without contact.
My introduction to Marvelous Fist was incidental. I did not know of Marvelous Fist then. One day my sifu saw me performing “Cross-Roads at Four Gates”. I performed the set pattern by pattern.
“You should perform the set in sequences,” my sifu said.
When I could perform “Four Gates” in smooth sequences, my sifu told me to increase my force.
“Sifu, how do I improve my force?” I asked politely.
“Make two stone-locks and punch with them,” my sifu said. My sifu then taught me how to make stone-locks. It is now easier for modern students to use dumb-bells.
My sifu did not teach me Golden Bell formally, but I knew I could take punches and kicks. Nevertheless, I wanted to learn Godlen Bell formally. So, after I graduated from my sifu’s school, I read up as much as possible on Golden Bell, and also enrolled in a special Golden Bell course by correspondence. I followed the methods prescribed diligently, like staying at the Lifting-Water Stance for more than an hour, and hitting myself with beans, rods and pebbles.
Learning Thousand Steps from my sifu was over meals and tea. My sifu described the methods clearly to me, and because of my understanding and experience I could practice the methods correctly. I also practiced diligently. Every morning for many months I ran round the area I am still staying using the methods of Thousand Steps.
Those in Shaolin Wahnam today are very lucky. They just spend some money and attend the King’s Road courses from 27th July to 7th August 2016. But they may not value the knowledge and training the way I did, because I obtain them the hard way.
This question and answer are reproduced from the thread 10 Questions on the 72 Shaolin Arts in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.