TECHNIQUES, SKILLS AND PHILOSOPHIES IN ATTAINING MARVELOUS FIST, GOLDEN BELL AND ART OF LIGHTNESS
If I may, I would like to ask about the procedural impact/s of training the skills necessary to attain these arts and their comparative relevance to other arts.
What are the unique thematic and holistic effects of the training of the exercises that result in the development of the Art of 1000 Steps, perhaps the specific use of Abdominal Breathing toward this aim, for example, and how does this art compare with the other arts under the umbrella of the “Art of Lightness” (jumping really high, running on water, leaping horizontally, running up walls, etc.?
What are the unique thematic and holistic effects of the training of the exercises that result in the development of Golden Bell, perhaps Golden bridge and “Iron Plank Bridge”, for example, and how does this art compare with other arts such as “Thiew Hang Kungh” from Ngok Ka Kung Fu or Iron Body arts and their training methods (“Art of Suspended Training”, hitting oneself daily, etc.?
What are the unique thematic and holistic effects of the training of the exercises that result in the development of Marvelous Fist, perhaps 30 punches, for example, and how does this art compare with other arts such as Cosmos or Diamond Palm, Strike-Across-Space-Palm, One Finger Shooting Zen, and Iron Fist?
As the techniques are secretive, it is respectful to past masters not to reveal them to the public here. Those who will attend the Selection of 72 Shaolin Arts course will not only learn the techniques, but more importantly the skills and the philosophy.
Not many people, including those rare masters who attained proficiency of these very advanced arts, realize that skills are actually more important. But how did these rare masters attain proficiency of these arts if they did not know the skills.
They had the skills, or else they would not have attained these arts, but they did not realize it. They also took a long time to develop the necessary skills which they did not realize they had. They thought that if they practiced the techniques for a long time, usually for many years, they would attain proficiency in the arts.
Suppose the techniques to attain Marvelous Fist are A,B,C, and the skills are X,Y,Z. The rare past masters who had Marvelous Fist practiced A,B,C which were also kept secretive. They practiced A,B,C everyday for many years. During the long years of their daily practice, they developed the skills of X,Y,X, but they did not realize they had X,Y,Z. It was because of applying the skills of X,Y,Z in the training of A,B,C that the rare masters developed Marvelous Fist, but these masters thought that it was training A,B,C that they eventually had Marvelous Fist.
This situation is actually glaring to us in Shaolin Wahnam regarding kungfu and chi kung, but most other kungfu and chi kung practitioners do not realize it, i.e. the underlying philosophy of applying the right skills to the eight techniques in training for a required length of time to attain proficiency in an art.
Most other kungfu practitioners have practiced right kungfu techniques, and most other chi kung practitioners have practice right chi kung techniques for many years. But these kungfu practitioners still cannot apply their kungfu for fighting, and many of these chi kung practitioners are still sick and weak, though the fundamental aim of kungfu is for fighting, and the fundamental aim of chi kung is good health.
Why is it so? It is because these kungfu practitioners do not have the skills to use kungfu for fighting, and these chi kung practitioners do not have the skills to generate an energy flow which overcomes illness and gives them good health. They do not know the underlying philosophy of kungfu and chi kung training.
After many years of dedicated training, a very few of these kungfu and chi kung practitioners attain proficiency in kungfu and chi kung. Respectively, they are able to apply their kungfu for fighting, and they are healthy and full of vitality. They become kungfu and chi kung masters – real masters, not “masters” by name.
They are able to attain real mastery of kungfu and chi kung because during the long years of their daily training, they have developed the necessary skills to use kungfu for combat, and to generate an energy flow, but they may not be aware of this underlying philosophy. Hence, they take many years. Initially, they did not have the skills. Gradually, they developed the skills unknowingly. Eventually, also unknowingly, they became more habitual in apply the skills to their techniques in their training.
If we know the underlying philosophy and have the necessary skills besides the necessary techniques, we can tremendously cut down the length of training. In fact, we have become so cost-effective that we have to guard against over-training. This is what course participants will learn at the King’s Road courses in Scandinavia. More than that, the course participants will have the necessary skills transmitted to them from heart to heart, instead of having to develop the skills themselves.
Abdominal Breathing, or any suitable art of breathing, is a fundamental skill in the Art of Thousand Steps. This art enable practitioners to run for long distance without feeling tired and without panting for breath. It is different from other arts of lightness, like jumping really high, running on water, leaping horizontally and running up walls.
The training in Abdominal Breathing provides other benefits besides the Art of Thousand Steps. General benefits, which apply to all other types of genuine chi kung, are overcoming illness and pain, good health, vitality, longevity, mental clarity and spiritual joys. Thematic benefits, which are specific to Abdominal Breathing, include good stamina, ability to speak loudly and for a long time, more internal force, and better respiratory and digestive functions.
Golden Bridge is a fundamental skill of Golden Bell. A more difficult skill or technique is Iron Plank Bridge. Golden Bell is superior to “Thiew Hang Kung” or “Art of Suspended Training”, and Iron Shirt. Relatively, “Thiew Hang Kung” and Iron Shirt are external, whereas Golden Bell is internal. Practitioners of “Thiew Hang Kung” and Iron Bridge, like those of Golden Bell, can take punches and kick or even weapon attacks without sustaining injury. But Golden Bell has more benefits; it also has all the general benefits of chi kung training.
Thirty Punches is a basic technique or skill of Marvelous Fist. The special thematic benefit is that practitioners can injury opponents by punching with the fist without physical contact. Of course, if there is physical contact, the injury is more severe. The general benefits are those of chi kung training.
Marvelous Fist is different from Cosmos Palm, Diamond Palm, and Strike-Across-Space Palm in that Marvelous Fist uses the fist whereas the other arts use the palm. Marvelous Fist, Cosmos Palm and Strike-Across-Space Palm are “soft” and internal, whereas Diamond Palm is “hard” and external. The focus of the internal palms is on energy and mind training, whereas that of external palm is on physical conditioning (but without damaging or deforming the palm).
Marvelous Fist is also different from Iron Fist. Marvelous Fist is “soft” and internal, whereas Iron Fist is hard and external. Practitioners of Marvelous Fist can injure opponents without physical contact, but practitioners of Iron Fist need physical contact. Practitioners of Marvelous Fist have general benefits of chi kung training, but practitioners of Iron Fist may not.
Marvelous Fist is also different from One-Finger Zen, and from One-Finger Shooting Zen. Practitioners of both Marvelous Fist and One-Finger Zen can injure opponents without physical contact, but the former uses the fist, and the latter uses the index finger. One-Finger Zen may be used for healing, but Marvelous Fist may not.
One-Finger Shooting Zen is the technique and skill to develop internal force, both flowing and consolidated. It is the fundamental technique and skill for One-Finger Zen, and may sometimes be used for Marvelous Fist though Marvelous Fist often use Thirty Punches.
The King’s Road courses where these very advanced arts will be taught, will be historic. It is rare for any martial artists to have an opportunity to learn these arts. It is rarer still to learn them in just a few days.
This question and answer are reproduced from the thread 10 Questions on the 72 Shaolin Arts in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.