San Zhan of Wuzuquan

San Zhan of Wuzuquan


I recall from your teachings that Cosmic Breathing is an important stepping stone to the Small and Big Universe. 

If all things were equal, what are the stages of development one goes through while practicing Cosmic Breathing?

In these stages of development when are students ready for transition to the Small Universe?

David Langford


I can’t remember when I mentioned that Cosmic Breathing was an important stepping stone to the Small and Big Universe, but it must be at an early stage of my development in Cosmic Breathing. Now at an advanced stage, Cosmic Breathing leads directly to transcendental Big Universe.

In my development, Cosmic Breathing developed spontaneously from Abdominal Breathing. It is well known in our school as I have mentioned the story many times, I “stole” Abdominal Breathing from my seniors in my Wuzuquan school taught by Sifu Chee Kim Thong, regarded as the living treasure of the People’s Republic of China, in Dungun, a small town along the South China Sea in West Malaysia.

I was very fast in learning the techniques of Abdominal Breathing. I learned the techniques in less than 15 minutes. Yet, I did not have the result and benefit of Abdominal Breathing even after practicing for more than 2 years. At that time I did not know the difference between skills and techniques. I did not know that although my techniques were correct, I did not have the necessary skills.

Then I learned Abdominal Breathing from my third sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, the third generation successor from the southern Shaolin Monastery at Quanzhou. I also did not realise the difference between skills and techniques at that time, but due to my sifu’s excellent teaching, I could feel substantial internal force at my dan tian after a few months. In fact my dan tian developed into a small drum.

Abdominal Breathing, as the starting stage of Small Universe, was taught to me in secret, not openly in the school. I do not know whether other disciples of my sifu also learned Abdominal Breathing, but I don’t think they did.

One very important technique my sifu taught me that enabled me to have the result and benefit of Abdominal Breathing in just a few months was to press my abdomen in when breathing out, and let my abdomen rise when breathing in. Later, in my early teaching of Abdominal Breathing in our school, I paid much importance to this technique.

Abdominal Breathing led to other stages which cumulated in Small Universe. I accomplished my real break-through of the Small Universe in about two and a half years, which was remarkable, and justified people calling me a kungfu genius.

I could accomplish the Small Universe in such a short time because my sifu taught me to use reverse breathing to bring my chi from hui-ying to bai-hui. I did not ask my sifu, nor did he tell me, whether this was his innovation, but I did not find it in any of the classics I had. Later, in my teaching of the Small Universe in Penang and Taiping, two beautiful cities in Malaysia, I called this stage the Long Breathing.

Hence, I could practice the Small Universe using two different modes of breathing, namely natural breathing where the abdomen sinks when breathing out and rises when breathing in, and reverse breathing where the abdomen rises when breathing out and sinks when breathing in. There is another step after breathing out, which is swallow, where the abdomen continues to rise.

These two different modes of breathing in the Small Universe produce different natures of small universal energy flow. When natural breathing is used, the small universal flow is gentle, whereas when reverse breathing is used the universal flow is forceful. To differentiate these two types of the Small Universe, I call one the gentle Small Universe, and the other the forceful Small Universe.

I also did not find any mention of the forceful Small Universe in chi kung classics. I believe the forceful Small Universe was an innovation of my sifu to speed up the process of accomplishing the Small Universe. The usual time for masters in the past to accomplish the Small Universe was 10 years, and the orthodox method was to use natural breathing to practice Abdominal Breathing until energy at the dan tian overflew and completed the small universal flow along the ren and du meridians.

I continued to employ natural breathing in my chi kung training, sometimes just for Abdominal Breathing and often for the Small Universe. In Abdominal Breathing I noticed that energy flowed down my nose to my dan tian, and out from my dan tian through my mouth. The flow was vertical. But gradually I noticed that energy flowed into my dan tian from the Cosmos, and out from my dan tian into the Cosmos. The flow was spherical. I do not know exactly how long this development took, but I estimate it to be about 2 years.

My own development spilled over into my teaching, but my students attained similar results in much shorter time. At first I did not call it Cosmic Breathing; I still called it Abdominal Breathing.

As my teaching methodology improved, I could simplify many teaching steps. Eventually students did not have to breathe through their nose and mouth; they only needed to press and release heir abdomen. I also noticed that energy flow directly from the Cosmos into their dan tian, and out from their dan tian into the Cosmos.

To differentiate these two arts, I called one Abdominal Breathing, where energy flowed in from the nose to the dan tian, and from the dan tian out of the mouth, and the other Dan Tian Breathing, where energy flowed from the Cosmos into the dan tian, and out from the dan tian into the Cosmos.

Later I changed the term from Dan Tian Breathing to Cosmic Breathing because participants literally pulsated with the Cosmos.

As my teaching continued to improve, I noticed that students could develop tremendous internal force in Cosmic Breathing. I grasped the opportunity and helped students to use this tremendous force to expand into the Cosmos. This was similar to transcendental Big Universe.

As it can be seen in this brief description of my own development in Cosmic Breathing as well as my teaching of Cosmic Breathing in our school, the developmental stages a practitioner goes through while practicing Cosmic Breathing depends on the reference point in question.

Regarding my own development in Cosmic Breathing, I had to start with Abdominal Breathing, progressed to a stage where I pressed and released my abdomen while breathing in and out through my nose and mouth, feeling energy flowing into and out of my dan tian, then after some time gradually feeling energy flowing into and out of my dan tian and the Cosmos, first with breathing in and out via the nose and mouth, and eventually without breathing in and out via the nose and mouth.

Our students now are very lucky. Instead of taking many steps, they take only one step. They go straight to Cosmic Breathing with energy flowing in and out between their dan tian and the Cosmos without breathing via their nose and mouth. It is incredible but true that they can accomplish this in 4 hours what it took me more than 2 years!

The answer as when are students ready for the transition to the Small Universe also depends on the point of reference. In my case I started with Abdominal Breathing, then I progress to Cosmic Breathing which I also called Abdominal Breathing at that time. When I had developed sufficient internal force, I use reverse breathing to complete my Small Universe, after which I continued with Cosmic Breathing, which to me was natural breathing with pressing and releasing my abdomen.

In my case, it was at the stage when my Cosmic Breathing, which was quite different from the Cosmic Breathing in skills and results of the Cosmic Breathing students now practice although the techniques were the same, had produced sufficient internal force, I was ready for transition to the Small Universe.

Now students do not need the Small Universe. (If they want the Small Universe, which gives many wonderful benefits, they have to take a special course on the Small Universe.) Cosmic Breathing, in just one step, can enable time to attain the Big Universe. I took about 5 years to attain the Big Universe. Students now can have similar results in 4 hours! Isn’t that ridiculous?

Small Universe

Small Universe

The above discussion is reproduced from the thread 10 Questions on Cosmic Breathing in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.



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