COSMOS PALM. COTTON PALM AND SPIRITUAL CULTIVATION
Thank you for teaching Cotton Palm. During the course, you frequently mentioned that having a foundation in Cosmos Palm would accelerate the attainment of Cotton Palm, but not vice versa. Usually, the benefits of different arts complement each other (such as the Iron Wire and the Yang Style Taijiquan). However, in this case, why does it complement unidirectional?
Consequently, if one did not have a foundation in Cosmos Palm before learning Cotton Palm, would the parallel training of Cosmos Palm accelerate the attainment of Cotton Palm? If yes, should one rather practice both in a single session or spread it out to two sessions? Furthermore, should one (theoretically) learn Cosmos Palm first and later progress to Cotton Palm to accelerate progress?
You´ve mentioned that the Cotton Palm set was very advanced and even more suitable for spiritual attainment than Wudang Taijiquan. Years ago you mentioned that the most advanced sets in our school were Dragon Strength, Essence of Shaolin, the Seven Star Set and Praying Mantis Crushing Fist. Would you place Cotton Palm among them? And what are the most advanced sets in our School today?
Sifu Anton Schmick
I am glad I taught Cotton Palm at the UK Summer Camp. This set brings our practice to a new and higher level.
Nowadays, internal force is very rare. However, all our students in Shaolin Wahnam have internal force. Further, our students are able to employ their internal force to contribute to their health, vitality, longevity, and to enrich their daily lives.
If someone has internal force, these benefits mentioned above are spontaneous. In other words, if he has internal force, he will be healthy, full of vitality, have longevity, and be able to enrich his daily life.
However, if he is aware of these benefits, his internal force will enhance them. Further, if he is able to make use of these benefits to enrich his daily life, the benefits will even better. In other words, our students, being aware of the benefits and being able to employ the benefits to enrich their daily life, are two steps ahead of those who only have internal force.
It should be noted that some masters in the past, like Yang Deng Fu and Guo Yun Sheng, the great masters of Taijiquan and Xingyiquan, had a lot of internal force, but it could not be said that internal force had enriched their lives. Yang Deng Fu sustained injury for life; he did not know chi flow to clear his injury. Guo Yun Shen aas violent and spent 3 years in prison for killing an opponent, he did not use his internal force to balance his emotions. But there was no doubt they were great masters.
If one has Cosmos Palm, it is easier for him to learn Cotton Palm, but it may not be so the other way round. This is because both flowing force and consolidating force are necessary in the training of Cosmos Palm. Hence a practitioner who already knows Cosmos Palm just needs to develop flowing force in Cotton Palm.
On the other hand, a practitioner who knows Cotton Palm. i.e. trained in flowing force, may not have any advantage when training Cosmos Palm, i.e. training consolidating force. However, in our school Shaolin Kungfu students may not have a big problem because they have practiced One-Finger Shooting Zen, which includes both flowing force and consolidating force. Taijiquan students may have a problem because they are trained only in flowing force.
In other schools, those trained in Cosmos Palm may face a big problem when they also train Cotton Palm, and vice versa. It is because flowing force may contradict consolidating force. Hence, in most other schools, masters specialize in only one art, either Cosmos Palm or Cotton Palm – if they ever have the chance to learn it.
We really don’t mean to be presumptuous, but our Shaolin Wahnam students are really very lucky. Not only they have a chance to train Cotton Palm or Cosmos Palm, or any other arts, they also understand their underlying philosophy and are able to transfer their skills and knowledge to enrich their daily lives.
Your statement that different arts complement one another is applicable only in our school where we understand their underlying philosophy and have the skills to convert one type of force or one art to another. Most other schools do not understand the underlying philosophy of the arts they are trained in, and do not have the skills to convert one type of force or art to another.
It will be detrimental if they train Cotton Palm and Cosmos Palm together, or train Iron Wire and Yang Style Taijiquan together. They will not have Cotton Palm or Cosmos Palm, or not have Iron Wire force or Yang Style Taijiquan force, because their flowing force and consolidating force will cancel each other.
I remember that years ago when I was training Cosmos Palm, I asked my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, whether I could train Tiger Claw at the same time. He told me clearly that I should train only one art at any one time.
In our case of Cosmos Palm and Cotton Palm, the complement is unidirectional because Cosmos Palm has both flowing force and consolidating force, whereas Cotton Palm has only flowing force. A practitioner who has Cosmos Palm, i.e. who is trained in both flowing force and consolidating force, will find it easier when he learns Cotton Palm, because he already has flowing force. He just has to make his flowing force more conducive to Cotton Palm. A Cotton Palm practitioner, who is trained in flowing force, has to learn consolidaiting force.
Because we understand their underlying philosophy and have the skills to convert one type of force into another, and other benefits, we are able to accomplish Cotton Palm, Cosmos Palm or any other art much faster than other practitioners. Our speed or cost-effectiveness is unbelievable. If we say that we can achieve result faster, most people may think that we are twice or may be three times faster, which is quite a lot.
But if we say that our students can achieve in one month what other practitioners would take one year, which is more than 10 times faster, most other people will find us ridiculous. But it is true. If any of those who attended our Cotton Palm Course practice every day for a month, he will attain a result similar to others who take a year.
If one has not learnt Cosmos Palm before, but train Cotton Palm and Cosmos Palm simultaneous.ly, assuming that he could do so (but I have said that I will not teach Cosmos Palm again, and without false modesty, I don’t think anyone, including those who attended the Cosmos Palm Course, could teach Cosmos Palm as effectively as I did), theoretically he will not accelerate his attainment of Cotton Palm; he will slow down his attainment.
The reasoning is simple. If method A will produce result X, and a practitioner practices methods A and B, result X will take a longer time.
This is a different case from a practitioner, who already knows Cosmos Palm, taking a shorter time to accomplish Cotton Palm. If method B produces result Y, which in this case represents the training to accomplish Cosmos Palm, and method B includes P and Q, which represent flowing force and consolidating force, the practitioner will take a shorter time to accomplish X, which is Cotton Palm, which can be accomplished by method A which includes only P.
To make things appear clearer, let us look at the algebra again.
Method A produces result X, i.e. practicing method A a practitioner accomplishes Cotton Palm.
Method B produces result Y, i.e. practicing method B a practitioner accomplishes Cosmos Palm.
Method A includes P, which is flowing force.
Method B includes P and Q, which are flowing force and consolidating force.
If a practitioner practices A and B, he will take a longer time than if he only practices A to accomplish the result.
If a practitioner practices B (which includes P and Q) he will take a shorter time than if he only practices A (which only includes P) to accomplish the result.
The answer is no, so your question does not apply. But for the sake of theoretical curiosity, I shall give an answer. If the answer were yes, it is better to practice both Cosmos Palm and Cotton Palm in a single session, so that the practice of one art can complement the other art. I would like to mention again that this situation is applicable only in our school. In most other schools, the effect of one art will cancel the effect of the other art.
As the answer is no, which means he will take a longer time to accomplish Cotton Palm if he also practices the method for Cosmos Palm, it is better for him to practice the two methods for Cotton Palm and for Cosmos Palm in two separate sessions so that the negative interference will be less. If he practices just the method for Cotton Palm, without adding the method for Cosmos Palm, he will accomplish his Cotton Palm faster.
It is not just theoretical, but actually practical, to accelerate progress, but guard against over-training, to learn Cosmos Palm first and then progress to Cotton Palm. But those who missed my Cosmos Palm course, don’t attempt to learn Cosmos Palm on their own, but stick to Cotton Palm.
Learning Cosmos Palm on their own is likely to result in mistakes. It is unwise to accelerate progress at the risk of making mistakes. Even when they stick to Cotton Palm, they are 10 times more efficient than most other practitioners. To avoid over-training, they should not aim at 10 times more cost-effective, but at 3 times or at 30%. It is very rare to have an opportunity to learn Cotton Palm.
The Cotton Palm Set we learned at the Cotton Palm course is very advanced, if we know how to train it correctly, otherwise it is just like a routine for demonstration. In my opinion, the Cotton Palm set is more suitable than Wudang Taijiquan for spiritual attainment.
You must have remember wrongly. I did not mention that the Seven-Star set and the Praying Mantis Crushing Fist set are the most advanced sets in our school. The Seven-Star set is excellent for combat, especially for the smaller and weaker against the strong and powerful, but I would place it at a medium level. I would place the Praying Mantis Crushing Fist set at an elementary level. It was the first Praying Mantis set I learned.
I would place Cotton Palm amongst the most advanced sets in our school, at the level of Cosmos Palm, Dragon Strength, Essence of Shaolin, Wudang Taijiquan and Flower Set. Different people will have different choice, but to me the most advanced sets in our school are Dragon Strength and Essence of Shaolin.
This question and answer are reproduced from the thread 10 Questions Cotton Palm in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.