COTTON PALM, COTTON BELLY, HEALING AND WUDANG KUNGFU
You have mentioned that Bak Mei's specialty was in Cotton Art including Cotton Palm and Cotton Belly. Could Sifu please elaborate on Cotton Belly and whether it can be achieved through the practice of Cotton Palm, and did Bak Mei use Cotton Palm for healing as well as in combat?
How effective is Cotton Palm in healing oneself and others in comparison to opening points, and what is the best method in applying Cotton Palm for healing?
Are there any more 'secret' combat applications Sifu can kindly share, or applying spiral force in combat?
Does Wudang Cotton Palm relate to the Secrets of Wudang Kungfu course which is being offered at summer camp course in 2018 and could Sifu please tell us more about the Secrets of Wudang Kungfu?
Sifu can one master only good at the Cotton Palm set or is it more effective to learn a spread of Kung Fu sets?
Will Wudang Cotton Palm play an import role in spreading genuine arts in the future?
Pak Mei, a kungfu genius, had many specialties, one of which was Cotton Art, which included Cotton Palm and Cotton Belly. His other specialties, which were well known in kungfu circles, included Golden Bell, dim mark, phoenix-eye fist, and Children’s Art, which made a person look like a child and was very agile even when he was past 70.
Pak Mei was good at any kungfu he performed. Although he was not known to be specialized in some arts, like iron arm and tiger-claw, he was better at these arts than other masters who specialized in them. For example, Thit Kew Sam was famous for his iron arm, Hoong Hei Koon famous for his tiger-claw, Yim Wing Choon famous for her sticking hands, and Fong Sai Yoke famous for his no-shadow kicks. But when these masters were compared to Pak Mei in their specialties, they were like children, although when compared to modern day international champions, the modern day international champions are like children!
I don’t know much about Cotton Belly, but I know that a Cotton Belly master can use his belly to suck in an opponent’s punch, and when the master releases the suction, the opponent would be sent flying back many feet. This is actually a compassionate way of fighting. A more vicious way is to break the opponent’s arm, or to damage the opponent severely while under suction.
I believe Cotton Belly is related to Cotton Palm, but the practitioner needs to practice some special techniques to attain Cotton Belly. Without these techniques, a practitioner would not achieve Cotton Belly even when he continues practicing Cotton Palm.
Cotton Palm is excellent in healing oneself as well as others, but the Cotton Palm master must first be trained in healing. In other word, if he is not trained in healing, he will not be able to heal himself or others even when he has Cotton Palm. Presuming all other things were equal, a healer who has Cotton Palm will be a better than another healer who does not have Cotton Palm.
A Cotton Palm master is very unlikely to be sick at all, but he can be injured. If he is trained in healing, he can heal his own injuries or other people’s injuries. In my opinion, Cotton Palm healing is not as effective, and not as safe, as chi flow.
Another big advantage of chi flow over Cotton Palm is that a practitioner who knows chi flow, needs not be trained in healing. If he is injured or sick, his chi flow can overcome his injuries or sickness even when he is not trained in healing. But this does not mean that if he seeks a good healer or doctor, he can overcome his injuries or sickness faster and more effectively.
Healing others is a different matter, and it concerns ethics. In theory, if he can help another person generate a chi flow, the other person can overcome his injury or sickness with his own chi flow, although it may be less effector or slower than if he seeks a good healer or doctor. However, to be a healer is not just to know chi flow, or enable another person to generate a chi flow. A hearer has the heart of a parent; he should treat his patients, even if he has not met them before, like his own children.
A Cotton Palm master may not know how to open energy points. On the other hand, opening energy points is not the only way of healing.
If all other things were equal, a healer who knows Cotton Palm will be more effective in opening points than another healer who does not know Cotton Palm. But he must first be trained in healing, and also be trained in opening points. If he opens points wrongly, he may cause more harm than bring benefit.
Cotton Palm and healing are different arts. Hence, your question of the best method in applying Cotton Pam for healing is not applicable. As an analogy, driving and swimming are different arts. It is not applicable to ask what the best method is to apply driving for swimming, or to apply swimming for driving.
If you are a trained healer and also knows Cotton Palm, you may apply Cotton Palm in your healing if it is appropriate. Please bear in mind that a healer who does not know Cotton Palm, is much better in healing than a Cotton Palm master who does not know healing.
A good healer does not need Cotton Palm to make his healing effective. If you are already a good healer, knowing Cotton Palm can give you an advantage. However, in some cases, having Cotton Palm but not knowing how to use it appropriately in healing, can be a liability. The energy in Cotton Palm, for example, may be too powerful for a sick person.
I have shared more secrets in combat application and other aspects in the tw0-day Cotton Palm course than most masters in a two-year or twenty-year course. You have learned, for example, how to apply just one pattern “Wave Sleeves Light Breeze”, to counter any attack! Even real masters may be unable to do that. We also learned at the two-day course how to generate spirial force – a topic often talked about but very rarely realized in most Chen Style Taijiquan schools.
What you need to do now is not to know more secrets, but to practice the secrets well so that you can apply them readily.
I can teach more secrets, but that is not to your benefits. I can, for example, teach the secrets of why using one pattern is better than another pattern to counter a particular attack.
Yes, Wudang Cotton Palm relates to the secrets of the Wudang Kungfu course offered at the UK Summer Camp in 2018. You have already learned many secrets at the Wudang Cotton Palm course. For example, you have learned how to generate Cotton Palm force, how to be powerful yet not being tired, and how to apply Cotton Palm to enrich your daily life.
There are many secrets of Wudang Kungfu. Briefly, what is performed as Wudang Kungfu is just the external form. The performers are unable to apply their performance for combat or to enrich their lives. These are the main secrets – how to apply Wudang Kungfu for combat, and how to apply Wudang Kungfu to enrich our daily lives –we shall learn at the coming Wudang Kungfu course.
Whether one should master only the Cotton Palm set or learn a spread of kungfu sets concerns depth and spread. Generally, depth is more important than spread. Being a master of one set, like the Cotton Palm set, is better than being a jack of many sets.
However, if you are already a master of one set, learning sets will make you more effective. By mastering one set, you become a great master like Yang Lu Chan or Wong Fei Hoong. After becoming a great master, by learning more sets you become the greatest of masters, like Ng Mui and Zhang San Feng.
Not only in the future, but also at the present, Wudang Cotton Palm plays an important role in spreading genuine arts. Indeed, any classical set, like Cosmos Palm, Triple Stretch, Flower Set, Dragon Strength and Tiger-Crane, just to name a few, plays an important role. The onus is not just to teach the outward form of the set, but the secrets in internal force, combat application and how to use the set to enrich our lives. This is what we shall do at the UK Summer Camp 2018.
The situation of kungfu today is pathetic. Not only it has lost its greatness and glory, it has degraded into a ridiculous level. Kungfu practitioners are routinely beaten by martial artists of other styles. In fact some kungfu authroities even go to the extend of saying that kungfu cannot be used for fighting!
This question and answer are reproduced from the thread 10 Questions Cotton Palm in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.