art of lightness

The secret of internal force building is chi flow

Question 11

After 60 years of experience, what would you say are the most important "secrets" of building internal force?

Many people reading this won't be martial artists and could dismiss the idea of "building internal force" as not for them. Could you explain:

Sifu Barry Smale


From my experience the most important secret of building internal force is chi flow. Without chi flow in the first place, no internal force can be build. It is a secret, I believe, that even masters who were successful in building internal force, did not know.

If the internal force masters did not know this secret, how did they build internal force? They did so when there was chi flow in themselves, but they did not consciously know it. Hence, they took a long time to build internal force, which was built only when chi flow happened haphazardly without their conscious knowing.

In our case in Shaolin Wahnam, we take a faster time to build a similar amount of internal force because not only we know the underlying philosophy, we purposely generate a chi flow before building internal force. Moreover, we have many internal force building methods, from which we choose the most suitable. Most past masters had only one method. Thus, we can build in a month a similar amount of internal force what past masters would need more than a year.

It is understandable that other people outside our school would think we are boastful or arrogant. But some quantification can make this point clear. The explanation is mainly for our own family members, though others outside our school will benefit from it, but most of them will not appreciate it, and even if they secretly agree they will still deny it in public due to their prejudice, misplaced pride or other reasons. This, of course, is their business, and we do not want to waste our time arguing with them. Yet, slowly the philosophy will be confirmed more widely by actual practice, and revolutionize internal force training in the future.

Suppose one can build 100 units of internal force in one successful training session, and he needs 10,000 units to be regarded as having internal force. Actually any number can be used to explain the underlying principles, but using 100 and 10,000 is easy for calculation.

So this practitioner needs 100 training sessions if the internal force is progressively accumulated. In other words, having accumulated 100 units in his first successful training session, his second successful training session must be close enough so that he can add the first 100 units of internal force to the second 100 units to make a total of 200 units, and so on. In this way, if he trains everyday and is successful in accumulating internal force everyday, he will need 100 days to build 10,000 units of internal force to be reasonably successful in his internal force training.

However, even when the practitioner trains everyday if any two successful sessions are far apart, some or all of the internal force built in the first session will be lost. The further apart the two successful sessions are, the more force will be lost. Suppose they are 3 days apart, and 30 units of the original 100 units are lost. So, after his second successful session, which is the 4th day after his first successful session, he will have 170 units of internal force, not 200 units because 30 units has been dissipated.

If the two successful sessions are 10 days apart, assuming that 10 units of force is lost per day, the practitioner will have only 100 units of internal force after the second successful session, which is 20 days after his first successful session, because the original 100 units which he acquired in his first session has been lost. So, for him regardless of how long he may train, he will not be able to accumulate the 10,000 units of force to be regarded as successful in his internal force training.

We should also take note that the first successful training session may not occur on his first day of training. For most practitioners it may occur after many months. For some it may never occur.

But for our students it occurs on the very first day, and everyday. Why is it so? It is because we know the underlying philosophy and put it to work in a simple, direct and effective manner. Thus, our students training everyday will acquire 10,000 units of force in 100 days.

Let us compare how long a past master would take to acquire a similar amount of force. Do not forget that this past master when he was a student learning from his own master did not learn internal force on the first day he started learning from his teacher. Usually it would be a few years before his teacher would teach him internal force training.

As this student, who would later become a master after he had successfully developed internal force, did not know that chi flow was necessary, and flowing force and consolidating force were the skills to build internal force, his building of internal force happened haphazardly only when without his conscious knowing conditions had became ideal that these processes occurred.

The first time these processes occurred could be many months after he had started his training. Let us be very generous and presume that they occurred only 5 days after the start of his training. So on the fifth day he had his successful session and acquired 100 units of internal force. For easy calculation, let us presume that his successful sessions occurred every five days, though in reality the number of days between his successful sessions varied.

art of lightness

A marvelous benefit of internal force is to enhance life in all aspects!

So on the 10th day he had another successful session and acquired another 100 units of internal force. But 50 units of his original internal force acquired on his first successful session had dissipated, leaving him the remaining 50 units. So on the 10th day he had a total of 150 units. Working progressively in this way, we would have acquire 300 units after one month.

Again for easy calculation, based on the above estimation we may assume that his average accumulation of internal force is 300 units per month, or 9900 units in 33 months. It would therefore take him nearly 3 years to accumulate 10,000 unites of internal force, which our students could accumulate in 100 days or slightly more than 3 months.

Although the figures in our estimation are not exact, they are fair estimates, and provide us a clear picture why our students can achieve in a month what past masters would take a year! Indeed, to estimate that past students took only 3 years to build sufficient internal force to be called masters is very generous in our estimation. In reality they would take at least 10 to 15 years. It took me 17 years before I had my first experience of internal force at the receiving end. I spent two years training internal force in a school famous for internal force, yet I felt nothing -- due to my own inability.

Many people think, wrongly, that internal force is only for martial artists. If they know what internal force can do for them, they will learn it. If they know how effective our school is in teaching students attain internal force, they will learn from our school, provided they are sensible and kind to themselves, and are not stubborn, prejudiced or deluded by false pride. As I have often said, that is their problem, not ours. We don’t have any problems, but our task is to help sincere and deserving students attain internal force and enjoy its countless benefits.

Irrespective of whether a person is planning or wanting to practice a martial art, the countless benefits of internal force can be classified into three categories:

  1. To maintain life.
  2. To enhance life.
  3. To enable practitioners get better results no matter what he does.

When a person is sick or in pain, internal force enables him to recover faster. If he is already healthy, internal force ensures that life goes on harmoniously.

Enhancing life can be manifested in countless ways. When he returns from work, for example, he has a lot of energy to enjoy the company of his family and friends, or by himself.

No matter what he does, including eating and having sex, internal force will give him better results. If he practices a martial art, internal force will improve his performance in all aspects.

Hence, improving any martial art in all its aspects is only a small part of one of the three categories of benefits.

For us the most cost-effective way to help someone not wanting to practice a martial art to build internal force is to get him (or her) to enter into a chi kung state of mind, and let him stand upright in a relaxed manner without thought. He would develop some mental clarity and internal force. Highlight to him that it is more important and useful for him to employ the mental clarity and internal force in his daily life irrespective of whether he practices a martial art.

Another very cost-effective way of building internal force is to teach him Worshipping the Buddha from the Eighteen-Lohan Art. If he performs the exercise in a chi kung state of mind, he can develop some chi flow and internal force. If necessary, explain to him that chi flow is soft internal force.

If you want him to experience hard internal force, or internal force usually associated with martial arts, a very cost-effective method is teaching him Reverse Hanging of Silver Hooks, also from the Eighteen-Lohan Art. He will probably be amazed at the amount of internal force generated in such a short time.

It is interesting to note that the above three very cost-effective methods involved the training of jing, qi and shen, or essence, energy and mind, in a reverse order. The first method focuses on the internal cultivation of mind, the second on energy, and the third on essence.

It is important to note that these methods are very cost-effective if we are the teacher. Most other people teaching these three methods are unlikely to produce any result. Indeed the third method is likely to produce harm for the student. Incidentally, these examples illustrate that not every teacher is the same.

Learning internal force is a rare opportunity, though ridiculous in a good way, we are teaching it quite generously to the public. But our students must be deserving. We are already ridiculously generous; we don’t have to persuade them to learn from us.

internal force

Reverse Hanging of Double Hooks is a very powerful technique to build internal force, and thus must be learned from a competent teacher

Shaolin Wahnam Summer Camp 2014

Secrets of Building Internal Focce – Overview

The questions and answers are reproduced from the thread Secrets of Building Internal Force in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.