One-Finger Shooting Zen

One-Finger Shooting Zen


What are the different levels of skills that derive from One Finger Shooting Zen, Taming Tiger and Thirty Punches? How long does it take Shaolin Wahnam students to reach the skills (assumed they practice as they are supposed to)? How to test the skills? And how is each one of them useful in combat and daily life?

Sifu Anton Schmick


If I were asked to name the one exercise that led to my kungfu “enlightenment”, including in combat application, it would be “One-Finger Shooting Zen”.

By itself, “One-Finger Shooting Zen” is for force development, and not for combat application. But, of course, the internal force developed in “One-Finger Shooting Zen” is excellent for combat. Moreover, the two arts trained in “One-Finger Shooting Zen”, namely One-Finger Zen and Tiger Claw, are employed in the two of the highest combative arts, namely dim-mark and chin-na.

More importantly, the techniques required to apply One-Finger Zen and Tiger Claw for dim-mark and chin-na are actually very simple; it is the skills that are crucial in implementing dim-mark and chin-na, the two highest levels of combat. This kungfu “enlightenment” opened up “enlightenment” in many areas of daily living. Whether a salesman earns 2,000 euros a month or 20,000 euros a month depends on his skills, not on his techniques which are probably the same in both cases.

The skills acquired in the three different arts -- One-Finger Shooting Zen, Taming Tiger (the skill, not the set) and Thirty Punches – are quite different.

In One-Finger Shooting Zen, the skills are letting energy to flow and consolidating energy into internal force. In Taming Tiger the skill is to strengthen the fingers, in a more physical way, to use as tiger-claws in chin-na. In Thirty Punches the skill is to explode force from the dan tian.

For most people, it will take a few years for them to acquire the respective skills. Only a few of them will succeed. Even when they have the skills, they may not realize it. In Thirty Punches, for example, they only know that their punches are powerful with internal force. They may not know that they have the skill of channeling their internal force to flow form their dan tian to their fists. Many would not acquire the skills and therefore do not have the result of internal force when they punch.

I took a much shorter time to acquire the skills because I was a good student and my sifu was an excellent teacher. I took only a few months to acquire the skills. This was also due to my earlier kungfu training with Uncle Righteousness before I met Sifu Ho Fatt Nam.

But at the time I did not realize I had the skills. I only knew from direct experience that my One-Finger Zen, tiger-claws and punches were powerful with internal force. It was much later after I had taught for many years that I realized with hindsight that I had the skills to let energy flow, to consolidate energy, and to explode force from my dan tian.

The result of having strong fingers for tiger-claws from training Taming Tiger was quite obvious. It was not so much as skills in the case of One-Finger Shooting Zen and Thirty Punches; it was more of conditioning. Anyway, I did not spend a lot of time in Taming Tiger because soon my sifu taught me “Fierce Tiger Cleanses Claws”, which was internal and more powerful.

As I benefited much from my sifu’s teaching methodology, our students in Shaolin Wahnam also need only a few months to develop the desired skills. Moreover, our students have the advantage that the underlying philosophy is explained to them – a privilege I did not have in my own student’s days. It is like having a map. Obviously one can reach his destination faster when he has a map.

An excellent way to test whether one has a skill is to experience it. To test whether you have the skill to drive a car competently is to drive a car competently. To test whether you can let energy flow along your arm and consolidate it at your finger is to do it –- using One-Finger Shooting Zen or any suitable movements. To test whether you have strong fingers for a grip, or whether you can explode force from your dan tian in a punch, is to do it.

Our Shaolin Wahnam students can understand the explanation and perform the test, and they can know whether they succeed. But for many other people, not only they cannot perform the test, they may not understand what we are talking about here. The reason is that they do not differentiate between skills and techniques.

They may, for example, perform One-Finger Shooting Zen or Thirty Punches, but they may not be able to tell whether they have the skills to let energy flow, to consolidate energy, or to explode force from their dan tian. Many of them may not even have the philosophical knowledge in the first place. If they have read about such knowledge before, they may persuade themselves to believe they have the skills or ability -- sometimes in glaring contrast to obvious facts. For examples, it is a fact that those who only practice kungfu forms for demonstration will be unable to use their kungfu forms for combat, but they may persuade themselves to believe that they can.

These skills are very useful in combat and in daily life. If you can generate an energy flow and consolidate it into internal force, you can handle any opponent irrespective of age, size and gender. You can also be forceful and fast, and will not be panting for breath or become tired easily. When you have strong fingers, your grip on your opponent will be firm and decisive. When you can explode force from your dan tian, your strikes can cause much damage to your opponent.

In daily life, your skills of generating an energy flow and consolidating it into internal force will give you good health, vitality and longevity. If you are in pain or sick, you can generate an energy flow to overcome the pain or sickness. You will be able to carry on physical as well as mental activities more competently, without panting for breadths and without becoming tired easily. Your grip on physical objects will be firm, and by extension your grip on mental concepts will be sure. Your skill to explode force from your dan tian will enable you to be assertive when necessary, yet be calm and relaxed at the same time.

It is worthwhile to bear in mind that we are able to have such benefits in daily life not because of the techniques we practice in our kungfu training, but because of the skills we have developed from our practice.

Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit

The skills have given Grandmaster Wong good health, vitality and longevity

The above discussion is reproduced from the thread Legacy of Ho Fatt Nam -- 10 Questions to Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit



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