genuine Taijiquan, Tai Chi Chuan

While Taiji dance is plentiful today, genuine Taijiquan is very rare


What are the fundamental skills of Chi Kung?

With so much advanced material now available to even beginning students at regional courses, etc. it is easy to neglect the basics. Like any great development, a solid basis is required for our training. How should students (of all levels) ensure that the foundations are correctly built, nurtured and maintained?

Sifu Andrew Barnett


It may be trite to Shaolin Wahnam members as I have mentioned it many times but it is true that more than 80% of chi kung practitioners all over the world today are not practicing genuine chi kung; they practice gentle physical exercise – using genuine chi kung techniques – and many of them are unaware of this fact. The reason is that they don’t have fundamental chi kung skills.

In other words, the chi kung techniques they practice are genuine, and they are diligent in their training. But they don’t have the benefits of chi kung – simply because they have not practiced chi kung, which is an energy art.

The most basic chi kung benefit is good health. Many chi kung practitioners, including "masters", are obviously sick, although they have practiced chi kung techniques for years.

A good analogy is Taijiquan, which is a martial art. The Taijiquan techniques practiced by these Taiji practitioners are genuine, but they cannot defend themselves.

Why don’t these chi kung and Taiji practitioners have the most basic benefit of their arts if the chi kung and Taijiquan techniques they practice are genuine? It is because they don’t have the fundamental skills.

By now we in Shaolin Wahnam know this fact very well, i.e. if we wish to perform any art, we must have both its skills and techniques. We also know that both the skills and the techniques are the means, not the ends. The ends are the results. In other words we practice chi kung not because we want to know its skills and techniques, but because we want to have good health, vitality and longevity. But to have good health, vitality and longevity, we need the skills and the techniques to get the results.

This fact, however, is not known by many people. I did not know this fact when I was a student. I discovered this fact in my early teaching days, not suddenly but gradually. Most chi kung practitioners, including genuine masters, do not know this fact.

It is easy to get the fundamental skills of chi kung. There are only two. Practitioners must by relaxed, and practitioners’ mind must be free of all thoughts. If practiti0ners have these two skills, and perform the appropriate techniques, they will get the results, which are good health, vitality and longevity. It is like a scientific law. If you have A and B, you will get C. A represents the fundamental skills, B the appropriate techniques, and C the desired results. More than 80% of chi kung practitioners the world over do not enjoy even the most basic chi kung result of good health because they do not have the fundamental skills.

It is not possible to neglect the basics even when students perform advanced chi kung techniques. It is simply because the basics, i.e. the fundamental skills, are already incorporated in the advanced techniques. If students can perform the advanced techniques successfully, they would have performed the fundamental skills successfully.

Let us take a simple analogy. Suppose you have to go up a stair of 10 steps. The fundamental skill is that you are able to go up one step. If you don’t have the fundamental skill of moving up one step, you just cannot go up the stairs of any steps. If you can go up a stair of 10 steps, you would have revised and improved your basic skill of going up every step.

Looking at the same issue from the other way, it explains why even our beginning students can perform advanced material, like Cosmic Shower and the five levels of Bone Marrow Cleansing, in regional courses. It is because they have the fundamental skills. They are able to relax and clear their mind of all thoughts. When they have entered into a chi kung state of mind with these two fundamental skills, they are in a ready position to receive my heart-to-heart transmission by following my instructions.

How should students of all levels ensure that the fundamentals are correctly built, nurtured and maintained? This is simple, and easy for our students, though it may not be easy for other students simply because they don’t have the fundamental skills. All the students have to do, if they already have the two fundamental skills, is to practice any chi kung correctly. By practicing any chi kung correctly, they will maintain their fundamental skills. If they do not maintain their fundamental skills, they simply cannot practice any chi kung correctly, which is what more than 80% of chi kung practitioners all over the world are doing, and they do not realize the difference between techniques and skills.

It is also what about 90% of kungfu practitioners are doing, although their art is different, because they don’t have the fundamental skills of using their techniques to defend themselves. They only use their techniques for demonstration, or to exchange blows if they have to spar.

Having maintained their fundamental chi kung skills, practitioners who perform chi kung correctly also build and nurture their skills. If the techniques are elementary, they build, nurture and maintain their fundamental skills by repetition. If they techniques are different or progressively more advanced, they build, nurture and maintain their fundamental skills by using different means and in different situations.

However, we have come to a ridiculous position. Our concern now is not further build, nurture and maintain our two fundamental skills of being relaxed and clearing our mind of all thoughts. Our concern now is purposely lower the level of these two fundamental skills so that we do not over-train.

In this case, why do we focus on fundamental skills in the coming chi kung courses during the UK Summer Camp 2016. First we revise, but not necessarily going deeper into, our fundamental skills. Then we learn to apply our fundamental skills for various practical purposes, including how not to over-train, and how to handle different situations in our daily life. The courses will be exciting, what beginners and masters alike should not miss.

basic and advanced skills

Whenever we practice an advanced art, we are revising our basics

The above article is reproduced from the thread Developing and Deepening the Fundamental Skills of Chi Kung in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum




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