WHY A SHAOLIN WAHNAM STUDENT TAKES ONLY ONE MONTH TO LEARN WHAT I DID IN ONE YEAR IN MY STUDENTS DAYS?
It is difficult for many people to believe that a Shaolin Wahnam student takes only one month to learn what I did in one year in my students’ days. I must add that I was a good student and I was taught by some of the best masters. During the latter part of my students’ days I could defeat black-belts and other masters.
I spent my time practicing, whereas a Shaolin Wahnam student spends his time learning. The main difference between practicing and learning is that in practicing one goes over again and again what he has learnt, whereas in learning he goes over new material. Practicing involves skills, whereas learning involves methods. In practicing a practitioner becomes more skillful in what he does; in learning a practitioner knows more methods.
Why didn’t I spend my time learning instead of practicing, and a Shaolin Wahnam student spends his time practicing instead of learning? Of course, we did. I also learned a lot over many years, and a Shaolin Wahnam student also practices.
But the nature of the lessons was that in my students’ days I practiced a lot to become skillful, and I offer courses so that Shaolin Wahnam students learn a lot within a few days so that they can practice on their own. Hence, I emphasize that the courses I offer, and the regular classes taught by Shaolin Wahnam instructors are different. My courses focus on learning, whereas regular classes focus on practicing.
When I was learning kungfu in my students’ days, I took 17 years before I had some internal force, and 20 years before I had a chi flow (or energy flow) like what we do in Shaolin Wahnam today. For comparison, a Shaolin Wahnam student today could have internal force and chi flow on the first day if he attends my courses.
I learned from Sifu Chee Kim Thong, who was well known for internal force, and practiced San Zhan (a Kungfu set) to develop internal force for more than 2 years. But I had no internal force, except on the receiving end. My classmates, who must have practiced for decades, had tremendous internal force. They could leisurely swing their arms onto mine, and my arms were swollen. My arms were actually tough if compared to ordinary people. When I learned kungfu earlier from Uncle Righteousness, I hit a wooden dummy every night.
When I learned from my third master, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, whose main kungfu teachings were internal force and combat application, I was overjoyed when I broke my first red brick. My combat application also improved tremendously.
Today every Shaolin Wahnam student knows "smiling from the heart" and how to go into a chi kung state of mind. I developed these methods during my many years of chi kung teaching.
When one knows the methods, it takes a much shorter time to practice to be skillful. Let us take a simple example of a counter against a certain attack. If we practice just the attack and the counter for half an hour, we can be skillful to counter the attack when it happens. If we free spar for a year, and many students from other schools frequently free spar, we may not know how to counter the attack when it happens.
Without being disrespectful, some masters do not know the relevant methods. If a master does not know how to counter a shoot or a take-down, for example, he just does not know how to teach his students no matter how long they may practice or learn. Indeed, many practitioners do not know the relevant methods. They just free spar without knowing how to counter various attacks. Kungfu has been so debased that it becomes quite ridiculous. Many kungfu practitioners, despite learning a martial art which means they should know how to defend themselves when attacked, do not know how to use their kungfu for fighting.
Another important reason why a Shaolin Wahnam student can attain in one month what I would need one year in my students’ days is that I have the methods and am willing to teach our students. I have developed the methods in my long years of kungfu training, and I often transmit the methods and the relevant skills to our students.
As our Shaolin Wahnam students can improve their kungfu very rapidly, it is very important to guard against over-training. An effective way is not to go too deeply into a chi kung state of mind.
Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
9th September 2019, Penang