Unbendable Arm

The Unbendable Arm of Sifu Andrew Barnett of Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland

Internal Force

Due to their lack of exposure, many martial artists, including masters, do not believe in internal force. At best, some believe that in the past great kungfu masters might have internal force, but it has since become extinct. This, of course, is not true. Internal force is very much alive today.

Actually everybody has internal force! The force that digests the food you ate, that keeps harmful bacteria and viruses under control, that regulates your blood pressure and body temperature, and does countless other things to keep you alive, is internal force. When we say that a person has internal force, we are speaking relatively, we mean he has much more internal force than ordinary people.

The video clips in this category show some applications of internal force. As usual, the videos were taken impromptu during training and are released without editing. They were not originally meant for public display, but nevertheless are displayed here as visual evidence that internal force is real.

It is also worthy of note that internal force is not for martial arts only. If it were so, we in Shaolin Wahnam would not have dedicated much time and effort to develop it, because we believe and practice cost-effectiveness in our training. Spending even just a few minutes a day for many months just to be able to break a brick or withstand punches and kicks is a poor use of time.

There are three main functions of internal force. The most important, and also the one that is often neglected by most people, is to maintain life. The second function of internal force is to enhance life, like enabling you to work and play with zest. The third function is to enable you to do better in whatever you do, like having clarity of mind and abundant energy for sparring.

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Siu Lin TouDeveloping Internal Force using Siu Lin Tou

Wing Choon masters in the past like Yim Wing Choon and Leong Chan were gentle and elegant but well known for their internal force. They did not punch sandbags, and did not lift weights. How did they become so powerful? Grandmaster Wong learned this secret from his Wing Choon sifu, Patriarch Choe Hoong Choy. Wing Choon masters developed their internal force using Siu Lin Tou.

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Internal Force Brick-Breaking Fun

Jereom, Pablo and Sifu Mark Blohm each broke a brick. It is interesting to note that they never had any hard conditioning like hitting sandbags and striking poles before, and it was also the first time they ever tried breaking a brick. How did they do it. With internal force, of course. Sifu Eugene Siterman broke two bricks all at once. He then increased the fun by laying two bricks one on top of the other and broke the bottom one without breaking the one on top. Steve also broke the bottom brick without breaking the top one.

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Internal Force Brick Breaking Galore

During the Chi Kung Healing Course from 10th to 16th April 2008 in Penang, Malaysia, Sifu Wong Chun Nga brought some bricks, sugar cane and eggs for the Shaolin Wahnam instructors present to have some fun. The video clips here show the Shaolin Kungfu and Wahnam Taijiquan instructors breaking bricks with ease. It is interesting to note that most of them have not done any hard conditioning like hitting sandbags, and many of them attempted breaking bricks the first time. Some of them are over 50 years old. It is good evidence showing the reality of internal force.

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Internal Force Breaking the Bottom Brick

Classical kungfu stories often describe past masters injuring opponents seriously without any mark on the skin. This art is poetically known as "khak san ta ngow", which means "striking a buffalo behind a hill". It is understandable that many people do not believe that this is possible. Nevertheless, some of our Shaolin Wahnam masters demonstrated this skill during the Chi Kung Healing Course on 12th April 2008. It is interesting to note that they did not practice this art formally, but have developed it as part of their regular training, though Grandmaster Wong gave them some important secrets regarding how to manifest this skill.

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Internal Force Sugar-Canes, Eggs and Candle Flame

Many years ago Grandmaster Wong demonstrated this feat of breaking a sugar-cane supported on two eggs without breaking the eggs at the Science University of Malaysia. A professor of physics was asked how he would explain what had happened. He said that according to science, this was impossible. But he was quick to add that of course that actually happened before his eyes and he did not suspect any tricks. That was also what some Shaolin Wahnam masters did during the Chi Kung Healing Course on 12th April 2008. Then one of the masters brought out a small candle, and some of them extinguished the candle flame using various strikes.

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Golden Bell Selection from the Iron Wire Set

The "Iron Wire Set" or "Tit Seen Khuen" is regarded as a treasure in Hoong Ka (Hung Gar) Kungfu, and is used for internal force training. It was invented by the great Shaolin master, Tit Kiew Sam, who was famous for his powerful forearms, and generously made known to the public by another great master, Lam Sai Weng. Here, Sifu Wong demonstrated a typical section from the set.

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Golden Bell Shaolin Golden Bell

This is an old video of more than 25 years ago showing Sifu Goh Kok Hin, Grandmaster Wong's senior disciple, demonstrating Shaolin Golden Bell where he is rammed by a hugh tree trunk without sustaining any injury. Notice that there is no holding back in the ramming of the tree trunk which bounces Sifu Goh away. The one hitting Sifu Goh's back with reinforced tiles is holding back. Had he hit really hard, the tiles would break more easily.

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Iron Shirt and Flying Kick Shaolin Iron Shirt and Flying Kick

This is an old video of more than 25 years showing Wong Yin Tat, a senior disciple of Sifu Wong, demonstrating Shaolin Iron Shirt during a public demonstration where he is punched and kicked full force without sustaining injury. It also shows that flying kicks in Shaolin Kungfu are quite different from those normally found in Taekwondo and those frequently demonstrated by Bruce Lee. In a Shaolin flying kick, the exponent's body is quite upright, whereas in those of Bruce Lee and Taekwondo, the exponent's body is turned sideway.

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 Dragon Force Internal Force of "Dragon Manifests Marvelous Power"

This video captures a rare occasion in 2004 when Sifu Wong demonstrated an application of internal force in the pattern "Dragon Manifests Marvelous Power" found in the Shaolin Dragon Strength Set. Notice that Emiko expressed amazement at the "throw". The action was at a corner of the video footage because the video was taken impromptu with the video camera running automatically. At the end of the video clip Sifu Wong asked Michael to perform "Lifting the Sky" as a preventive measure to clear any possible injury that might have occurred.

In a post in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum, Michael said, "The chi flow and internal force is very important to the Dragon Form. Sifu has mentioned that a master of the "Dragon Force" may be able to injure an opponent with any part of his/her body and I've had first hand experience of this. At the Toronto Shaolin Kungfu Course in April 2004, Sifu was demonstrating the application of "Dragon Expresses Marvelous Powers" (a very apropos name!). Sifu told me to grab onto him tightly and I did so. When Sifu applied this technique, I felt his internal force coming from all parts of his body! It felt like a pulse or wave of energy rushing from his body and striking mine. As a result, I landed several feet away from him."

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Golden Bell Golden Bell (Part 1)

During the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course in Malaysia in Novemeber 2004, Sifu Wong surprised everybody when he turned up with some sticks and a chopper. He told the participants that he was going to test if some of them had attained the Art of Golden Bell. But he had not taught Golden Bell training techniques to anyone of them before that! The demonstration was impronptu.

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Golden Bell Golden Bell (Part 2)

Sifu Wong asked his on, Sifu Wong Chun Nga of Malaysia, to demonstrate Golden Bell using a meat chopper. Sifu Mark Appleford of Scotland used a meat chopper to chop at Sifu Wong Chun Nga's stomach but without causing any injury. It may be revealing for many people to know that advanced disciples of Shaolin Wahnam attain advanced arts like Golden Bell, Small Universe and Cosmic Palm without having to learn the training techniques formally. Somewhere along their training, the seeds to develop the necessary skills for these advanced arts have been transmitted to them often without their conscious knowing!

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The Unbendable Arm Internal Force -- the Unbendable Arm

You may have heard of the famous unbendable arm of the Aikido grandmaster whose straightened arm could not be bent by people when he directed "ki" (or chi) to flow along it. If you think this could not be true, you can see the unbendable arm of Sifu Andrew Barnett of Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland in this video clip. Notice that Sifu Andrew Barnett is fully relaxed when two students try to bend his straightened arm, showing that no muscular strength is involved. His unbendable arm is due to internal force, generated by chi flow. The value of internal force, of course, is not merely to make your arm unbendable. More significantly it maintains life, enhances life and enables you to have better results in whatever you do!

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Solidity of Horse-Riding Stance

Solidity of the Horse-Riding Stance

Although Sifu Andrew Barnettt of Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland is tall and huge, that is not the reason why another person cannot pull him off from his Horse-Riding Stance. The reason is that due to his dedicated "zhang zhuang", or stance training, Sifu Andrew Barnett has successfully grounded his chi so that he is "solid like a rock". Many of us may have read in kungfu classics about this effect of stance training and may have found it hard to believe. It is heartening that Sifu Andrew Barnett can demonstrate this feat in real life. But of course to be solid like a rock is not the main reason for dedicated stance training. The main reason is to develop internal force, which is not just for martial arts but for maintaining and enriching life and enhancing whatever we do.

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Breaking bricks with internal force Breaking Bricks with Internal Force

This is an impromptu video clip taken during the Special Shaolin Kungfu Course in Malaysia in 2002. When course participants arrived at the training ground, they found some bricks left behind after some renovation work. Sifu Wong surprised them saying that they would try breaking some bricks. He set an example, showing them the techniques in breaking bricks. It is significant, as Sifu Wong pointed out, that he had stopped breaking bricks for more than 20 years and had not done any hard conditioning since. His hands are soft. The brick breaking was totally due to internal force.

Next Ronan and Anthony each broke a brick. Then Sifu Wong suggested that they would go a step further, They would use internal force to break the bottom of two bricks piled one on top of another. Everyone, except Sifu Wong, was surprised when Ronan succeeded in doing so. In line with traditional Shaolin methodology, there was no prior special training to break bricks. When students are ready, the master asks them to break bricks to test or confirm their internal force.

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