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Baguazhang! @ U.K. Summer Camp

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  • #76
    Day two fun

    What a great course, I’ve had the pleasure of attending the past few summer camps and again Si Tai Gung has taken his teaching to a new level. As my brothers have said on day one alone we learnt enough content to take away for at least the next six months. This included the eight mother palms, circle walking, and force building. In the context of the course there are always simple instructions to follow, simple but with deep meaning. If these are followed and taken home our Kung Fu, Tai chi and Baguazhang will greatly improve.
    Si Tai Gung Mention a number of times Picture perfect form and highlighted its importance
    Q why do we use the patterns and techniques we practice in our training?
    A, because of the advantage they give us in combat not only to help us win but also to help us in not handing defeat to our opponent.
    When you have picture perfect form the chi flows correctly and this is how Kung Fu practitioners can Spar for long periods of time, not only will they not get tired but actually have more energy than when they started. This is so true today we had two great sessions going over and over in detail the form of the combat applications in the Baguazhang set. I have never felt so charged at the end of a full day training at one point after having a small chi flow we were ask to go through the patterns we had just practice, I was so focused from this set that it actually felt as if rather than having two eyes I had one single point of focus, the force and flow were amazing word just don’t do it justice.
    I know there are many points that I will take home and would like others to share. Take the time to make sure your form is perfect slow down you training to make sure pattern by pattern its 100% correct then add the pieces together say three at a time then as you build you set making sure no form is lost, then when the form is correct and you know the set well move to the next level take out the false stops and flow between movements again start with just three patterns and build if you find that the form is not picture perfect stop go back get it right then move to flow again. When you have the perfect form and correct flow only then add in some force. Using these methods will give you the best results and deliver Kung Fu that can be used for Combat/competitions while also working on many other levels like good health and vitality. If this course is held again make sure you’re on it I can’t wait or day three!!



    • #77
      Much has been said about the wonderful course so far, I will just add a few of the experiences that I have had:

      On the first day when we learned how to circle walk, towards the end of the morning when we practiced in flow, suddenly it was as my imaginary circle came alive. I could feel a central axis that I was orbiting around, like a planet around the sun. The energy flow just kept me in position and I could move very quickly and effortlessly. As I changed directions, I then suddenly felt like the circle was a flowing yin yang moving dynamically as I switched 'polarities'. When we practiced spinning (without dizziness) it was like I became one with the axis itself. It was like being at the centre of the cosmos and being a part of the process of cosmic generation and movement.

      Before this course, I never really understood the nature of 'dragon force'. One of the amazing things for me is to experience the dragon, indeed to become the dragon. Everthing from the special way the body twists during the basic stances to the way that we quickly weaved about the room circle was so very 'dragon'. I kept thinking of the images of Chinese dragons that I've seen, and understood why they are always pictured in a twisty, winding shape. I also keep thinking of the dragon dances that I've seen, which have the same quality of twisting and turning, now ascending, now descending, ever mysterious and majestic.

      I had a great moment of 'enlightenment' during the stance training when Sifu corrected the position of my palm which was too bent. When he straightened it, suddenly it was unlocked and I felt my dragon palm suddenly holding a huge ball of chi with chi shooting from the fingertips. I also learned how to tune into being sensitive to this, for whenever I began to bend the wrist, the ball would suddenly get cut off, and I would remember to straighten the palm. It was a great confirmation that the stances have their own internal 'intelligence' that over time we become more sensitive to, so that it just becomes natural.

      One of the greatest things about the course is that it provides so many ways to train - static stances, then circle walking, then the mother palms, then the application. All of these could be combined together in one session of training, focusing more on force building or more on flow, but you could vary according to your needs on the day or just for fun.. In short I could see how you could easily spend the rest of your life enjoying and benefiting from just this course alone. Its like a complete universe to be explored and 'unpacked'.

      So many thanks to Sifu for making it so easy and enjoyable to learn so much in such a short time. And so much more to come!


      • #78
        Originally posted by Mark A View Post
        Having studied Bagua with a very good instructor I am in a good position to compare what we have done today and it will come as no surprise that Sifu has done his usual job of innovating the Art.
        I would love to hear a solid compare/contrast once this course is over. I have been very interested in Bagua for a long time. Having seen how Wahnam Tai Chi stacks up to the other mainstream styles, I'd love to have an idea of what Wahnam Bagua could be like (if it materializes into more than just this one course).



        • #79
          Dear all,

          As Uncle Jeff noted, I could also feel the vibration of the course flow without beeing there.

          Thanks for all your wonderful accounts, it was a very beneficial reading.

          I just can echo Mark A Siheng's line: if you get the chance in the future to go for UK camp don't think just do so.

          Best regards
          "From formless to form, from form to formless"

          26.08.17-28.08.17: Qi Gong Festival with 6 courses in Bern:
          Qiflow-Triple Stretch Method-12 Sinewmetamorphisis-Bone Marrow Cleansing-Zen Mind in Qi Gong



          • #80
            Slight brain fry as an old difficulty of retaining sequences sets in - but I am not worrying about it -just enjoying what I remember and practising that. Actually, that is a big breakthrough for me on this course .

            I find some movements seem to come naturally and others I have to work at a bit. Sifu is wonderful at explaining the essence of a pattern. So, when I am having difficulty there is some combat application or image that brings it to life in my mind - and my body then catches up . And the other students who have more combat application are very generous in sharing their experience .

            For me the most amazing thing on this course has been the way I have been guided to another level of experiencing chi moving me. We practised the progression of picture perfect form, flowing movement, force, chi moving you - using different parts of the mother-palms. By the end it really did feel like a dragon was taking over. I was circling and doing the first mother-palm, moving in a completely different way- one that Barry has never done before. It can sound rather odd but it felt like a dragon that woke up in Costa Rica four years ago has finally decided I am ready for his next progression .

            An experience in chi flow also brought this to life as I span round and round fast with my arms out for a minute or two. There was no dizziness or chance of falling over as it seemed like I was still, in the middle of watching everything else move around me. Much internal, and some external, chuckling ensued. Really good fun.

            Profile at Capio Nightingale Hospital London Click here
            Chi Kung & Tai Chi Chuan in the UK Fully Alive
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            UK Summer Camp 2017 Click here for details


            • #81
              Wonderful to read all the accounts so far. Enjoy it to the full everyone.

              Best wishes


              • #82
                It sounds like another truly amazing course. It might sound odd, but I could feel the dragon pass this week . Thank you all for your accounts.

                I feel lucky I was able to join you for the weekend and benefits from Sigung's Zen and Bone Marrow Course.
                It was also lovely to see everybody and share some great conversations and meals in beautiful Arundel.
                Thanks to Sigung for the fantastic courses and to Robin Sisook and Fleur Siguje for all the organization.

                Happy continuation! And see you at the next summer camp!

                Last edited by Andrea; 20 June 2012, 03:51 PM.
                Enjoy some Wahnam Tai Chi Chuan & Qi Gong!

                Evening Classes in Zürich
                Weekend Classes in other Swiss locations



                • #83
                  amazing course


                  If Sitaigung offers this course again, you MUST go. I think I enjoyed this more than any other course I've been on in Wahnam (even Triple Stretch!). Here's some reasons why it was so amazing:

                  1) I don't think I've ever seen Sitaigung so flowing and forceful and full of vitality. When he demonstrated a new method of force training using Baguazhang Circle Walking on day 2, it was truly awesome - and we all got the benefits of this new method too - very hard to put into words but as I think I mentioned above, it was like winding up a coil or spring. Very different to purely static stances

                  2) the group of people who gathered for this course was just great. I think there were 8 or 9 Sifus there and 18 on the course in total so the knowledge, skill and experience in the room was brilliant. I learned lots of different lessons form each Sifu and can say that there was a real 'sharing' environment over the course of the week. Everyone was helping each other out - it was just, well, a beautiful group really.

                  3) Baguazhang itself has so much to offer. I think the breadth of techniques alone is enough to keep anyone going for at least three years of practice. BUt we also listened and learned a lot about the difference between skills and techniques and tactics and the importance of those differentiations. I especially liked the skill of 'getting to the back of the opponent' and the time we spent exploring this on Day 4. This is the real gem in Baguazhang. Also getting a good airing, was Unicorn Stance - the unsung hero of our stance repertoire! It became clear just how versatile a stance it is in transition and direction change but also stepping backward as a way to change direction to go forward was used extensively (hard to describe effectively)...

                  4) I experienced some of the most joyful and pure standing meditation / merging with the cosmos that I've ever had during the week. I think this had something to do with the Baguazhang, possibly the two days of Chi Kung preceding it and possibly other factors too, but either way, it was GREAT.

                  I came back to basics this evening, practising the first four of the eight Mother Palms and trying to get picture perfect form. Still plenty of work to do there!

                  I am so thankful and grateful to Sitaigung and the Wahnam Family for making these Summer Camps happen - they are priceless!

                  ++ smile ++ from ++ the ++ heart ++
                  Rich Denyer-Bewick
                  you can connect with me on: Facebook (personal/social), Linkedin (professional) and Twitter (a bit of both!)


                  • #84
                    One important aspect of being there at the course is the actual experience of the heart to heart transmission that Sigung gives.

                    By now many of us are getting used to the fantastic experiences, force and development we receive and achieve during the course, it has in many ways become normal to feel great and abnormal to feel just mediocre.

                    Nothing however can replace actually being there. So I strongly and highly recommend you to take any course you can with Sigung as soon as you can. He is on fire! Radiant with a happiness and sharing that surpasses previous courses.

                    Soon we will release an interview with Sigung talking about heart to heart transmission, together with some other videos.
                    Tim Franklin

                    A story of finding Courage and Wisdom

           Classes and Courses for Shaolin Kung Fu, Taijiquan and Qigong in Bognor Regis, Chichester, West Sussex

                    Fully Alive on Facebook Energy Flow for Health and Happiness

                    UK Summer Camp Qigong, Taijiquan, Shaolin Kung Fu, Spiritual Cultivation with Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit



                    • #85
                      Dear Family
                      There are many great things to say about UK Summer Camp, Bagua Zhang and Shaolin Wahnam, but where to start?

                      Let's start with these fundamentals:
                      1. great teacher
                      2. great teachings
                      3. great students

                      Sifu was in wonderful form for this course, as you can read from previous posts. He is simultaneously very easy to understand because of his clarity and yet there is also that inscrutable quality that comes from his depth of understanding. Many of the instructors also received the additional benefits that came from sharing lunches with the Grandmaster. For me, one of the highlights came from Sifu talking a little about Ho Sigung and the legacy that we have been offered.

                      Initially I came to Arundel with the perception that as Bagua Zhang is not a foundation component of our Shaolin Wahnam training, that there would be a higher level of fun, as less was "at stake". Sifu certainly enhanced the "fun" aspect, particularly in his transmission of the essence of Bagua, when covering Sequence 7 of the Swimming Dragon Set. When learning how to turn and step, then spin and spin and spin and not get dizzy, it was very rewarding to learn from playing with form and gaining confidence from quickly picking up skills from simple techniques.

                      Yet while the fun component was in abundance, this was not at the price of key SW fundamentals: stances; good footwork; and martial intent backed by internal force. In the afternoon of Day 3, as the beautiful English Summer sun streamed through the training room and our brains fried ever so gently with all of these new sequences that were being piled upon us, one after the other, the transmission was at its strongest. It was at this time of brain fry, when it became most important to let go of old mental habits and return to the basics of strong stances, good internal force and accepting that this was the time when these new forms were just as much with us as they seemed just beyond our grasp - a great zen moment.

                      Now let's move onto to the students - what a wonderful mix of willing, open and deserving participants. In a way, this course harked back to little to the early days of Sifu's intensive Kung Fu courses as we were learning combat sequences on the spot, without the benefit of extensive videos to learn from. It also created a bit of a level playing field amongst a very broad range of students.

                      Apologies for cutting this post short as I'm about to board my flight from Brunei to Melbourne. I will return with finishing remarks once I return home.
                      Warmest wishes



                      • #86
                        I just returned to my parents' home after about a day's worth of airport/airplane travel and despite not having "formally" practiced for a day or two depending on the way transcontinental flights and time work (plus, I don't think the security officers would take too kindly to me practicing kung fu in the terminal) I'm still brimming with energy. Though I've only been to a few of Sifu's and Sigung's courses, they always leave an amazing lasting impression on me. I'm sure I felt much happier than the fellows behind me complaining about the hour late flight!

                        Thank you, Sigung, for offering the Baguazhang course and all that it entailed. Many masters I have trained with in the past attained their skill in a certain set or established style, but Sigung describing the methodology he used in creating the Wahnam version of the Eight Mother Palms and the Swimming Dragon 64 Palms set was nothing short of astounding. I know PhD and Master of Science students that put in far less work and effort than Sigung does into his research and development of the martial and energetic arts. Sigung is also so very open with his skills and wisdom! Everyday there were demonstrations of particular points, he was always ready to answer a sincere question, and (unlike some of my past martial arts teachers), he not only does not give up on students, he lets them grow.

                        I have to take another opportunity to thank Sisook Robin for allowing me to join the Summer Camp and for his marvelous patience with my technical issues in signing up for the course, as well as his excellent organizational skills. I'd also like to thank Sifu Fleur (ah, I really must get around to mastering the Chinese family terms) for her wonderful videos and amazing skill with the camera. I swear, across the entire course, she never seemed to waver or wobble the camera at all! I look forward to seeing the videos of the course later.

                        And a heartfelt thank you to all of my seniors (I think that covers pretty much everyone at the course given my "kung fu youth") for helping make my first kung fu course so astounding and amazing. It was a real pleasure training and experiencing Arundel with everyone for those wonderful five days. The energy flow, internal force, and technical skill in and out of the training hall was worlds above what I've encountered in the past and in other schools. I can only hope to some day approach your skills.

                        There were some memorable highlights of the week (well, I'll be honest, the entire week seemed to flow together in a river of amazing-ness) that particularly stand out in my mind:

                        -Sigung explaining the notion of sleep and how Shaolin Wahnam members differ from ordinary people in why they sleep.

                        -Sigung demonstrating "Dragon Force" on Sisook Robin who had Sigung in what looked like a very powerful hold.

                        -Sigung demonstrating the power of relaxation even when attacked by six opponents and getting out of a rather complicated-looking six man pile-up on him. In retrospect, my idea of getting behind his back and trying to keep his hands separated with just my own two hands was a pretty silly idea given his level of skill and sheer force.

                        -Watching Sigung fell people in demonstrations simply by settling into his stances and then seeing the participants almost immediately pick up on that skill.

                        -The collective "Ooooh!" of comprehension for that "around the head" movement of Mother Palm 4.

                        -The fact that (so far as I know), there were no injuries (!) despite all of us taking some pretty hefty tumbles on a wooden (or lightly carpeted) floor.

                        -My first sparring experiences with training partners who possess internal force. It really does feel different compared to external force! Related to this, my first sparring experiences where I was made aware of how to be a good sparring training partner and to use intent, force, picture-perfect form, and flow, not just sending a blow wildly off target for fear of hurting my partner. Also being made aware of the holes in my defense (I have to work quite a bit on attacks from the side and from rising attacks like uppercuts; now that I know, I can work on that!)

                        -My first attempts at using sequences for sparring instead of just patterns. Something I definitely have to work on (I seem to fall apart after two or three patterns and need to "reset" and deal with variations) but I can very easily see the benefits of using the sequences.

                        -Sigung leading us to expand into the Cosmos on day four after kung fu practice. Words fail me.

                        Outside the training hall also had some fun times. The cafe's were full of excellent food, the Arundel Castle had wonderful and intriguing architecture, lovely grounds, and an amazing garden, and the people were all so friendly and elegant. Speaking of the Castle, there was a very fun Medieval fair going on Saturday and Sunday, including demonstrations of archery, falconry, and armoured combat. I chatted for a while with one of the archers who was very eager to educate (seems that most people want to chat with the armoured swordsmen instead of the archers). I had no idea that English bows were essentially "mass produced" for the field, nor that their lifetime was two days in active battle before needing to be replaced.

                        I ran into some of the San Shou participants and we watched the Armoured Combat between practitioners of European swordsmanship. They were surprisingly agile in their plate and maille, though I can't say much more since my knowledge of Western sword is not so deep. I was able to chat with some of the combatants towards the end of the day and they graciously allowed me to handle some of their weapons: an arming sword, a hand-and-a-half sword, a longsword, the flamberge, and two of their two-handed swords (I didn't know if they were Iberian montante or German zweihander) and the weapons were quite well balanced. I gathered that they practiced initially from the Talhoffer manuscript with some of their own innovations, especially for armoured combat (since that manuscript deals mostly with unarmoured longsword use).

                        I figure I should probably end here before this turns into another one of my rambles, and I should step aside so other people can have their say on the week. So in short, "Wow, this was amazing! Thank you to all!"

                        -Fred Chu
                        I like making silly videos (including kung fu ones!) every so often on YouTube and taking pictures of weird things on Instagram.


                        • #87
                          This course was excellent.

                          Sifus teaching takes you to another level.

                          Chi flows and mind improve, I felt more spiralling and fluid. Opening up the body and joints more. Coiling like the dragon.

                          Stance training + circle walking was great. The standing meditations were amazing.

                          The actual Baguazhang moves like getting behind an opponent, leaning back or stretching on one leg are very interesting, and theres enough material there to keep you busy for a life long practice!

                          Sifu did some great demonstrations, as well as the Baguazhang demos, there was a great Xingyi form, a show of dragon force on Robin, and multiple opponents.

                          Thank you to Sifu, Robin and Fleur for organizing, and all the family there for making the course great.



                          • #88
                            seems so long ago …

                            Came back to a busy week-end on Saturday, seen two performances and sung in one, but now finally able to reflect. This is a very personal account, and may sound a little naïve or even inaccurate in places, but I know that I’ll be forgiven for that!
                            Last week was a wonderful time for me, to be doing something entirely for myself, with the utter conviction that it was going to make not only my life better, but also that of those around me! Having fantastic fun while working hard is a concept familiar to many performing artists, but not always understood in other walks of life where “serious” work means serious faces, and not a giggle to be heard. Not so at the summer camp. The tremendous energy and sense of joy in the process made it possible to stay present and focussed for (almost!) all of the two 3-hour sessions per day, and look forward to the next day. I miss it now! Of course this was all made possible by the transmission from Sigung, his own inexhaustible energy and sense of fun, his mastery of timing and his all-seeing eye – he know exactly where each participant is in their individual process.

                            I made an encouraging discovery about myself: that I can still learn new stuff, and even retain it for short time. This capacity was built up gradually through the week. On the first day I couldn’t seem to hold on to the movements even going from one partner to another, much less do the parts of the sequence alone. But the patience of all those I worked with slowly removed the embarrassment which I was allowing to block me, and by the end of the second day I felt freer and could work more effectively. I also felt reassured (thanks Mark) that it was OK with Sigung if I did only what I could remember, however little that was. Obviously everyone understood.

                            A really exceptional chi flow, expanding into the cosmos, which took place in the middle of the week really helped me, and subsequently I felt confident to “let go” and let the flow take over when Sigung asked us to. The fast circle practise was also a great revelation, and something I can certainly use in normal life to help against motion sickness, and, of course, improving internal force – this was probably one of the first times I’ve really understood what it is.

                            By the last morning my capacity for picking up the moves of the set and applying them with a partner was unbelievably improved, almost to the point where I felt confident – though I still found it hard to reproduce them without a partner. I think I need lots of practice with invisible partners. The truly climactic “Aha” effect came in the last afternoon. I was to rediscover my appetite for fighting – last practised at about the age of ten! [Thanks Barry!] Several strands came together for me: the elegant, almost dancelike qualities of Bagua zhang in flow, with the discipline of persistence which we had practised, and the drive and energy of the fight.
                            It amazed me to notice how out-of-breath I got while “boxing”, ‘though not at all when doing the Bagua zhang movements; I take this to be yet another proof of the effectiveness of practicing in chi flow, after working on picture perfect form.

                            I was asked to say something at the dinner, I have no idea what I said – too close probably – but I have no problem repeating what I must have mentioned, that I’m so grateful to Sigung for offering me so much, inspiring and even encouraging me. And an enormous and affectionate thank you to all of you for some expert tuition, and for forcing me just to get on with it. Oh, and for some great evenings out!


                            • #89
                              Recalibration almost complete

                              I would like to echo the many excellent posts already made on this extraordinary course.
                              On a personal level I came to the course on the back of some difficult times, and the compassion and generosity of Si Tai Gung coupled with the familial open heartedness of the participants have helped me to clear many blockages.
                              It's more than kung fu. It's Wahnam family kung fu.
                              With much metta and gratitude to all of you.
                              Shaolin salute.
                              Jon Arthur

                              Buddha nature, cleverly disguised as fear, kicks
                              our ass into being receptive.


                              • #90
                                Hello everyone,

                                Alot of nice posts by my Brothers here already. Sifu encourages us to share our experiences, so here is mine of this fantastic Course.

                                I always was fascinated with Baguazhang. Hearing that Sifu was going to teach this Art made me very excited, and I just had to do it. Sitting here at home, have being transmitted this style and it's essence makes me very happy, and I feel very blessed I got this opportunity. It was a WOW course in every sense of the word.

                                The circle walking gave such a heightened sense of mind, like you would sense your opponent from the back. Really amazing. Being able to flow fast behind your opponent, to coil like a Dragon, the combat effeciency of the swimming Dragon set... Words cannot put it into justice.

                                Watching Sifu perform every day, it left me in awe every single time. Sifu is truly a Genius. I can only imagine the very hard work Sifu is putting in to restore all of Kungfu in it's ut-most glory. Sifu is right there in the same line of the Past Masters. I believe Uncle Righteousness, Sigung Ho, and all the Past Masters that go back from the beginning, are very proud and happy of what Sifu is doing.

                                My personal experience of the course, is of opening my Heart. During the combat applications I had a tendency to close up. With a serious face and a closed Heart I practised the applications with my Brothers and Sister. Even when everyone was very kind, I closed up during the combat sequences.

                                The Course was very hard, and I had a hard time following. At times I just was standing there, mind blank, not being able to even following a simple instruction of putting my left leg in front.

                                At the fourth day, when we learned the essence of Baguazhang, we closed the session with Sifu guiding us to expand in the Comsos. After this, in standing meditation, we could send a blessing to anyone we liked. Sifu told us "Take your time, and send a blessing". I thought about my Mother and Father. I saw them in such a beautiful way, both smiling and shining.. It took me to tears. Then my blockage at my Heart came up again, and I realized that I was a bad son to them, I can do so much better.. So much better with everything... a better student, a better Brother, a harder worker, ........

                                This was my turning point;
                                It all starts with such a simple thing: realizing kindness and happiness to all the people around me, doing your best in everything, and approaching everything with an open Heart, even in difficult situations.. (ie. the combat sequences, personal problems, .....)

                                The final day, my Heart was open, and I had no trouble following at all, and everything went very well.

                                I want to express a big thank you to Sifu, for these wonderful Teachings, and for helping me becoming a better person. Thank you so much.

                                Also a big thank you to Siheng Robin, and Sije Fleur, for the hard work in organizing this wonderful opportunities for all of us.

                                A big thank you also to my Seniors on the Course, my Brothers and Sister , for your Brotherhood and Friendship.

                                Best regards,