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  • Questions on One Finger Shooting Zen

    Hi all,

    I have some questions on One Finger Shooting Zen. I'll be mentioning it a lot in this post, so with all due respect to the art, I will abbreviate it to 1FSZ from here.

    1. Here is a video of Two Finger Shooting Zen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tdhmbT_HK0 .
      Here I think the dragon claw is used instead of the 1 finger zen. Is there any difference in the force generated?
      What about if a person used the dragon claw hand form when practicing golden bridge? Or straightened all fingers to a dragon/willow leaf palm in golden bridge?
      .
    2. The whole exercise seems to be a variation of the triple stretch technique found in several of Shaolin Wahnam's sets, such as the flower set, dragon strength, tiger crane, etc, which includes various other hand forms. Let's say a person favours palm strikes, or the phoenix eye fist. Would it be advisable to add an extra set of techniques, using the palm strike or phoenix eye fist this time instead of the cupped fist/one finger zen to his practice? Would it make any difference at all? I know Sifu Wong mentions that he was able to break a brick after one year of 1FSZ, so I'm sure the skills can be transferred to any hand form, just wondering why we include the finger jab and cupped fist in as well
      .
    3. What is the difference between the quantity of force generated from 1FSZ compared to arts like golden bridge? I expect that the force from 1FSZ would be more flowing and easily transferred over to kungfu techniques, but if all things are equal (mind, skills, etc.), in terms of quantity of force generated, can a person compare performing the 1FSZ set 3 times, to an hour of golden bridge (what I would set as the benchmark for high level force training for reference purposes)? Or would it be better to practice golden bridge for an hour, followed by 1FSZ just once? Or how would you put this?

    I'll have to clarify that I have never got to learn or practise the art though, so some of my questions may be just intellectual and something i'll find out for myself when i get the chance to learn it. Still, I think questions 1 and 2 at least, are reasonable
    Thanks in advance for the insights!

    - Daniel

  • #2
    Originally posted by wonderlusterer View Post
    I'll have to clarify that I have never got to learn or practise the art though, so some of my questions may be just intellectual and something i'll find out for myself when i get the chance to learn it.
    Dear Daniel,

    all questions are interesting and reasonable.
    One Finger Shooting Zen is a practice. So the best thing to do, is to learn and practice as taught by the Master. This is how to get the most benefits.

    At this stage I´d rather ask: "Where can I learn One Finger Shooting Zen? Who can teach me this wonderful exercise?", instead asking about the specific details on handforms, practice modalities and energy dynamics. Not because it´s wrong to ask. But because it does not bring any practical benefits.

    Nevertheless, here are my answers:

    Originally posted by wonderlusterer View Post
    Here is a video of Two Finger Shooting Zen: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1tdhmbT_HK0 .
    Here I think the dragon claw is used instead of the 1 finger zen. Is there any difference in the force generated?
    Whether you use dragon claw or tiger claw will depend on various factors (like aims and objectives etc.) Generally speaking dragon claw softens the force.

    Originally posted by wonderlusterer View Post
    What about if a person used the dragon claw hand form when practicing golden bridge? Or straightened all fingers to a dragon/willow leaf palm in golden bridge?
    If a person would change Golden Bridge, it would not be Golden Bridge. The One Finger Zen handform is the best you can use.

    Originally posted by wonderlusterer View Post
    Would it be advisable to add an extra set of techniques, using the palm strike or phoenix eye fist this time instead of the cupped fist/one finger zen to his practice? Would it make any difference at all? I know Sifu Wong mentions that he was able to break a brick after one year of 1FSZ, so I'm sure the skills can be transferred to any hand form, just wondering why we include the finger jab and cupped fist in as well
    It is not advisable to add or reduce any technique before you have mastered it. Even after you have mastered it, it is not likely to be more beneficial than something that was crystallized throughout many centuries. It is also not necessary to change handforms as the force that was generated can be used in any handform.

    Originally posted by wonderlusterer View Post
    What is the difference between the quantity of force generated from 1FSZ compared to arts like golden bridge?
    Quantity of force depends on the practitioner (more specifically his skill, experience and mind). The quality of force will be softer in One Finger Shooting Zen than in Golden Bridge.

    Remember to ask practical questions

    Best regards,
    Anton
    Last edited by Anton S.; 24th October 2015, 01:21 PM.
    Engage and maintain joyful practice!

    May all of you get the best benefits from what you do.

    Anton Schmick
    Shaolin Wahnam Germany Nord

    shaolinwahnamchina.com
    http://chikunghamburg.wordpress.com
    http://shaolinwahnam-nord.de
    http://kungfu-luebeck.de

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Anton S. View Post
      Dear Daniel,
      all questions are interesting and reasonable.
      One Finger Shooting Zen is a practice. So the best thing to do, is to learn and practice as taught by the Master. This is how to get the most benefits.

      At this stage I´d rather ask: "Where can I learn One Finger Shooting Zen? Who can teach me this wonderful exercise?", instead asking about the specific details on handforms, practice modalities and energy dynamics. Not because it´s wrong to ask. But because it does not bring any practical benefits.
      Hi Sifu Anton,

      Yes, these are just questions out of curiousity. If all goes well, I will be attending the Shaolin Kungfu and Chi Kung courses with Grandmaster Wong this November I am very excited, though I don't really expect to learn One Finger Shooting Zen at the course (though if it is taught, or if anyone would be kind enough to give me some pointers during the course to practise on my own, that would be a dream come true). Either way, whatever Sifu Wong chooses to teach, I'm sure it'll be amazing and there will be a lot to practice.

      Originally posted by Anton S. View Post
      Whether you use dragon claw or tiger claw will depend on various factors (like aims and objectives etc.) Generally speaking dragon claw softens the force.

      Quantity of force depends on the practitioner (more specifically his skill, experience and mind). The quality of force will be softer in One Finger Shooting Zen than in Golden Bridge.

      Remember to ask practical questions

      Best regards,
      Anton
      Soft doesn't meant weaker, that I'm sure! I was just wondering why the two finger zen method was taught in the video, when one finger zen is a treasure of Shaolin Wahnam, and why some people would choose golden bridge training over a more "time efficient" method of force building like One Finger Shooting Zen, assuming both build similar amounts of force.

      Yes. Practical questions from now

      Comment


      • #4
        Flow method vs force method

        Here's a somewhat practical question:
        How much time do you spend using flow method vs force method? I learned the force method first, and rarely practice the flow method.
        I'm not sure why, but it seems awkward to me.

        So my second question would be: do you limit the flow method to specific patterns within one finger shooting zen, and then do force method for other patterns within the same set?

        To give an example, double dragons (punching with both fists) feels very awkward to me if done in a "flow" mode. Similarly, white snake also feels awkward to me in "flow" mode.

        I would be interested in hearing different perspectives on this.

        Best,
        Chia-Hua

        Comment


        • #5
          Dear family,

          During the Legacy of Ho Fatt Nam I had a chance to learn the first part of One Finger Shooting Zen. Sigung told us to relax. He mentioned it many times. The way to consolidate the force was to focus and add the "shhhs" sound.

          In one of the comment about this exercise on the forum it is written that the most common mistake during OFSZ training is the lack of focus and tensing of muscles.

          In The Art of Kung Fu on the side 136 One Finger Shooting Zen is described in 3 steps:

          1. Coordinate the correct form with breathing and sounds
          2. Visualize the flow of energy
          3. Channelling the internal force

          I am a bit confused here.

          If I understand it correctly, nr.1 is the form, nr. 2 is the flow method (visualize the flow of energy, gentle thought) and nr 3 is the force method?

          In the book it is written that:..."as you move your hand out and in, tense it and visualize it as charged with internal force." and then ..."even though you tense your arm and finger, you must never be tense, especially in your chest"

          So how to tense without tensing? If tensing the muscles is one of the biggest mistakes, how to do it correctly?

          I train the way Sigung told me. I had the opportunity to learn directly from Grandmaster which is worth more than a 1000 books. And I guess I get good results. The increase of energy is noticeable (first nothing, after a week or 2 finger started to tremble a bit, then the strong "electric" feeling, and lately together with waves of warmth in the palms). Sometimes I can see a cloud around my hands during the exercise.

          When I try to tense the arm, the feeling of force is disappearing. Same with cloud. So I guess I am limiting the level of force by tensing the muscles - strong focus and relaxation is the key to correct practice.

          Could anyone be that kind and elaborate about it?

          To tense or not to tense? And what is the form, flow and force method?

          Comment


          • #6
            Why Two Finger Shooting Zen?
            I honestly learnt Two Finger Shooting Zen purely by accident. It just so happened that Sifu was teaching that art when I first met him in Gainesville back in 2011, so that's the art I learnt! I have a lot of sentimental value attached to the set because it was the first force training art I learnt after zhan zhuang. It was also my introduction to the flow method of force training, which was a completely different way of building force compared to what I've run into before. The past schools I trained at had all sorts of different methods to build force, including:
            1. Complex visualizations to "exchange energy with the sun, best practiced at noon" from Yellow Dragon Kung Fu.
            2. Building force at the dan tian from Reverse Breathing at Goat Stance and then allowing it to flow through forms from Yang Taijiquan.
            3. Dynamic Tension exercises to "lock" energy in various parts of the body from Lam family Hung Gar. More on that later.
            4. Various "Palm Exercises" to release the spine and hips and to, you guessed it, build force at the palms through "uniting heaven and earth energies" from Yin Baguazhang.
            5. Drawing up "earth energy" and "tapping energy from the air" with hand movements coupled with special breathing methods for combat purposes and stamina from Low Tiger Kung Fu.
            6. A form of Japanese-ified Reverse Breathing meant to build and circulate energy from Aiki Jujutsu.


            All of that stuff was pretty complicated! The simplicity, directness, and effectiveness of Sifu's force training methodology was a breath of fresh air.

            Regarding Form-Flow-Force method

            When I learnt Two Finger Shooting Zen from Sifu in 2011, we only emphasized the first "section" of force training, namely: Single Planting of Flower, Beauty Looks at Mirror, Single Dragon Emerges From Sea, and Single Rolling Thunder. The instructions were, generally, as follows:
            1. Get the form correct while standing upright.
            2. Having attained correct form, add more flow while repeating Single Dragon Emerges From Sea over and over again before exploding force. Generally at some point during those mode, the stance would spontaneously sink into a Two Character Stance. Form was given second priority at this stage.
            3. Having attained good flow, the instruction was simply given to consolidate the vigorous energy flow into internal force. At this point, we went back to merely "stretching" forwards our Two Finger Zen hand-form three times before exploding the force.
            4. To enhance the process of consolidating, we shifted from the Two Character Stance to the Goat Stance.


            Notably, no instruction was given regarding any visualizations as are mentioned in Sifu's The Art of Shaolin Kung Fu for One Finger Shooting Zen or from the force training in the Shaolin Five Animals Set. We didn't need them to produce results.

            With regards to how much time is spent on the flowing stage and how much time is spent at the consolidating stage, I don't think that was ever brought up specifically, just as long as one went through the form - flow - consolidating force order. Sifu answered a few of my questions (plus giving some bonus information, as he so often and generously does) about the process of flowing and consolidating with Two Finger Shooting Zen and other force training methods here.

            Multiple flow methods?
            The notion of the "flow method" does bring to mind a question I had a few years ago that I just remembered, namely that I thought I'd heard the name of "flow method" applied to different modes. The first introduction to the phrase I had was my experience with Two Finger Shooting Zen. Then, I noticed in some videos, especially of Taijiquan practitioners in our school, the "flow method" they used to develop internal force was similar, except in the third and fourth stage, namely:
            1. Getting a particular pattern, e.g. Lazily Rolling Up Sleeves or Black Tiger Steals Heart, with picture perfect form.
            2. Repeating the pattern over and over again, gradually adding more and more flow, for example sinking back in one's Bow Arrow stance before shifting forwards into the proper palm strike of Lazily Rolling Up Sleeves.
            3. After attaining a flow of flow, exploding force, especially with an appropriate shout or other vocalization to enhance the result. On a side note, I've noticed a few practitioners of Chen Taijiquan from Chen village use a very similar method to develop lots of skill at fa jing. Because of this, and because I first noticed this method used in videos of folks practicing the Flowing Water Floating Clouds set, I personally refer to this method as the "Chen flow method," for better or worse.


            I have to admit, I tried this method out some time around 2013 and applied it to my practice of the Swimming Dragon set and found that it generated a lot of force. It multiplied the sheer amount of time it took to go through the set, though, and I was getting busier with my studies, so I didn't practice this method for very long, maybe for two months. I really enjoyed it, though, I felt very solid, rooted, fresh, and invigorated from this practice.

            For fun, also around 2013, I experimented with generating an energy flow with Circle Walking and repeating patterns and then consolidating the internal force in a similar manner to the Two Finger Shooting Zen set through a performance of the Swimming Dragon set. That was also fun and generated a lot of force, but I felt "too full" after a sequence or two unless I exploded some force out. This method also took me a long time to practice, though, so I don't do it anymore. Hooray for schoolwork!

            At the Summer Camp in 2012, Sifu demonstrated the "flow method of Baguazhang," which was likewise similar, but slightly different to the above method:
            1. Be already comfortable with appropriate form from the practice of individual patterns and combat sequences.
            2. Practice Circle Walking an appropriate number of revolutions to generate a desired level of flow.
            3. From the Circle Walking, go directly into performing a combat sequence or other series of movements in a flowing and continuous manner, exploding force at appropriate moments.


            This particular method generates force that feels the most "flowing" to me, personally. In fact, back when I was emphasizing this method, going through the Swimming Dragon set and my combat sequences felt utterly effortless; actually, there were some days where it was so effortless where I was worried I wasn't building any force at all! I can tell after the fact that this method is very good for me though, haha.

            Regarding tension
            I remember chatting with Chris Didyk siheng in a spare moment at the summer camp in 2012 where he mentioned in his earlier years of training, the instruction given was to "have a little bit of tension" at the wrist or forearm, but that instruction went away eventually. In my own exposure to Southern Shaolin from other schools (namely Lam Family Hung Gar passed down through grandmaster Wing Lam), according to them, tension is used in patterns such as Double Stability of Golden Bridge and their other triple stretch patterns for two purposes: 1) to build the strength of the arms externally; and 2) to "lock" energy in the arms. There is a peculiar way of engaging and tensing the muscles that is claimed to allow energy to flow into the arms (or wherever other body parts are being trained) but prevent it from flowing out. I've met masters who have built a lot of force, especially in the arms and legs in this manner, but it's not a method that I particularly enjoyed trying out. For whatever reason, the idea of tensing various body parts to "lock" energy here and there to build force is a rather popular one among the other kung fu schools I've been to.

            On an interesting side note, I saw references on the trimonthly Q&A's here and there where Sifu further explained that the arm, palm, or whatever other body part is terse with force (the impression I received from reading that meant "very full with energy") rather than the body part being "tense." That feels far more comfortable to be than trying to hold tension.

            So, in summary...
            Did I get everything? Hope I didn't detail this thread too badly, but I wanted to share some fun experiences I've had in the past, heh. I guess all of the above is just intellectual for anyone who hasn't learnt from Shaolin Wahnam, and besides, Sifu is always refining his teaching methodology, so I guess I can sign off with the following:
            1. If you've learnt from Sifu or from a Shaolin Wahnam sifu, practice exactly as they taught you.
            2. If you haven't, and you are looking to develop internal force, energy, nei gong, or whatever you call it, and and the ability to use kung fu for self defense, I would highly recommend that you do.
            I like making silly videos (including kung fu ones!) every so often on YouTube and taking pictures of weird things on Instagram.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Chiahua View Post
              I would be interested in hearing different perspectives on this.

              Best,
              Chia-Hua
              Hi Chia-Hua, I am not sure if you are talking specifically about One Finger Zen? I personally learnt One Finger Zen from Sifu long before what I recognise as the "force" method, which I learned on the Wing Choon course in Malaysia around 2010. I still practise One Finger Zen but I don't ever use the force method when doing so, partly because I wasn't taught it in this way, and partly for another reason which I will explain.

              When I practised Xingyiquan in preparation for learning it from Sifu, my main aim was just to learn the forms, just to practise on the form level. But in the course of doing so, I had learned them quite well so there were days when I flowed well when doing them as well. However there were other days where I had a really strong urge to practise them, or bits of them in the force method. Sometimes a bit of both. In the actual Xingyiquan course, when Sifu could see us practising, there were times when I did this as well, my chi or internal force felt like it was leading me to do that, like it was pushing and really wanted to perform the sets or bits of them in that way. Sifu never said not to do that, and I believe I saw him doing a lot of the forms in the same way so I think this was ok, and it felt great.

              I never really get that same urge when I am doing One Finger Zen so far, that combined with the fact I wasn't taught it that way (or didn't learn it that way) means I don't practise it in that way. Or maybe I missed that aspect when learning it, or maybe Sifu teaches it using the force method nowadays? (I learned One Finger Zen in about 2005 I think.)

              Comment


              • #8
                Dear Sipak,

                Thank you so much for a long, swift and exhaustive answer It was really a pleasure to read the answers just after an evening One Finger Shooting Zen practice!

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by drunken boxer View Post

                  I never really get that same urge when I am doing One Finger Zen so far, that combined with the fact I wasn't taught it that way (or didn't learn it that way) means I don't practise it in that way. Or maybe I missed that aspect when learning it, or maybe Sifu teaches it using the force method nowadays? (I learned One Finger Zen in about 2005 I think.)
                  Heyya,

                  If I recall correctly, Force Method, Form Force Flow, is the name for the traditional means of consolidating force. Such as the way one finger shooting zen was always practiced in the past.

                  Flow method, Form Flow Force, would be the newer method that really took hold in our school around 2010-2012. Such as practicing one finger shooting zen by repeating the patterns with more and more flow before consolidating and exploding.

                  I might be off on my history, but that was my understanding.

                  Cheers,
                  Shaolin Wahnam USA

                  "Every morning you are born again. What you do today is the most important thing".

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Frederick_Chu View Post
                    I remember chatting with Chris Didyk siheng in a spare moment at the summer camp in 2012 where he mentioned in his earlier years of training, the instruction given was to "have a little bit of tension" at the wrist or forearm, but that instruction went away eventually.
                    Hi Frederick,

                    I suspect this instruction went away in part because "tension" in this context doesn't mean what you might think it means, similar to how "visualization" in Chi Kung can give some people the wrong idea. When you load up on force during OFSZ, the fullness of the force can sometimes feel similar to physical tension. So the instruction to "have a little bit of tension" is really to use your mind to use more force. However, the main reason the instruction went away is likely because the revised instructions to relax, keep it gentle, and really enjoy your OFSZ produce better results.

                    Also, there seems to be some confusion around what the Flow Method is. The way I understand it, Form-Flow-Force is the Flow Method and Form-Force-Flow is the Force Method. Both start with Form because correct form (including body movement) is required to build Flow or Force. In the Flow Method, you then emphasize building Flow. As you generate more Flow, some of it spills over into Force. When you generate a lot of Flow, you also have a massive amount of Force. You can think of it like how a hurricane strengthens.

                    In the Force Method, after Form, you emphasize Force. As the Force grows, it spills over into Flow so that when you generate a lot of Force, it can also flow quickly. Most people (or at least westerners) seem to understand the Force Method a little better, since it is more in line with how we typically think of generating powerful strikes.

                    You might find it helpful to think of the Flow Method (and the Force Method) as a skill and things like the circle-walking flow method, OFSZ flow method, and Flower Set flow method as applications or techniques. There's a common thread running through them all, and improving your application of the Flow Method in one improves your Flow Method in other applications.
                    Chris Didyk
                    Shaolin Wahnam USA


                    Thank You.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Karol View Post
                      Dear family,
                      In the book it is written that:..."as you move your hand out and in, tense it and visualize it as charged with internal force." and then ..."even though you tense your arm and finger, you must never be tense, especially in your chest"

                      Could anyone be that kind and elaborate about it?

                      To tense or not to tense? And what is the form, flow and force method?
                      I might be wrong, and please correct me if I am, but I believe this "tensed it and visualise it as charged with internal force" is the same as or similar to the term "tersed" used in Sifu Wong's the Complete Book of Shaolin to describe forceful windmill. Here the hand is held in a somewhat "hard" manner, hard enough to hold the shape of 1 finger zen straight, but still relaxed enough to feel it being pumped up with chi. I look forward to other member's description, as I said, I may be way off

                      Also, could someone kindly explain what flow method and force method is? I always thought flow method eventually leads to force method, but the mentions here seem to refer to them as two standalone methods.

                      Thanks!
                      -Daniel

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        What a nice and lively discussion!

                        I’m trying to catch up with everyone.

                        Some add-on to wunderluster’s initial questions which were already excellently answered by Sifu Anton:
                        1.
                        Here I think the dragon claw is used instead of the 1 finger zen. Is there any difference in the force generated?
                        Two Finger Zen uses the “Dragon Hand Form”, which is different from “Dragon Claw”. The Dragon Hand Form and also Two Finger Zen are comparatively harder and more consolidating than One Finger Zen Hand Form and One Finger Shooting Zen.

                        2.
                        I'm sure the skills can be transferred to any hand form, just wondering why we include the finger jab and cupped fist in as well
                        The number one reason is that the exercise was passed down to us this way, so we practice it the way it was developed and distilled for us.

                        Another reason is that different hand forms and punches add spread to our force training, therefore enhancing the results. But there is no need for you to change other hand forms which are not included (like Phoenix Eye Fist).


                        The Intensive Shaolin Kung Fu course has been the only one where Sifu taught One Finger Shooting Zen (except for some recent exceptions), which forms an integral part of the course. So there’s definitely something to look forward to. (But no need to learn the form beforehand!)

                        Best wishes,

                        Leo
                        Sifu Leonard Lackinger

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                        Comment


                        • #13
                          After having taken many courses including both methods in the last years, I’m trying to clear up the confusion about the Force and Flow method.

                          Generally those two methods describe how a set or force training exercise is LEARNT and/or PRACTICED.


                          FORCE METHOD:

                          This is the traditional standard method used in Shaolin Kung Fu. Therefore Iron Wire, Triple Stretch Set and One Finger Shooting Zen make use of it.

                          The learning procedure is:
                          1. Learn the sequence (of the set)
                          2. Get the FORM correct
                          3. Practice with FORCE. This is often done in a comparatively slow and sometimes staccato manner.
                          4. Over time the force produced earlier leads to a FLOW which results in fast and smooth movement (while still delivering strong and forceful punches).


                          Example 1, “Lohan Asks the Way” (set):
                          1. Learn the sequence
                          2. Get the FORM picture-perfect
                          3. Add breathing and later explode FORCE with every pattern.
                          4. After some time you will notice that you are FLOWing very well through your set.


                          Example 2, “One Finger Shooting Zen”:
                          1. Learn the sequence
                          2. Get the FORM picture-perfect
                          3. Add breathing (including sounds) and focus the FORCE where it’s needed. Explode on appropriate times.
                          4. After some time you will notice that your movements are FLOWing very well. For example your hands might move spontaneously on their own.



                          FLOW METHOD:

                          This is the traditional standard method used in Tai Chi Chuan. Therefore Yang style and Chen style make use of it.

                          The learning procedure is:
                          1. Learn the sequence (of the set)
                          2. Get the FORM correct
                          3. Practice in a smooth and FLOWing manner.
                          4. Over time the flow will increase and develop internal FORCE which can be exploded out.


                          Example 1, “Grasping Sparrow’s Tail”:
                          1. Learn the sequence
                          2. Get the FORM picture-perfect
                          3. FLOW through the set. There’s no beginning, no ending and no stops in between. Increase the FLOW by will and you will move faster, faster and even faster.
                          4. When you are ready, explode the developed FORCE on every pattern you like to.


                          Example 3, “One Finger Shooting Zen”:
                          1. Learn the sequence
                          2. Get the FORM picture-perfect
                          3. Let the force FLOW and repeat the movements many times (instead of three times). Initially don’t worry about the breathing and the form. Your hands will get faster and faster.
                          4. When you are ready, explode the developed FORCE with a shout on appropriate places.



                          SOME IMPORTANT AND INTERESTING DISCOVERIERS

                          -) Sifu discovered that chi FLOW is the ingredient for internal FORCE and the FORCE method is important for the FLOW method.

                          Therefore the first step is to develop chi flow (every time you practice). Only then internal force can be generated. I’ll leave aside what is necessary to develop chi flow, as this is common knowledge in our school. (Ha! That’s why the classics are often misunderstood. )

                          An interesting observation I made, which may act as a proof, is that my chi kung students who later pick up martial arts training, get much quicker results from Zhan Zhuang and other force training methods than fresh beginners.

                          So, there is no 100% consolidating. There always has to be at least some flow. “Consolidating” gathers / focuses the internal force on specific parts of the body. Therefore the energy must be moving. Imagine that you want to meet up with your friends, but no one can leave their houses/flats (for any reason), everyone is non-moving. The gathering won’t happen.

                          Even Golden Bridge will have a ratio of at least 99:1 (consolidating:flowing) while Yang Style Tai Chi Chuan has at least 1:99. In more recent comparison lists, Sifu even changed to 10 or 20% of flow for standard Iron Wire, which was before regarded as only being consolidating.

                          Even if we use the force method and by will consolidate by 99.9% percent, the chi flow afterwards will direct the energy to more important regions, like our internal organs. Therefore even Golden Bridge, whose main purpose is to develop a lot of martial force and mental clarity, can be used to fight illness, though using exercises from the 18 Lohan Hands or 18 Jewels will be more cost-effective and also enjoyable for most people.

                          -) By will we can choose any of the methods for any set after learning and training both of them.

                          Sifu also discovered that we need to learn the force method first before applying the flow method to Shaolin Kung Fu sets or force training methods. That’s why Sifu always starts with the traditional force method for Iron Wire, Triple Stretch, One Finger Shooting Zen, …

                          But, normally, practicing a flowing set with the flow method and practicing a force set with the force method is most cost-effective. Though there might be an exception with the force method, which will be explained in the next paragraph.

                          -) The flow method is safer, often stronger and more beneficial.

                          By asking students to compare their results with both methods at his courses, Sifu was initially surprised that most students found the flow method produced stronger results.

                          The flow method is dependent on chi flow and vice-versa enhances chi flow. Therefore it is more beneficial for our main aims of nurturing health and vitality, while still developing a lot of force for martial arts purposes.

                          If the force method is practiced incorrectly (like tensing the muscles or having a non-focused mind), it can develop more serious deviations. The flow method is much safer in this respect.

                          -) Spread and depth

                          Traditionally the flow and force methods would cancel each other out, because one keeps the energy moving while the other focuses the energy on specific parts of the body.

                          Through the magic of our chi flow, by practicing both methods in Shaolin Wahnam, we are not only freed from this effect, but we even enhance our results and therefore speed up our progress!

                          Personally, I made one of my biggest steps in force development when I practiced Triple Stretch and Flowing Water Flowing Clouds daily for some time after attending Sifu’s respective courses in Frankfurt.


                          So, that is my interpretation of what we call force method and flow method in our school.


                          As for the often mentioned “tension” in this thread, I will only repeat two very beneficial and often heard advices from Sifu:

                          “The more you relax, the more force you develop.”
                          &
                          “If you want to have force, don’t use strength!”


                          I will close with an important reminder for force training. Our methods are VERY POWERFUL! Take care not to over-train! More on that here: http://www.wongkiewkit.com/forum/sho...Over-Cleansing

                          Best wishes,

                          Leo
                          Sifu Leonard Lackinger

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                          • #14
                            Thanks Sihing Chris and Sihing Leo for dropping that knowledge, the decomposition helps the discussion quite a bit.
                            So to bring it back to One Finger Shooting Zen, in Sihing Leo's exposition:

                            >Let the force FLOW and repeat the movements many times (instead of three times). Initially don’t worry about the breathing and the form. Your hands will get faster and faster.

                            For me, there are some patterns in One Finger Shooting Zen that lend itself better to repeating the movements many times, better than others, such as the first pattern.

                            Secondly, I practice most of my one finger shooting zen sessions in "Force" mode as opposed to "Flow" mode, because I enjoy it more. I am curious if most people nowadays use the "flow" mode more because of the wider list of benefits?
                            (Side question: is it dumb of me to prioritize my enjoyment of "force" mode when Sifu seems to lean towards "flow" mode? Maybe it's a sign I need to let go more when practicing "flow" mode? )

                            Best,
                            C

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Grimlock View Post
                              [very useful information]
                              Thank you very much for clarifying, siheng! The idea of tension in kung fu was a curious one to me ever since reading Sifu's work on internal force training and later experiencing it for myself. The question crossed my mind a while back regarding why tension and "using strength" was and still is so popularly recommended in various kung fu schools. As we know in Shaolin Wahnam, open secret is that relaxation brings the best result. For a while, I entertained the hypothesis that some teachers purposefully taught using tension to at least develop external strength, and would later give the "secret" lesson of relaxing to their initiated disciples in order to develop internal force, haha. I have no evidence for this, just the observation that there are so many sets for developing internal force that are popularly practiced, but seeing them performed in a way that would build internal force is a rare treat. Perhaps the most infamous example of this is the Iron Wire set.

                              Originally posted by Chiahua
                              I am curious if most people nowadays use the "flow" mode more because of the wider list of benefits?

                              To be honest, two major things govern why I practice the flow method over the force method:
                              1. I learnt the Flow method first. Actually, I don't think I've ever actually explicitly learnt the Force method.
                              2. The very vigorous nature of practicing a kung fu set with the Flow method (especially Baguazhang version I mentioned above) is very invigorating and refreshing; frankly, "it feels really good."


                              That said, when I'm in the "consolidating force" aspect of practicing, say, Two Finger Shooting Zen, I feel much, much more mental clarity and sharpness than when I'm in the "generating a vigorous energy flow" phase. That mental clarity is super useful as a student.

                              How about you, Chiahua, what is it about the Force mode that you really enjoy? What sort of benefits are you seeing from it in kung fu and your day-to-day?
                              Last edited by Frederick_Chu; 28th October 2015, 02:45 AM. Reason: formatting
                              I like making silly videos (including kung fu ones!) every so often on YouTube and taking pictures of weird things on Instagram.

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