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Stages of cleansing, building and nourishing: 10 Questions to the Grandmaster

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  • #76
    Question and Answer - 8 - Part 2

    Thanks for the feedback. And on to the next part ...

    Question and Answer - 8 - Part 2
    Question 8 (Original question)

    Since practicing I have had many benefits of practice like overcoming asthma, haven't been sick/had a cold for at least 8 years, much happier than before and having a lot of energy.

    Despite that, there are still some physical blockages which I wish to overcome.

    My practice in general is as follows. Sometimes I miss morning or night.

    Morning: Chi kung and chi flow 1 out of 2 times. Iron wire+ chi flow 1 in 2 or 3 times

    Evening: Chi kung chi flow, Stance training 20-30mins (All stances but I end when I start to feel more than minor discomfort and do some short chi flow in between), Chi flow, leg stretching, Sequences and sets 30 mins, end with chi kung chi flow.

    Night: 5-10 min of small universe and end with chi flow.

    I am training so I can use my kung fu for fighting and intend to enter competitions. I go to MMA class once a week to get used to sparring with and understand how the MMA people fight. I do feel that I need to increase my internal force/ presence of mind/ solidness and agility of stances/ stamina in order to win against good fighters.

    Can you shed some light to improve my practice? Should I practice less? Would I get more result from practicing more? What type of practices/ skills should I focus on? To get more result in breaking through blockages and also sparring.

    Is training for fighting (especially force training) contradictory to breaking through blockages?

    I understand that past masters practiced 8 hours a day including 2 hours stance training without chi flow. How can they manage such a thing?

    I understand there is gradual progress. But in the past I tried to increase my stance training for example by increasing by 1 minute per 2 weeks in order to stand in Golden Bridge for 20 -30 minutes. It seemed to aggravate blockages, getting angry, tensed and negative thoughts occasionally in daily life. Is it positive or negative? I discontinued that type of training just in case.

    Jas


    Answer (contd)

    ... >> Evening: Chi kung chi flow, Stance training 20-30mins (All stances but I end when I start to feel more than minor discomfort and do some short chi flow in between), Chi flow, leg stretching, Sequences and sets 30 mins, end with chi kung chi flow.

    Reduce your training time from about an hour to about 30 minutes. Instead of performing all the stances, just perform Horse-Riding Stance or Golden Bridge for about 10 minutes. Once a while you can go over all the stances well for a review. Follow with leg stretching and subsequent chi flow for about 5 minutes. Then practice a set and some sequences followed by chi flow, which will take about 15 minutes. You can rotate the other sets and sequences around the ones you choose as your specialties.

    >> Night: 5-10 min of small universe and end with chi flow.

    This will ensure you have good health and vitality beyond a hundred years.

    >> I am training so I can use my kung fu for fighting and intend to enter competitions. I go to MMA class once a week to get used to sparring with and understand how the MMA people fight. I do feel that I need to increase my internal force/ presence of mind/ solidness and agility of stances/ stamina in order to win against good fighters.

    While training to win free sparring competitions and restore the glory of kungfu is a noble aim, the first priority is to enrich your life and the lives of other people. Having good health, vitality, longevity, mental freshness and spiritual joys, as you have mentioned at the start, is evidence that you are progressing in the right direction.

    I am sure you will win free sparring competitions if you follow, not just read about or listen to, the strategy I have explained. If you still haven’t got access to the secret webpages I have specially posted for those interested in winning free sparring competitions, please request the access particulars from any member of the Free Sparring Competitions Committee.

    Joining a MMA class is a supplement, not a necessity. Your objective should not be to learn how MMA practitioners fight or how you fight using MMA. Your objective is to have opportunities to spar with them using your Shaolin Kungfu, not using MMA techniques. This would be difficult in a MMA class because you would be obliged to use MMA techniques

    If you have opportunities to spar with martial artists of other styles, you don’t have to join a MMA class or any class of other martial arts. In fact, joining such classes will be detrimental to your aim of winning free sparring competitions. You will be learning and applying techniques which you are not good at, against opponents who are already expert in these techniques. You need at least a few years to catch up – when you already have a superior art to use against them. In my free sparring analogy, you are using knives and sticks against expert fighters of knives and sticks when you already have guns.

    We are very lucky. We have an amazing opportunity in your siheng, Kai. Request him to conduct more workshops with opportunities to spar with martial artists of other styles, and encourage more people to take part in the workshops. But you must use kungfu skills and techniques in your sparring against these other martial artists.

    Many people in our school, including some instructors, still do not realize this though they honestly think they do. They know, in theory, that they should use combat sequences, but when they spar they use individual techniques. But at least they don’t bounce about and use kick-boxing. The next essential step in the path to win free sparring competitions is to progress from technique fighting to sequence fighting.

    Let me share with you a secret of masters. It actually does not matter what martial arts your opponents are trained in when fighting in a competition. Once you apply your combat sequence effectively and relentlessly on them, they have no chance to use their MMA, Muay Thai, Kick-Boxing or whatever fighting techniques they may be good at!

    Of course, you must be very well trained in your chosen combat sequence, including covering yourself very safely and bridging the gap effectively when your opponents retreat. Shaolin combat Squence 10, White Horse Presents Hoof, and Taijiquan Combat Sequence 5, White Crane Flaps Wings, are excellent choice. If it is not allow to kick an opponent’s groin, Taijiquan practitioners can use a thrust kick instead of an organ-seeking kick.
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    • #77
      Dear Nick,

      Thanks for sharing your direct experience. As your feedback falls under the category of

      your own experiences you have had that relate to Sifu's answers and any benefits you have got out of reading his answers on this thread
      I have also posted it in this thread - Discussion on "Stages of cleansing, building and nourishing Q&A".

      Best,

      Barry
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      • #78
        Question and Answer - 8 - Part 3

        Question and Answer - 8 - Part 3
        Question 8 (Original question)

        Since practicing I have had many benefits of practice like overcoming asthma, haven't been sick/had a cold for at least 8 years, much happier than before and having a lot of energy.

        Despite that, there are still some physical blockages which I wish to overcome.

        My practice in general is as follows. Sometimes I miss morning or night.

        Morning: Chi kung and chi flow 1 out of 2 times. Iron wire+ chi flow 1 in 2 or 3 times

        Evening: Chi kung chi flow, Stance training 20-30mins (All stances but I end when I start to feel more than minor discomfort and do some short chi flow in between), Chi flow, leg stretching, Sequences and sets 30 mins, end with chi kung chi flow.

        Night: 5-10 min of small universe and end with chi flow.

        I am training so I can use my kung fu for fighting and intend to enter competitions. I go to MMA class once a week to get used to sparring with and understand how the MMA people fight. I do feel that I need to increase my internal force/ presence of mind/ solidness and agility of stances/ stamina in order to win against good fighters.

        Can you shed some light to improve my practice? Should I practice less? Would I get more result from practicing more? What type of practices/ skills should I focus on? To get more result in breaking through blockages and also sparring.

        Is training for fighting (especially force training) contradictory to breaking through blockages?

        I understand that past masters practiced 8 hours a day including 2 hours stance training without chi flow. How can they manage such a thing?

        I understand there is gradual progress. But in the past I tried to increase my stance training for example by increasing by 1 minute per 2 weeks in order to stand in Golden Bridge for 20 -30 minutes. It seemed to aggravate blockages, getting angry, tensed and negative thoughts occasionally in daily life. Is it positive or negative? I discontinued that type of training just in case.

        Jas


        Answer (contd)

        ... If you just repeat and repeat your combat sequence effectively and relentlessly on your opponents, they will be unable to defend against your pressing attack, simply because they are not used to this type of fighting. This situation will last for at least 2 or 3 years. But when our practitioners keep winning competitions using this strategy, others will be used to it and will be ready with effective counters. If you use the same sequence but attack them with individual patterns, instead of continuously as a sequence, they will whack you like a punch-bag.

        Right now you have sufficient internal force, presence of mind, solidness as well as agility of stances, and stamina to win free sparring competitions. You don’t have to train for another six months to prepare. Enter competitions now at a local level, and as you gain confidence and experience progress to international levels in six months.

        >> Can you shed some light to improve my practice? Should I practice less? Would I get more result from practicing more? What type of practices/ skills should I focus on to get more result in breaking through blockages and also sparring?

        Choose Shaolin Combat Sequence 10, or any combat sequence you like, placing importance on safety first and chasing after opponents effectively. Enter a free sparring competition, and just apply the sequence. It is simple, direct and effective.

        You don’t have to add more time to your daily practice to prepare for free sparring competitions. Just incorporate the sequence into your daily routines.

        Focus on quality, which includes wise use of strategies like the one I have advocated, and you will achieve more results in breaking through blockages and sparring as well as other benefits in less time. Cost-effective is a hallmark of our school.

        If you attend the Xingyiquan at UK Summer Camp 2013, you will learn a Xingyiquan sequence that is so bafflingly simple yet exceptionally effective in today’s free sparring competitions. It employs the same principles as I have been emphasizing all this while, but the Xingyiquan techniques and footwork are even more simple, direct and effective. In fact I had an aha experience discovering this fact when preparing myself to teach Xingyiquan.

        >> Is training for fighting (especially force training) contradictory to breaking through blockages?

        It depends n how a practitioner trains. For most people, training for fighting, including force training, is contradictory to breaking through blockages. The injuries sustained in sparring as well as tensing their muscles in their force training and sparring practice increase their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual blockages.

        In our case, training for fighting, including force training, promotes breaking through blockages. In sparring we emphasize safety first. While other practitioners exchange blows generously, we do not want to be hit even once. But even if we are hit many times, our chi flow clears away the blockage and damage.

        Our training, for force as well as sparring, increases both the amount of energy and the vigorosity of flow. This promotes breaking through physical, emotional, mental and spiritual blockages.

        >> I understand that past masters practiced 8 hours a day including 2 hours stance training without chi flow. How could they manage such a thing?

        They could do so through sheer dedication. The term “ku lian” which literally means “bitter training” is widely heard in kungfu circles. It is so different from our slogan of “making our training fun”. It is no surprise, therefore, some people think that our training is a joke, if not a big lie. Their loss is that they never bother to find out our results.

        When Robin was in China looking for genuine masters to learn from, he found a school where students spent 8 hours daily on zhan zhaung. They had a lot of internal force, but obviously little time for anything else.

        I asked Robin how did our school compared to that school in terms of benefits and efficiency of internal force training. Robin told me it was incomparable. Robin did not elaborate which school was better, but the fact that he learned from us (and is now an excellent Taijiquan master) instead of from that school was a sufficient answer.
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        • #79
          Question and Answer - 8 - Part 4

          Question and Answer - 8 - Part 4
          Question 8 (Original question)

          Since practicing I have had many benefits of practice like overcoming asthma, haven't been sick/had a cold for at least 8 years, much happier than before and having a lot of energy.

          Despite that, there are still some physical blockages which I wish to overcome.

          My practice in general is as follows. Sometimes I miss morning or night.

          Morning: Chi kung and chi flow 1 out of 2 times. Iron wire+ chi flow 1 in 2 or 3 times

          Evening: Chi kung chi flow, Stance training 20-30mins (All stances but I end when I start to feel more than minor discomfort and do some short chi flow in between), Chi flow, leg stretching, Sequences and sets 30 mins, end with chi kung chi flow.

          Night: 5-10 min of small universe and end with chi flow.

          I am training so I can use my kung fu for fighting and intend to enter competitions. I go to MMA class once a week to get used to sparring with and understand how the MMA people fight. I do feel that I need to increase my internal force/ presence of mind/ solidness and agility of stances/ stamina in order to win against good fighters.

          Can you shed some light to improve my practice? Should I practice less? Would I get more result from practicing more? What type of practices/ skills should I focus on? To get more result in breaking through blockages and also sparring.

          Is training for fighting (especially force training) contradictory to breaking through blockages?

          I understand that past masters practiced 8 hours a day including 2 hours stance training without chi flow. How can they manage such a thing?

          I understand there is gradual progress. But in the past I tried to increase my stance training for example by increasing by 1 minute per 2 weeks in order to stand in Golden Bridge for 20 -30 minutes. It seemed to aggravate blockages, getting angry, tensed and negative thoughts occasionally in daily life. Is it positive or negative? I discontinued that type of training just in case.

          Jas


          Answer (contd)

          ... >> I understand there is gradual progress. But in the past I tried to increase my stance training for example by increasing by 1 minute per 2 weeks in order to stand in Golden Bridge for 20 -30 minutes. It seemed to aggravate blockages, getting angry, tensed and negative thoughts occasionally in daily life. Is it positive or negative? I discontinued that type of training just in case.

          Gradual progress is very important in any force training. The other very important principle is consistent perseverance. I learned these two essentials in any force training years ago when I trained Iron Palm.

          Suppose a practitioner has 100 bricks with thickness ranging progressively from 0.1 of an inch to 2 inches. Every day he hits a sand-bag to increase his strength, and every 3 days he breaks a brick starting with the first one of 0.1 inch. Anyone with average strength should have no difficulty breaking a 0.1 inch brick though he may not be able to break a 2-inch brick.

          As the practitioner gradually and progressively increases his strength with his daily hitting of the sand-bag, he would have no difficulty breaking the second brick slightly more than 0.1 inch thick on the 6th day. As he progresses gradually and progressively with his consistent practice he should be able to break the 2-inch brick after 303 days.

          But after breaking the 25th brick, after 3 days he jumps to the 35th brick instead of attempting the 26th brick, he may not be able to break it. He has not followed the principle of gradual progress.

          Or after breaking the 25th brick he stops practicing for a week. When he resume his practice and attempt breaking the 26th brick, be may not be able to do so. He has not followed the principle of consistent perseverance. The longer the lapse of training, the more he loses the force he has earlier acquired.

          If the lapse is long, he may lose all the force or benefit that he has acquired in his previous training. This is known in Chinese (Cantonese0 as “chien kung jun fai”, which means “previous force is all lost”, a situation all informed practitioners would avoid.

          If one can stand in Golden Bridge correctly for 5 minutes, it will be good result. He will have sufficient internal force for today’s situation where the standard of martial arts is low. Many people may be angry at this statement, but it is true. Being hit and kicked is regarded as normal and many martial artists are out of breath after 10 minutes of free sparring.

          Instead of aiming for 20-30 minutes in Golden Bridge, it is better to aim for 5 minutes performing Golden Bridge perfectly, with total relaxation and mental clarity. In our school, “less is often more”. Don’t force yourself to increase by 1 minute after every 2 weeks. Let the increase be gradual and spontaneous.

          First, yu-wei. Then, wu-wei. The yu-wei part is performing Golden Bridge perfectly, even for just a few seconds. The wu-wei part is to enjoy the practice, instead of worrying about your result. You may start with just a few seconds, but with gradual progress and consistent perseverance after a few months you will find yourself enjoying internal force and mental clarity in your Golden Bridge. And when you spar, regardless of whether your opponents use MMA, Muay Thai or any art, you will be surprised that their attacks lack force and you can see their movements clearly.

          Your blockages being aggravated, your getting angry, tensed and with negative thoughts occasionally arising were probably due to your wrong Golden Bridge training. The wrong training was due to your worrying about increasing the time by a minute every two weeks, which probably caused you to tense your muscles to endure longer stance as well as be mentally stressed

          As these effects are harmful, they are negative. It was wise of you to discontinue. On the other hand, thousands of martial artists are not wise enough to discontinue training where they submit themselves to be punched and kicked by their classmates or teachers.
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          • #80
            Just a reminder about the original question posed by Sifu Joan and Sifu's answer that inspired this current Question and Answer thread. The seed that was planted has grown rather beautifully .
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            • #81
              Dear Sifu,

              Thank you so much for such a detailed, in-depth answer.

              I'm sure it will improve mine and many other peoples practice.

              And thank you Barry for giving the opportunity to ask the question.

              Best,

              Jas

              Comment


              • #82
                Question and Answer - 9 - Part 1

                After a break here is the next of Sifu's answers in this amazing series.

                Question and Answer - 9 - Part 1

                Question 9

                My experiences with cleansing lead me to understand that the pattern (Lifting the Sky) and the skill (generating a chi flow) are used to start the process, but the real "work" of cleansing takes place during the self-manifested chi flow. At the end, the standing meditation seems to help the healing set in and take hold.

                My experiences with building, however, are a bit different. With Iron Wire, my experience tells me that the "work" of building takes place during the patterns (Iron Wire) with the skill (Force or Flow method). Self-manifested chi flow, in this case, seems to be used as a safety valve to counter any blockages. Again, standing meditation seems to help the building set in and take hold.

                I do not have much direct experience of nourishing, so I cannot comment on that.

                Can you please elaborate on the roles of pattern, skill, self-manifested chi flow, and standing meditation during cleansing, building, and nourishing?

                Sifu Matt Fenton


                Answer

                Firstly, I would like to congratulate you for your sharp and accurate observation.

                What you have described is true for your experience. It is also true for many people in our school, but it may not be so for other practitioners outside our school. This will become clear as the answer unfolds.

                Before addressing your questions in some detail, it is helpful to examine the concepts of experience and philosophy from the Eastern perspective and from the Western perspective.

                In Easter culture, experience comes before philosophy.

                For example, when the Buddha said that the phenomenal world is composed of four greats, namely fire, water, earth and air, he experienced the reality first, then described his experience for the benefit of posterity which eventually constitutes the philosophy.

                In other words, the Buddha did not sit down in a lotus position and start thinking, “What actually is the phenomenal world made of? Well, it is made of earth, fire, water and air.” Rather, in his deep meditation he saw the phenomenal world reduced to its finest aspects, and he used the symbols of fire, water, earth and air to describe these aspects with their different characteristics. A modern scientists using very sophisticated instruments may describe the same reality as matter being composed of quarks with up-spin, down-spin, top-spin and bottom-spin.

                In Western culture, philosophy comes before experience.

                For example, when Plato said that the perfect form is the sphere, first he philosophized on the perfect form and rationalized that it was the sphere. Only then he or his students went into the real world and found examples to justify the philosophy.

                The lucky or unfortunate thing, depending on one’s perspective, is that the world is so large that one can always find enough evidence to justify whatever philosophy he has formulated. For example, if you were to say that a cone or an irregular stone were the perfect form, you could also find enough evidence and arguments to justify your claim.

                In our school as we practice traditional arts first developed in the East, we use the Eastern approach from experience to philosophy. We also find this approach very useful.

                What you have said describes your experience. And when a lot of people have similar experiences with similar descriptions, which is the case in our school, the explanation becomes the philosophy.

                This, indeed, is how our philosophy of cleansing, building and nourishing evolved. At present it is a philosophy peculiar to our school because other schools without our advantages and benefits do not have our experiences, and therefore our explanation.

                Just as you have excellently described, when our students practice chi kung patterns like “Lifting the Sky” and “Carrying the Moon”, they succeed in generating a chi flow. If this chi flow becomes vigorous we call this experience self-manifested chi movement.

                At first we called this chi flow a result, as it is a result of performing chi kung techniques like “Lifting the Sky” and “Carrying the Moon”. Now, having various experiences and deeper understanding, we call this chi flow a skill, reserving results for other experiences like overcoming pain and illness, and attaining good health and vitality.
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                • #83
                  Question and Answer - 9 - Part 2

                  Question and Answer - 9 - Part 2

                  Question 9 (Original question)

                  My experiences with cleansing lead me to understand that the pattern (Lifting the Sky) and the skill (generating a chi flow) are used to start the process, but the real "work" of cleansing takes place during the self-manifested chi flow. At the end, the standing meditation seems to help the healing set in and take hold.

                  My experiences with building, however, are a bit different. With Iron Wire, my experience tells me that the "work" of building takes place during the patterns (Iron Wire) with the skill (Force or Flow method). Self-manifested chi flow, in this case, seems to be used as a safety valve to counter any blockages. Again, standing meditation seems to help the building set in and take hold.

                  I do not have much direct experience of nourishing, so I cannot comment on that.

                  Can you please elaborate on the roles of pattern, skill, self-manifested chi flow, and standing meditation during cleansing, building, and nourishing?

                  Sifu Matt Fenton


                  Answer (contd)

                  ... Whether we call the experience of generating chi flow a technique, a skill or a result is a matter of semantics. And in line with the Eastern perspective, we use language, irrespective of whether it is a Western language like English or a Eastern language like Chinese, for convenience and benefit, and not for limiting ourselves into compartmentalization. In the same way, we can use the term, “Black Tiger Steals Heart” or “Fierce Tiger Speeds through Valley”, to refer to a pattern, a sequence or a set.

                  Here we refer to generating chi flow as a skill because it is convenient and gives us a lot of benefits. We know, for example, why thousands of other practitioners using the same techniques like “Lifting the Sky” and “Carrying the Moon” but do not get the results of overcoming pain and illness or attaining good health and vitality because they lack this skill.

                  We also know that a lot of people practice the same techniques in Iron Wire but do not have the result of internal force because they too lack this skill. Further we know that a few masters using the same techniques of Iron Wire and have internal force but only after many months or even years because they are unaware that unknown to them, they have generated chi flow which eventually consolidate into internal force. For us, knowing the philosophy and being able to apply it every time we practice, we can have similar results after a few days.

                  Let us have fun, as well as insight, examining what most other practitioners experience in their chi kung and force training, and how they describe their experiences which constitute their philosophy, which is an explanation of what happened, and what is likely to happen when the same procedure is followed.

                  Most of other practitioners today perform chi kung patterns but they do not have any chi flow. They may loosen their joints and muscles, and enjoy a sense of well-being. But if they are sick, they would ne unable to overcome their sick. So their philosophy, usually verbal but sometimes may be written on the internet, is that chi kung cannot overcome illness. At best it gives a sense of well-being.

                  If they have the opportunity to read chi kung classics that clearly recorded that chi kung could overcome illness, they would be puzzled. If they are smart as well as honest and courageous, they will examine their own practice and seek other masters for help. If they lack honesty and courage, they will overlook the classics, tell themselves that such chi kung benefits are no longer true today, and continue with their classes for socialization if they don’t have more worthy things to do.

                  A few of these other practitioners may have chi flow though they may not realize it. If they practice long enough, they can overcome their illness if they were sick, and attain good health and vitality, though it is nothing like the good health and vitality we enjoy in our school.

                  They will attribute the benefits they get to the techniques they practice. In fact this is also the idea commonly expressed in chi kung literature, i.e. practice and practice for years and results will eventually appear. Sometimes it is also mentioned that only a very few will succeed in their practice.

                  Although the term “chi flow”, which is “xing qi” in Chinese, is mentioned in chi kung classics, it is never explained explicitly that it is a skill, in contrast to techniques, and that without this skill, practitioners will not succeed in obtaining the desired results even when they perform the techniques correctly.

                  These students have no concept of chi flow even when it has occurred in them haphazardly, because they were unaware of it. They will not understand if we tell them that it was the chi flow, not the techniques they performed, that helped them overcome illness, and attain good health and vitality. Some of them may ridicule us when our students become instructors after practicing for just a few years. To them, just to be a chi kung student will take years.

                  Your description of how you developed internal force in Iron Wire training is clear and correct, but it applies only in our school. It does not apply to most other practitioners even when they have developed internal force using Iron Wire training. The philosophy, which is an explanation of what happened, and what will happen if the same procedure is followed correct, is new and revolutionary.

                  It is new and revolutionary even when it is correct because it applies only to a small, elite group of people. The great majority will use the orthodox philosophy which will be explained below.
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                  • #84
                    This is a great thread. My compliments to everyone for asking the questions and my thanks to Sifu for answering them!

                    Comment


                    • #85
                      Question and Answer - 9 - Part 3

                      Question and Answer - 9 - Part 3

                      Question 9 (Original question)

                      My experiences with cleansing lead me to understand that the pattern (Lifting the Sky) and the skill (generating a chi flow) are used to start the process, but the real "work" of cleansing takes place during the self-manifested chi flow. At the end, the standing meditation seems to help the healing set in and take hold.

                      My experiences with building, however, are a bit different. With Iron Wire, my experience tells me that the "work" of building takes place during the patterns (Iron Wire) with the skill (Force or Flow method). Self-manifested chi flow, in this case, seems to be used as a safety valve to counter any blockages. Again, standing meditation seems to help the building set in and take hold.

                      I do not have much direct experience of nourishing, so I cannot comment on that.

                      Can you please elaborate on the roles of pattern, skill, self-manifested chi flow, and standing meditation during cleansing, building, and nourishing?

                      Sifu Matt Fenton


                      Answer (contd)

                      ... Let us see how the training of Iron Wire will be when practitioners practice it the orthodox way. Internal force is developed when practitioners work on the patterns of the Iron Wire Set, where flowing energy is consolidated. Their process is similar to ours except that theirs is not as pronounced. Their process is spread over many years, whereas ours take only months.

                      Chi inside their arms must be fluid, or else the practitioners cannot convert it into internal force. If they tense their muscles, they will lock up their chi, resulting in building muscles instead. This is what many practitioners do. They practice Iron Wire as isometric exercise and build up big muscles. They have much muscular strength which they mistake for internal force.

                      A big difference between the orthodox method and our method is that we have a chi flow after performing the patterns, which may sometimes progress to self-manifested chi movement, but they don’t

                      The chi flow achieves two important functions. If we have caused some blockage due to incorrect practice, our chi flow will clear it away. Hence, with our chi flow, we will not practice it wrongly as isometric exercise. If we do so unknowingly, our chi flow will clear the muscles and convert it to flowing energy.

                      The second important function is that the chi flow greatly speed up our progress. Not only the chi flow process enable the energy to be fluid, it also substantially increases its volume. This makes it easier and faster to consolidate the energy into internal force.

                      Just like the case of practicing “Lifting the Sky”, those practicing Iron Wire correctly and succeed in building internal force may not realize the actual processes going on inside them. The concepts of cleansing, building and nourishing do not occur to them, though they happen without their conscious knowing. Hence, their explanation or philosophy is that by practicing the patterns of Iron Wire they develop internal force.

                      Of those who use this orthodox philosophy, only a very small proportion will succeed. But in our school, the proportion that will succeed is much higher, though the actual number of persons practicing the art will be much smaller.

                      Let us estimate that in the whole world there are 10,000 persons who have the rare opportunity to practice Iron Wire. Of these 10,000, only about 50, or 0.5%, will succeed in developing internal force from their Iron Wire training, not muscular strength from isometric exercise. These 50 rare persons with internal force derived from Iron Wire, will have practiced Iron Wire for more than 10 years, and are rightly regarded and respected as masters of Iron Wire.

                      In our school when we have 100 persons practicing Iron Wire, about 60 persons, or 60%, will succeed in developing internal force from their Iron Wire training. But they need not train for more than 10 years, they may train for only 10 months.

                      Orthodox practitioners would not believe us. Some of them would ridicule us, arguing how could we attain in 10 months what masters need more than 10 years. That is their problem and their loss. It is their loss because they never bother to find out whether what we say is true, and if so how we can achieve such results.

                      These 60 students of our school will not be regarded as Iron Wire masters although they have similar internal force that the recognized 50 world Iron Wire masters have, mainly because our students have not trained for more than 10 years, which is the very minimum time what most people would conceptualize a master should have trained. Further, our students do not belong to a school where most people would expect Iron Wire to be practiced as an advanced art.

                      What justification do we have to claim that our 60 students have similar internal force that these 50 world Iron Wire masters have? We do not seek justification from the number of years in training or the reputation of the school where the art is learnt from. Our justification lies in the fact that what these masters can do with the internal force derived from their Iron Wire training, our students can do too with the internal force derived from our Iron Wire training.

                      For example, if these masters can break the bottom of two bricks without breaking the top one, our students can do that too. If these masters can spar for a few hours without feeling tired or being out of breath, our students can do that too.
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                      • #86
                        I have found the gems here to be very helpful when teaching and enlightening my own students about the philosophy and background of our Shaolin Wahnam Cosmos Chi Kung, and of cleansing, building and nourishing.

                        Thank you, Barry, for starting this excellent Q&A.

                        Thank you to my Wahnam family who have contributed to the discussion.

                        Thank you, Sifu, for the illuminating answers.

                        With Shaolin Salute,
                        Lee Wei Joo
                        http://shaolinwahnammalaysia.com/

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                        • #87
                          Question and Answer - 9 - Part 4

                          Question and Answer - 9 - Part 4

                          Question 9 (Original question)

                          My experiences with cleansing lead me to understand that the pattern (Lifting the Sky) and the skill (generating a chi flow) are used to start the process, but the real "work" of cleansing takes place during the self-manifested chi flow. At the end, the standing meditation seems to help the healing set in and take hold.

                          My experiences with building, however, are a bit different. With Iron Wire, my experience tells me that the "work" of building takes place during the patterns (Iron Wire) with the skill (Force or Flow method). Self-manifested chi flow, in this case, seems to be used as a safety valve to counter any blockages. Again, standing meditation seems to help the building set in and take hold.

                          I do not have much direct experience of nourishing, so I cannot comment on that.

                          Can you please elaborate on the roles of pattern, skill, self-manifested chi flow, and standing meditation during cleansing, building, and nourishing?

                          Sifu Matt Fenton


                          Answer (contd)

                          ... Frankly, some of these genuine masters may not be able to perform these two feats. This does not mean they do not have sufficient internal force for the feats. More importantly, this does not reduce our respect for them as masters.

                          How is it that when they have the required force, they still could not break the bottom brick or spar for hours without tiring. It is because they lack the particular technique or skill for these feats. This particular technique or skill can be picked up quite easily. It is like you have sufficient money to buy a particular fountain pen, but you do not know how, or where, to buy it.

                          More significantly is that these masters have radiant health and bouncing vitality due to the internal force from their Iron Wire training. Our Iron Wire students also have radiant health and bouncing vitality. A difference, perhaps, is that our students are younger than the masters.

                          But this setback can be compensated by the fact that many young people the age of our students do not have the radiant health and bouncing vitality the masters and our students have. In internal arts, one can only get better. I have no doubt that when our students reach the age of these masters, if the students maintain their training, their radiant health and bouncing vitality will even be better.

                          Nourishing comes after building, which in turn comes after cleansing. Usually, but not necessarily always, the processes are from cleansing to building to nourishing. The processes are cyclic or spiral, not linear. Hence, after nourishing, cleansing may occur again.

                          Cleansing, building and nourishing are phenomena peculiar to our school. Although these processes also occur to other practitioners in other schools, they are spread over a long time and are not obvious. Hence other practitioners do not normally explain these phenomena. In other words they do not have the philosophy of cleansing, building and nourishing that we have.

                          As Iron Wire is a more powerful art that “Lifting the Sky” and other chi kung dynamic techniques, the results of cleansing, building and nourishing in these different arts are quite different.

                          In “Lifting the Sky”, cleansing clears blockage, resulting in overcoming pain and illness. Building increases energy volume, resulting in vitality. Nourishing enriches the quality of energy, resulting in being peaceful and happy.

                          In Iron Wire, where practitioners are already healthy, cleansing ensures smooth energy flow, preparing the stage for consolidating energy into internal force. Building increases the amount of energy so that more internal force can be developed. Nourishing enhances the quality of energy, resulting in mental clarity and spiritual joys.

                          For convenience and better understanding of the roles of pattern, skill, self-manifested chi flow, and standing meditation during cleansing, building, and nourishing, let us classify them into methods and processes.

                          Patterns, skills and standing meditation are methods to operate the processes of cleansing, building and nourishing.

                          We shall change the term “self-manifested chi flow” as mentioned by you to “self-manifested chi movement” so as not to be confused with other types of chi flow. It is included in the category of skills. Self-manifested chi movement is one of many skills. Another skill is generating energy flow.

                          In the classification above, we have placed “standing meditation” as one of the three methods listed, the other two being patterns and skills. Here “standing meditation” is allotted a category by itself to reflect the importance you have given it in the question.

                          In other context, it may be grouped under patterns or skills, depending on the situation. Thus, it is obvious that the classification is for convenience. It is not a rigid compartmentalization as in science.

                          The classification is also for better understanding. It will enable us to think about the question, describe the happenings, ponder on the expected results, and draw general conclusions more easily, clearly and systematically.

                          In line with the approach from experience to philosophy, we shall first examine how chi kung and kungfu are practiced in the orthodox way, and the roles these methods of patterns, skills and standing meditation play in the processes of cleansing, building and nourishing. Then we compare the orthodox way with our Shaolin Wahnam way. We can then draw general conclusions from the experience to formulate a philosophy for the benefit of posteri

                          A pattern constitutes a technique. Depending on the type of chi kung practiced, practitioners may perform one or more patterns a number of times, after which they complete the training session. This is a typical session. The patterns may be different, and the numbers of repetitions vary, but the structure of the session is the same
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                          • #88
                            Question and Answer - 9 - Part 5

                            Question and Answer - 9 - Part 5

                            Question 9 (Original question)

                            My experiences with cleansing lead me to understand that the pattern (Lifting the Sky) and the skill (generating a chi flow) are used to start the process, but the real "work" of cleansing takes place during the self-manifested chi flow. At the end, the standing meditation seems to help the healing set in and take hold.

                            My experiences with building, however, are a bit different. With Iron Wire, my experience tells me that the "work" of building takes place during the patterns (Iron Wire) with the skill (Force or Flow method). Self-manifested chi flow, in this case, seems to be used as a safety valve to counter any blockages. Again, standing meditation seems to help the building set in and take hold.

                            I do not have much direct experience of nourishing, so I cannot comment on that.

                            Can you please elaborate on the roles of pattern, skill, self-manifested chi flow, and standing meditation during cleansing, building, and nourishing?

                            Sifu Matt Fenton


                            Answer (contd)

                            ... Let us take an example of a chi kung style called Eight Pieces of Brocade. Practitioners perform each of the eight patterns about ten to twenty times. Then they complete the session. Sometimes they may select one or a few of the patterns instead of all the eight.

                            For kungfu training, let us take an example of a Triple Stretch Set. There are different versions of the Triple Stretch Set, but they have a common structure. Some sets may not be called Triple Stretch but by other names, like Five Animals or Taming the Tiger. Some triple-stretch exercises are performed at the start of the set, followed by combat sequences.

                            Practitioners usually perform the patterns as routine. Often they use muscular strength. The session ends with completing all the patterns in the set. There is no chi flow or standing meditation after the set.

                            This is the usual way how chi kung and kungfu are practiced. Practitioners perform their chi kung or kungfu patterns at a physical level. A few of them, if they have performed their patterns well, may generate a chi flow during their performance, but they are usually unaware of the chi flow. They also do not allow their internal chi flow to manifest into self-manifested chi movement externally.

                            They also do not progress to standing meditation after their chi kung or kungfu performance. Had they stood for a while, those who had performed their techniques well, might have a gentle chi flow manifested as a gentle sway. Because they do not understand what is happening, should this happen they would stop their chi flow by physical means, usually by tensing their muscles unconsciously.

                            These practitioners, who form the great majority, do not differentiate between techniques and skills. So the rule of skills is marginal. They mistakenly think that if they practice their techniques long enough, they will derive benefits from their arts. They do not realize that skills are necessary.

                            If they ever think of skills, it is the skills of performing their techniques correctly and beautifully, which have no significant role in cleansing, building and nourishing. In other words, even when they have good skills to perform their techniques correctly and beautifully, their practice will not result in cleansing, building and nourishing, which in turn give them benefits like overcoming pain and illness, attaining good health, vitality, and developing internal force and mental clarity.

                            This is a crucial fact that most chi kung and kungfu practitioners do not know. Hence, they may have practice chi kung or kungfu techniques for many years, yet remain sick, weak and stressful, or have no internal force and mental clarity.

                            The skills that result in cleansing, building and nourishing which in turn give benefits of good health, vitality, longevity, internal force and mental clarity are generating chi flow, which may become vigorous and result in self-manifested chi movement, or which may be consolidated into internal force. The great majority of chi kung and kungfu practitioners have no concept about these skills.

                            Most practitioners also do not think of standing meditation as part of chi kung and kungfu training. Hence, they do not have purposeful experiences of entering a chi kung state of mind, entering Zen, entering Tao, building internal force at the dan tian, and enjoying inner peace as part of their chi kung or kungfu training.

                            Nevertheless, such experiences sometimes occur haphazardly to a few of these practitioners, but not on purpose of their training. On occasions when a few of them have performed their techniques ideally, they may enter into a meditative state of mind, generate a chi flow, and consolidate chi into internal force, all of which without their conscious knowing.

                            Because these occur haphazardly without the practitioners consciously and purposefully working on these results, the results take a long time to materialize. It usually take years, and it happens only to a very few, who would then be regarded as masters. With results accumulating haphazardly over many years, in chi kung these rare masters would have radiant health, and the rare kungfu masters would have internal force.
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                            • #89
                              Question and Answer - 9 - Part 6

                              Just the answer to question 9, Matt's skillful question, is priceless - and there are another 9 in this Q&A, and other Q&A's

                              Question and Answer - 9 - Part 6

                              Question 9 (Original question)

                              My experiences with cleansing lead me to understand that the pattern (Lifting the Sky) and the skill (generating a chi flow) are used to start the process, but the real "work" of cleansing takes place during the self-manifested chi flow. At the end, the standing meditation seems to help the healing set in and take hold.

                              My experiences with building, however, are a bit different. With Iron Wire, my experience tells me that the "work" of building takes place during the patterns (Iron Wire) with the skill (Force or Flow method). Self-manifested chi flow, in this case, seems to be used as a safety valve to counter any blockages. Again, standing meditation seems to help the building set in and take hold.

                              I do not have much direct experience of nourishing, so I cannot comment on that.

                              Can you please elaborate on the roles of pattern, skill, self-manifested chi flow, and standing meditation during cleansing, building, and nourishing?

                              Sifu Matt Fenton


                              Answer (contd)
                              ...These rare chi kung and kungfu masters would not refer to entering into a meditative state of mind, generating a chi flow and consolidating chi into internal force as skills. They cannot actualize these processes on purpose. These processes occur spontaneously when they have performed their techniques in ideal conditions, and they are unaware of these processes going on inside their body. They are only aware of the end-results as radiant health and internal force.

                              In other words, for the great majority of chi kung and kungfu practitioners, patterns, skills and standing meditation do not play any significant roles in cleansing, building and nourishing. They are only aware of patterns, and are not aware of all the other factors. To them, their arts are just practicing patterns. Because they do not experience cleansing, building and nourishing, they do not have the benefits of good health, internal force and mental clarity.

                              However, a very few of these practitioners do attain the skills of chi flow and a meditative state of mind, and experience cleansing, building and nourishing, with the result of good health, internal force and mental clarity. But they are unaware of the skills and the processes, which occur haphazardly and spontaneously without their conscious knowing. They are only aware of the end-results which have taken them a long time to attain. They are regarded as masters for their achievements.

                              I myself went through the same processes. Because I was (and still am) a fast learner and had excellent teachers, my progress was much faster than most other masters. I also had (and still have) an inquisitive mind and a large collection of chi kung and kungfu classics, enabling me to investigate into the underlying principles of these processes.

                              My turn-over of classes I teach is very large – larger than that of most masters by a big margin. Most masters may teach two or three classes a year, I teach more than a hundred. This has enabled me to improve my teaching methodology tremendously.

                              Chi flow and entering into a meditative state of mind were two of the earliest skills I discovered in my early years of teaching. They are also crucial skills that bring about cleansing, building and nourishing, which result in good health, internal force and mental clarity.

                              I remember that my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, once told me that entering into a meditative state of mind was very important. If my mind was wandering, he told me, I might as well don’t train for there would not be any benefit in the training.

                              Sometimes I also experienced internal chi flow, like while performing One-Finger Shoot Zen or while standing still after performing some chi kung patterns. But my sifu did not encourage chi flow! I developed chi flow, including self-manifested chi movement, druing my teaching.

                              In my early teaching, there were no special methods to enter into a chi kung state of mind or to generate a chi flow. I just taught students the patterns of Eighteen Lohan Hands, and asked them to be relaxed and not thinking of anything while performing the exercise.

                              As many students could not relax, I devised a simple routine to help them to relax from head to toes at the beginning of a class. I still use this method in beginners’ courses.

                              Having the mouth gently open is an important step to relaxation. I found that many students had their mouth close. So I asked them to open their mouth, like smiling. Then I told them not just to smile from their lips but from their heart.

                              “Smile from the Heart” was then introduced into this relaxation routine at the beginning of a class. Many students have since told me that “Smile from the Heart” is the best lesson they have learnt from our school.
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                              • #90
                                Wonderful
                                Sifu Andrew Barnett
                                Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland - www.shaolin-wahnam.ch

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