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18 Lohan hands : 10 Questions to Grandmaster Wong

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  • #16
    18 Lohan Hands-Answer 2 Part 1

    18 Lohan Hands-Answer 2 Part 1:

    Question 2

    Sifu, would you kindly share with us which one is, from the 18 Lohan Hands, your favorite one? why? Did you have any "Aha" Experiences while in your own practice and/or teaching them? If so, would you kindly share the one/s that you might consider more relevant?

    Santiago


    Answer,

    Without doubt “Lifting the Sky” is my favorite not only from the 18 Lohan Hands but from all chi kung exercises. This is the chi kung exercise that I practice the most by a big margin from the second.

    When someone asks me which chi kung exercise I have practiced the most, I have no hesitation to answer that it is “Lifting the sky”. If he asks me which exercise I have practiced the second most,, I would have to think hard for an answer. Actually I still haven’t thought out the answer.

    Why is “Lifting the Sky” the one I have practiced the most?

    Historically it was the first chi kung exercise I learned from my Sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam. Rather this was the first exercise I recognized then as chi kung, and performed it correctly.

    On hindsight the first chi kung exercises I learned were the various stances from Uncle Righteousness in Penang taught to me by a siheng, but at that time I practiced them as enduring physical exercise.

    I also learned chi kung exercises from Wuzuquan in Sifu Chee Kim Thong’s school in Dungun, taught to me by his eldest son, Sifu Chee Boon Leong. The whole San Zhan set was chi kung, but I did not derive any chi kung benefit from it, not because of my teacher’s teaching but because of my own ignorance.

    I also learned Abdominal Breathing from my Wuzuquan sihengs, who had much internal force, but I only performed the technique, lacking the skills to develop internal force. I knew then that Abdominal Breathing was chi kung, but I did not succeed in practicing it as chi kung. Without realizing it myself, I practiced it as gentle physical exercise.

    “Lifting the Sky” was the first chi kung exercise that I performed correctly as chi kung. If I remember correctly, it was the first exercise Sifu Ho Fatt Nam taught me, even before teaching me stances. And he taught it to me himself, not delegating it to one of my seniors.

    My sifu did not tell me it was chi kung, neither did I regard it as chi kung. As a good student, I just learned and practiced it dutifully. Indeed my sifu did not tell me anything special about “Lifting the Sky”. All that about “Lifting the Sky” I am going to explain below came later from my own experience, my students’ experiences and my research into chi kung classics.

    I practiced “Lifting the Sky” everyday at the start of my kungfu training, as taught to me by my sifu. This is good confirmation of my advice to students that by following faithfully what the teacher teaches, and not by trying to be smarter than him to add practice material on their own, the students will get the best benefits.

    I did not generate external chi flow movements with “Lifting the Sky” like what we do in Shaolin Wahnam. But there must be internal chi flow, though I was not aware of it at that time, because I obtained a lot of chi kung benefits.

    My migraine and hemorrhoids disappeared without my conscious knowing. I might not be conscious of it then, but “Lifting the Sky” improved my posture, mental clarity and kungfu performance.

    Because of the many benefits that I myself have obtained from it, if I have to teach someone a chi kung exercise, I would inevitably choose “Lifting the Sky”. It was later on hindsight that I listed out why “Lifting the Sky” was my favorite. The reasons are as follows.

    1. It is relatively easy to learn and to practice.
    2. The benefits are many and varied.
    3. The benefits range from the basic to masters’ levels.
    4. At the basic level, it generates an energy flow.
    5. At the most advanced level, it can enable practitioners to attain the highest spiritual fulfillment.
    6. The benefits come relatively quickly.
    7. Even when it is performed wrongly, out of carelessness or forgetfulness, the adverse effects are not serious.
    8. Even when it is performed as gentle physical exercise, the benefits are good, like relaxation, good posture and loosening joints and muscles.

    I did not learn the complete set of 18 Lohan Hands from my sifu. He only taught me “Lifting the Sky”, “Separating Water” and “Big Windmill”, and each exercise was taught to meet the need at the time.

    “Lifting the Sky” was taught to start my kungfu training. I remember my sifu saying, “There is no need for warming up in kungfu. But Lifting the Sky acts like an excellent warming up exercise.”

    “Separating Water” was taught to increase my internal force. “Big Windmill” was taught as part of my Cosmos Palm training.

    (Part 2 follows)
    Last edited by Luo Lang; 31 May 2013, 08:57 AM.
    "From formless to form, from form to formless"

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

    Website: www.enerqi.ch

    Comment


    • #17
      Wow!

      Fantastic answers from Sifu!

      Thank you Sifu, Roland and all of you that have such interesting questions.
      Daniel Pérez
      http://www.shaolinbcn.es

      Comment


      • #18
        18 Lohan Hands-Answer 2 Part 2

        18 Lohan Hands-Answer 2 Part 2

        (Continued from Part 1)


        I once asked my sifu politely whether I could learn the whole set of 18 Lohan Hands. He explained kindly, “18 Lohan Hands were meant to make the Shaolin monks healthy so that they could practice kungfu. You are already very healthy. Focus on your kungfu.” I am grateful for his advice, otherwise I might not have the kungfu attainment I now have.

        I was sentimental over the 18 Lohan Hands because they were the exercises taught by our first patriarch, the great Bodhidharma. So years later after leaving Kuala Trengganu where I learned from Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, I researched extensively and deeply into the 18 Lohan Hands.

        I gathered the 18 exercises I considered the best and formulated them into a set, starting with the widely known set of eight Taoist chi kung exercises known as the Eight Pieces of Brocade.

        Interestingly, the health exercises I practiced as a boy scout, and which were listed in the book, Scouting for Boys, were similar to the eight chi kung exercises in Eight Pieces of Brocade.

        I remetmber I was smiling to myself when I formulated the 18 Lohan Hands, thinking that future critics would point to our 18 Lohan Hands and say, “Hey! Look, these so-called Shaolin chi kung exercises were taken from Taoist chi kung1”

        Image my surprise when later I found in a classic that the same 18 Lohan Hands were recorded in the same order I listed them in our set! I could only attribute this wonderful co-incidence (or was it a co-incidence?) to my tapping into the past during meditation, or more poetically to divine guidance.

        I had a few “Aha” experiences with “Lifting the Sky” and other of the 18 Lohan Hands.

        Aha, I discovered that not only I could generate an energy flow with “Lifting the Sky”, which was the original and usually the main purpose of my practice with this exercise, but also I could build internal force, not only at my arms but all over my body and focus the force at my dan tian.

        Aha, I discovered that I could use “Lifting the Sky” to generate a cosmic shower. Before this, the method I used was Taoist meditation, opening the rush meridian and let energy blossomed out from “baihui” like a fountain, and come down as cosmic shower. This method was called “Opening of Five Petals” and would take years to accomplish. Now, using “Lifting the Sky” or “Carrying the Moon”, I could transmit the skill to students and let them have a cosmic shower in just a one-day course. It was ridiculous but true.

        Aha, in fact I could use “Lifting the Sky” or any chi kung exercise, though “Lifting the Sky” is usually more cost-effective than the others, to accomplish any chi kung skills! Not only the highest kungfu, but also the highest chi kung, is the mind.

        Besides “Lifting the Sky”, I also had a “Aha” experience with the prosaic-looking “Big Windmill”. The “Big Windmill” my sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, taught me was the forceful “Big Windmill”, not the gentle “Big Windmill” we normally practice in our school.

        This “Aha” experience happened years ago. After performing the forceful “Big Windmill” a few times I felt my arms and palms very powerful. I thought I could try breaking a brick. It broke, and I was very surprised because earlier I spent more than 2 years training Iron Palm from a book but I could not break a brick.

        I thought it could be accidental. I tried a second time, and the brick broke. I tried a third time, and the brick still broke.

        Another “Aha” experience was with “Three Levels to Ground”. At first I did not think highly of this exercise, though in my younger days I practiced it everyday for two years in the Art of Flexibility, and taught it often to people with knee or leg problems to help them recover. I sometimes wondered why I considered it one of the best 18 exercises to be included in the 18 Lohan Hands. It must be divine guidance.

        It was during the UK Summer Camp in 2007 that I broke some tendons at my right knee during a kick. The injury was so back that I could hardly walk up some stairs. I did “Three Levels to Ground” and “Bear Walk”. In two days, my right knee recovered! Suddenly it occurred to me that Bodhidharm is great.


        <End>
        "From formless to form, from form to formless"

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

        Website: www.enerqi.ch

        Comment


        • #19
          I don' t cease to be amazed at Sifu's answers, so informative and interesting!

          Thank you Sifu!
          Sifu Adalia Iglesias
          Barcelona- Spain
          www.chikung-bcn.com
          chikung.bcn@gmail.com

          Comment


          • #20
            Wow! I am speechless!!!

            Thank you Sigung!!

            Comment


            • #21
              Dear Sigung,

              Thank you for continuing to be so generous with the Special Question & Answer series. They are invaluable assets to both Shaolin Wahnam and non-Shaolin Wahnam members alike.

              My questions:

              At St. Pete, you taught us how to use Lifting the Sky and Carrying the Moon from the 18 Lohan hands to generate a Cosmic Shower.

              1. What are the benefits of having a Cosmic Shower vs. having a vigorous chi flow induced by Lifting the Sky and/or Carrying the Moon?

              2. There are times when I become tired from travelling and working long hours. Can we generate a Cosmic Shower on the spot to energize ourselves without practicing Lifting the Sky or Carrying the Moon first? If so, how do we go about doing so?


              Thank you,
              Stephen
              Last edited by DarkCosmoz; 6 June 2013, 02:17 AM.

              Comment


              • #22
                Thank You Sifu for these amazing answers.

                I can't look forward to them enough.

                Thank you Roland Sihing for posting.

                Best regards,
                Claude
                Love is wonderful, because anyone with love in his heart wants to see everyone in bliss, everyone healthy and everyone availing freedom. This is the state of a man who considers the world as his family. Such are the wise man, the great souls. (Shri Shantananda Saraswati)

                Comment


                • #23
                  18 Lohan Hands-Answer 3 Part 1

                  18 Lohan Hands-Answer 3 Part 1:

                  Question 3

                  Are there any circumstances or scenarios when a student's interests would be best served by practicing the 18 Lohan Hands exclusively over a prolonged period of time (say 10-15 years) and not integrating other styles (e.g. Sinew Metamorphosis, 18 Lohan Arts etc) into his or her practice?

                  Kevin


                  Answer

                  Yes, the following are some of the circumstances or scenarios.

                  The student does not have an opportunity to learn other arts, like Sinew Metamorphosis or 18-Lohan Art.

                  His interests would be best served by practicing the 18 Lohan Hands exclusively over a prolonged period of time. If he stops practicing, he would not gain any chi kung benefits.

                  If he practices the 18 Lohan Hands well, he can gain a lot of benefit, including good health, vitality, longevity, mental freshness and spiritual joys. He may even achieve the highest spiritual attainment, i.e. attainment Enlightenment or returning to God the Holy Spirit, though he could probably attain it more cost-effectively through higher arts like Zen meditation if he had the opportunity to practice it.

                  If he practices mediocrely, he can still gain benefits that he would not have gained had he not practiced.

                  Even if the art he practices is not genuine chi kung but gentle physical exercise, he would still gain some benefit, like loosening joints and muscles, being relaxed and having good posture which will enable his organs to function at their best.

                  This scenario is not likely to occur in our modern world because people today have opportunities unimagined before in the past, even though most of the arts taught today have been grossly debased, which leads to the next scenario. But in the past the scenario was not uncommon. Just to practice chi kung, which would be of a lower level than the 18 Lohan Hands, was a rare opportunity.

                  Even at the Shaolin Temple, where the best arts were taught, many monks only had the opportunity to practice the 18 Lohan Hands. Sinew Metamorphosis, 18-Lohan Arts, Shaolin Kungfu and other forms of chi kung were not available to them.

                  Another scenario is that the other types of chi kung available are of a low level or not genuine, and only the 19 Lohan Hands is worthy. Then it would be to the studdent’s interest to practice just the 18 Lohan Hands exclusively over a prolonged period of time.

                  This, in fact, was the real life scenario for many years when only the 18 Lohan Hands, or a selection of the exercises, was taught in our school. Before I taught the 18 Lohan Hands to the public, chi kung was very rare anywhere in the world.

                  (Part 2 follows)
                  "From formless to form, from form to formless"

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

                  Website: www.enerqi.ch

                  Comment


                  • #24
                    Thank you Sifu for another great Q&A series.

                    I found a nice picture of the 18 Lohans:
                    18luohuan.jpg

                    I knew of the Buddha's disciple who attained Enlightenment while constantly sweeping the floor, but I did not know that he was one of the 18 Lohans. His story is very inspiring, especially for those not gifted with good memory.

                    The story of how Sifu put the 18 exercises together and later found out they were the same set as in the classics is truly amazing.

                    Thank you Sifu!

                    Best wishes,

                    Leo
                    Sifu Leonard Lackinger

                    Wahnam Wien Logo

                    Shaolin Wahnam Wien
                    Shaolin Cosmos Chi Kung
                    Southern Shaolin Kung Fu
                    Wahnam Tai Chi Chuan

                    Shaolin Wahnam Wien on facebook
                    Shaolin Wahnam Wien on YouTube

                    Comment


                    • #25
                      18 Lohan Hands-Answer 3 Part 2

                      18 Lohan Hands-Answer 3 Part 2:

                      (Continued from Part 1)

                      I first taught a package-course of 18 Lohan Hands for six months. It was revolutionary. No one, as far as I know, did something like this before. Before this, chi kung, better known as nei kung or internal art then, was taught as part of advanced kungfu to selected disciples.

                      Some kungfu masters thought I had gone crazy. Firstly, they questioned why I taught chi kung to the public; it was meant only for exclusive students. Secondly, they asked how I could teach chi kung in six months. Chi kung training was supposed to be for years. In such circumstances, which actually was the first scenario above, it would be to students’ interest to practice 18 Lohan Hands for a prolonged period of time.

                      Gradually chi kung teachers from China went overseas, mainly to Southeast Asia, to teach chi kung in packaged courses like what I did. But what they taught was mainly gentle physical exercise, though they used chi kung forms. Some local chi kung teachers also started to teach chi kung to the public, mostly on a long term basis instead of in packaged courses. But their chi kung was of a lower level than our18 Lohan Hands even at the early history of our school.

                      This was the second scenario. Although there were a few different types of chi kung available, only 18 Lohan Hands was worthy, the rest was low-level or just gentle physical exercise. In such a scenario, it is to the students’ interest to practice 18 Lohan Hands exclusively over a prolonged period.

                      A third scenario is that, for some reasons, other types of chi kung though available elsewhere and for other people, are not accessible to a student. Then it is to his interest to practice 18 Lohan Hands exclusively for a prolonged period of time.

                      Another scenario is that other types of chi kung, though accessible, are not suitable to him. For some odd reasons, he only finds 18 Lohan Hands beneficial. In this scenario it is to his interest to practice 18 Lohan Hands exclusively for a prolonged period of time. This scenario, however, is academic. In real life, it is very unlikely to happen because it is very unlikely that other types of chi kung are unsuitable for any particular persons.

                      The fifth scenario is that although other types of chi kung are beneficial, 18 Lohan Hands gives a student the best benefits. In such a scenario it is to his interest that he practices 18 Lohan Hands exclusively for a prolonged period. This scenario too is academic. It is unlikely to happen in real life. Although 18 Lohan Hands is an excellent start, as students progress they will find other types of chi kung more cost-effective.


                      <End>
                      "From formless to form, from form to formless"

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

                      Website: www.enerqi.ch

                      Comment


                      • #26
                        Dear all,

                        So far I have found the first answers very illuminating. I love Sifu's account on how he got introduced into Chi Kung by Sigung Ho and I appreciate it very much that Sifu was listening to Sigung's advice to focus on his Kung Fu training. I believe not only our Kung Fu but also our Chi Kung niveau has greatly benefited by that course of action.

                        It's also interesting to have an impression, how the 18 Lohan Hands in particular were trained in the Shaolin temple in the past. On the other hand it's amazing how Sifu's teachings on the 18 Lohan Hands have developed during all those years.

                        I believe the upcoming Swiss course where Sifu offers to teach the whole Set of the 18 Lohan Hands in just one day is another not to be missed opportunity. Interestingly in Mai I was able to attend some Chi Kung courses in Italy and I was amazed how deep Sifu lead the advanced practitioners into exercises which are already well known. Even Lifting the Sky an exercise I train since the beginning of my Chi Kung career seems to still store many secrets.
                        "From formless to form, from form to formless"

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

                        Website: www.enerqi.ch

                        Comment


                        • #27
                          18 Lohan Hands-Answer 4 Part 1

                          The amazing Question/Answer series continue:

                          Question 4

                          On your website www.shaolin.org/chikung/lohan.html#p1 you explain that "the Shaolin Eighteen Lohan Hands are fundamental chi kung exercises" and that "at the Shaolin Monastery, these Eighteen Lohan Hands evolved into a kungfu set called “Eighteen Lohan Fist”, which forms the prototype of Shaolin Kungfu today."

                          Please can you share your views about whether you believe there was always an intention to evolve the set into a martial art at a later date? Why or why not?

                          Please can you discuss the extent to which the fundamental nature of the chi kung set also provides benefits and capabilities relevant to the martial art?

                          Matt


                          Answer:

                          Bodhidharma’s original aim in teaching the Eighteen Lohan Hands to the Shaolin monks when he found them too weak for the vigorous task of mediation was to strengthened them. There was a strong debate in Buddhist circles whether the physical body was important.

                          One school believed that as Enlightenment concerned the mind, the body was not important. Another school contented that though the mind was most important, as the mind was housed in the body, the body was also important.

                          Bodhidharma belonged to the second school. He advocated that if the body was week, it would not be efficient to cultivate the mind for the highest spiritual Enlightenment.

                          He taught the monks the Eighteen Lohan Hands to strengthened them, not just physically but also emotionally, mentally and spiritually so that the monks could better meditate for Enlightenment. Hence, there was no intention for Bodhidharma as well as the Shaolin monks in general to evolve the Eighteen Lohan Hands into a martial art.

                          Nevertheless, among the Shaolin monks were many retired generals who were expert in martial art. When they practiced the Eighteen Lohan Hands, they modified the exercises to suit their martial needs. I believe it was a gradual process, and there was no conscious intention of doing so.

                          In other words, the monks who were retired generals did not set out to change the Eighteen Lohan Hands, but because of their martial background, they practiced the same exercises differently from other monks who did not have martial art background.

                          For example, while performing “Punching with Angry Eyes”, a martial art monk might have done so with internal force, whereas other monks would do so more physically. Instead of performing the exercise in a stationary mood, he might have moved about in stances.

                          When performing “Dancing Crane”, a martial art monk might have changed his open palms into tiger-claws, and over time the pattern might evolve into what we now call “Tame Tiger with a String of Beads”.

                          Instead of standing at one spot, martial art monks might have performed the various eighteen exercises moving about. Eventually these moving patterns were linked together into a set called Eighteen Lohan Fist, which became the prototype of Shaolin Kungfu.

                          The transition was gradual. The evolution from Eighteen Lohan Hands to Eighteen Lohan Fist took many generations. Just as there were different versions of Eighteen Lohan Hands, they were also different versions of Eighteen Lohan Fist, and monks at different time periods would prefer different versions.

                          Parallel to this evolution of Eighteen Lohan Hands into Eighteen Lohan Fist, was the evolution of Eighteen Lohan Hands into Eighteen-Lohan Art.

                          In stead of performing “Plucking Star” in a upright standing position, some martial art monks might perform it in a Bow-Arrow Stance. Some of them might find rotating their waist improve their flexibility for combat. Gradually this evolved into ”Rhinoceros Looks at Moon”.

                          Other martial art monks might perform “Lifting the Sky” while sitting on a Horse-Riding Stance, and eventually they found this could generate a lot of internal force. Hence, gradually the pattern evolved into “Big Boss Lifts Bronze Vessel”.

                          We in Shaolin Wahnam are very lucky. We inherit these gradual evolutions which might took many centuries, and derive a lot of benefits from practicing their resultant arts. The arts we inherit are the crystallization of the effort of these past Shaolin masters, whatever that were found not useful were discarded, leaving the best for us as a heritage.

                          (Part 2 follows)
                          "From formless to form, from form to formless"

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

                          Website: www.enerqi.ch

                          Comment


                          • #28
                            This is truly fascinating.

                            It has been said many times, but I want to repeat again that we are very, very lucky to have a Grandmaster of such a high caliber being so generous in spreading the Shaolin arts, and sharing all this wisdom.

                            Thank you Sifu. Thank you Siheng for creating this thread and thx to everyone for asking the questions!

                            Tim

                            Comment


                            • #29
                              Of course I am very grateful to all the past masters who created and passed on the arts in the past, but it is truly amazing to witness how Sifu crystallizes the arts and improves the teaching methodology within decades for what generations of dedicated monks took centuries.

                              We are indeed very lucky. Sifu does not only teach us even the well-kept secrets, but also a wide variety of sets, training methods and specialized skills while students of the past were considered lucky if they got a chance to learn a single one.

                              Inspired by this thread I created a list of special/thematic benefits of the exercises of 18 Lohan Hands with Sifu’s generous help to complement it. The list can be found here: http://www.wongkiewkit.com/forum/sho...ecial-benefits

                              I’m very looking forward to part 2 of the evolution progress and the further answers.

                              Thank you Sifu and Roland Siheng!

                              Best wishes,

                              Leo
                              Sifu Leonard Lackinger

                              Wahnam Wien Logo

                              Shaolin Wahnam Wien
                              Shaolin Cosmos Chi Kung
                              Southern Shaolin Kung Fu
                              Wahnam Tai Chi Chuan

                              Shaolin Wahnam Wien on facebook
                              Shaolin Wahnam Wien on YouTube

                              Comment


                              • #30
                                Thank you Sigung for another of your amazing 10 Questions series.
                                Shaolin Wahnam USA

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

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