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Secrets of Building Internal Force: 10 Questions to the Grandmaster

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  • #46
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    • #47
      Thank you Sifu. We're so very lucky to learn all these wonderful arts from you.

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      • #48
        Question and Answer - 7 - Part 1

        Question and Answer - 7 - Part 1

        Question 7

        There is a lot of misinformation in the world about internal force. For example, both the Sanchin of Karate and the San Zhan of Wuzuquan from which it was derived have both been described as "dynamic tension" exercises by sources claiming to be authoritative.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_tension

        Iron Wire has been described as "qigong" meaning "meditative breathing" combined with isometric exercise/dynamic tension:
        “The Iron Wire form is essentially a combination of Hei Gung (Chinese: 气功; pinyin: qigong) or meditative breathing with isometric exercise, particularly dynamic tension, although weights were also used in traditional practice in the form of iron rings worn on the wrists. If properly practiced, it can increase strength considerably and promote a stable root. However as with both most forms of qigong and most forms of isometric exercise, it must be practiced regularly or the benefits are quickly lost. “
        Please can you define the difference between dynamic tension and internal force?
        Please can you describe the difference in benefits a practitioner will gain from attending this course, “Secrets of Building Internal Froce”. vs. a course on dynamic tension?

        Sifu Andy Cusick


        Answer

        It is indeed sad, and shocking, that much misinformation about internal force and other aspects of internal arts is regarded by the ignorant public as authoritative given by people wrongly regarded as “masters”.

        Sometimes the misinformation is ridiculous, and even hilarious. In my early years of teaching chi kung in Germany, a student told me that a famous chi kung “master” told him that he should not look at things, including pretty girls, for doing so would cause energy escaping from his eyes! “If you can’t even look at pretty girls, why do you practice chi kung then?” I asked him.

        When I was in Canada, some students told me that their teacher, who was a world known chi kung “master”, forbid them to take sugar. This teacher would be shocked to know that I put three sachets of sugar into my coffee.

        Indeed, when I first taught in Spain, many students were shocked to see the quantity of sugar I put into my drinks. Later when they found that I was still alive and kicking despite the sugar, they fed me with delicious ham.

        Performing Sanchin of Karate or San Zhan of Wuzuquan as dynamic tension exercise is not only shocking, though it is often done, but is also dangerous. A student, who practiced Karate before, told me that his former Karate teacher advised him not to practice Sanchin often as it shortened his life. I wonder why the Karate teacher taught Sanchin in the first place.

        Describing qigong as meditative breathing is incorrect. While meditative breathing may be used in some forms of chi kung, there are many forms of chi kung where practitioners are not concerned about their breathing, meditative or otherwise. Practicing Iron Wire with isometric exercise or dynamic tension is dangerous, especially when the harm is insidious. But many “masters” actually do that, developing big muscles instead of internal force.

        It is true that if it is properly practiced, whether as genuine internal art or as isometric exercise, it can increase strength considerably and promote a stable root, the strength and root will be greater when practiced as an internal art besides more important benefits like good health, vitality and longevity. But it is not true when Iron Wire is correctly practiced as an internal art that its benefits are quickly lost. This is only true when it is wrongly practiced as isometric exercise.

        In dynamic tension, muscles are tensed to produce strength. If the muscles are not tensed, strength is not produced. The amount of strength produced is related to the size of the muscles as well as the speed of muscular movement. The bigger the muscles, and the faster the speed, the more strength is produced.

        Dynamic tension restricts energy flow, causing blockage which is detrimental to health. Dynamic tension is also stressful to the mind, or spirit. It “locks” the spirit, making the practitioner constraint, irritable or angry.

        In internal force training, it is very important to be relaxed. Muscular tension blocks energy flow, which will stop the flow of internal force. The more relaxed a practitioner is, the great will the internal force generated. This is quite incomprehensive to many people, as they are used to the concept of muscular strength which requires tensing muscles, and ignorant of the concept of internal force. When a person is relaxed, together with internal force, he will produce better result no matter what he does.
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        • #49
          Thank you, Sifu! I hope many people will be able to go on and get the benefits of the internal arts as you have transmitted them.

          Thank you Sihing Barry for mediating this series.

          Best,
          Sifu Andy Cusick

          Shaolin Wahnam Thailand
          Shaolin Qigong

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          "a trained mind brings health and happiness"
          - ancient wisdom

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          • #50
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            • #51
              In internal force training, it is very important to be relaxed. Muscular tension blocks energy flow, which will stop the flow of internal force. The more relaxed a practitioner is, the great will the internal force generated.
              How much clearer does Sifu need to be? Yet so many people still make the mistake of tensing when attempting to develop internal force.
              Sifu Andrew Barnett
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              • #52
                Question and Answer - 7 - Part 2

                Question and Answer - 7 - Part 2

                Question 7 (Original question)

                There is a lot of misinformation in the world about internal force. For example, both the Sanchin of Karate and the San Zhan of Wuzuquan from which it was derived have both been described as "dynamic tension" exercises by sources claiming to be authoritative.

                https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dynamic_tension

                Iron Wire has been described as "qigong" meaning "meditative breathing" combined with isometric exercise/dynamic tension:
                “The Iron Wire form is essentially a combination of Hei Gung (Chinese: 气功; pinyin: qigong) or meditative breathing with isometric exercise, particularly dynamic tension, although weights were also used in traditional practice in the form of iron rings worn on the wrists. If properly practiced, it can increase strength considerably and promote a stable root. However as with both most forms of qigong and most forms of isometric exercise, it must be practiced regularly or the benefits are quickly lost. “
                Please can you define the difference between dynamic tension and internal force?
                Please can you describe the difference in benefits a practitioner will gain from attending this course, “Secrets of Building Internal Froce”. vs. a course on dynamic tension?

                Sifu Andy Cusick


                Answer (Contd.)

                ... Internal force training not only sets the spirit free, but also strengthens it. Hence, the practitioner feels liberated, peaceful and happy. Internal force training contributes to good health, vitality and longevity, whereas dynamic tension is detrimental.

                As the name of the course reveals, course participants will learn the secrets of building internal force. Whether course participants will learn the secrets of dynamic tension depends on whether the teacher is competent. As most chi kung and kungfu teachers today are incompetent, not even knowing that what they teach are gentle physical exercise and gymnastics instead of genuine chi kung and genuine kingfu, and as this course is in the context of chi kung and kungfu, it is reasonable to believe that getting a competent teacher to teach dynamic tension is difficult.

                Even if such a competent teacher is available, why would anyone take a course on dynamic tension when a course on internal force, which is far superior, is available? Nevertheless, comparison with dynamic tension will be made when discussing the benefits participants get from the internal force course.

                It is worth the effort and time to learn the secrets of building internal force because internal force is very beneficial. It is unnecessary to learn the secrets of dynamic tension because it is detrimental to health, vitality and longevity. Even the benefits dynamic tension can give, like strength and endurance, are inferior to the relevant benefits from internal force.

                In the internal force course participants learn the two main methods of building internal force, i.e. the flow method and the force method. When they have acquired the two skills, they can apply them to almost any techniques. For example, in Iron Wire, the standard way is to consolidate force using the force method, but course participants may even use the flow method. In Yang Style Taijiquan, the standard way is to increase energy flow using the flow method, but course participants may use the force method. This, I believe, is unprecedented in the whole history of chi kung and kungfu.

                I do not know much about dynamic tension, but I believe there is only one method, which is tensing the muscles and relaxing them. I am doubtful that when one has acquired the skill of dynamic tension, he may apply the skill to other methods, if any. I believe many practitioners of dynamic tension may not even differentiate between skills and techniques and benefits.

                There are countless benefits in internal force, but all these benefits may be classified into three categories:

                1. To maintain life.
                2. To enhance life.
                3. To have better result in whatever we do.

                When disease-causing agents, like virus and negative emotions, get into our body, we remove them with our internal force, usually without our conscious awareness. This is an example of maintaining life.

                When previously you became mentally tired easily and panting for breaths after some physical activities, now you can enjoy your work and play for a long time without becoming tired or panting for breaths. This is an example of enhancing life.

                Previously you had to read over a page a few times and yet did not know what the author was writing. Now you read over the page once and comprehend clearly. This is an example of enabling you to have better result no matter what you do.

                Apart from professions where big muscles count, like being a bouncer or a porter, and appearing muscular to other people, there are not many benefits of training in dynamic tension besides strength and endurance, which are still inferior to strength and endurance derived from internal force.

                Training dynamic tension does not maintain life. In fact, it distracts from life. Energy that is meant to nourish internal organs is diverted to build big muscles.

                Training dynamic tension does not enhance life. In fact, it distract from life. The internal organs and systems of dynamic tension builders have to work harder to compensate for the additional big muscles.

                Training dynamic tension does not enable practitioners to have better result in what they do. In fact, they would do worse. After a dynamic tension session, practitioners have less mental clarity, due to the mental stress of the training, and less energy, due to energy being used up in the training' They would have to rest for some time to recover before they can perform their normal mental and physical work.

                Hence, the difference in benefits participants get from an internal force course and from a dynamic tension course is great. It is not often that people have an opportunity to attend a course on “Secrets of Building Internal Force”. Needless to say, course participants do not just learn the secrets, they reap the benefits of internal force even during the course itself.
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                • #53
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                  • #54
                    Question and Answer - 8 - Part 1

                    Lots more still to come


                    Question and Answer - 8 - Part 1

                    Question 8

                    Please could you explain what internal force actually is in its various forms and how these forms are similar or different? I would be very grateful to understand how these forms may feel to the practitioner and what their respective benefits are?

                    Matthew


                    Answer 8

                    The term “internal force” is self-explanatory. It is force from inside.

                    Yet, no matter how well and accurately it is explained, those who have no experience of internal force will not understand the explanation.

                    Many terms fall under this category, i.e. they need direct experience to understand them. Take the word “love”. One may describe love as a many-splendid thing, or as so many types of chemicals produced in a lover’s body, but unless and until a person has experienced love, he will not understand what it is although he understands the dictionary meaning of all the words in the descriptions.

                    Past masters described the training of internal force as the training of essence, energy and spirit, whereas the training of external force as the training of tendons, bones and muscles. If you do leg stretching, hit your arms against a wooden man, and practice with weights, you train external force. If you practice stance training, meditation and Abdominal Breathing, you train internal force.

                    Hence, there are three different types of internal force due to the three different ways it is developed. They are internal force of jing, of qi and of shen, or internal force of essence, of energy and of mind.

                    These three types are similar in that they are all developed through internal cultivation. They are different in that they are developed through different aspect, that of essence, energy and mind.

                    It is worthy of note that the classification into essence, energy and mind is for convenience and is a matter of emphasis. All the three aspects are involved in all the three different cultivations, but one particular aspect is emphasized. For example, in the cultivation of essence, energy and mind are needed, but in this particular type of cultivation essence is emphasized. Similarly in the cultivation of energy, essence and mind are needed but energy is emphasized, and in the cultivation of mind, essence and energy are needed but mind is emphasized.

                    Essence refers to the finest particle of the practitioner. In modern term, it refers to sub-atomic particles. Of the three aspects, it is the one that has form. Because of the limited vision of our eyes, we may not see the form of individual sub-atomic particles, but it is present. We see the collection of trillions of sub-atomic particles as a person. Energy and mind are formless.

                    In the internal training of jing or essence, a practitioner enters into a heightened state of mind and remains in a special poise, usually, static, to let his sub-atomic particles be charged with energy. A good example is Golden Bridge. As result the practitioner becomes powerful, without having to tense his muscles, and is able to perform more efficiently any activities, especially physical activities, including sparring and demonstrations like breaking bricks.

                    In the internal training of qi or energy, a practitioner enters into a heightened state of mind and often, but nor necessarily, remains in a static poise to regulate his energy flow, often mistranslated as breathing, to enable the energy flow to harmonious and vigorous. A good example is Abdominal Breathing. As a result, the practitioner has a lot of energy which gives him good health, vitality and longevity.

                    In the internal training of shen or mind, a practitioner enters into a heightened state of consciousness, lets his energy flow be spontaneous, usually but not necessarily always in a static position like standing upright or seated in a lotus position, and cultivates his mind by taming, building and nourishing it. A good example is Standing Meditation. As a result the practitioner attains mental freshness and clarity, and at higher levels, attain spiritual awakenings irrespective of religion.

                    Past masters also classified internal force cultivation into three categories, namely qinggong, qigong and yingong, or art of lightness, art of energy, and art of harness.

                    Please take note that these classifications are meant for convenience, and not rigid compartmentalization. There is often much over-lapping. Cultivation of jing, qi and shen, or essence, energy and mind, is involved in all these arts of lightness, energy and hardness. On the other hand, any art in the cultivation of essence, energy and mind can also be classified into arts of lightness, energy and hardness.
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                    • #55
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                      • #56
                        Thank You :-)

                        Dear Shaolin Wahnam Family,

                        I want to thank Sifu one more time for his guidance and generosity. It is so easy to deviate in Internal Force training that I feel really grateful that Sifu is making my practice so safe as the benefits of Internal Force Training are so many that it would have been a pity to miss this golden opportunity.

                        I have personally increased my Internal Force training since past St. Valentines Course. I noticed an increase in performance, mental clarity, energy levels and well being. I have been focusing my practice mainly in "Vigorous Chi Flow" for the past 5 years. Big lesson for me to understand that Cleansing, Building and Nourishing are all part of the training and finding a balance provided me more benefits.

                        For example, I have been lacking of courage for a long time. By increasing my Internal Force training I experienced a big increase in my confidence and courage. On the other hand, when I trained too much Internal Force I experienced arrogance, bad thoughts and hot temper. That was a sign for me to reduce my practice and adjust it to my level of development.

                        The Question and Answers that Sifu provides are of incredible value for my practice as I can find the best balance and learn through direct experience what is the best formula for safely progressing in my training.

                        Thank you Sifu for giving me always such a good advises. The one below was very meaningful for me:

                        My best advice, though it may sound odd to many students, including you, is not to over-practice. Actually what you are practicing now is more than enough. You should practice less, and spend more time with your girlfriend or girlfriends. In your case, the phrase “less is more” is very appropriate. By training less, you will actually get more benefits, both in kungfu and in your daily life.
                        I want to also thank Barry Siheng for facilitating this amazing thread and to all the participants for contributing to another "modern classic" :-)

                        With Love, Care and Shaolin Salute,

                        Santiago

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                        • #57
                          Thank you Sifu, like Sihing Andrew said you explain how to develop force and combat efficiency clearly. Even though I knew most of the answers I still benefit a lot from having things explained to me again.

                          I'm really looking forward to this course!

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                          • #58
                            Question and Answer - 8 - Part 2

                            Question and Answer - 8 - Part 2

                            Question 8 (Original question)

                            Please could you explain what internal force actually is in its various forms and how these forms are similar or different? I would be very grateful to understand how these forms may feel to the practitioner and what their respective benefits are?

                            Matthew


                            Answer 8 (Contd.)

                            ... Herein lies their similarity. In all the arts of lightness, energy and hardness, the cultivation is internal, involving the cultivation of essence, energy and mind. The difference in the earlier classification into training of essence, energy and mind, lies in the emphasis in training, i.e. training of essence emphasizes essence in the training, whereas training of energy or mind emphasizes energy or mind in their training. The difference in this classification into arts of lightness, energy and mind lies in their different functions.

                            Qinggong or art of lightness enables a practitioner to be “light”. His physical weight, as a skeptic ignorantly claimed in a different context, would be the same but he becomes figuratively “light” in that he can jump up very high and run very fast. Practitioners of the art of lightness are fast and agile.

                            My sifu, Sifu Ho Fatt Nam, told me that he witnessed my sigong jumping up a wall about 10 feet high. I could run many kilometers without panting and without feeling tired. Students of my Intensive Chi Kung Course could do even better. They did not have to regulate their breaths as I did when running Thousand Steps, but used chi to do their running round a training hall about 10 times without panting and without feeling tired.

                            Qigong or the art of energy is what we practice, especially in our qigong (chi kung) classes. We generate an energy flow and store our energy in our dan tian, or energy fields. The practice enables practitioners to overcome pain, injury and illness, have good health, vitality and longevity, and attain peak performance in daily life. They feel relaxed, peaceful and happy.

                            Yingong or the art of hardness is sometimes called martial art qigong because it is usually practice in martial arts, if students have the good luck to learn it. It is not hard conditioning, as some practitioners mistake it to be. It is charging up sub-atomic particles with a lot of energy so that the trained parts of a practitioner’s body become very powerful. Sometimes external tools are employed, like strike-bags and bamboos in Iron Palm and Iron Arm training, but these tools are not meant to harden the parts of the body to be trained. Practitioners of the art of hardness feel powerful and full of vitality.

                            Internal force training is also classified into hard and soft. It should be noted that “soft” here, which is “rou” in Chinese, is not what many people, especially in the West, conceptualize softness is. Soft force, like Cosmos Palm, can be more forceful than hard, or “gang”, force, like Iron Palm.

                            It should also be noted that hard force here refers to hard internal force, not external muscular strength. Because of shallow understanding due to a lack of proper guidance, some people train hard internal force wrongly as external conditioning, often resulting in insidious harm.

                            Iron Palm training is a good example. There should not be tensing of muscles when training Iron Palm. The palms of an Iron Palm practitioner, though bigger in size than palms of ordinary people, are still gentle and soft, and retain the natural functions of the palms. Training Iron Palm wrongly as hard conditioning would make the palms rough and tough, sometimes deformed, and often losing their natural functions.

                            Soft internal force training is sometimes, though wrongly, described as qigong for health. The popular but mistaken view is due to the fact that most types of soft internal force training are meant for the purposes of health, vitality and longevity. Eighteen Lohan Hands is a good example. However, soft internal force training can also be used for martial purposes, like Cosmos Palm.

                            The similarity between hard and soft internal force is that both forms involved internal cultivation, i.e. the cultivation of essence, energy and mind. Two important requirements are that in both hard and soft internal training, there should be no muscular tension and no wandering thoughts.

                            The difference lies in the nature of the force. As the name clearly denotes, hard force is “hard”, which means the force is consolidated, whereas soft force is “soft”, which means flowing. Practitioners of hard force feel powerful, and relaxed. It gives them confidence and work efficiency. Practitioners of soft force feel fresh and energetic. It gives them agility, in both thought and action.

                            It is unprecedented that we have an incredible range of internal force training methods. Understanding the philosophy of internal force, as the answer here reveals, enables us not only to be very cost-effective in our training but also sagacious in our choice of internal force to train.
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                            • #59
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                              • #60
                                Question and Answer - 9

                                Question and Answer - 9

                                Question 9

                                What are the signs that indicate that you are successfully building internal force?

                                David


                                Answer 9

                                An effective way to find out whether you are practicing an exercise or an art correctly is to access your results with the results practicing that exercise or art is meant to give.

                                If an exercise or art is meant to give ABC, and you obtain ABC, it indicates you have been practicing successfully. If you get XYZ, it indicates you have not been practicing correctly, or the exercise or art you practice is not genuine.

                                This assessment is fool-proof, yet many practitioners do not realize they do not get the results their practice is meant to give despite having practiced for a long time.

                                Why do we practice chi kung? It is to overcome pain and illness, and to have good health. Why do we practice any martial art? It is to be able to defend ourselves and to be healthy.

                                Yet, many chi kung practitioners still suffer from their pain and illness, and do not enjoy good health, but they do not realize they have not been practicing their art correctly,, or their art is not genuine. Many martial artists cannot defend themselves and are actually becoming more unhealthy despite their dedicated practice, but they do not realize their art do not bring the results it is meant to give.

                                When reminded of their folly, instead of being thankful, they become aggressive and angry. They do not want to look foolish for a day; they prefer to remain fools for life.

                                Thus, the signs that indicate you have been successful in building internal force are those signs that indicate the benefits of internal force.

                                The various benefits of internal force can be classified into three categories:

                                1. To maintain life.
                                2. To enhance life.
                                3. To enable you to have better results no matter what you do.

                                Maintaining life is the mist important function of internal force. It is also the function that is often neglected. As illness threatens life, your internal force will overcome illness more effectively than if you had no internal force. Indeed you are unlikely to be sick in the first place. All your physiological and psychological processes that keep you alive will work better than before.

                                If you have these signs, they indicate that you have successfully built internal force. If you are more prone to illness than before, it shows your training has not be correct.

                                After ensuring that life goes on harmoniously, your internal force will enhance life. All your life sustaining functions will work better than before. Hence, if you find that you have more stamina, can focus on your work more effectively, are not tired easily, you have trained internal force successful. Reversely, if you are find yourself easily out of breath, cannot concentrate on your work, or become tired easily, you have not been successful in building internal force.

                                Internal force enables you to have better results no matter what you do! When you read a book you can comprehend better, when you eat your meals you enjoy them more, when go out with your family you enjoy their company. These are signs that you have successfully build internal force. If you cannot focus on what your read, have no apatite, and are indifferent to your family, you have not been successful in your internal force training.

                                Internal force is not just for breaking bricks or your opponent’s bones. It enriches our life in countless ways.
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