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Secrets of Building Internal Force: 10 Questions to the Grandmaster

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  • Secrets of Building Internal Force: 10 Questions to the Grandmaster

    Dear Family and Visitors,

    As you know, for the UK Summer Camp 2014, Sifu has put together a program on The Secrets of Building Internal Force to help people understand, experience, and be able to use techniques of developing both flowing and consolidating force. The course is already filling up so it is obviously something that catches people's attention.

    We ran a weekend Fully Alive course recently on the same topic and Sifu kindly shared ideas about how to approach it. The results were amazing (the people there might want to share). So with Sifu teaching it, the results will be ... well difficult to come up with a suitable word .

    Secrets of Internal Force.jpg

    Sifu has kindly offered to answer questions on the topic of Secrets of Building Internal Force.

    Family and visitors are invited to ask questions. No question is too basic - basic questions can give the opportunity to reveal and focus on the fundamentals. So, whatever you want to know about building consolidating or flowing force please come forward and ask.

    Out of all the submitted questions Sifu will choose 10 and we will post the answers here and on the event website over the coming weeks.

    Looking forward to learning a lot from this thread - another possibility to help create a classic.

    With metta,

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  • #2
    Dear Sisook,

    Thank you for opening the question and answer thread for the Secrets of Building Internal Force! I'm definitely keeping my eye on this thread.

    Dear Sigung,

    Thank you for generously offering to answer questions on internal force. I am certain this thread will become another modern classic and reference about an elusive (and often polarizing) subject.

    Two years ago in Florida, you taught Two Finger Shooting Zen where we first emphasized proper form, generated an energy flow, and then consolidated the energy flow into internal force. You also taught Lifting Water where there was no particular instruction for allowing flow or consolidation, we simply did the exercise in a qigong state of mind. From some discussion with other Shaolin Wahnam family members, these two methods are very common in our school.

    At the UK Summer Camp in Arundhel, you taught the Baguazhang method of force training, which involved both building force with Baguazhang stances and then letting it flow with Circle Walking. Are there other such internal force training methods or styles of kung fu where the practitioner alternatively builds and then allows force to flow within the same exercise? What are the advantages and disadvantages (if any?) of an exercise that builds and flows within the same exercise, versus an exercise like Two Finger Shooting Zen where first there is flow and then there is consolidation, or versus an exercise the way Lifting Water was taught where there is no particular thought towards flowing or consolidating?

    Thank you again!

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


    • #3
      Thank you Sifu Barry for starting this very exciting thread!!

      How did I know this topic was coming?

      I'm one of those fortunate participants of the recent Fully Alive course on Building Internal Force. That course was definitely a milestone in my Chi Kung journey and I can't recommend it highly enough. I shared more about my experiences here.

      It was my first experience of building internal force training and I feel very fortunate that I received direct transmission of both flowing and consolidating force skills at the very beginning.

      Dear Sigung

      How does development of consolidating force influence flowing force (and vice versa) and what are important practical considerations to ensure these processes are efficient and balanced?

      Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this privilege of asking you a question.

      With Shaolin Salute


      • #4
        Thank you Sifu Barry for providing this opportunity.

        Dear Sigung,

        For combat, are there more advantages in training consolidated force than flowing force? This question presumes that the practitioner is already healthy and skillful in changing between consolidated and flowing force.

        Thank you,
        Last edited by DarkCosmoz; 28 March 2014, 01:03 PM.


        • #5
          Amazing Again! :-)

          Dear Shaolin Wahnam Family,

          I want to thank Sifu again for having such an immense generosity. Q & A Series are a treasure for my own personal practice and development. They truly enrich my life in ways that I didn't imagine.

          I also want to thank Barry Sifu for starting another amazing thread. :-)

          Sifu, I have been very lucky to attend to many of your courses. Because of that, I had the opportunity to learn many ways for building Internal force. In the past St. Valentines Taijiquan Course (108 Yang Pattern Set) I could experience many different ways of building internal force. I name below a list of the ones that I usually practice:

          - Performing Taijiquan Set/Patterns with Yang Spirit.
          - Performing Taijiquan Set/Patterns with Chen Spirit.
          - Performing Taijiquan Set/Patterns really slow.
          - Performing Taijiquan Set/Patterns at the mind level.
          - Performing Tajiquan Set/Patterns exploding force.
          - Stances (I usually practice 5-10 minutes maximum).
          - Performing Cloud Hands walking through stances.
          - Performing Cloud Hands in goat/horse stance.
          - Performing Lifting Water in goat/horse stance.

          My questions are as follows:

          Sifu, may you give me advice for the best routine in my daily practice for building internal force? Which is the safest and the most effective way to do it with all the methods that I usually practice? Should I add/learn any other methods in my repertoire?

          Thank you in advance Sifu.

          With Love, Care and Shaolin Salute,



          • #6
            Dear Sifu,

            Thank you for offering an opportunity to ask you questions on building internal force.

            You mentioned on your website that you believed past masters like the Venerable Ng Mui and Zhang San Feng were all rounders. And how their general level in terms of arm sensitivity or Iron Arm was of a higher level than masters who were particularly known for those arts(like Yim Wing Choon).

            My question's are:

            How did the Venerable Ng Mui and Zhang San Feng achieve this?

            Was it from practicing many force training methods as opposed to only one or two methods?

            Is it unfavorable to practice only one or two methods as opposed to many over one's Kungfu career?

            Thank you in advance,

            Last edited by Shamsher; 28 March 2014, 08:20 PM.


            • #7
              Some great questions already. Five still available
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              • #8
                Dear Sifu,

                My experience with building internal force has clearly demonstrated the fact that internal force has benefitted my physical/external body - health, endurance, strength. I have also noticed that when I maintain a moderate level of external stimulus (physical labor/construction job, cycling, rock climbing, heavy yard work - moving rocks, etc), there seems to be a cross over benefit to my internal training (i.e. stance training is more relaxed and at a deeper level, condensing force feels more powerful, etc). I have experienced the opposite to also be true, and if my lifestyle is too sedentary, it seems to have a negative impact on my internal training.

                Is there a link between external stimulus and building internal force? Typically, Water Buffalo methods are used to build external strength, but can they also be used as an adjunct to internal force training, for even more benefit?



                • #9
                  ^^Good Question!

                  Dear Sihing,

                  Thanks for this opportunity amongst opportunities. I hope many people take advantage of all these free question times with a Grandmaster!

                  Dear Sifu,

                  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.


                  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.
                  Source: Wikipedia (as of 29/Mar/14)

                  • 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, vs. a course on dynamic tension?

                  Many thanks once again!
                  Sifu Andy Cusick

                  Shaolin Wahnam Thailand
                  Shaolin Qigong


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


                  • #10
                    Another priceless opportunity!

                    Thank you Barry Sisook for the chance.

                    Dear Sigung,

                    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?

                    Thank you so much. I am super excited to be attending this year's Summer Camp.

                    With love and Shaolin salute.
                    With love and Shaolin salute /o

                    "Your purpose in life is to find your purpose & give your whole heart and soul to it." - Buddha

                    Gate gate pāragate pārasaṃgate bodhi svāhā.


                    • #11
                      Dear Sigung,

                      My question is, what are the signs that indicate that you are successfully building internal force?

                      I am very much looking forward to the UK Summer Camp

                      Shaolin Salute
                      Shaolin Wahnam Student


                      • #12
                        More excellent questions .

                        And congratulations to David on getting involved. Maybe you would like to bring people up to date with your training and progression on the thread you started when you said Hello. Sharing this is invaluable for new people who are thinking of beginning to practise Chi Kung or wondering how they might progress once they have discovered how to 'let go' and experience the wonders of chi flow.

                        With metta,

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                        • #13
                          I have just been reviewing the questions in the five currently open Q&As on the forum:

                          Wing Choon Kung Fu
                          Huato Five Animal Play
                          Legacy of Wong Fei Hoong
                          Zen Intensive in Hawaii
                          and this one.

                          Crikey ... I don't know what else to say. Any one of them might take someone ages to prepare and collate the answers - let alone having built the direct experience to do so. And Sifu is answering five of them at the same time. Crikey (a wholly inadequate english colloquialism )
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                          • #14
                            Dear Barry,

                            Thank you for facilitating this exciting thread.

                            Dear Sifu,

                            Thank you for receiving our questions.

                            I would like to ask:

                            From past experience crossing hands with some of my seniors within our school, I have had the privilege to receive some glimpses of differing manifestations of force:

                            a) a sensation of 'prickly needles' entering the body
                            b) electric burning entering the body
                            c) an impenetrable tube with a core of iron that cannot be properly grasped by the hand, i.e. the hand does not feel it has made contact with the other exponent's skin
                            d) the exterior feels physical and muscular, but deep inside there is something solid and impenetrable
                            e) something 'alive' (without mercy) that is being held tightly on a leash, ready to attack if released
                            f) solid, soft, gentle, absorbing in a way that drains one's power and stamina

                            Which of the two categories of 'consolidated' and 'flowing' force do these descriptions fall under?

                            Why are there so many varying manifestations of force?

                            Which is better to use to manage the above manifestations, consolidated or flowing force?

                            Thank you very much.

                            Shaolin salute - with gratitude, love and respect,

                            Emiko Hsuen

                            INTENSIVE & SPECIAL COURSES -- PENANG 2018
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                            Small and Big Universe Course: Nov 21 to 25
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                            • #15
                              Dear Sifu,

                              In case you decide to answer an extra question or two:

                              After 60 years of experience, what would you say are the most important "secrets" of building internal force

                              Many people reading this won't be Martial Artists and could dismiss the idea of "building internal force" as being not for them. Could you explain:
                              • what the benefits of building internal force are for someone who isn't planning or wanting to practice a martial art
                              • what are the most cost-effective ways of building internal force for someone like this

                              With gratitude,

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