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Legacy of Wong Fei Hung Q+A Series by Sifu

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  • #61
    Great questions and amazing answers....Sifu has always amazed me, but i feel he gets more amazing all the time...The Zen of his answers has me wondering what may be

    transmitted during the Zen course in July...I can only wonder....Gusty


    • #62
      Amazing, amazing, amazing...This is all I can say..

      I cannot find the words to thanks Sifu enough for this priceless legacy that Sifu is passing on to us...totally beyond words..

      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)


      • #63
        Legacy of Wong Fei Hoong Question 9 Part 1 and 2

        I have about 5 more questions so I am going to double this answer up as I just think it is cool :0

        Question 9

        Could you please tell me how Wong Fei Hung lived his life, trained and became so well known throughout the world?



        Wong Fei Hoong was the son of Wong Kai Ying, regarded as one of the Ten Tigers of South China. Wong Kai Ying learned Shaolin Kungfu from Loh Ah Choy, one of the top disciples of the Venerable Chee Seen, the First Patriarch of Southern Shaolin Kungfu.

        Wong Fei Hoong learned kungfu from his father. Later he learned the Iron Wire Set from Lam Fook Seng, who was a student of Thiet Kiew Sam, a disciple of the Venerable Cheng Choe, who in turn learned from the Venerable Sam Tuck, the second most senior disciple of the Venerable Chee Seen. Hence, Wong Fei Hoong’s kungfu is similar to ours through the lineage of Chee Seen, which means “Extreme Kindness”.

        Wong Fei Hoong spent most of his time in Foshan, meaning “Mountain of Buddha”, which is not a mountain but an important city in the province of Guangdong. Wong Fei Hoong was also well known for his lion dance.

        There are two types of lion dance, northern lion dance and southern lion dance. There are also two types of southern lion dance, one of which is called Foshan Lion, and the other Hokshan Lion. Hokshan means “Mountain of Cranes”. Wong Fei Hoong, being in Foshan, of course performed the Foshan Lion.

        Wong Fei Hoong set up a medical clinic called “Po Chi Lam”, which may be loosely translated as “Forest of Precious Mushrooms”. There is a special kind of mushrooms called “ling chi”, which means “spiritual mushrooms” and are believed to promote longevity. What were found in Wong Fei Hoong’s Po Chi Lam, of course, were not hordes of precious mushrooms but hordes of poor people coming for “tit ta” treatment.

        “Tit ta”, which is in Cantonese pronunciation, literally means “fall-hit”. In Romanized Chinese spoken in Mandarin, which means the language of court officials it is written as “die da”. Interestingly in China today Mandarin is called “pu-tong-hua”, which means the language of the common people, not only of court officials.

        But do not be frightened by the term “die da”. In the language of the common people of China, “die da” is pronounced like “thiet ta” in English, and has nothing to do with the English word “die”. If you think that Romanized Chinese phonetics is funny, you are mistaken. It is English phonetics that is full of fun.

        “D” in Romanized Chinese is always pronounced as “t” with an aspiration. So don’t pronounce “Daoism” as Daoism, but as Taoism, just as “qigong” is not pronounced as ki gong but as chi kung, and “gongfu” not as gongfu but as kungfu. So patients with injuries from falls and being hit went to the “Forest of Precious Mushrooms” not to die but to seek treatment so that they could live, hopefully to a ripe old age.

        Besides being a great martial artist, Wong Fei Hoong was a renowned medical doctor. However, there was no records that he passed his medical knowledge and ability to his disciples. Wong Fei Hoong was a medical doctor and martial art instructor to the army of a warlord, Lau Weng Fook, who stationed at Canton at that time. Wong Fei Hoong was also a martial art instructors to the Canton civil guards.

        Wong Fei Hoong, like most past masters, practiced his kungfu secretly, not in front of his students, in the early morning every day. Once his disciples longed to know the secrets of his no-shadow kick So they tip-toed into the master’s bedroom at night while he was asleep, and Leong Foon, his most favorite disciple, pretended to attack him. Wong Fei Hoong executed a no-shadow kick using “Lazy Tiger Stretches Waist” and sent Leong Foon trampling back many feet.

        Fortunately Wong Fei Hoong’s “tit-ta” was excellent. After recovery, Wong Fei Hoong taught Leong Foon the tiger-tail kick. Later in a leitai match, i.e. a challenge match on a public platform with no rules, Leong Foon used the tiger-tail kick to defeat a well-known master in Canton.

        Of the countless students Wong Fei Hoong taught in the army and civil guards, only a few excelled and became well-known. They were Leong Foon, Lam Sai Weng, Ling Wan Kai and Kwai Kheot Cheit. Kwoi Kheot Cheit was his nickname, which means “Ghost Leg Seven”. He was probably the seventh in his family, and his kicks were so effective that like a ghost his opponents did not know where they came from.

        Wong Fei Hoong’s key teaching was tolerance. He forbade his students to fight. Training kungfu, he maintained, was for health. He also emphasized being a good citizen.

        Wong Fei Hoong’s life history was made into about 100 movie films, making him very famous. There is a saying in kungfu circles that “In the north there is Fok Yun Kap, in the south there is Wong Fei Hoong”, or “pak yow fok yun kap, nam yow wong fei hoong” in Cantonese. Fok Yun Kap, or Huo Yun Jia in Mandarin, was a famous Tantui master and founder of Chin Woo Athlete Association to promote Northern Shaolin. He remained undefeated, beating many martial art masters of various systems who came to China to test her kungfu. However, Fok Yun Kap and Wong Fei Hoong never met. Unlike Fok Yun Kap, Wong Fei Hoong lived to a ripe old age.
        Sifu Mark Appleford



        • #64
          I am really enjoying the stories and accounts. As Andy has said, they are becoming real modern day classics in their on right.

          Much appreciated.
          Tim Franklin

          A story of finding Courage and Wisdom

 Classes and Courses for Shaolin Kung Fu, Taijiquan and Qigong in Bognor Regis, Chichester, West Sussex

          Fully Alive on Facebook Energy Flow for Health and Happiness

          UK Summer Camp Qigong, Taijiquan, Shaolin Kung Fu, Spiritual Cultivation with Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit



          • #65
            Thanks you, Sifu, for your oustanding and elaborate answer(s).

            I'm glad I shall continue my daily One Finger Shooting Zen practice while enjoying Taming the Tiger or Tiger Crane too.

            Thank you to Mark Siheng for managing this wonderful thread.

            Can't wait for the UK Summer Camp to begin!

            Best wishes,

            Sifu Leonard Lackinger

            Shaolin Treasure House

            Shaolin Wahnam Wien & Shaolin Treasure House


            • #66
              Legacy of Wong Fei Hoong Question 10 Part 1 and 2

              Legacy of Wong Fei Hoong Question 9 - Part 1

              Question 9

              In my experience sparring with other martial artists, I have come across several exponents who are very fast and powerful, with near-instant reflexes and adaptability. Apart from the fact that they are naturally gifted with such athletic abilities, they have told me that their speed and power are developed through what we would call external training methods.

              As Sifu has mentioned before, someone learning a more complex art like Taijiquan or high level Shaolinquan would take longer to reach a high level of combat efficiency compared to an art with less techniques. The same principle seems to apply to the training of force as well – a martial artist using external methods can attain quite a high level of power, even if he may be overtaken in the long run by someone training internal force methods.

              Following from the paragraphs above, I have two questions, related to each other:

              (1) For a Shaolin exponent who primarily trains using internal training methods, how substantial should his internal force have to be before it is comparable to that of a competent and diligent external martial artist?

              (2) An external martial artist who seeks to increase his strength and power would use progressions such as using heavier and heavier weights, spending more time or repetitions, or training more frequently.

              How would an internal martial artist like Wong Fei Hong progress if he wants to increase his internal force or be able to apply his internal force in more ways, such as improving his speed and reflexes?

              Sifu Zhang Wuji

              Answer 9

              We have no doubt of and respect for the ability of those who use external training methods. Personally I have more respect for their dedication to their arts than for those who have the opportunity to excel in internal training but do not train as dedicatedly.

              Nevertheless, we also realize the limitations of external training. I can speak from experience as I have used both external methods and internal methods. The external methods I used, fortunately, were not the rough and tough methods used by many external martial artists today which left the trained parts of their body deformed or injured because I used medication in my external training.

              The external martial artists may be fast and powerful, and have near-instant reflexes and adaptability, but it is doubtful if they can attain abilities of internal martial artists like catching arrows shot at them, deflecting attacks even when blind-folded, or running up four storeys in less than 8 seconds without panting.

              Some people may not believe that internal kungfu masters could catch arrows shot at them, but there is no doubt internal martial artists can deflect attacks even when blink-folded or run up four storyes in less than 8 seconds without panting. Students at the Special Wing Choon Course in Penang in 2010 and I many years ago did that respectively.

              Generally it takes a longer time to train internal arts than external arts. This is the traditional, and current, perspective of masters. An internal martial artist training Cosmos Palm, for example, would take a year to attain similar force that an external martial artist training Iron Palm would take 6 months to break a brick.

              However, the force of an internal martial artist would last longer than that of an external martial artist. For example, presuming that both the Cosmos Palm exponent and the Iron Palm exponent stop training after successfully breaking a brick, the Cosmos Palm exponent can still break a break after six months without training whereas the Iron Palm exponent can do so only for a month or two.

              There are many other benefits internal martial artists enjoy that external martial artists do not. A cosmos Palm exponent, for example, is not only powerful at his palms but all over his body, whereas an Iron Palm exponent is only powerful at his palms. The force of Cosmos Palm can also be used to heal, whereas that of Iron Palm is only to destroy.

              More significantly, internal force training contributes to good health, vitality and longevity, but external force training does not. An internal martial artist, for example, would have more stamina and mental clarity as a result of his training, but an external martial artist does not. Moreover, internal force is not limited to age, size and gender, but external force is. A slender woman of 60 with internal force, for example, can be a bulky young man of 30.

              The chance to train internal force is rare. Many masters have spent years chasing at internal force but to no avail. Our school is a ridiculous exception.

              n my many years of teaching, I have made some amazing discoveries that may revolutionize internal force training. It is traditionally accepted that internal force training takes a longer time than external force training. But I have found that many of our students using internal training have developed force that surpasses external martial artists who have trained in a similar or even longer period of time!

              My own examples illustrate the journey of these exciting discoveries. When I trained in Uncle Righteousness’ school, I hit a wooden men every night for a year, and applied medicated vinegar to strengthen my arms. My arms were powerful – compared to most people.

              But when I learned Wuzuquan in Sifu Chee Kim Thong’s school, which was famous fro internal force, my arms were literally nothing compared to the arms of my seniors. I had no idea how long they had trained, but I was sure it might be more than three years, or perhaps ten. This experience confirmed not only that internal force was superior but also it took more time to develop.

              When I learned in Sifu Ho Fatt Nam’s school, I trained One-finger Shooting Zen. After a few months I could break a brick, which I could not do training Iron Palm for two years. This experience could not confirm that I took less time training internal force in One-Finger Shooting Zen than external force in Iron Palm because my external force of Iron Palm could have been carried over to my One-Finger Shooting Zen training.

              However, the confirmation was quite clear when I knocked arms with a Shaolin master who trained external force dedicatedly. This external Shaolin master tried to impress me by hitting his Iron Arm at a pillar which supported a car porch in from of his house, and the porch literally shook. Finding that I was not impressed by his show of force, he asked me to knock arms with him in “Hitting Tree Stars”.

              He could only last two hits. When I gently swung my arm down for the third hit, he had already moved away. My internal force bounced him off. The harder he hit at me, the worse would be the bouncing off. I did not know for how long he had trained externally for his Iron Arm. I guessed it could be ten or more years. I had about three years of internal force training, and even when I added my two previous years of Iron Palm training, the total would only be five years.

              Another telling but unexpected experience was fromwho an Aikido student learned from me. He wanted to increase the force of his grip, so I taught him One-Finger Shooting Zen, which included Tiger Claw training. He reported to me that after about six months of daily training, he visited a kungfu school well known for internal force. He told me that he was very surprised at first that he could last about 30 hits knocking arms with the master. Before learning from me, he also knocked arms with the master, but he could not last five hits. What was even more surprising was that the master, not him, who eventually gave way. The master must have trained his internal force for more than ten years.

              Internal force was involved in both persons in this case. But it showed that our training of internal force was so effective that after only six months of training the internal force of this Aikido student surpassed that of the master who had trained for many years. And I taught this student at a time when my teaching methodology was far below that of today.

              With hindsight I would conclude that our internal force training is so incredibly effective because of chi flow. We have chi flow right at the start of our internal force training, and we know the philosophy as well as have the techniques and skills of flowing force and consolidating force. Past masters did not know the philosophy. Their chi flow as well as flowing force and consolidating force occurred haphazardly, even when they trained everyday. Thus they took a much longer time to develop their internal force.

              The concept becomes clear when we use some quantification. Suppose our students develop 100 units of internal force for each successful session a day. Training every day, and presuming the progress is uniform, our students would develop 3000 units of internal force a month.

              When past master trained internal force as students, they were less effective and would not develop 100 units of force per successful session as they did not know that chi flow was necessary to develop flowing force and consolidated force. For them chi flow occurred incidentally when they attained an ideal condition without conscious knowing, not purposely like in our case. Suppose they obtained 50 units of internal force when such occasions occurred, which is a generous estimate for them.

              (Part 3 follows)
              Sifu Mark Appleford



              • #67
                Dear Sigung,

                Thank you for giving a wonderful answer to my question and for sharing your knowledge with us.

                Dear Mark Sisook,

                Thank you for facilitating this this wonderful thread.

                The information being shared here is simply amazing.

                Shaolin Salute,


                • #68
                  Legacy of Wong Fei Hoong Question 9 - Part 3

                  Legacy of Wong Fei Hoong Question 9 - Part 3

                  (Continued from Part 2)

                  But they would not have a successful session every day like our students. Suppose a successful session where conditions incidentally became ideal occurred six times a month, which is a reasonable estimate. But they would not have developed 50 x 6 or 300 units of internal force, because the days were too far apart for their internal force to be accumulated even when they practiced everyday. In other words, having obtained 50 units of force in one session, by the time they attained internal force in the next successful session, which was five days away, much of the original 50 units would have dissipated.

                  Let us be generous and estimate that only half of the force had dissipated, leaving them 150 units of force a month, or 1800 units of force a year. It would take them more than a year and a half to accumulate 3000 units of force, which our students can accumulate in one month!

                  On top of this, students in the past did not get to learn internal force in their early years of training. Only a very few of them who had spent at least ten years in the school and had won the trust of the master before they could have an opportunity to train internal force. Again, let us be generous and presume a dedicated, talented student had won the trust of the master in just five years, and took ten years to develop sufficient internal force to become a master himself, taking 15 years altogether, which actually was an exceptionally short time to become a master. But a dedicated student in our school today will take only one year to attain a similar level. This is unbelievable but true.

                  The standard of martial art today is lower than that in the past. If we assume that a competent and diligent external martial artist today has a level of force, even externally trained, comparable to the internal force of a talented and dedicated master in the past, a Shaolin student in our school today will need a year of dedicated daily training using internal methods to acquire a similar amount of force.

                  It is important to note that this student must train daily, not just learn the internal force training methods in a course and expect to have substantial force a year later without training. If he trains about an hour a day for a year, he would have substantial force to break a brick easily, and perhaps to break the bottom of two bricks without breaking the one on top. As the skull of an external martial artist is unlikely to be harder than a brick, and his internal organs even weaker, a strike by our student on the head of the external martial artist would break the latter’s skull, and a strike on his body would injure his internal organs without leaving external marks.

                  An internal martial artist like Wong Fei Hoong would increase his internal force by training longer or by adding weights in his training, like wearing copper rings on his arms when training Iron Wire.

                  But for us in Shaolin Wahnam, there is no necessity to train longer or add weights in our training, because our methods and skills are already very effective. Indeed we remind ourselves and ask our students to slow down our training so as not to over-train.

                  An internal martial artist needs not seek other methods to apply his internal force in more ways, like improving his speed or reflexes. Unlike external strength, which is limited in its specific function, internal force is alive.

                  Besides maintaining his life more harmoniously, an increase of internal force will automatically enhance his life, including enhancing his reflexes, and enable him to have better results no matter what he does, including increasing his speed. In other words, not only he does not need to practice other methods to apply his internal force in more ways, including to improve his speed and reflexes, he also does not need to learn how to channel his internal force for these more ways. As an analogy, if you increase your cash flow, there is no need for you to learn new methods to be able to buy more things. The increase of cash flow will automatically enable you to buy more things.

                  As a confirmation, there were no records of how Wong Fei Hoong or any past master trained to increase his speed and reflexes or any other abilities. Wong Fei Hoong, for example, did not ask his students to attack him systematically faster and faster so that he could train his speed and reflexes. As his internal force increases, his speed and reflexes also increased automatically.

                  In our case, for example, an increase of our internal force automatically increases our mental clarity and vitality, and enables us to do our work better in shorter time. We do not need to take extra lessons on mental clarity or take extra nourishment to increase our vitality. We do not need to learn new working techniques or purchase new machines to do our work better in shorter time.

                  Sifu Mark Appleford



                  • #69
                    Question 10

                    Question 10

                    In Hong Kong movies, Wong Feihong is often portrayed as being able to handle multiple armed assailants, and seems to have eyes at the back of his head. A lot of this may be due to exciting choreography by the martial arts director but I have wondered to what extent a real-life Shaolinquan practitioner would be able to do the same.

                    Sifu, you have described in your books and Q&A that you have had experiences when a fight seemed to be in slow-motion and you had the time to select appropriate counters. This phenomenon (Tachypsychia) is well-documented in scientific journals as well as the accounts of the experiences of world-class athletes, soldier-warriors, policemen and firemen, although scientists attribute this to rapid chemical (hormonal) changes in the body in response to stressful situations.

                    It seems to me that these abilities – all-round awareness and slowing down real-time events in the mind – would be pivotal to victory not only in life and death combat, but also friendly sparring. Are such abilities only possessed by a select few, such as those well-trained elite athletes and soldiers, or can these abilities be cultivated as part of our current training methods?

                    Sifu Zhang Wuji


                    It was true that a real-life Shaolin master could sense attacks from his back and successfully neutralize his assailants. This was possible because the master’s energy field extended beyond his physical body, and when an attack came even before the master saw it, his energy field had picked up the sensation, and without his conscious reaction, his reflexive movements would counter the attack.

                    I sometimes had such experiences when teaching. I paused in a sparring demonstration to explain some points to other students, but the one sparring with me did not realize that I had stopped, and he continued to attack me. Without even seeing his attack, I warded it off while giving an explanation. It was my energy field that had picked up the attack, and my response was spontaneous and automatic. Many students had seen such experiences during intensive or regional courses.

                    More advanced than the projected energy field is the projected mind field. Some students reported to me that during intensive courses they knew what attacks their sparring partners would make before the attack actually came. The students’ mind field had extended beyond their physical body, and could pick up the intention of their sparring partners before the latter made the physical moves.

                    In my younger days of sparring and actual fighting, I often could sense my opponents’ movements without seeing them, and responded accordingly. When I was attacked by a group of people, for example, I responded without thinking. My movements seemed to operate by themselves, without conscious effort on my part, and the responses were fast and accurate. When I looked back after the fight, I found tmy earlier spontaneous movements were perfect. If I had time to think, like in friendly sparring when movements were purposely slowed down, I would have responded exactly in the same way.

                    With hindsight, I concluded that my spontaneous and fast movements in an actual fight against many people were possible because I had trained myself earlier assuming similar situations. Had I not done similar training previously, I might not be able to respond spontaneously in a similar way in a real fight.

                    I had an aha experience many years ago while working on a WordPerfect programme (at a time when Microsoft Word was not yet invented). I had to make a change at numerous places in a document. So I typed “Find”, which located the places where changes had to be made, and then typed “Replace”.

                    Before I could look up from the computer, all the corrections had been made. I suddenly realize that such a fast, automatic correction was possible at so many places because a programmer had programmed the computer to do this work. In the same way I had programmed myself in my practice to respond to attacks in certain ways. When a situation arose that required similar responses, I triggered my mind and the programmed responses just flowed out spontaneously.

                    ights and sparring occurring to me in slow motion when they were fast in real time sometimes happened in my younger days, but they don’t happen now. I don’t know the reason for their absence. A few students in our school also told me their similar experience.

                    It was very interesting. As the movements slowed down in my perception although they were fast in real time, I could deliberate which of a few possible responses I would choose. In normal fighting situation, I would not have time to think. I just spontaneously responded the way I had trained to.

                    I believe that attributing this phenomenon to rapid chemical changes in response to stressful situations is inaccurate, made through rationalization and not through direct experience. In other words I doubt those scientists making this presumption had direct experience of the phenomenon. If they had, they would realize that being relaxed was essential. Had a practitioner been stressful, such a phenomenon would not occur.

                    These abilities of all-round awareness and slowing down real-time events in the mind are certainly a huge advantage a practitioner, but it may not necessarily guarantee victory in fighting, sparring or everyday life if the opponent is very skillful.

                    I may be aware of an opponent’s attack and respond accordingly even if I may not see the attack, but a skillful opponent regardless of whether I saw his initial attack earlier, could neutralize my response, or modify his initial attack and continue to attack me.

                    Even my opponent’s real-time attack is slowed down in my mind, thus giving me a huge advantage, like giving me more time and better judgment in my response, my opponent would just react to my response, without bothering whether my response was made due to seeing his attack in real time or being slowed down in my mind.

                    My abilities in both cases of all-round awareness and slowing down events in the mind make it easier for me not to be beaten by my opponent, but they do not make it easier for me to beat him. On my opponent’s part in defeating me, it does not matter whether my response is the result of these special abilities, he just reacts to my response. If he is more skillful, he will still beat me despite my special abilities.

                    A rough analogy may make the situation clearer. Suppose I play poker with an opponent, and we are down to our last card. I have a king. Due to my all-round awareness, I know he has an ace before he opens his card, or due to slowing down events in my mind, I know he will have an ace before the ace is drawn for him. I may avoid losing badly by withdrawing early, but I cannot beat him despite my special abilities because he has a superior card. On my opponent’s part, it does not matter whether I have special abilities or not. When I show my king, he will beat me by showing his ace.

                    Such abilities are available to only very few people, but these few people are not necessarily selected. In other words anyone who has undergone the appropriate training may have these abilities.

                    I do not know the exact training methods, but I believe it has to do with training the mind. Being relaxed and clearing the mind of all thoughts are two crucial factors in the training.

                    I believe these abilities can be cultivated, but there is no necessity to make them part of our current training methods. There are good reasons for not including such training in our regular syllabus.

                    Firstly, as these methods are thought out from intellectualization and not passed on to us as a heritage, I am not sure whether the training will bring the desired results. It is unlike our established methods where we are sure of the results as proven through centuries.

                    Even if the training methods bring results that are expected, the results, despite their huge advantages, are more like novelty than practical means to enrich our daily life. It is, for example, unlike training internal force, which will maintain life, enhance life, and enable us to do better no matter what we do.

                    Even in the limited function of combat, the advantages may not necessarily ensure victory over our opponents as explained above.

                    Thirdly we already have so many beneficial training methods, that developing this new training method is not a priority. Basically we are a school providing training that will enrich our students’ life, not a research center experimenting with new techniques.
                    Sifu Mark Appleford



                    • #70
                      Originally posted by Sifu View Post
                      Wong Fei Hoong’s key teaching was tolerance. He forbade his students to fight. Training kungfu, he maintained, was for health. He also emphasized being a good citizen.
                      Wong Fei Hoong lived to a ripe old age.
                      Extraordinary. Totally inspiring. Thank you Sifu.

                      With respect,


                      Maxime Citerne, Chinese Medicine, Qigong Healing & Internal Arts

                      Frankfurt - Paris - Alsace




                      • #71
                        Question 11 part 1

                        Question 11

                        What is the essence of Wong Fei Hung? And particularly what is the essence of each of the sets, i.e. Iron Wire, Taming Tiger, Tiger Crane and Fifth Brother Octagonal Staff?

                        Sifu Anton

                        Answer 11

                        The essence of Wong Fei Hoong is Tiger-Crane, which is manifested in his tiger-claw and no-shadow kick.

                        Wong Fei Hoong’s tiger-Claw is very powerful. There were no records of how he trained the force for the successful application of his tiger-c;law. But the orthodox methods, employed most tiger-claw masters, were jabbing fingers into beans and gripping beans.

                        These are external methods, but trained correctly they develop internal force, which is usually hard. It is a common misconception that external methods only develop external, force, and internal force must be cultivated internally and is always soft. “External”, “internal”, “hard” and “soft” are various ways to describe methods of training both internal force and external force. Internal force can be externally trained and hard, though it is usually internally trained and soft, thus the misconception.

                        Tiger-law is coNambat ending by itself, i.e. even if you let go of the grip after applying the tiger-claw technique, your opponent cannot fight you any more. There are three main ways of tiger-claw application, namely:

                        1. fen khen, or separating tendons.
                        2. Chor chit, or dislocating joints.
                        3. Na yuie, or gripping energy points.

                        Wong Fei Hoong’s more formidable technique is the no-shadow kick. But he did not use it often because his tiger-claw, or even his ordinary techniques were sufficient to defeat his opponents.

                        The kick is called no-shadow becaue it is so fast that an opponent cannot even sense its shadow. But the forte of the kick is actually not its speed, but the tactics of applying it. In theory any kick can be a no-shadow kick if it is executed with the no-shadow tactics, but the following techniques are the most common:

                        1. Organ-seeking kick.
                        2. Tiger-tail kick.
                        3. Clutch kick.

                        The following patterns are frequently used to executed the above technques:

                        1. Single Leg Hungry Crane.
                        2. Single Leg Flying Crane.
                        3. Sun Moon Shadow Hand.
                        4. Lazy Tiger Stretches Waist.
                        5. Fierce Tiger Springs Claws.
                        6. Immortal Li Steps on Clutch.
                        7. Immortal Li Kicks Clutch.

                        Wong Fei Hoong transmitted his no-shadow kick to his favorite disciple, Leong Foon, and his tiger-claw to his most famous disciple who later spread his lineage wide and far, Lam Sai Weng.

                        Tiger-claw and no-shadow kick happen to be my specialties too. I shall teach them at the UK Summer Camp 2014.

                        (Part 2 follows)
                        Sifu Mark Appleford



                        • #72
                          Dear Sigung,

                          thank you for answering my question!

                          Dear Mark Sisook,

                          thank you for posting!

                          Kindest regards,
                          Engage and maintain joyful practice!

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

                          Anton Schmick
                          Shaolin Wahnam Germany Nord



                          • #73
                            Legacy of Wong Fei Hoong Question 11 - Part 2

                            Legacy of Wong Fei Hoong Question 11 - Part 2

                            (Continued from Part 1)

                            The essence of the Iron Wire Set is to develop internal force. It is probably the most powerful kungfu set for this purpose. However, today it is frequently practiced wrongly as isometric exercise, which produces big muscles instead. Having big muscles will produce a lot of strength too, but its benefits are different from those of internal force.

                            A tell-tale sign of practicing Iron Wire as isometric exercise is having big muscles. The eyes of the practitioner are often dull, and he becomes tired easy. He is also prone to anger.

                            One who trains Iron Wire as an internal art is powerful, but slender and elegant. His eyes shine and he is peaceful, happy and full of vitality.

                            The Iron Wire Set was composed by Thiet Kiew Sam, the most senior of the Ten Tigers of Canton. He based his composition on the Triple-Stretch Set, which he learned from his sifu, the Venerable Cheng Choe, who in turn learned it from the Venerable Sam Tuck, the second most senior disciple of the Venerable Chee Seen, the First Patriarch of Southern Shaolin Kungfu.

                            The main technique in building internal force in Iron Wire is consolidating force. This delicate skill is frequently confused with tensing muscles, which leads to the deviation of practicing Iron Wire as an isometric exercise. A tell-tale difference is that when you consolidate force, you feel fresh and relaxed. When you tense your muscles you feel locked-up and tired.

                            The essence of the Taming-Tiger Set is combat application using tiger techniques, especially the tiger-claw. There are many effective combat sequences incorporated into the set, though many practitioners may not realize them. As the standard of sparring today is not high, if you practice these combat sequences well and just apply them on your opponents, you have a very good chance of beating then.

                            The structure of this set, like that in many Southern Shaolin sets, is to train internal force at the beginning, then practice combat sequences for fighting. The force training method is the triple-stretch. In Wong Fei Hoong’s lineage, the force training is performed while standing upright, but in our school it is performed on a Horse-Riding Stance.

                            As its name indicates, the essence of the Tiger-Crane Set is the tiger and the crane. However, in the 108-pattern Tiger-Crane Set in Wong Fei Foong’s lineage, the set is based on Lohan Kungfu. Hence, Lohan patterns constitute a huge part of the set. In the 36-pattern Tiger-Crane Set I learned from Uncle Righteousness, and the 72-pattern Tiger-Crane Set I learned from Sifu Choe Hoong Choy, most of the patterns are tiger and crane techniques, with prominence of tiger techniques in Uncle Righteousness’ set, and prominence of the crane techniques in Sifu Choe Hoong Choy’s set.

                            Tiger techniques are ferocious. The essence of the tiger is the tiger-claw. Crane techniques are elegant. The essence of the crane is the organ-seeking kick, which forms a part of no-shadow kick.

                            Fifth Brother Octagonal Staff, or Ng Long Pat Kua Khun in Chinese (Cantonese) is one of the four famous staff sets in kungfu, the other three being Six-and-Half-Point Staff, and Fishing Staff. All these staff sets are from Southern Shaolin.

                            The Fifth Brother Octagonal Staff is a right-hand staff, i.e.the right hand, which is the controlling hand, is in front., though there are a few patterns where the left hand is in front. All the other three Staffs are left-hand staffs, i.e. the right hand, which is also the controlling hand, is at the back.

                            Interestingly, the essence of all these famous Staffs is the thrust, which is typical of a spear, and not the hit, which is typical of a staff. If you look at other staff sets, you may find a lot of hitting.

                            Of the four Staff sets, Fifth Brother Octagonal Staff when compared with the other three, is relatively the one with the most hitting techniques, though the number of hitting techniques is actually small. This is probably the reason why it is a right-hand staff.

                            The Fifth Brother Octagonal Staff was invented by Yang Wu Lang, a famous Song dynasty general who was the fifth in his family, and famous for his spear. After being ambushed by the Tartars, he escaped to a Buddhist temple on Wutai Mountain and became a monk. He continued to practice his spear everyday, but in line with Buddhist compassion, he took off the spear-head. His practice is passed down to posterity as the Fifth Brother Octagonal Staff.

                            Sifu Mark Appleford



                            • #74
                              Question 12- The last one

                              Legacy of Wong Fei Hoong Question 12 - Part 1

                              Question 12

                              The 36-pattern Tiger Crane can be traced back to the Venerable Harng Yein. You also mention that the 72-pattern Tiger Crane Set is traceable back to the famous Shaolin nun Ng Mui. Ng Mui was especially known to be an expert in the Flower Set. Can you please tell us more about the 72- pattern Set and its connection to Ng Mui?

                              What are the main differences between the 36/72/108 pattern Sets besides the fact that they are different in the number of patterns?

                              Sifu Roland

                              Answer 12

                              At first I was quite surprised when I learned there was a Tiger-Crane Set in Choe Family Wing Choon. I thought that the Tiger-Crane Set was exclusive to Hoong Ka, though I called the school Shaolin at that time, and also now.

                              Of the Shaolin five animals, the Snake and the Crane were most prominent in Wing Choon Kungfu. In the Wing Choon 72-pattern Tiger-Crane Set, there were tiger claws but no crane beaks. The crane was represented in the palm and arm movements as well as in kicks. Wing Choon tiger claw, however, was unlike Hoong Ka tiger claw. Wing Choon tiger claw was more like eagle claw.

                              The Flower Set was found in both Uncle Righteousness’ school and in Sifu Choe Hoong Choy’s school, but they were different. In the Flower Set of Uncle Righteousness, the dragon was prominent. In the Flower Set of Sifu Choe Hoong Choy, the snake was prominent. The crane was found in both sets, but more prominently in Sifu Choe Hoong Choy’s set.

                              There were a lot of similarities between the Flower Set and the Tiger-Crane Set of Choe Family Wing Choon. For example, the techniques of Breaking Flank and of Horizontal Hand Sweep as well as the deadly Single Leg Flying Crane were found in both sets. With hindsight, I could conclude that both sets were taught by the famous Venerable Ng Mui.

                              On the other hand, there was not much difference between the Flower Set and the Tiger-Crane Set in Uncle Righteousness’ school. The prominent animal in the Uncle Righteousness’ Flower Set was the dragon, whereas the prominent animals in the Tiger-Crane Set, of course, were the tiger and the crane. One could easily see the difference between these two sets in Uncle Righteousness’ lineage. But leaving asides that the routine of the patterns was different, at a glance one may even think that the Flower Set and the Tiger-Crane Set in Choe Family Wing Choon were the same set!

                              At first I did not pay much attention to the combat application of the pattern, Single Leg Flying Crane, in Choe Family Wing Choon, though the pattern was very impressive to watch. But this view changed drastically after my free sparring with a Ng Mui master.

                              The Ng Mui master and I were talking about the 36 Kicks in Shaolin Kungfu. He told me that he knew only 35 because his master kept the last kick from him, and asked me if I could show him the 36th kick. I did. It was the hook-spring kick.

                              He said that he was still very grateful to his master as his master taught him an ultimate technique, against which no one could defend whenever he used it. I said that in Shaolin philosophy every attack could be defended. Eventually we ended up in free sparring.

                              His ultimate technique was a double attack to the eyes with a simultaneous double flying kick executed all in the air, manifested in the pattern, Single Leg Flying Crane. As I knew this attack, I could not only avoid it but also turn it back on him. He was very surprised.

                              The Ng Mui master showed me some kungfu patterns. Except for Siu Lin Tou, these patterns he demonstrated were similar to Choe Family Wing Choon patterns, confirming what Yim Wing Choon learned them from her teacher, Ng Mui., but later modified them to compose Siu Lin Tou to suit her own situation. Ng Mui patterns were just like our Shaolin patterns minus the masculine aspects of the drgaon, tiger and leopard. However, I did not ask him the names of established sets in Ng Mui Kungfu.

                              Of the three Tiger-Crane sets I have learnt, the 36-pattern set from Uncle Righteousness has the most number of tiger and crane patterns. This is interesting. It is the shortest of the three sets, yet has the most patterns of the Shaolin animals named for the set. It is because almost all the patterns in the set, including the signature Shaolin greeting at the start and the end, are tiger or crane patterns.

                              I would guess that if the72-pattern Tiger-Crane Set from Choe Family Wing Choon is demonstrated, many people may not find any obvious tiger and crane patterns! This is because they associate tiger and crane patterns with what they see in Hoong Ka Kungfu, which is most famous for the tiger and the crane. In the same way, if Choe Family Wing Choon is demonstrated, many people may think it is not Wing Choon Kungfu because they associate Wing Choon Kungfu with Yip Man’s Wing Choon which is most famous today.

                              The tiger patterns in Choe Family Wing Choon are unlike the tiger patterns in Hoong Ka Kungfu. Wing Choon tiger claw is more like eagle claw, and it is more for grabbing than for separating tendons, dislocating joints and gripping energy points. There are also not many tiger claw, in its eagle claw version, in the set.

                              Most of the patterns in the 72-Pattern Tiger-Crane Set from Choe Family Wing Choon are crane patterns. But there are no crane beaks. So those accustomed to Hoong Ka’s crane patterns with their typical crane beak may wrongly think there are no crane patterns in this 72-pattern Tiger-Crane Set. Wing Choon crane patterns are characterized by movements of palms and arms, which represent the wings of a crane. There are also inauspicious kicks, except the spectacular kicks from Single Leg Flying Crane.

                              It is worthy of note that the Single Leg Flying Crane pattern in the Wing Choon set is different in its performance in the set than the Single Leg Flying Crane pattern in the Hoong Ka sets. Single Leg Flying Crane is similarly performed in the 26-pattern set and the 108-pattern set, with two arms at the sides, not in crane-beak form but in open palms with the thumb separately open, and an organ-seeking kick below while standing on one leg. The impression one gets is to open an opponent’s two arms with a gentle grip on top, while kicking his groin below.

                              Single Leg Flying Crane in Choe Family Wing Choon is spectacular, and it demands much skill to perform it correctly. Despite its name, an exponent is not standing on a single leg. In fact he is not standing on any leg. He is flying in the air with the fingers of his two palms thrusting into an opponent’s eyes, while double kicking his groin below. It is an attack that often catch an opponent by surprise. Even if he is not surprised, it is not easy for him to avoid the tricky multiple attacks of this pattern.

                              I reckon that the combat application of Single Leg Flying Crane in Hoong Ka Kungfu was originally like that in Wing Choon Kungfu. That was also how Hoong Man Ting, the son of Hoong Hei Khoon, defeated Pak Mei when he and his kungfu brother, Chow Yein Kit, killed Pak Mei to avenge the death of their sigung, Chee Seen, during the burning of the southern Shaolin Temple on Nine-Lotus Mountain. (In a Hong Kong movie, it was shown differently that Hoong Man Ting climbed up onto Pak Mei’s shoulder to strike his bai-hui energy point.) But later Hoong Ka masters camouflaged this deadly move in its present pattern. But as Choe Family Wing Choon is exclusive, taught only to selected students, this secret is still maintained.

                              Paradoxically, while the 108-pattern set is the longest of the three Tiger-Crane sets, it has the least tiger and crane patterns. This is because many of the patterns in the set are from Lohan Kungfu, on which the set is based. Surprisingly too, the tiger-tail kick, which is an important part of the no-shadow kick, is not found in this set (but is found in the Taming-Tiger Set).

                              An interesting feature is the use of the phoenix-eye fist in this set in the patterns, Left Crane Thrust Technique and Right Crane Thrust Technique. The phoenix-eye fist is not found in the 36-pattern set or any set in Uncle Righteousness’s school, but frequently found in the 72-pattern set and many other sets in Choe Family Wing Choon. It is a very effective hand form for striking energy points.

                              Eighteen Lohan Fist, which evolved from Eighteen Lohan Hands, was the prototype of Shaolin kungfu sets. A lot of Lohan patterns are found in the 108-pattern set, but not in the 36-pattern set except for 2 patterns, and not in the 72-pattern set.

                              Lohan patterns are powerful and hard. They are very useful for pressing against an opponent. Of the three Tiger-Crane Set, the 108-pattern set is the hardest, the 36-pattern set the next, and the 72-pattern set the softest.
                              Sifu Mark Appleford



                              • #75
                                Thank You Sifu for these amazing answers.

                                Thank you Mark Sihing for posting

                                All the best,
                                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)