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Thread: 10 Question on "Essence of Shaolin"

  1. #11
    Andrew's Avatar
    Andrew is offline Sifu Andrew Barnett - Chief Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland
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    Feb 2003
    Klosters, Switzerland
    Sifu once said that he would teach this set to his chosen successor(s) and then retire from public teaching and international travel. Could Sifu please comment on this plan.
    Sifu Andrew Barnett
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  2. #12
    Anton S.'s Avatar
    Anton S. is offline Sifu Anton Schmick - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Germany
    Join Date
    Mar 2006
    Hamburg / Frankfurt / Zürich
    Dear Sigung,

    as you have modified the Dragon Strength Set, did you also modify the Essence of Shaolin? If yes, could you please explain the differences? If no, could you please explain why?

    You have mentioned that you specialized in the Dragon Strength Set, then what about the Essence of Shaolin?

    How did the Essence of Shaolin affect your personal- and kung-fu development?

    If you would ascribe an animal style to the Essence of Shaolin Set, what animal(s) would it be and why?

    As in the Essence of Shaolin is no specific internal force part, what kind internal force training, namely One Finger Shooting Zen, Cosmos Palm, Iron Wire, Graspin Sparrow´s Tail, Dantien Breathing, would fit best?

    During the Dragon Strength Course we have learned Dim Mark, Dragon Force and Lightning Speed. What skills will be taught during the Essence of Shaolin Course?

    With kind regards,
    Last edited by Anton S.; 21st December 2016 at 12:02 PM.
    Engage and maintain joyful practice!

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

    Anton Schmick
    Shaolin Wahnam Germany Nord

  3. #13
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Austria, Vienna

    Question 2

    Dear Shaolin Wahnam Family,

    Dear Olli,

    Here comes the early christmas present:

    Question 2

    Assuming pre-requisites are met for all the courses, if a person was given a choice of learning any one of the following: Dragon Strength, Weapons Course, Cosmos Palm, Cotton Palm, and Essence of Shaolin, and nothing else in addition, on which criteria would you recommend a specific opportunity to the person?



    So far I offered two once-in-a-life-time courses, which were Dragon Strength and Cosmos Palm. The third once-in-a-life-time course I shall offer is Essence of Shaolin. I won’t offer these courses again. Those who miss them, just miss them.

    It is incredible that I offer these courses. These are arts that masters only teach to their very special disciples. Some masters didn’t even teach to their very special disciples, their arts just left the world with them.

    Dragon Strength is my specialty. It includes three very rare and privilege arts, that many people think have been lost. These three arts are dragon force, dragon speed and dim mark (or the art of dotting energy points). It is simply ridiculous that course participants succeeded in learning these three very rare and prestigious arts in just five days of the course. But then we in Shaolin Wahnam are used to being ridiculous.

    If a master could learn any one of these three arts in five years, he would jump with joy. But our course participants, many of them are masters in their own right, learn three rare and prestigious arts in five days! It was true that our course participants had prior kungfu experience. But it was also true that masters did not become masters over night; they also had prior kungfu experience.

    The Cosmos Palm course was quite an accident. Matt asked me, in my very relaxing mood, whether I would teach Cosmos Palm. As I always agreed to the suggested courses put forward by our course organizers, I casually answered “yes”, without actually realizing it was Cosmos Palm. Matt was very fast in making full use of the opportunity. He quickly post an announcement on our Discussion Forum, giving me no chance to change my mind.

    But not only I did not regret the decision to teach Cosmos Palm, but I am actually grateful to Matt for organizing this wonderful course. All those who attended the course were deserving students (including many masters), and I am happy that I passed on a rare art so that it would not be lost to posterity.

    The Special Weapon Course which I taught in Kuala Lumpur this year (2016) and the Cotton Palm Course which I shall teach at the UK Summer Camp next year (2017) are also very special. But I did not explicitly say that they were once-in-a-life-time opportunities. I may, or may not, teach them again.

    In the Special Weapon Course we learned eight weapons in five days. The big trident and crescent-moon spear are weapons rarely practiced today. The guan dao, or the Big Knife of Guan Yu, is prestigious. The Ho Family Flowing Staff is one of the four famous staff sets in all kungfu. The soft-whip must be learned from a master; students learning it from books or videos will hurt themselves.

    The Cotton Palm was a specialty of my second sifu, Sifu Chee Kim Thong, who was known as a living treasure of the Peoples’ Republic of China. Sifu Chee Kim Thong was famous for his internal force, which many martial artists today think is a myth. The Cotton Palm is an excellent manifestation of internal force, as the master applying it seems to ordinary people that he leisurely moves his palms.

    Different masters, understandably, will choose different arts to specialize in. Many of the masters might not have a choice. They just had to practice, and later specialize, in what their teachers had taught them, often determined by environmental conditions. A particular master, for example, might want to specialize in Cotton Palm, if he had a wide knowledge of kungfu philosophy, but he might have to specialize in Iron Palm, which in my opinion is far inferior to Cotton Palm, if that was what he had been taught.

    Of the arts you have mentioned -- Dragon Strength, Weapons Course, Cosmos Palm, Cotton Palm, and Essence of Shaolin -- being able to specialize in any one of them in their essence is already a rare accomplishment. Most people just learn the external form; they miss the essence. If they ever specialize, they will perform “flowery fists and embroidery kicks” to please spectators.

    How many martial artists outside our school you know who can use dragon force to damage an opponent, capture an opponent’s weapon with their crescent-moon spear, cause severe injury with Cosmos Palm or Cotton Palm without leaving an external mark, or overcome a seemingly impossible attack using a sophisticated kungfu technique like one from Essence of Shaolin? A generous estimate is less than 10%. It means more than 90% of martial artists have no chance to specialize in what you have mentioned.

    If a participant to any one of the above courses has met all the pre-requisites, he can attend the course. But I still can recommend the criteria he can focus on.

    The most important criterion for learning any one of the courses mentioned above, is to practice the Ten Shaolin Laws. This is the requirement not only to learn any of the courses mentioned above, but also to learn any art taught in our school.

    It is important to emphasize that the Ten Shaolin laws are not restrictive or punitive, but to enable practitioners to get the best benefits from their training and to live a meaningful life. If they practice the Ten Shaolin Laws in their daily life, they are deserving student.s

    Practitioners should also know quite well the prescribed set for the course so that time at the course can be more rewardingly used to learn other things, like developing skills. For example, if a practitioner is to attend the Essence of Shaolin course, he should know before attending the course, the Essence of Shaolin set.

    Many people think that certain sets are top secrets. I had this idea in my earlier years. But as my knowledge and experience of kungfu improved, I realize that the secrets lie not in the set, which you can learn from the internet, but in combat application and skills, including various types of internal force.

    Another important criterion is that course participants must be willing to learn.. This criterion may appear odd to many people, but a lot of participants, luckily not in our school, attend courses with preconceived ideas or, worse still, they think they are smarter than their teacher. If they come with pre-conceived ideas or think they are smarter than the teacher, the course participants place a huge handicap on themselves.

    Although this criterion is not common in our school, I still like to mention it. Some of our students, without their own realization, think they know more than the master. If the master asks them to perform a certain combat sequence every day for a period of time so as to develop the necessary skills, they perform it whenever they like. .

    It is only logical to follow the advice of the master if course participants want the best results, after making sure that the master is genuine and produces the results they want. If they do not want to follow the master’s advice, they should not learn from him.

    Although all our family members will like to attend all the courses mentioned, different people will have different choice if they have to choose only one. Personally I would choose Dragon Strength. This is quite obvious because Dragon Strength is my favorite, and dragon force and dragon speed are my specialty. Although dim mark may not be my specialty, as I prefer chin-na, practicing Dragon Strength can enable me to perform dim mark well.

    Attending the Dragon Strength Course would enable course participants to develop dragon force, dragon speed and dim mark. There are wonderful skills. But they still need techniques to implement the skills.

    In today’s low level of combat, when practitioners have advanced skills, they can use ordinary techniques. But if their opponents are advanced too, the practitioners will need advanced techniques.

    The best techniques are found in Essence of Shaolin. As Shaolin Kungfu is the greatest martial art – please see for the justification of this statement – by extension the best techniques of all martial arts are found in the Essence of Shaolin.

    As mentioned earlier, this Essence of Shaolin course is once-in-a-life-time course. Those invited to attend the course should not miss it.


  4. #14
    Luo Lang's Avatar
    Luo Lang is offline Sifu Roland Mastel - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Switzerland
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Zürich-Bern, Switzerland
    Dear Sifu,

    If I may I would love to ask you one question:

    If there is the essence of Shaolin, what is the essence of Shaolin?

    Thank you.

    Best regards,

    "From formless to form, from form to formless"

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


  5. #15
    Join Date
    Aug 2015
    Honorable Sigung,

    Thank you for your illuminating and in-depth answer! As a whole it was very lucid and helpful. The story of how the Cosmos Palm came about was ticklish.

    I must have completely mistaken myself to assume that the recent Special Weapons Course and Cotton Palm were also one-timers. Good to know that there may be more chances to pick these teachings from you.

    With sincere gratitude,
    On my way to understanding the greatness of gratitude.
    Thank you Sifu, Sigung, and Past Masters!

  6. #16
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Austria, Vienna
    Dear Shaolin Wahnam family,

    two more questions are left. Don't miss the opportunity to ask a question on the "Essence of Shaolin".

    With shaolin salute,

  7. #17
    wooden shoes is offline Sifu Roeland Dijkema - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam The Netherlands
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Dear Sifu,

    If all things were equal, is it more advantageous to use a simple technique against a simple attack (a boxer's jab for instance )? Or is it for an advanced practitioner better to use techniques found in advanced sets such as Essence of Shaolin?

    Many thanks for your time Sifu!

    Best wishes,

    Roeland Dijkema
    Last edited by wooden shoes; 25th December 2016 at 07:54 AM.

  8. #18
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Dear Sifu,

    How have you benefited over the years from learning the Essence of Shaolin set from Sigung?


  9. #19
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Austria, Vienna

    Quesiton time is over

    Dear Shaolin Wahnam Family,

    10 very good Questions have been asked so far. So question time is over now.

    Two answers have been posted until now, others will follow soon.

    With shaolin salute,


  10. #20
    Join Date
    May 2015
    Austria, Vienna

    Answer 3 part 1

    Dear Shaolin Wahnam Family,

    please enjoy Answer 3 part 1.

    With shaolin salute,

    Question 3

    What are the benefits of practicing the Essence of Shaolin set, both in kungfu practice and in daily life?

    Sifu Nessa Kahila


    The Essence of Shaolin set contains the best combat techniques of Shaolin Kungfu. As Shaolin Kungfu is the greatest martial art (please see the webpage at for justification), by extension the best combat techniques in all martial arts are found in Essence of Shaolin.

    The combat techniques in Essence of Shaolin are really marvelous. I shall take the first two patterns in the set, “Show Dragon Hide Tiger” and “Reverse Thunder Roll Heaven”, as examples.

    Most martial artists would not know the combat application of “Show Dragon Hide Tiger”. But when its combat application is explained, many people, as it is often the case, may think why they have never thought of it before.

    There was a story about “Reverse Thunder Roll Heaven”., which has another name, “Reverse Hanging of Golden Lotus”. I was sparring with a well-known chi kung master. He gave me a thrust punch, and I covered it. Instantly he swung his arm at my face in the pattern “Reverse Thunder Roll Heaven”. Most people would be caught by surprise, and be hit. But I knew the technique well from Essence of Shaolin. I just thread away his attack calmly. The chi kung master was both surprised and impressed. He was so impressed that he asked me to teach him some combat application.

    The first pattern touches on the element of marvel, and the second pattern on the element of surprise. Many of the combat applications of the patterns in Essence of Shaolin are marvelous and surprising.

    Besides effective techniques, a kungfu practitioner must also need other qualities, especially when his opponents are of high level. His form must be picture-perfect, he must have good force and speed, his movement is fluid, and he applies tactics and strategies effectively.

    If an exponent does not have good form, he may not be able to use the combat applications of many of the patterns in Essence of Shaolin even when he knows their combat application. This was a main reason why I took more than 2 years to learn the set, even when I was known to have picture-perfect form. Uncle Righteousness made sure my form in all the patterns of the set was picture-perfect.

    Hence, one of the many benefits of Essence of Shaolin is to have picture-perfect form. When your form is picture-perfect, you will not only be good at Essence of Shaolin, but also in all martial arts, including those arts which you may not have learnt before. If you attempt any wrestling techniques, presuming you have not learnt wrestling before, not only you will perform the techniques in picture-perfect form but also you will know why if your form is not picture-perfect you will expose yourself to counter-attack. You will also know that the shoot, which is a common technique in wrestling, is suicidal in a real fight where safety rules do not apply.

    But you do not need 2 years to learn the set. It is because of a few reasons. A very important reason is that now we have the advantage of modern technology, the internet, which I did not have before. Another reason is my progress in kungfu philosophy. Now I don’t regard the routine of the set itself as a top secret, though many other masters still do. I also prefer to teach you how to fish, instead of giving you a fish. You will, for example, attempt picture-perfect form of all the patterns of Essence of Shaolin on your own, instead of me correcting your form pattern by pattern. For those who are enterprising, you can work out sophisticated applications of some of its patterns, like what we have done in many of my kungfu courses.

    (Part 2 follows)

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