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Thread: Essence of Shaolin

  1. #71
    Zhang Wuji is offline Sifu Zhang Wuji - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Singapore
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    Great posts, everyone.

    Now that I am back in the thick of (office) things, I have little time to post, but here is something that I wanted to write for the past 2 weeks.

    I wrote earlier that some of the applications for the set were taken from our basic combat sequences, or that some of the applications would be familiar to those who had attended other courses. I am pretty sure none of the participants had this problem, but I was reminded of this story in Sifu's autobiography about the son of a rich man whose Wing Chun Sifu corrected, got irritated and said "I know that already".

    This mindset is one of most insidiously dangerous one can have, because it breeds intellectual and physical sloth, arrogance, complacency, and lack of respect. It is like the old Zen story that Bruce Lee used to quote about how one cannot fill a cup with fresh tea/water unless one empties that cup first. Except that in this case, it is not a case of emptying the cup, but rather improving the taste of what is already in the cup.

    There is a famous saying by Confucious 温故知新 which means that by revising what you had learnt before, you can always learn something new. This was indeed my experience at the course - I had written about how I finally understood the nuances of the Tiger Tail kick only now, even though Sifu had taught the kick before at one of my early courses. In a sense, everything that we need has already been taught to us. It is now time to enrich, enhance and master what Sifu had taught us long ago. And this is what the Essence of Shaolin course means to me. Even without practising any sequence in particular, I found my practice of my Dragon Strength set more enlightened, and even my practice of dim mak felt tangibly different.
    百德以孝为先
    Persevere in correct practice

  2. #72
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    Wow what a course. I feel like I have eaten an encyclopedia of Kungfu.

    What amazed me even more than the marvellous applications is how Sifu was working non-stop throughout the course in between classes and at night to compile, cut and upload the videos over the (rather slow) hotel Internet connection. All magically ready for us the next day.

    We are so lucky in so many ways.
    George / Юра
    Shaolin Wahnam England

    gate gate pāragate pārasaṁgate bodhi svāhā

  3. #73
    Charles David's Avatar
    Charles David is offline Sifu Charles Chalmers - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Canada
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    Dear Wahnam Family,

    I was sad to be unable to attend this historical course, but am heartened to read about your experiences. This may be the first set that I "steal."

    All the Best from Borneo.


    Yours,

    Chas
    Charles David Chalmers
    Brunei Darussalam

  4. #74
    Zhang Wuji is offline Sifu Zhang Wuji - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Singapore
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kristian S. View Post

    To all the wonderful folks I was lucky enough to share lovely times with, you are all incredible and I really hope we can meet again soon!!

    Kristian
    Kristian

    Do post the movie we produced, wrote, directed and acted in !
    百德以孝为先
    Persevere in correct practice

  5. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhang Wuji View Post
    Kristian

    Do post the movie we produced, wrote, directed and acted in !
    Yeahhhhh!!!! Dazzle the worlllld! haha

    Here is what we managed to do with the #1 director of Universal Singapore; feast your eyes!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXtW...ature=youtu.be


  6. #76
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zhang Wuji View Post
    Kristian

    Do post the movie we produced, wrote, directed and acted in !
    Wuji, you have to teach me those spinning kicks the next time we meet....superlative sir~ I can't seem to pull of the double-kick coming out of the pivot... something to work on.

    I'll need to make my landings crisper for the next version; didn't know we were going to be making an appearance on Youtube! For our next Kungfu movie; a tough Singapore PD cop (Wuji) who's trained in the mystical and unfathomably deep arts of the Shaolin 36th Chamber is assigned to track down his long lost adopted brothers (Kristian & John) who grew up in a Singaporean orphanage (abandoned there by irresponsible backpackers of unknown origins) and learned kungfu on the streets. Abducted by the mob, only one man knows how to infiltrate the Singaporean underground and spin kick doors open, vaulting through shattering windows in slow motion amidst a hail of ricocheting bullets with a dead look in his eyes because he's kicked so many gangsters in the head that he's immune to it. But little does he know that he's about to get into a jam he can't kick his way out of and only his two adopted brothers can save him, if only they can get free in time! Starring Zhang Wuji, Kristian Staev and John √ď Laoidh.

  7. #77
    Grimlock's Avatar
    Grimlock is offline Sifu Chris Didyk - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam USA
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    Nice kicks guys! I'm particularly impressed with Wuji's ability to do the spinning kicks forwards and backwards!

    The Essence of Shaolin - Session 2

    As this has become the de facto course experience thread for Essence of Shaolin, I'll share my thoughts on the second session here (note to moderators: should it be split off or linked to from the Discussions of Shaolin Wahnam Courses category? I suspect that is where most future people searching for it would expect to find it.)

    The Essence of Shaolin course was everything I expected and more. It validated my pre-course belief that it is the pinnacle of Shaolin combat application the way that Dragon Strength is the pinnacle of Shaolin force-training. We had 17 attendees in the second session with experience levels ranging from 1 to 15+ years of practicing Shaolin Kung Fu. It was great training and spending time with new friends and old from all over the world. Every course reminds me how special our Shaolin Wahnam family is.

    To the relative beginners who attended, I applaud you for taking advantage of this golden opportunity. It's not easy to take a course aimed above your current level, but it will noticeably speed up your progress and give you a glimpse of what is waiting for you just a little ways up the road if you practice well. Every one of you made a lot of progress during the course and I enjoyed training with you. I look forward to seeing how you've progressed when we meet at future courses!

    Sifu's Teaching

    Sifu's teaching was more gently powerful and cost-effective than I have ever experienced. We spent less time training and took several breaks, but when it was time to do something, Sifu explained/demonstrated it, we did it, and then we just had the skill. For example, when we did Double Dragons Emerge From Sea, Sifu demonstrated how to do it as force training using the flow method then the force/consolidation method. It took about 5 minutes. We did just one round of each, taking maybe a minute or two, and I felt more internal force than when I previously did force-training for 15 minutes or more! Everything we did was that cost-effective. We went through the zhan zhuang cycle in about 20 minutes, the set in about an hour. Somehow, the pace always felt relaxed even though it was fast, and the breaks helped us absorb a lot of material without getting too brain-fried.

    The course format was quite simple: review stances, review the set and its modifications, spend time coming up with and demonstrating our own applications of the patterns from the set, learn the 108 sequences of marvelous applications of each pattern of the set. We covered everything up to the 108 sequences on the first day and spent the other 4 days on the sequences. Occasionally, we each picked a sequence and practiced trying to apply them on each other, but the bulk of the time was spent learning the sequences.

    To teach us a sequence, Sifu would bring a pair of students on stage and teach them the sequence step-by-step while explaining the fine points. They would do the full sequence a couple of times under Sifu's watchful eye, and then we'd get in our sparring lines and spend a few minutes practicing the sequence with a partner before moving on to the next one.

    I know being up on stage can be daunting, but I'm always really excited to be up there. It's a rare opportunity to work directly with Sifu and get his corrections. Plus, so many times, I gain a deeper understanding of an application or a skill from feeling Sifu apply it on me.

    The Marvelous

    The sequences themselves are amazing. They are short and clear, doing the minimum necessary to set up, apply, and counter the marvelous applications. In many cases, a sequence has you doing marvelous applications from both sides, often training you how to apply slight variations. Many of the applications can seemingly be grouped into related themes (for instance, the sequences for Show Dragon Hide Tiger, Golden Dragon Plays with Water, and Hundred Steps Through Willows), and my feeling during the course was that we were being taught how to improve several important skills from a few different angles each. 108 is still a lot of sequences, but I love that in some cases, getting good at one of them might unlock a few others.

    The videos of the sequences are treasures. Sifu's spacing, timing, and movement are so relaxed with no waste. And his hands always go immediately to the right position. It's true that the sequences show us marvelous applications of the best patterns from all of Shaolin, but another layer of The Marvelous that Sifu taught us were all these little details with the basic patterns we used to set up the marvelous applications. I learned new things about patterns that I have been practicing regularly for over a decade!

    As far as The Marvelous goes, there is no marvelous without solid fundamentals. Several times, I saw the sequences fall apart due to some fundamental skill being neglected. Once corrected, the sequences often became effortless. It's amazing how much easier it is when you do it right!

    I had an interesting experience injuring my back on Day 4, but I'll save that for another post.

    As always, thank you to Sifu, the past masters, Wei Foong, and our dear Shaolin Wahnam family for another wonderful course!
    Chris Didyk
    Shaolin Wahnam USA


    Thank You.

  8. #78
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    Wink Encore......


    Hilarious Chaps!

    Encore please....encore! Love it!



    Quote Originally Posted by Kristian S. View Post
    Yeahhhhh!!!! Dazzle the worlllld! haha

    Here is what we managed to do with the #1 director of Universal Singapore; feast your eyes!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXtW...ature=youtu.be

    Aaahhhhh!

  9. #79
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    UK
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    305

    Essence of Movies......Course 1 December 2017

    On the topic of the Essence of film making, here's a short vid from 2 likely lads that clearly have talent.
    So for all Martial Art lovers here's something really dangerous.

    https://vimeo.com/250956014

    PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME

    Very dangerous y'know.

    James
    O\
    Aaahhhhh!

  10. #80
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    December 2017 was really amazing. I did not actually expect to be accepted to such high level course! Invitation came as a big surprise.
    Ive been practicing chi kung for a while, but I am still fresh in Kung Fu. I asked myself - am I ready? And I was not really sure if thats the right place for me to be.
    So I asked my Sifu, and He said - Sigung knows best. If Sigung invited you, you are ready.

    The whole 2017 was a preparation course. I had to start with stances, how to get stable, how to move between them, try to connect basic hand forms together... And of course try to memorize the whole, long and advanced set.

    The course itself was life changing. Usually there is one or two advanced practitioners/instructors. During Essence of Shaolin the whole group was full of high level kung fu experts!

    Opportunity to spar and cross hands with other practitioners opened my eyes. Its one thing to build up chi, internal force, but to use it in a fight, in fast changing situation, to apply it in different ways while covering the same time.... It takes decades of intensive practice.

    The most important thing I have learned is how important the basics are. This year I will do my best to practice, practice and prctice the first 12 combat sequences and prepare well to the Intensive Kung Fu course 2019. Same time, playing with sequences I have learned is a lot of fun. January 2018 is basicly about sequence one, Lohan Asks the Way and Swimming Dragon sequence.
    I have to say that the progress is quite fast and I am really happy with that training. Essence of Shaolin, after learning basics well, gives me amount of material to learn that can simply cover the rest of my life!

    Essence of Shaolin allowed me to understand how free and alive kung fu really is. This course, 108 marvelous applications gave me a freedom. Make sure your form is good, but then just forget about it and flow! Dont get stuck, there is always a way out, always a counter move!

    It was not only fighting skills Sigung transmitted us. The psychological aspect was really interesting.

    Sigung changed some of the patterns during the first day of the course. Suddenly you have to adapt and try to memorize new movements, connect them together. It was a great lesson - never get stuck, be always prepared to change and adapt to a new, fast changing situation.

    Sigung picked me, a relative beginner, to perform on the stage. Try to imagine, standing in the front of a crowd of Kung Fu masters, in eye of Shaolin Grandmaster, and trying to remember all the moves!
    My first reaction was - run! Run and hide! It will be the most embarrassing moment in your life. But then my Sifus words came - Sigung knows best. And you simply let go and try your best. If something goes wrong, you have a golden opportunity to be corrected by Shaolin Grandmaster!

    I didnt last long and got fried quite fast, after a couple of sequences. But this experience will stay forever with me. A guy, who just a couple of years ago was afraid to speak loudly!

    That experience opened my eyes - how good all of my Sipaks are. They can grasp all the movements in a seconds and apply it correctly after a short while!

    Jumping from one sequence to another, usually with only couple of minutes to practice, was really challenging. There was a moments when I was standing and watching, but I could not remember anything! Just a blank white page. But even then, no one gave up. Everyone just tried to follow and make best out of it!

    The experience of high developed internal force was just amazing. Observing instructors in action... I received a gentle slap on my ribs, with opened, relaxed palm from Sipak Mark... Just a seconds later, the whole side of my chest started to pulsate, I could feel a huge blockage building up!
    It was just a gentle slap!

    Watching Sipak Chris rolling many minutes on the floor after sparring session with his wife Christina, half of his size (at this place I would like to thank both of You for taking care of me during the course, it was really kind of You!).

    But the absolutely most impressive one was Sipak Damian presenting the combat application of Wuji Stance. It was something I will never forget!

    Then, opportunity to try to twist Sigungs palm! And the amazing secret I managed to grasp that moment.... It gave me a totally new understanding of the nature of internal force. How powerfull it really is and how important is to follow the rules! relax, relax, relax...

    Thank You Sigung for letting me be a part of this event. And thank You all my Sipaks for being kind and gentle to me.

    Essence of Shaolin was not only about the course itself, it was many interesting conversatins and a lot of amazing people around. So many opportunities to learn new arts and skills.

    A chance to watch our Shaolin Wahnam Healers in action, Sipak Chun Nga adjusting the meridians, Sipak Andrew fixing my hip and making my legs equally long in less than 10 second (doctor told me there is only one option to me - operation).

    Thank You Sigung for this amazing month. And thank You all the Shaolin Wahnam Instructors and students for making such amazing family!

    With Shaolin Salute
    Karol

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