Things have changed drastically since September 11th and it has both clarified and refined many people's thinking and direction. For me, I saw that where I wanted to be was my home, and that is England. As things have become more quiet here in the Hawaii classes due to the resulting recession, the Centre in England is bubbling and so it seemed that the right thing is to stand as one rather than have resources divided.
My feelings for leaving Hawaii and returning to England are very Yin/ Yang. There are many things that pull at my heart to return to England, the largest being my husband and the Tse Qigong Centre family that fortunately has never been too far away in this day of modern technology. However, I will miss the students who have come to appreciate the skill that I have been fortunate enough to teach them. Gregg Dunn, in addition to being a good student, has been like my guardian angel and helped to open doors and smooth a path for me here in Hawaii. Steve Casano bravely took over classes in my absences from the island and did very well and earned the respect of his classmates and won my trust. Although he knew his skill level was not ready, he did it out of loyalty to me as I had asked. Outside of the Centre, I am also grateful to the
And I am appreciative of Kahi Wight. She has not only embraced the skill of my heart, Qigong, but has also benefited by it tremendously. She has never missed a class unless she was away from the island and has proven her loyalty and sincerity through these last weeks, offering to help in anyway she can. Thanks also to Kaii Krymm who has wonderful patience, continuing to practise her Balancing Gong for the three weeks I was last away, despite knowing she should have been tested. I am happy to see her
"Aloha means many things, hello, goodbye, act with love and awareness , it means family"
sweetness of Austin Yonihiro who has a big heart and lots of potential. Thanks also to all the others at the Atherton YMCA who embrace the same ethos of family of the Tse Qigong Centre and who have made me welcome here in Hawaii.
health and skill improving. There are also others, like my Buddhism Sifu who has just recently begun to study Qigong with me and who learns exceptionally well and practises even better. I am grateful to her for letting me be a part of 'her family' when I was alone and needed it most, and to all those friends I have made in the temple as a result.
It has often been a frightening burden to try and create something here alone but I am grateful to everyone who has helped, especially those there in England who have helped to boost morale, wipe tears and even shout and give me a kick when needed.
I am sure you can guess some of those people: - Tse Sifu-both as my teacher and my best friend; Darryl Moy- whose patience has I am sure earned him Immortality by now; Michael Baker- for the weekly emails of humour which were sorely needed at times; John Hayes - for always aking time to listen; Barbro - for being friend of the heart and for Stefan, for just being a good man, and to all those others in the family, like Julian Wilde who sent me a timely email this summer before the Instructor's Course to say I would be missed. It helped a lot! And thanks to Sylvia Royle for the cards and sweet thoughts, Martin Gale who is more than one person's hero, Simon Bedford, Caroline Garvey, Sarah Bloomfield, Mollie Heron, Helen Philpott, Helen Massey, Shahriar Sepangi and Kate Britton. There are many more, and I thank all of them in my heart.
Life is constantly changing but to me the constant pivot should be compassion and kindness for those around us. These relationships, like strands of a web, are what connect us and help to support the whole. I am grateful for the small time I have had here in Hawaii to share my Sifu's skill and hope that the seeds planted will continue to grow. It is now time for me to start another garden back in England and share some of the Aloha that I have learned here in Hawaii. Aloha means many things. It means hello, it means goodbye, it means to be and act with love and awareness of others' needs. It means family by Sihn Kei. [email protected],qimagazine. com
There is a long history of seclusion and retreat in the Daoist tradition. The tales and legends of masters and disciples leaving the disharmony and illusions of society behind and returning to nature are too numerous to recount. Whether they lived as hermits for their entire lives, or returned to society after a temporary sojourn, nature was clearly the source of inspiration for the Daoist spiritual tradition. The very imagery and language of Daoist spiritual texts is derived from and continually reinvigorated by direct natural experience.
The Dao De Jing states that Dao is the way of nature, and compares Dao to the flow of a river. The Yijing illuminating wisdom derives entirely from the interaction of natural forces like wind, water, wood, earth. The postures and movements of Taijiquan and Qigong are also reflections of nature. One "waves hands like clouds", or moves like "twin dragons embracing the moon." Qigong postures emulate the Big Dipper, crouching tigers, bamboo stalks, and eagles soaring on the breeze. Nature is the source of Daoist cultivation. As Master Shi Ming states in his book Mind Over Matter, Higher Martial Arts, "Humankind is none other than a microcosm, a hologram of the total system of the universe, in complete communion with the macrocosm." (p. 24)
Unfortunately, these natural truths do not have much to do with how people actually live their lives today, even people fortunate enough to have the time and energy to devote to internal cultivation. Post-modern citizens in the
21 st Century are more detached from nature than human beings have ever been. Philosophy, education and psychological attitude toward the natural world separate us mentally and spiritually; the simple mechanics of how we live erect enormous barriers between ourselves and the earth we emerged from and depend on.
The majority of the citizens of the industrialized nations, eastern or western, live in cities where nature has been nearly completely destroyed or subordinated. City dwellers can and do live their lives completely removed from natural cycles or processes, whether they want to or not. Even residents of suburban or rural areas are still contending with the lights, traffic and noise of sprawl, and an increasing reliance on technology that separates daily living from natural processes. Furthermore, the increasingly frenetic pace of our lives is stressful and serves to adrenalize our system, making us unhealthy, nervous and unbalanced; a far cry from the balanced serenity that spiritual cultivation is based upon.
Our increasingly technological society is not a purely negative one. Passing judgement on society, or advocating some type of environmental "fundamentalism" as the redress for all of our current difficulties is neither mature nor realistic. The point that needs to be made is that our current lifestyle and the majority of the influences on our lives, be they psychological or technological, create obstacles to internal cultivation, and these obstacles block our receptivity to Qi within ourselves or the
natural world we come from. The results of these obstacles are profound.
Fortunately, "when one removes the weeds, the garden grows of its own accord." As teachers at a martial arts educational centre in Maine, we are fortunate to have access to pristine wilderness areas, and have learned first hand of the numerous benefits of extended spiritual cultivation in wilderness settings. We believe so strongly in providing wilderness training as part of our education that we have developed a complete four-season program in order to give our students these crucial experiences. Students climb mountains and canoe lakes and rivers in order to cleanse their spirits and find tranquil and unspoiled settings to engage in the ancient and beautiful practices of Taiji, Qigong and other martial arts training practices. Travelling to a pristine natural setting and living in a more basic state, as the ancient masters did, is still one of the simplest ways to improve one's practice. There are many benefits to taking a day trip to a park or beach, and we know of many practitioners (including ourselves) who engage in these kinds of activities. However, taking an extended retreat of several days has more profoundly positive effects on our practice.
First of all, extended trips make it possible to get to a more remote site, which means the energy will be uncontaminated. Secondly, an extended trip will make it possible to truly "empty one's cup". For example, when we take our students on a three-day wilderness trip, the entire first day is required to truly detach from the stresses and concerns of work and family. The second day is taken up with actually harmonizing with nature. It isn't until the third day that the student is fully attuned to nature and can really transform their practice. By then, one experience builds upon another, to create an impact that goes beyond what each individual experience can provide. Lastly, remote areas are often quite beautiful and awe-inspiring. Simply being out there nourishes the spirit and refreshes and strengthens the mind and body.
Another benefit of wilderness training derives from the more basic way that you live while outdoors. Sleeping on the ground, in tents or in shelters, cooking outside and being completely subordinate to the elements is spiritually purifying. Quite simply, it's an ancient way to live, so it puts you in direct contact with the same forces that moulded the ancient spiritual masters. Since we come from the earth, even people who have little or no experience in nature will find their instincts and awareness heightened. When you are focused on the simple demands of living, such as hauling wood or drawing water, the ego is put in check as a matter of course.
The exact details of our practice vary with the seasons, the time of day we happen to be practising and the natural setting we are training in.
However, the basic format is to first clear the mind through either seated or standing meditation, in which one begins Cosmic Orbital Breathing to generate Qi circulation from the perineum up the spine, over the crown, into the limbs and back down to the perineum. From there, we draw energy from heaven and earth, and make a connection between the two within us.
Once that connection has been established, we will conduct a series of purifying washes such as sinew or bone marrow purification. Depending on the environment, season, or time of day we may draw energy directly from the sun or moon, either to warm us up or cool us down, or Terrain permitting, we important
"Most is the long-lasting effects on our practise after we return engage in a series of energy "pulls". may also engage in Taijiquan exercise.
Although any number of days of wilderness training is good, three days seems to be the necessary minimum for really emptying the cup and taking one's practice to a new level. We conduct excursions of three, five or seven days in length. We find these particular lengths to be meaningful simply because they remind us of mind-body-spirit; the four cardinal directions and the centre point or the five elements; and the seven stars of the Big Dipper (the Jade Ladle). The length is not of central importance. What is most important is the long-lasting effects of wilderness Qigong on our practice after we return from an excursion. We find that our practice is invigorated for up to a month after our return. The benefits occur at several levels. By purifying ourselves, negative thoughts and worries are dispelled, giving us more relaxation and confidence in our training and other aspects of our lives. The deeper level of intuitive connection continues to function after we return, making our practise more natural, creative and spontaneous; less mechanical and contrived. It gives us back our connection to the natural rhythm of the earth, and this helps us make the discipline of our practise more harmonious with these cycles. Also, we return to our "day-to-day" lives with a more refined capacity for effortless action. This helps us to deal with stress better, which in turn helps us conserve our energy and stay healthier mentally, physically, and spiritually. And, of course, we have the memory of a wonderful experience.
In addition to whatever guidelines you use to structure your practise, there are a few points to consider if you go into nature:
Remember that nature is the teacher. Weather and conditions determine your practise. You cannot be rigid about what you do, or when. After all, flexibility and spontaneity are the whole reason you are out there in the first place. Qigong in a sunny meadow on a windless day is different than Qigong on a starry night by the edge of a lake. You will be drawing in different energy, and your practise may spontaneously change in accordance with what you are harmonizing with.
Do not practise on mountain peaks. This is too much of a focus point for heavenly Yang energy, and is too intense for our system. It is also somewhat arrogant. It is fine to be high up on the side of a mountain, just avoid the very top. Find an area some distance below the peak that is at least somewhat sheltered and has more of a Yin element.
Do not practise in low-lying, stagnant or swampy areas. Aside from mundane concerns like insects, stagnant areas have stagnant energy, which should not be tapped into.
Do not practise in the wind. Wind will strip you of your Qi. Find a sheltered location. If you can't, then you should cultivate your patience and wait, or engage in seated meditation.
Do not practise at sundown. Sunset is a transition time in nature, and the Qi becomes mixed. This is to be avoided. Practising at daybreak is excellent, as is practising at night.
Do not draw in lunar energy on cold nights. Lunar energy is very Yin, and cools the body. Cooling the body on a cold night can lead to hypothermia. On the other hand, drawing lunar energy if you are overheated can cool you.
Conversely, do not draw in excessive solar energy on hot days. Too much Yang can lead to heat exhaustion. Solar draws are useful if you are outdoors in colder temperatures.
Do not practise where other people can see you. The whole idea is to detach from society, if only for a little while, so that you can completely open your meridians. Bystanders will cause you to naturally close down. In addition, you need to be concerned about your safety. Practising in front of strangers may bring you the wrong kind of attention.
Do not overextend yourself. The wilderness is purifying and healing, but not if you proceed recklessly or ignorantly. There are many challenges and hazards including weather, terrain, animals and, sadly, sometimes other people. In your enthusiasm for training, take care that your excursion does not exceed your ability to complete the trip safely. Develop your wilderness skills the way you develop you Qigong, consistently and patiently. There are numerous books on the wilderness you can access for information about camping, hiking, canoeing, etc. There are also many schools that you can go to for instruction on the basics of woodcraft and outdoor skills. Be careful as you look for a school to teach you wilderness skills, some are disreputable and abusive, others are genuine and careful. Make sure you choose your wilderness teachers wisely.
I would like to end with a short training poem about wilderness training written by our school's Sifu. As an ancient teacher once said, judge not, only ponder.
Let the Wind Blow, Conserve Your Qi. Let the Sun Shine, Accumulate Your Qi. Let the Rain Fall, Allow Your Qi to Flow. Let the Snow Blizzard, Open Your Inner Qi.
Let the Wind Blow, Let the Sun Shine, Let the Rain Fall, Let the Snow Blizzard.
Let Us All Be One With the Way, Forever flowing.
May your practise bring you joy. Thank You by Andy Mishkin
(About the Author: Andy Mishkin is a lifestyle martial artist and wilderness guide teaching at the Riverview Foundation, a martial arts educational center in Southern Maine specializing in non-competitive martial arts and wilderness training.)
Every Qigongsystem has its own principles andpractise guidelines. This article is written based on the author's own personal Qigong studies of his school and is not necessarily the guidelines ofother Qigong schools.
Qi Magazine 20
Master Chan Pui's
Preying Mantis Kung Fu is one of the most well known of the animal styles of Kung Fu. There are in fact a numberof styles of Preying Mantis. Master Chan Pui teaches Wah Lum Preying Mantis.
aster Chan Pui was born in 1936 in Guangxou, Shangxi province. It was the beginning of hard times in China, with the communists beginning to exert their power and influence. Rather than stay and be persecuted for the skill I that was his life, he escaped to Hong Kong in 1956 by swimming through Ishark infested waters separating the two bodies of land. In Hong Kong, he started teaching there but soon began to travel abroad to spread his skill. He first shared the Wah Lum skill in a martial art school in Boston's Chinatown and eventually emigrated to the United States in 1968. In 1971, he founded his own school in Boston, calling it the New England China Martial Arts Association. By 1974, he had six schools in the New England area.
Qi Magazine 24
However, it was Master Chan's dream to have a school where people could come from all over the world to both reside and train. He wanted it to be a place where people could come to study without distractions from outside, allowing them to concentrate on developing high level martial art skill. He also wanted his school to have the kind of special training facilities usually only found in China:- Plum Blossom Posts which help students build agility and balance, open spaces for weapons training that would not limit movement, and live in facilities so people could come and live at the temple from all over the world. His dream is that his school would be a place that would offer intensive, full time training not only for adults but children as well.
And in 1980 that dream came true and Master Chan opened the Wah Lum Kung Fu temple, a sprawling 3,000 complex located on over an acre of land in Orlando, Florida. The school can accommodate over 300 people training at any one time and is a testament to Master Chan's commitment and perserverence to martial art's excellence. Classes are held from 8am in the morning until 9pm at night seven days a week. It is a place where everyone becomes family, an example led by his own family's involvement in the temple. His wife, Suzy, teaches the only other 'outside Wah Lum system skill' offered by the temple and this is Taijiquan. His daughter, Mimi, has now assumed the full time responsibility of teaching classes and supervising training and teaching of the other 15 instructors in the Temple now that Master Chan has supposedly retired. However, he still is there
Qi Magazine 24
nearly everyday, presiding over his now flourishing dream.
Master Chan began his own martial art studies at the age of ten years old under Master Lee Kwan Shan, who taught Wah Lum Praying Mantis. He began with the basics, which at that time, meant that he studied these for three years before he ever began to learn the forms training. This intensive basics training helped him to build a very strong foundation that would serve to hone his skill both internally and externally. It also helped to develop his patience and humility, things which have helped shape his own ideas of how students should train.
The Wah Lum Praying Mantis skill originated from the Wah Lum Monastery in the Ping To district in Shantung province China. Master Lee Kwan Shan, (Master Chan Pui's Sifu), came to the Monastery in the early 1900s and began what was to be a ten year journey under the tutelage of Abbot Ching Yeung, the fourth generation disciple of the Praying Mantis system.
When Master Lee left the temple, he travelled to many places in China but finally chose to settle at Sha Cheng village in Canton province, which is in southern China. It was here that he combined the Praying Mantis, a northern style skill he had learned from Abbot Ching with his own family's martial art system, Tam Tui which means 'seeking leg'. Master Lee became known for his long fist forms, spear and pole techniques and whirling broadsword skills. Before his death in 1948, he accepted Chan Pui to be his youngest and last disciple.
After Master Lee's death, he continued his studies with his Dai Si Hing (elder Kung Fu brother), Chan Wan Ching. This made Master Chan the six generation in the Wah Lum skill. Today, he still tries to maintain the high level martial art skill taught to him by teaching his students to have a strong foundation through basic movements which trains their minds to help to settle their energy so they are calmer, trains their bodies so they are more flexible and healthier. In addition, he also trains them in martial arts morality. This strong foundation in the basics trains the heart (ie. spirit) and patience, necessary requirements for any good martial artist.
Master Chan Pui says, "Before every class, our students have to recite the following poem which is written on our altar in Chinese. It states :-
Learn kindness, humility and respect. Respect your elders, Respect the teachings being taught, Respect your teacher.
Master Chan says, "It is important that we teach our students the philosophical side of Kung Fu as well as the physical. Kung Fu means more than a series of kicks and punches. I find it essential that practitioners understand the true meaning of Kung Fu."
"In order for a person to be good at martial arts, I believe that strong basics are the key to good Kung Fu. A person willing to have the patience and dedication to train basics will have higher comprehension of what Kung Fu is and how to be a better martial artist. Most people today want to learn everything fast and aren't willing to spend six months on one technique to try and perfect it. However, the reason Kung Fu h a s b een c o n t i n u i n g fo r thousands of years is due to the patience and hard work put into it. People will get as much out of something as they put into it. Kung Fu means hard work."
"For such a long time traditional Kung Fu was a mystery. Now we see it in everyday activity -through movies, television and magazines. It has also been a goal for a long time to have the Wah Lum system strongly represented throughout the United States. I am happy to have so many grand students and even great-grand
"Kung Fu has been continuing for thousands of years due to the patience and hard work put into it"
students! It makes me proud to know that there will be many generations of Wah Lum practitioners. I hope that my teachings will carry on through my senior Wah Lum instructors and their students. It is like a family of generations."
He continues, "All kinds of martial arts are growing in the West and will get bigger and better over the years. The standard is constantly improving with good instructors and good schools. Martial arts will continue to grow."
"If someone wants to pursue a career in martial arts, I would tell any practitioner to work hard and concentrate on their basics. Regardless of style or art, the basics are the root of it all. The basics are like a tree. Without strong roots, the tree will die. The same theory applies for martial arts. One must concentrate on strong basics and foundations in order to truly bring themselves to another level and that is to learn humility, to be humble and practise hard."
by Jessica Blackwell
Master Chan Pui can be contacted at the Wah Lum Kung Fu Temple Tel. 407275 6177 or [email protected],wahlum.com
To the Chinese Culture, the turtle and snake are two very spiritual creatures. They have their own way of following nature and taking nature's energy. They also live long. Chinese people respect these animals a lot and some believe they are like human beings and can think. In the past, some people even believed they could change into human beings because they took the natural energy.
When practising Qigong, we usually need lot of space, but there are some that we can do sat on a stool. The stool will fix your position and your legs can also relax.
1 Combining Qi with the Turtle and Snake
i. Stand still for a few minutes, with your eyes closed. Let your mind clam down and relax all your muscles and joints. Fig 1
ii. Sit on a stool with your legs spread wide. Keep your back straight and look forwards, but do not focus on anything. Rest both of your hands on your Dantian and keep your elbows open, so there is space at the armpits. Fig 2
This exercise allows the Qi to settle at the Dantian. The snake is Yang and the turtle is Yin, so to begin with, we let both energies settle at the Dantian before we begin to move.
2 Two Dragons Play with a Pearl i. Rest both your hands on your Dantian. Men should place their left on the stomach with the right hand covering it. Women should have the right hand inside and the left outside. Start to rotate the hands in a circle around the area of the Dantian, men should make a clockwise circle and ladies should make an anticlockwise circle. Rotate the hands 36 times. Fig 3
This movement allows the Qi to startflowing from the Dantian andfrom still it becomes active. This follows the principle of the Yijing. From Wuji (nothing) comes Taiji (something). The hands represent the two dragons rotating the pearl.
3 Waving i. Sit still and rest both hands on your back on your kidneys. Fig 4
ii. At the same time, rub the right palm upwards, the left palm downwards and lean to the left side. Fig 5
iii. Change to the other side, rub the left hand upwards and the right palm down and lean to the right side. Fig 6
You move the upper body like it is a wave. Rubbing the lower back is goodfor your kidneys and makes the back more flexible.
4 Swing Your Head and Move Your Tail.
i. Sit still and rest both hands on your thighs. Keep your back straight and look forwards. Fig 7
ii. Bend forwards with your head down. Fig 8
iii. Start to rotate your upper body in a clockwise direction three times. Then repeat in an anticlockwise direction, again three times. While you circle your body make sure your hands and legs do not move. Fig 9 - Fig 10
This movement is also good for the lower back as well as headaches, your neck, shoulders, and all problems with the spine. It will help to keep your mind clear. As you rotateyour body, you should imagine that you have no bones and everyjoint is flexible.
to be continued...
by Zhou Renfeng
Being able to study with a traditional teacher is a great gift. Often many of the best lessons are not learnt in class, but outside in the most unlikey locations.
Once a week, rain or shine, my Lan Shou brothers take Sifu Qing to breakfast after class. Some of the brothers only attend class on Sundays because of work or family commitments and it is on this day that Sifu makes corrections and comments.
For those of you new to my continuing journal of Shanghai experiences, Sifu Qing Zhong Bao 79, is my Lan Shou Quan Grandmaster. Lan Shou is a rare form of Northern Shaolin that, although an external style of martial arts, embraces the principles of the internal system. My 11 Lan Shou brothers' average age is 52 and the group still practises together regularly with Sifu Qing.
Not all the famous restaurants in Shanghai serve breakfast but every Sunday we visit a different one that does, in the downtown area. Each one is known for its different specialities and seasonal offerings. While any of us could choose the myriad dishes on offer it is ordinarily Tsao Ching Suan or Wu Jie that pick the 20 or so dishes we end up sharing. This is based, I believe, on their fighting ability, which tends to order the standing within the group in many ways.
The breakfast is composed of Jaotze or dumplings of a variety of descriptions, as in Cantonese Dim Sum cuisine. Additionally they regularly order different flavours of chicken feet, shredded tofu, boiled peanuts and dates, the occasional drunken chicken, sweet egg tarts, jellied preserved meats, boiled beef tendon, pork bones, soy beans in their shells, water chestnuts in orange juice, jellyfish, gizzards, pickled preserved vegetables, fried rice flour pancakes, and many other unrecognisable, unknown, or unmentionable dishes. In the spring and summer, the dishes tend to be cold or chilled while in autumn and winter choices have been hot. Winter also means large pots of rice porridge with preserved duck eggs, dried fish, or a variety of legumes shot throughout, and
disagreements arise, then voices are raised, and it seems any second a huge brawl will break out, much to the amusement of some of the others. Somehow, this never happens and the group re-establishes cohesion and the semblance of harmony.
When it comes time to pay the bill things get really interesting. First off, everyone wants to look at the charge sheet to see how much the dishes cost. There is the endless wrangling over the individual prices and how overpriced this particular place is. Next, in the best Chinese tradition, one must deny any gift at least three times, so everyone wants to pay for the meal. Moreover, there is face to be gained by paying, at least on the day, and this is further incentive to win the bill. There are generally three ways one can "win" the bill. The first is through fighting ability served to everyone as well. Green tea, of course, is a staple and every one fights constantly to keep each other's cup full over the ensuing couple of hours.
Conversation tends to turn on the topics of movement, application, and principle. Fighting and past battles are another favourite subject along with stories of the great feats of legendary Lan Shou Masters. Ordinarily everyone talks at once, mouths full of food, and chopsticks poised to emphasize important points. Occasionally
"When it comes time to pay the bill things get really in teres ting."
by overcoming with talent and power, the second way to pay is through stealth by having given deposit money to the waitress beforehand or sneak and grab while the others argue, and finally one may win by charm, which is a secret technique I am unwilling to share with you here. Of course there are other methods one may employ but you might recognize these three primary methods from the words in Sun Tzu 'Art of War'.
Once the bill is paid it is the signal the meal is at an end and the group departs unceremoniously looking forward to the next week's practice and upcoming gathering by J. Reynolds Nelson. [email protected] com
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