August 04, 2012
July 05, 2010
November 05, 2009
In order to make the most of our kung fu syllabus however, we need to build our skills consistently and correctly, through well-structured daily practice. On the subject of practice, Sigung has given some very helpful advice in his Question and Answer Series. For convenience, I have copied an answer from May 2007 - http://www.shaolin.org/answers/ans07a/may07-2.html
I believe I heard somewhere that you prefer to have a structured, daily schedule. Can you please talk about the importance of having a daily schedule and any tips that may help us successfully implement and stick with our own (especially tips for handling disruptions such as travel or unexpectedly having to work late)?
Yes, having a structured daily schedule will help to save much time as well as to get maximum benefits from the practice, both in the practice session itself as well as the general programme of training.
Experience has shown that many students waste a lot of time thinking of what to practice next after they have completed one aspect of their training. Because they lack a clear cut schedule, they often practice haphazardly, spending too much time on what is relatively unimportant, neglecting crucial aspects as well as training redundantly.
For example, many students spend years on practicing kungfu sets, without developing force and practicing combat application, which are the two twin pillars of any kungfu training. Yet, after many years of practicing forms, their forms are not correct because they failed to master the basics like how to co-ordinate their body, feet and hands, and how to move with grace and balance.
Having a structured schedule will overcome these setbacks. But before we attempt to work out our schedule, we must have a clear idea of what the art we are going to practice is, what our aims and objectives of practicing are, and what resources we have to work on. Without such preliminary understanding, many people end up with form demonstration or Kick-Boxing though they originally aimed to practice Shaolin Kungfu or Taijiquan. Some of them, including instructors, have invested so much time and effort in their deviated practice that they even think or argue that form demonstration or Kick-Boxing is Shaolin Kungfu or Taijiquan!
Setting aims and objectives are important when constructing a daily practice schedule. It helps to make your practice very cost-effective. To set aims and objectives wisely, you need to be clear of not just what you wish to achieve but also what the art has to offer. Then you select from within the art the relevant resources for practice that best help you to accomplish your aims and objectives. Arranging this material into some systematic ways for practice makes up your daily practice schedule.
Allot time, say half an hour or an hour, for each training session, and give yourself, say, six months as a package to achieve your objectives. Your daily practice schedule may be the same every day if you have sufficient time in the session to complete the chosen material, or you may vary your daily schedule if you have a lot of material to cover.
Naturally, because of different needs and aspiration as well as developmental stage, different practitioners will have different schedules. Let us take an example of a student who attends regular classes from a Shaolin Wahnam instructor. He aims to have good health and vitality as well as combat efficiency. A good daily schedule is as follows.
Start with about 5 minutes of “Lifting the Sky”. Then spend about 10 minutes on stance training, followed by about 5 to 10 minutes of gentle chi flow. Next, spend about 10 minutes on the Art of Flexibility, alternating with the Art of 100 Kicks on different days, followed by about 5 minutes of chi flow.
Then practice a kungfu set. If he has learnt many sets, he may vary the set on different days. Depending on his needs, aspirations and developmental stage, in his set practice he may focus on correctness of form, fluidity of movements, breath control or explosion of force. This will take about 10 to 15 minutes.
For the next 10 or 15 minutes, he should practice his combat sequences. He may go over all the sequences he has learnt or select those he wishes to consolidate. He will practice them at the level he is at, such as merely going over the routine so that he will be very familiar with them, using steps like continuation and internal changes, or varying them in sparring with an imaginary opponent. He will conclude his training session with 5 or 10 minutes of Standing Meditation where he enjoys inner peace or expands into the Cosmos.
Another student who does not have the advantage of learning from a regional Shaolin Wahnam instructor, may have a very different daily schedule. Suppose he wants to attend my Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course, but could not learn kungfu, even only outward forms, from a local teacher. So he has to learn the forms from my books, and familiarize himself with the combat sequences from my webpages.
His main aim is to prepare himself so that he can qualify to attend the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course. He has three main objectives -- to be able to perform basic kungfu forms so that he can follow the course, to be familiar with the routine of the 16 combat sequences so that he can focus on developing combat skills instead of wasting time learning the sequence at the course, and to develop some internal force, especially at his arms, so that he can be fit for a lot of sparring. He allots half an hour a day for three months to achieve these objectives.
He should spend the first month focusing on the basics, i.e. the stances and footwork and basic patterns, and the other two months on familiarizing himself with the 16 combat sequences. Force training, including the Art of Flexibility, should be carried out throughout the three months.
He spends about 5 minutes on “Lifting the Sky” which he can learn from my books. He will probably not have any chi flow. For the first two weeks, he focuses only on the stances. He spends about 20 minutes learning how to perform the various stances correctly. At this stage, he needs not, and should not, remain at each stance for any length of time. In other words, this stage is not for zhan-zhuang, or remain at a stance for some time. His task is to be able to perform a stance, for a few seconds, correctly. Within two weeks he should be able to learn the correct positions of the stances quite well. For the remaining 5 minutes, he practices the Art of Flexibility.
For the next two weeks he focuses on moving in stances and performing basic patterns. By now he should be able to move into any stance correctly, though he may not be able to remain at the stance for long. He begins the session with about 5 minutes of “Lifting the Sky”. Then he spends another 5 minutes on performing all the stances correctly. The emphasis is on correct form, and not on remaining at the stance to develop force. Next, he spends about 15 minutes to learn how to move correctly in stances and to perform basic patterns. He should pay careful attention to waist rotation and body weight distribution so that he can move gracefully and without hurting his knees. He concludes the session with the Art of Flexibility. By the end of the month, he should be able to perform basic patterns in proper stances correctly.
For the next two weeks, he focuses on familiarizing himself with the 16 combat sequences as well as developing some internal force. He starts his session with stance training. Now, as the postures of his stances are correct, he focuses on remaining at a stance for as long as he comfortably can. This will take about 5 to 10 minutes. For the remaining 20 minutes, he practices the 16 combat sequences, starting with one and progress to all the others. He needs not worry about force and speed. His concern is to remember the routine of the sequences and perform the patterns correctly.
If he takes three days to learn and practice one combat sequence, he can complete the 16 sequences in 48 days, giving him a few days for general revision. He should learn and practice the sequences progressively, not individually. In other words, by the sixth day, he should be proficient in sequences 1 and 2, and by the ninth day be proficient in sequences 1, 2 and 3, etc.
Hence, if he follows these schedules for three months, he will be well prepared for the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course even though he might not have any kungfu experience before. On the other hand, someone who may have learnt kungfu for many years, where he only learns external kungfu forms, is ill prepared. This is a good example of cost-effectiveness. The smart student knows what he wants and plans his practice accordingly, whereas the mediocre student practices haphazardly without direction.
February 06, 2009
Last weekend saw the first of this year's 'Warrior Projects' held in Frankfurt.
The Warrior Projects are a great opportunity for Shaolin students to experience fighting other styles of martial arts, a little bit of 'thinking outside the box'.
The weekend events are open to level two students and above. Forthcoming projects this year are:
Costa Rica - Blue Mountain
Date: 14th - 19th (19th - 21st extra training) March
Special WP - Meditation & Guest 'Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit'
Booking & Information: email@example.com
Scotland - Edinburgh
Date: 9th - 10th May
Booking & Information: Jamie@wahnamscotland.co.uk
Portugal - Lisbon
Booking & Information: Diamantino.firstname.lastname@example.org
Switzerland - Zurich
Date: 5th & 6th December
Booking & Information: email@example.com
Further information can be found on the Warrior Project website - www.warriorproject.net
Within Shaolin Wahnam we treat the most basic parts of our art as the most important -hence the most important aspects are also found in the basics!
The art of 'One Finger Shooting Zen' is one of these such treasures that is taught very early on in the Wahnam syllabus. Arts like this may take years and years to develop so the sooner we start the better.
What is the secret of 'One Finger Shooting Zen'? Practice.
November 10, 2008
For the past one hundred and fifty years Kung fu and Lion Dance been associated as the Lion symbolically ate then spat out the 'Choy Cheng'. A play on words mixes the term for lettuce or greens and 'Ch'ing', who were the ruling dynasty at the time. When revolutionary groups were driven underground this was an open way to show your support for the previous Ming dynasty.
We have only just started our Lion Dance group but as you can see from the video they are making good progress.
If you have problems watching the clip above it can also be found here.
August 19, 2008
Taisipak (oldest older brother) Kai of Frankfurt once taught that when unarmed sparring we should treat our opponents fists as if they are knifes. This thought was to help keep us focused. It was a valid comment then and obviously even more vital when actually facing sharpened steel.
For safety's sake should we trade our steel weapons for wooden versions?
The danger of fake weapons is that we become blase and careless in our actions in the same way that unarmed sparring fully 'padded up' encourages us to take risks.
Take your sparring gradually one step at a time and keep it real!
August 17, 2008
The next chance to join the group will be at the start of the next April. At this time we will hold a free taster session where you can come along and try out our unique brand of Traditional Shaolin.
To register for this free session just follow this link and fill out the short form.
During this session we'll take a glancing overview of the material covered during your first three months of practice.
This includes chi kung (as known as qi gong), internal force training, kung fu stances and some basic attacks and defences.
Organised and taught by Master Kai Jettkandt from Frankfurt, this is the second year that the retreat has run and high number of return visitors showed it's popularity.
The participants soon slipped into the daily routine of meditation, chi kung and kung fu. While not hard at work cultivating mind and body the time was spent on mountain walks, boat trips or simply sitting on the porch glazing at the stunning views.
June 18, 2008
The course was held in Sabah, Malaysia and gave students excellent advice on wronging bones, separating tendons and targeting meridian points.
This was the first time that this course had been offered and despite the large amount of material to take in, all the students had a great time. As well as internal methods for developing Tiger Claw and One Finger Zen, also practised were the external training methods of jabbing beans, carrying jars and taming tiger push ups.
Despite the obvious dangers of Chin Na all students left with their fingers and meridians intact although most people sported a lovely set of bruised legs; a lot of techniques involved bring your opponent down to his knees, normally by standing on his ankles or lower legs!
April 27, 2008
The Warrior project will return to the UK next year. For those Level 2 students and above who are really keen the next three projects are:
Cananda: Toronto, 17. Calendar Week (fourth Weekend in April) the exact date will be follow soon. Further Information Sifu Emiko Hsuen firstname.lastname@example.org
Spain: Barcelona on Sat 25th & Sun 26th of October. Further Information: Sifu Daniel Perez email@example.com
Italy: Milano 6th & 7th of December. Further information: Sifu Riccardo Puleo firstname.lastname@example.org
March 19, 2008
As a young man Yang Fatt Khun earnt a living from a roadside stall selling medicines. Part of his sales pitch would be a demonstration of his kung fu skills. One evening an elderly passing monk happened upon the performance. The legend has it that after six nights of watching the demonstration the old monk confronted the young medicine seller telling him his kung fu for 'not real and only for show'. Of course the issue was soon put to test in a friendly sparring match in which Jiang Nan, the elderly monk, easily beat his young opponent.
Yang Fatt Khun became a student of Jiang Nan and years later passed what he had learnt to Ho Fatt Nam. One of the last students that Ho Fatt Nam accepted was a young man named Wong Kiew Kit. A hundred years from the start of our story the arts are passed on by the Shaolin Wahnam Institute. For your chance to join the story just click on the 'class info' button on the right.
February 03, 2008
January 26th saw the third annual All Nation's Gathering take place in Edinburgh. This event is the yearly get together of students from around the Uk and beyond. Instructors each take a one hour slot to teach.
This year's subjects included Tai Chi push hands, Chi Kung, reflective practice, a five animal set and sparring methodology. The day was finished off, as always, with a good meal.
Well done to all those who made it up from London. It was good to see the old faces again and meet so many new ones from Scotland's bulging Wahnam scene. Next year should be back in the UK somewhere, see you then...
December 18, 2007
Taisipak (eldest older brother) Kai has a training kwoon or dojo attached to his acupuncture clinic.
Recently another building next door has been going through a transformation into a 'special chamber' containing all the traditional training devices associated with Shaolin Kung Fu.
The most eye catching are of course the 'plum flower' posts. These are great for 'moving through the woods' as you move through the forest of poles. Later, after starting on circles drawn on the floor, students progress to moving on top of the posts!
December 10, 2007
Kung fu classes Tuesdays and Thursdays, a short walk from Old Street tube, just off the A10.
Details of free taster session can be found here.
Shaolin Wahnam is the international school of Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit.
Scroll down or check out our links for more information about us.
November 11, 2007
The All Nations is annual gathering of Wahnam Students from across the UK and Ireland. Hosted first by Brighton, then Manchester, the event has now moved north to Scotland and the beautiful city of Edinburgh.
There will be '8 hours' of teaching throughout the day, along with 'Review/Q & A Sessions'. The cost - £50
Further details will soon be posted at here.
Saturday and Sunday 19th & 20th April- UK Warrior Project
This is your chance to learn directly from Taisipak (Eldest Big Brother) Kai of Frankfurt. The weekend covers using kung fu against other styles of martial arts. In 2008 this event will be held in the Brighton area. Details will be announced nearer the time. Students must have reached level two in the syllabus to attend.
July 2008- UK Annual Summer Camp
This is the yearly visit of Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit to our shores. Over the duration of a week he'll be teaching the following not to be missed courses:
Tuesday 15th July – 18th July
Southern Shaolin Kung Fu – Introduction to Internal Force and Combat Application – 24 hrs of tuition.
Saturday 19th July
Generating Energy Flow – Essential Introduction to Shaolin Cosmos Chi Kung skills and techniques – 6 hrs of tuition.
Sunday 20th July
Massaging Internal Organs – Using Energy Flow to Massage, Nourish and Heal Your Internal Organs – 6 hrs of tuition.
Monday 21st July
Cosmic Shower – Discover How To Tap Energy From the Cosmos and Channel It to Cleanse Your Body of “Energy Blockages” – 6 hrs of tuition.
Tuesday 22nd July
Sinew Metamorphosis – Also Known As Merging With The Cosmos – 5 hrs of tuition
Wednesday 23rd July
Shaolin Internal Force – Internal Force Is Not Just For Martial Artists You Can Use It To Enhance Health, Promote Mental Clarity and Gain Glimpses of Cosmic Reality – 6 hrs of tuition.
More details can be found here.
Saturday 2nd - Saturday 9th August- Mountain Retreat Levels 1-4
Saturday 9th - Saturday 16th August- Mountain Retreat Levels 4-6
Meditation, Chi Kung and Kung Fu with Taisipak Kai all taking place half way up a Swiss Mountain. Not to be missed.
More details can be found here.
October 12, 2007
Last weekend the small town of Winterthur played host to this year's Swiss Warrior project.
So many new faces and a few old timers gathered to learn the tricks of the trade from Taisipak Kai of Frankfurt.
As always a good time had by all and as always never enough sleep.
September 28, 2007
The design of the trident and three-sectional soft-whip makes the letter W and N, indicating "Wah Nam", named after Grandmaster Lai Chin Wah and Grandmaster Ho Fatt Nam, the two sources from which our school developed.
The trident and soft-whip also represent kong (gang in Mandarin) and yow (rou), indicating both the 'hard' and 'soft' dimensions of our training.
The inner and the outer circles represent both the internal and external approaches of our cultivation, and also signify that we pay respect to both our mind as well as our body. The inner circle reminds us of the importance of internal unity, and the outer circle our universality, i.e. we spread our arts to deserving people, irrespective of their race, culture and religion.
In addition, note that Shaolin is a Mandarin translation, whereas Wahnam is Cantonese. Shaolin was chosen over Siu Lam (which is in Cantonese) because it is universally known, whereas Wahnam was chosen over Huanan (in Mandarin) because the names of our grandmasters, Lai Chin Wah and Ho Fatt Nam are generally known in Cantonese.
This shows we can be both idealistic and practical at the same time -- the non-dualistic characteristic of Zen. We are idealistic in our aspiration, but practical in our application. It also reflects that while our origin (Shaolin) was from the northern Shaolin Temple, our development (Wahnam) was from the Shaolin Temple in the south.
The above was written by Grand Master Wong Kiew Kit. Reproduced from www.shaolin.org
When personalising the logo for South London a picture of Grand Master Wong Kiew Kit performing the pattern 'Swimming Dragon Plays with Water' was added. The low stance reflects the traditional nature of our kung fu, the dragon form finger strike highlighting the internal aspect.
September 24, 2007
This was going to be a post about the differences between sport martial arts and other more traditional styles like Shaolin Wahnam. Many arguments have raged over the advantages of one or the disadvantages of the other. Now is not the time to explore these.
A much more worthwhile exercise is to examine and understand the roots of your chosen art and discover how and why it practises in the way that it does.
September 13, 2007
It is no surprise for Sifu Michael Chow, who has won many gold medals before, to win again, but for new comers like Naoko and Hubert to win gold medals the first time they competed in wushu championships, it is a remarkable achievement. Much credit goes to their coach, Sifu Emiko Hsuen, who herself is a former wushu international champion.
September 09, 2007
For those who want to enjoy the benefits of Chi Kung without taking on the vigours of learning a martial art, the Shaolin Wahnam Institute is pleased to announce a free evening of Chi Kung with Sifu Marcus Santer.
When: Thursday 20th September 2007
Where: Lancaster Hall Hotel, 35 Craven Terrace, London, W2 3EL (5 mins walk from Paddington)
Time: 19:00 hours
Sifu Marcus has said, "My presentation will focus on health, vitality and longevity and how Shaolin Cosmos Chi Kung can overcome so called incurable illnesses. I aim for my presentation to last no longer than 1 hour. At 20:00 hours refreshments will be served, so feel free to hang around and chat, ask questions etc. I have the hall until 11pm, so there's no rush.
I look forward to seeing you, bring your family or bring a friend. If you can't make it but know of someone who could benefit from learning more about the benefits of Shaolin Cosmos Chi Kung please let them know about this presentation."
Email: email@example.com for any questions.
August 23, 2007
I loved the idea that such a simple technique like the 'black tiger' punch could be treated this way. It showed that good kung fu comes not from learning more and more techniques or complex series of movements but from skill.
What do we mean by skill? Simply we mean all the other factors other than the technique itself. For example good timing or the ability to always get the distance spot on. On a higher level focusing on a simple technique means that the student can focus on perfecting the three internal harmonies of the Shen (mind), Chi (energy), Ching (structure).
August 15, 2007
Taisipak (Eldest Brother) Kai of Germany, once again, proved himself not just a master of the Shaolin arts but also as a teacher of those arts. I cannot recommend next year's retreat highly enough.
Pictured is the sunset from the Judohaus where the retreat was held, Olaf of Germany celebrating the climbing of the local peak and a group picture of the first batch of students (the second week's students are still there!).
August 05, 2007
While he is away, here are some photos from a trip to China in 2002, the village and temple of Shaolin and Wudang, places of kung fu, tai chi history and legend.
Pictured is the Shaolin temple, the wooden friezes and weapons to be found within and the gateway to the wudang mountains in Hubei province. Finally, there is a glimpse of children practising at a wushu school where Simon stayed in the Shaolin village. Without fail, they were to be found going over their forms from the early hours until dusk. A great example. Keep up the good work!
July 29, 2007
The first patriarch of Shaolin Kung Fu, and indeed the first patriarch of Zen Buddhism, was an Indian prince named Boddhidharma. He renounced his royality, became a monk and travelled the silk road to China arriving in the fifth century AD. Therefore it should not be so surprising that what we read about Yoga below can be applied word for word to our own Shaolin arts.
"The practice of Yoga induces a primary sense of measure and proportion. Reduced to our own body, our first instrument, we learn to play it, drawing from it maximum resonance and harmony. With unflagging patience we refine and animate every cell as we return daily to the attack, unlocking and liberating capacities otherwise condemned to frustration and death.
Each unfulfilled area of tissue and nerve, of brain or lung, is a challenge to our will and integrity, or otherwise a source of frustration and death. Whoever has had the privilege of receiving Mr Iyengar's attention, or of witnessing the precision, refinement and beauty of his art, is introduced to that vision of perfection and innocence which is man as first created-unarmed, unashamed, son of God, lord of creation-in the Garden of Eden. The tree of knowledge has indeed yielded much fruit of great variety, sweet, poisonious, bitter, wholesome according to our use of it. But is it not more imperative then ever that we cultivate the tree, that we nourish it's roots? And furthermore how dangerous is that knowledge to those who, ill at ease with themselves, would rather apply it to the manipulation of other people and things than to the improvement of their own persons.
The practice of Yoga over the past fifteen years has convinced me that most of our fundamental attitudes to life have their physical counter part in the body. Thus comparison and criticism must begin with the alignment of our own left and right sides to a degree at which even further adjustments are feasible: or strength of will will cause us to start stretching the body from the toes to the top of the headin defiance of gravity. Impetus and ambition might begin with the sense of weight and speed that comes with free-swinging limbs, instead of the control of prolonged balance on one foot, feet or hands, which give poise. Tenacity is gained by stretching in various Yoga postures for minutes at a time, while calmness comes with quiet, consistent breathing and the expansion of the lungs. Continuity and a sense of the universe come with the knowledge of the inevitable alternation of tension and relaxation in external rhythms of which each inhalation an exhalation constitutes one cycle, wave or vibration among the countless myriads which are the universe.
Yoga, as practised by Mr. Iyengar, is the dedicated votive offering of a man who brings himself to the alter, alone and clean in body and mind, focused in attention and in will, offering in simplicity and innocence not a burnt sacrifice, but simply himself raised to his own highest potential.
It is a technique ideally suited to prevent physical and mental illness and to protect the body generally, developing an inevitable sense of self-reliance and assurance. By it's very nature it is inextricably associated with universal laws: for respect for life, truth, and patience are all indispensable factors in the drawing of a quiet breath, in calmness of mind and firmness of will.
In this lies the moral virues inherent in Yoga. For those it demands a complete and total effort, involving and forming the whole human being. No mechanical repetition is involved and no lip service as in the case of good resolutions or formal prayers. By its very nature it is each time and every moment a living act."
July 25, 2007
In Shaolin Wahnam we believe that good health is your birthright and anyone can achieve this most basic of aims. The only downfall is that you are the only one who can do this. Often the most profound effects of Shaolin Chi Kung and Kung Fu come from the most basic of exercises. The exercise is the easy part, the constant daily practise is the hard bit.
It could be the aching legs, a cold wet morning or just a racing mind coming between you and your practise. These trials soon teach us that the only battle worth fighting is with yourself. Real progress can only be made from the inside out. Self-discipline is both the means and the measure of real sustained progress. So take the responsibility back!
Pictured are Sifu Inness Maran and Sifu Michael Durkin practising Chi kung in an old photo from Frankfurt.
July 23, 2007
The aim of such courses is always to push your own limits, physically, mentally and emotionally. This is not really surprising when you consider that each student is taught about two years material within the space of three or four days!
The challenge now that we have all returned home is to practise. There is a saying in Shaolin Wahnam that learning is 5%, practice is 95%. This is an important lesson to help us progress in our art and in our lives in general. Make sure there's a book inside the cover!
For most of us this need to practise means having to choose. Some of those who took the Classical Weapons course already had their favourites and remain unchanged in their views. Others are now thrown into a dilemma with each of the Butterfly Knives, Spear and Straight Sword showed their beauty and their own charm.
July 09, 2007
Pictured are Sifu Michael Durkin and Sifu Marcus Santer both admiring some of many toys at the camp.
May 14, 2007
May 03, 2007
The programme will feature footage of a regular class as well as interviews with Sifu Michael Durkin and both Manchester and London students.
Thank you to everyone who made the early start, bought shoes and made t-shirts. What better way to spend International Chi Kung Day.