August 04, 2012

Shaolin Kung Fu in Angel, Islington.

We have moved to Angel. Sign up for a class to discover how traditional kung fu, qigong and zen can teach you to deeply relax your body, help clear your mind of thoughts and can be used efficiently for combat and self defence.

July 05, 2010

Shaolin Summer Camp 2010

Classes will take a 2 week break whilst many students attend this year's Shaolin Summer Camp in Brighton. A variety of courses in high-level kung fu, chi kung and zen are offered with most of the courses being taught by our Sigung ( teacher's teacher) Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit.

More details about Shaolin Summer Camp can be found at

November 05, 2009

Persevere in Correct Practice

In Shaolin Wahnam, we are lucky to have a well-constructed and practical syllabus, laid out for us by our grandmaster - Sifu Wong Kiew Kit. The syllabus is a guide on our journey into the practice of Kung Fu; it tells us where to start and then feeds us manageable chunks of material, each level building on the skills developed in the previous level.

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 -

Question 1
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)?
Chris, USA

Answer 1
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

2009 Warrior Projects

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:

Scotland - Edinburgh
Date: 9th - 10th May
Booking & Information:

Portugal - Lisbon
Date: TBA
Booking & Information:

Switzerland - Zurich
Date: 5th & 6th December
Booking & Information:

Further information can be found on the Warrior Project website -

One Finger Zen

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

Lion Dance Lifts Off

Our London Club have just started exploring the art of Lion Dancing.
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

Keeping Focused

This video shows Sifu Simon Brooks and Taisipak Kai Jettkandt engaged in a little light hearted weapons sparring. It was the first time that they had used those particular weapons (Sabre or boardsword and Butterfly Knives) against each other. Despite the friendly and slowed nature of the action it still ended up with Sifu Simon getting his thumb sliced.

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

Signing Up For Classes

The current Autumn term is now underway.

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.

simon brookssimon brooks

Shaolin Mountain Retreat 2008

England may have missed out on the Euro 2008 football championships but they made up for it with a strong attendance at this year's Swiss Mountain Retreat. Shaolin Wahnam students from four countries took the cable car up to Eggberge and spent a week or two enjoying meditation and kung fu in the beautiful Swiss mountains.

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

Shaolin Chin Na Course

June 8th-15th saw Grandmaster Wong kiew Kit teach a course in the 72 techniques of Shaolin Chin Na.
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

Brighton Warrior Project

Congratulations to all those who made it to last weekend's Warrior Project in Brighton. These two day events are taught by Taisipak (oldest older brother) Kai of Frankfurt and focus on the more practical side of our art, especially when facing opponents using techniques from outside our usual syllabus material.

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

Spain: Barcelona on Sat 25th & Sun 26th of October. Further Information: Sifu Daniel Perez

Italy: Milano 6th & 7th of December. Further information: Sifu Riccardo Puleo

March 19, 2008

London shaolinThis old photograph shows an elderly Yang Fatt Khun (standing) with Ho Fatt Nam squatting in the foreground.

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's All Nation's Gathering

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

Frankfurt Chamber of Shaolin

kung fu staffLast week I was lucky enough to spend a few days visiting Shaolin Wahnam Frankfurt. Germany is fortunate enough to host not only one of the most senior Wahnam disciples in the form of Kai Jettkandt but also his 'Special Chamber'.

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.

plum flower postsThe 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 Comes Shortly in Shoreditch...

January 8th 2008 sees Shaolin Wahnam return to Shoreditch.

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

Events in 2008

Saturday 26th January- All Nations Gathering
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

Swiss Weekend Warriors

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

What's in a Logo?

Wahnam logoThe design of the logo is red in colour and the background yellow. These are the colours of our school. Red represents courage and righteousness, and yellow represents compassion and wisdom, manifesting the ideals of a scholar-warrior as well as the ideals of a warrior-monk.

tridentThe 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.

3 section whip
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

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.

wahnam south London logo

September 24, 2007

Roots and Culture

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

Gold Medals at International Wushu Championships

Naoko Yamada, Hubert Ruzack and Sifu Michael Chow, all from Shaolin Wahnam Canada, won gold medals in Optional Empty Hand Routines II, Traditional Northern Empty Hand Forms and Optional Empty Hand Routines I respectively at the 2007 Wushu International Championships held on 21st and 22nd July at Hamilton, Canada.

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

Shaolin Chi Kung Comes to London

Marcus SanterHere at Shaolin Wahnam, Chi Kung and Kung Fu have always gone hand in hand. In fact, they are the same hand but that's a long story. While it is impossible to practise Kung Fu without Chi Kung, the same is not true the other way around. Chi Kung can be taught and practised as an art in its own right.

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: for any questions.

August 23, 2007

Importance of Skill

During one of my first classes in Shaolin Wahnam many years ago we were all lined up performing a simple straight punch, a punch known as 'Black Tiger Steals Heart'. My Sifu described how, although knowing many techniques, masters would often choose one to specialise in. This would become their unbeatable move.

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

Swiss Shaolin Mountain Retreat

This year's retreat saw Wahnam members from across Europe gather in the beautiful setting of the Swiss mountains for six days of meditation, chi kung and kung fu. With students working together to cook and clean and, with the bonding that comes with sharing such intensive training, many new friendships were made.

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

Holiday in China

shaolin templeSifu Simon is currently enjoying the kung fu retreat in Switzerland. 6-8 hours a day of Shaolin kung fu, chi kung and meditation, as taught by Taisipak Kai of Germany might not seem any kind of holiday! This is just one of many special courses offered to continuing students of Shaolin Wahnam.

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!Shaolin friezeWudanmonks spadewushu school

July 29, 2007

From Out of India

The text below was written by violinist Yehudi Menuhin and forms the foreward to 'Light On Yoga' by Yoga guru B.K.S Iyengar.
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

Take Back The Power!

Every Saturday morning the local park is invaded by an army. An army of tabard wearing sweaty twenty to thirty somethings squatting, star jumping, jogging, pushing, pulling, and looking knackered. All this is directed and enforced by a camouflaged squad of screaming military instructors.

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

Canterbury Tales

Another successful Summer Camp has drawn to an end. At various points over the past two weeks students from England, Scotland, Wales, The Netherlands, Switzerland, America, Cyprus and Spain gathered to learn Chi Kung, Kung Fu and Classical Weapons directly from Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit as he made his annual visit to the UK.

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

Toys For The Boys (and girls)

The annual Shaolin Wahnam UK Summer Camp is currently underway. Amongst the various courses taught by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit this year is a four day weapons course. The use of traditional weapons opens up a whole new dimension to our practice and the lessons learnt are not only reflected in unarmed practice but also remind us of kung fu's history as a very real fighting art.

Pictured are Sifu Michael Durkin and Sifu Marcus Santer both admiring some of many toys at the camp.

May 14, 2007

Cross Border Raid

Warrior project Edinburgh kung fuLast weekend a wet Edinburgh hosted one of Taisipak (oldest older brother) Kai's warrior projects. A good number of students from Manchester, London and Worthing made the journey north to take on the Scotts, a few Italians and a couple of Germans. Many thanks to Sifu Mark Appleford for all the organisation, Taisipak Kai for making the journey over and for everyone who took part and made it another great weekend.

May 03, 2007

Wahnam Hits Channel M

Manchester WahnamLast Saturday saw a group of London students pay a visit to sunny Manchester to partake in the filming of a short documentary about Shaolin Wahnam. The concept was the work of a final year film student and was backed by Manchester's very own Channel M.

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.