Wing Chun Blog - Sifu Linda
Roots of Wing Chun Tour
Fuzhou - Southern China - Putian Shaolin Temple
November, December 2015
The third stop on our Journey is Fuzhou in Southern China, population 2,124 million.
Our Motel is very spacious and lush, it has huge windows that overlook a beautiful lake. It has a very romantic arched walking bridge that leads onto a small lush island with traditional pagoda type buildings. Very alluring. There are masses of people everywhere, the streets are raging.
We enjoy a group meal at a Thai restaurant. Again the meal was fabulous. Then head off to the 3 lanes and 5 alleys, a very ancient part of town that's been around for 6oo years.
The buildings are made of dark red wood that are covered in the most intricate carvings and the lanterns and lighting down the laneways make you feel like your back in time.
We are up at 6am the next morning for our spiritual journey to the Putian Southern Shaolin temple, temperature is going to be 23 degrees and high humidity.
Our guide explains that Fuzhou city has two main rivers; one in the South and one in the North. The South river is the White Dragon and the North river is the Black Dragon. These two rivers surround the city and keep it safe.
It takes about two hours to reach Putian, with its population of around 3 million.
We pass under the 'Shaolin Gate' and drive down Shaolin Road before ascending up the mountain to the Temple. There is an air of anticipation, we were all very excited to be there.
As we climb the mountain we enter into the low hanging clouds, it's very dense and the visual is down to about 6 meters in front of the van. We are 500 meters up and surrounded by dense lush forest, then the road opens up and the Temple Grounds suddenly appear.
Wow, surrounded in mist it looks so magical.
There are red balloons, lanterns and flyers hanging from tall poles, with a bright orange carpet laid out on the walk way. Through the mist the colours really brighten the place up and add even more of an air of mystic. Apparently they were holding 'The Silk Road Buddhist Convention'.
Our guide walks us through the Temple buildings and orates the history for us.
The Putian Temple was built during the Tong Dynasty after 13 Shaolin staffed monks saved the future Emperor Taizong in 621AD after he had been captured by a warlord.
After this episode, the Emperor arranged for 3 of the 13 monks to gather a force of 500 martial monks to wipe out the pirates that had been plaguing the Fukien/Fujian Province coastline.
After the pirates had been subdued and with the emperor's permission, some of the Monks stayed and set up Temples in the Fukien/ Fujian Province.
The temple was totally destroyed around two hundred years ago and after rediscovering the site in the mid 1980s, reconstruction began in the early 90s.
The types of martial arts practised at the Temple are the Five Ancestor Crane Sun Fist, Five Zhue Yang Quan/Fujian White Crane and Hung Kuen.
The Chinese Government announced that this Temple is the site of the original Temple.
We admire the great statues of 'The Guardians' of the East and West which are as ferocious as ever with their wide eyes and warrior stare. Quite a contrast to the calm peaceful faces of the Buddhist statues; they are huge covered in gold plate with beautifully coloured decorative clothing.
The sacred rooms are filled with the smell of incense, and the most ornate rosewood furniture pieces that have been intricately carved into beautiful patterns and designs.
It is always a thrill to do some training at the Temples so we find a spot out of the way to practice some Wing Chun forms and drills.
The Chinese love their Kung Fu heritage and it did not take long before we had drawn quite a crowd observing and taking photo's.
Its then that a monk walked past, observed our practise and invited us to join the Convention.
We are introduced to the Head Abbot from Sydney, Australia, who of course speaks English.
What a bonus, can't believe we have an Aussie Monk here. What are the chances.
We get a group photo with the Sydney Abbot, the paparazzi are going crazy, snapping photo's left and right. It's like we are movie stars. We enter the conference room and the media inside go ballistic with photo's, it's quite embarrassing as the conference is in full swing.
We are invited to the vegetarian lunch but explain that we must go as we are on a tight schedule. Yin Yan, the head Abbot of the Shaolin Temple gets a group photo with us and organises a Shaolin performance by the young monks for us before we leave.
We are thrilled.
The Sydney Abbot takes us down to the main Temple, a crowd started to gather around the square awaiting the Shaolin performance. About 25 monks were preparing to perform for us.
In typical Shaolin form they are loud, strong, energetic, flexible and dynamic. They do a couple of group forms and one does a solo form.
The head abbot of Sydney asked whether one of us would like to do a performance.
Wow I could not believe my ears, a once in a lifetime chance was being offered. So I presented myself up to perform a shorter version of Biu Gee. I felt very honoured and humbled, to perform in front of the Head Abbot and the Monks of Shaolin.
With my adrenalin pumping and a huge crowd watching I endeavoured to give one of my best performances. When I finished I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. It would have to have been the highlight of my trip.
it still blows my mind when I say that I have performed at the Shaolin Temple.
We bid our farewells and head back to Fuzhou.
Wow what a day, something always unexpected happens on our Wing Chun tours.
That surprise was amazing.
The rest of the trip is tourism with our next stop being Shanghai, then finishing in Beijing before returning to Melbourne Australia.
Wing Chun Blog - Sifu Linda
Roots of Wing Chun Tour
November, December 2015
After leaving Singapore, our next stop was Taipei. We arrived at 5pm, it was 30 degrees, hot and sticky, I was definitely not use to the humidity.
We settled in to our rooms and headed off for a group dinner at the Qu Plaza in Chang De Road. It was a Thai restaurant called ‘The Silver Spoon’. The food was absolutely brilliant.
We had a market just up from our motel. It was a food market full of snacks, fruits and juices. The food is a variety of, strange and odd looking dishes and delicacies, some I had never seen before. All the exotic fruit looked amazing, so many different colours and textures. It’s a real feast for the senses.
Asian cultures love to come out at night, meet with friends, share a meal and catch up on the local gossip. The streets and market were absolutely teaming with people and the noise was phenomenal.
We had an early night so we would be fresh for our visit to Lo Man Kam’s school in the morning.
Lo Man Kam’s Wing Chun is Yip Man lineage. He was Yip Mans nephew and when he was a young man around 16 he trained with Yip Man in Hong Kong after the Communists took control over China in 1949.
Lo Man Kam later moved to Taiwan in the 60’s.
My lineage is Traditional Wing Chun and has its roots with Leung Bik/Yip Man which has different forms, science and footwork to the Yip Man system.
It was quite a hot morning, so it was definitely going to be another hot and sticky day.
Lo Man Kam’s house is on the top floor and his training area is the undercover rooftop outside, awesome.
I have trained on a few rooftops on my travels to Hong Kong and China.
It always reminds me of Bruce Lee training and challenging on the rooftops in Hong Kong. There are very few rooftop kwons left now, so it is a real rarity.
There were a few students there already, some were doing Sil Lim Tao, some were doing hand movements in the air, there was a lady practicing Larn Karn on the Dummy.
We walked around and introduced ourselves to the students, not many spoke English. There were also some International students from Canada, Hungary and Burma.
Lo Man Kam entered and introduced himself; he had a big smile and was extremely friendly and forthcoming with his knowledge on Wing Chun. He is still quiet spritely for an 83 year old.
He indicated that his Uncle Yip Man, did train under Leung Bik, but stressed that Yip Man had three teachers but only one Sifu, being Chan Wah Shun. The two other teachers being Chung So and Leung Bik.
I presented him with some gifts from Australia; a traditional boomerang, some beautiful fragrant honey and a Koala bear. He was very taken with the Koala bear.
I was touched when GM Lo Man Kam gave me one of his books on his Wing Chun and a banner for my Kwon.
I asked him could I perform my Chun Kiu for him, because it is different I was interested in his reaction.
He stood in front and watched me start, and then realizes that it is different. Half way through my performance he turned to the side as if he had stopped watching, but continues to observe me out of the corner of his eye. He makes a few comments but doesn’t really elaborate on anything.
I observed their stances to be 50/50 weight distribution, with the lead leg turned right in to protect the groin. It looked and felt quite unnatural to me. I didn’t feel I would have a lot of mobility in that stance. We have a lot of footwork in my system, so stances need to be natural. We like to land on the ball of the foot for interrupt ability and mobility in and out. We keep both feet 45 degrees to the front, in both the side stance and the front stance which feels very natural. Where Lo Man Kams Wing Chun would pivot on the spot and even sometimes lean, my system would always stay balanced and use stepping.
More students had arrived and the training area was filling up. The students were doing a lot of Qi Sao together. Some were doing random and others seemed to be working on specific hand drills to sharpen them up.
I was lucky to do some Qi Sao with two of Lo Man Kam’s students. I had a very energetic qi sao exchange with one of the guys; it is always lots of fun touching hands with an unknown quantity, you never know quite what to expect or how you are going to fair. I was very happy with my skill.
We get a group photo and say our goodbyes.
What a great day.
We had a couple more days of tourism and then we headed off to Fuzhou in Southern China to visit the Southern Shaolin Temple in Putian.
Stay tuned for my next post on the Southern Shaolin Temple. Photos and video on my trip are posted on You Tube and Face book
Wing Chun Blog - Sifu Linda
Roots of Wing Chun Tour
November, December 2015
As the days near, the expectation and anticipation of the trip build. One never knows just what to expect: even after 6 previous trips. Once at the airport, you know the waiting has past and the time has come for the journey to begin. It’s always so very exciting.
Our first port of call is Singapore. As I expected it was very hot and steamy. Being from Melbourne we are not use to such intense humidity. As we drive to our motel, we pass the Gardens by the Bay. Wow it looks spectacular, a must see for anyone going to Singapore. The steel electronic trees look huge as they stretch upward on the skyline. In the next couple of days we pay them a visit. Up close they are massive. The trunks are covered in ferns, flowers and vines which brings them to life. It looks like a scene from the alien movie ‘The Day of the Triffords’. In the evening the garden has a light show, where the trees light up in different colours to a musical sound track. It was absolutely fabulous. The Gardens are also worth a look through the day, they have some wonderful flower, exotic orchids and art work displays in a couple of domed greenhouses which are not opened through the night.
The school we are here to visit is Sifu Joel Lee’s. We catch a taxi to a Law University where they hold classes, its huge, lucky the driver knows the building. One of his students is there to meet us and show us up to the training area.
Sifu Lee greets us with a very warm welcome; he is tall and lean with a very friendly face. His lineage stems from Leung Ting, which was taught to Leung Ting in Hong Kong during Yip Mans final years. So it makes for an interesting system to check out.
After some introductions and lots of hand shaking we share a cultural exchange. We both demonstrate our Wing Chun Forms, some technique and of course some qi sao. My lineage is Traditional Wing Chun and has its roots with Leung Bik/Yip Man.
We found there were many differences in our systems. Sifu Lee’s three forms, Sil Lim Tao, Chum Kieu and Biu Gee were very different to our forms. We maintain a fifty fifty stance where Sifu Lee’s students assumed a sixty forty stance, with more weight on the rear leg. Sifu Lee’s system worked with the centre line theory where we work with the central line theory.
Researching other lineages of Wing Chun is fascinating, it opens your mind to all the different expressions there are of this great system. It also enables you to meet wonderful people on your wing chun journey, like Sifu Lee, his wife and their students who have that same burning passion for Wing Chun.
Wing Chun has three different classifications, soft, soft and hard and hard. Traditional Wing Chun, which is my system, is soft and hard.
Sifu Lee’s Ling Ting System was the opposite being soft. Soft does not translate into weakness. Soft builds a lot of internal energy for power in application and allows you to train for long periods of time.
Our next stop is Taipei, the capitol of Taiwan, to visit with Grand Master Lo Man Kam. Yip Man was Lo Man Kam’s Uncle; when he was a young man he trained with Yip Man in Hong Kong after the Communists took control over China in 1949.
Lo Man Kam later moved to Taiwan in the 60’s.
Sifu Linda’s Wing Chun Blog
Frequently Asked Question
How long will it take for me to become faster and better with my Wing Chun?
Wing Chun is a brutal but delicate art. It takes patience and dedication to master the sensory and physical aspects of this in-depth system. Students always ask, "how long will it take me to become faster and better?" My answer is always the same........."train, train and train more."
Work on the very basic things first, like footwork. Once your feet can be mastered then you can focus 100 percent on the upper body. In the Jee Shin Wing Chun system we land on the balls of our feet, I am forever pulling students up for landing on the heel and not having enough of a diagonal stance. Weeks can go by and I am still telling the same students to land on the balls of their feet.
To get better, one must take in all the comments the teacher has to offer and apply that knowledge to the training of their body and mind, no matter how small the information sounds. You must consciously make the brain think about it and change it. During my training years, if I was corrected on something I tried to make it my goal, never to be corrected on that aspect again.
Due to the fast paced world that we live in, we can have photos sent around the world in minutes on Face book, we can comment on any subject on Twitter and have thousands read it in seconds, we can download a movie in 10 minutes or less, we have unlimited knowledge at our fingertips with the internet, etc, etc, etc. This makes it harder for people to take things slowly and have the patients to repeat simple things over and over again, making the mechanics of the technique crisp, sharp and fast.
Individuals get bored quickly and want to move onto something new. After ten minutes of training students will say, 'we've done that now' They dont seem to understand that it is the repetition of something that makes you better at it. Yet still they will ask the question, "how do I become faster and better at my Wing Chun," and I answer the same way "train, train and train, it takes 1000 times to know it and 10,000 times to master it."
Keeping a diary of classes is always a good way to improve, as writing things down instils the information into the mind. Maybe have a special section for important notes, so when the teacher verbally gives out information, you can record this in your special notes area. I had a section called 'Golden Rules' where I would record all the important points on Concepts and Theories. This enabled me to find the important information quickly. It also allowed me to read it, study it and then apply it.
MY book 'An Expose on Wing Chun Kung Fu' is a training manual so I put a blank section in the back called 'Golden Rules' to encourage practitioners to write notes.
Training techniques in the air, solo, is also a good training tool. By training the hand techniques and footwork without a partner, this allows you to get some flow and coordination over your upper and lower body, without having to deal with any actual attacks. Training this way also gets you using creative visualisation, a very powerful tool at your disposal for improvement in anything you do in life.
All elite athletes, use visualisation as a tool to improve all aspects of their sport. You don't have to be an elite athlete to use one of their tools. Laying in bed, riding the bus, walking etc you can visualise doing your forms (Karta's), your drills, your techniques, your footwork etc, etc.
My last tip, is to video yourself and watch it. Sometimes the brain doesn't actually tell the body it's not correct, it feels correct, but it is not. If you watch yourself on video, you will be able to see the mistakes you are making, or where you can improve. This is one of the best training tools available to the practitioner.
Remember the old saying, 'practice makes perfect' well that is not necessarily true,...........'only perfect practice makes perfect'. So it is important to fix those silly habits and mistakes quickly before they can never be changed.
Good luck and keep on training.
Sifu Linda’s Wing Chun Blog
Teaching as a Career
Becoming a Martial Arts instructor is one of the most rewarding things a person can do for themselves and others. Helping people transform into confident, coordinated healthy people, will bring you more pleasure than you can possibly imagine. You get paid to do what you love and keep yourself healthy and happy doing what you are passionate about.
Unfortunately most people find it a daunting task. They fear someone may challenge them to a fight to prove themselves and their martial arts, they fear failure that the business may not work, they fear that there martial arts is not good enough and it goes on and on.
There is nothing to fear except yourself, open your mind and anything is possible.
Individuals should think of Martial Arts as a lifestyle, something that they continue through their life for the health of their mind and body. Movement is essential to maintaining good health. Wing Chun is based on natural body movement enabling an individual to train for many years without damaging the body, unlike other martial arts. Wing Chun training enhances ones focus, balance, builds strength and bones, uplifts internal strength, improves coordination, agility, full range of motion in all limbs, uplifts action reaction time. Ultimately improving ones quality of life.
Improved self-esteem is a key psychological benefit of regular physical activity. When you exercise, your body releases chemicals called endorphins. These endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain.
Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, similar to that of morphine. For example, the feeling that follows a workout is often described as "euphoric." That feeling, known as a "runner's high," can be accompanied by a positive and energizing outlook on life.
Endorphins act as analgesics, which means they diminish the perception of pain. They also act as sedatives. They are manufactured in your brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of your body and are released in response to brain chemicals called neurotransmitters.
Regular exercise has been proven to:
· Reduce stress
· Ward off anxiety and feelings of depression
· Boost self-esteem
· Improve sleep
Exercise also has these added health benefits:
· It strengthens your heart.
· It increases energy levels.
· It lowers blood pressure.
· It improves muscle tone and strength.
· It strengthens and builds bones.
· It helps reduce body fat.
· It makes you look fit and healthy.
Research has shown that exercise is an effective but often underused treatment for mild to moderate depression.
With all these benefits and many more, it would seem irresponsible for an individual to stop training.
Once an individual has reached their peak in their respective art, what is there left to do?
Most individuals will leave. Within 12 months an individual will be putting on weight, skill level will have dropped, the body will be starting to get stiff and tight, agility is slowing, the mind will start to become more stressed and blood pressure will begin rise. It is not a great prospect.
Most individuals do not want to open their own schools. An option is helping to teach at your school, from experience the more instructors the better. Teaching gives an individual a sense of purpose and will raise your verbal understanding of your system dramatically. Clients are always asking questions especially beginners. You will be amazed at the new level of understanding you will gain through giving instruction. A student does not need to be Government Accredited for this option.
Another option is to hire a hall and teach once or twice a week after work. It's a great way to earn some extra cash for the Xmas holidays. By hiring a hall, there is no commitment, if business does not take off, you are able to move on, choose another area and try again. This is a very safe investment.
A third option is to set up a studio on your property. There are a multitude of people working in home studios due to the costs of overheads, e.g. Personal trainers, boxing gyms, karate, yoga and Pilates etc. etc. This is the best option so far. Walk out your back door and start working, what could be better than that. The choices are yours, all you have to do is make one.
The most important thing is to paint your picture, have your heart in it and it will work, all one has to do is give it a go. Just remember all things take time and effort.
Make the choice today to begin a Government Accredited Sports Coaching Course, take that step that just might change your life forever.
This qualification facilitates the development of the following knowledge and skills at the state/territory level:
" Observing athletes performance to determine the level of instruction required;
" Teaching techniques for athletes to acquire additional skills or improve existing skills;
" Supervise practice sessions;
" Planning, conducting, evaluating and modifying individualized training programs;
" Implementing sports first aid procedures and sports first aid;
" Supervising the physical development of athletes
" Aiding in the psychological preparation of athletes for training and competition;
" Providing information about the fundamental principles of eating for peak performance
and much more.
Check out this page for more details http://www.martialartssportscoachinginmelbourne.com.au/
Always remember 'today is the beginning of the rest of your life'.
Sifu Linda’s Wing Chun Blog
Training in Hard Qigong
After spending a number of years studying and practicing soft medical qigong, Master Xu invited myself and my husband, Sifu Garry Baniecki, to practice Marrow and Brain Washing, and Muscle and Tendon Change Qigong.
My spiritual journey was taking me further than I could have expected.
We were to meet at his house, situated near the Melbourne Victorian Market, at 7am every Tuesday morning, for a three hour class.
This meant getting up at 5am, to allow us enough time to have breakfast, drive into the city to be there on time. I would then spend all day at our city school teaching the 12pm, 3pm and 6pm classes. At 8pm I would attend the medical qigong class, to interpret for Master Xu and return home around 10pm. I've always known its never an easy task where knowledge is concerned. The universe was going to make me earn it.
He had a tiny side yard next to his kitchen, which was probably about 8 foot wide and 25 foot long. We would practice our cleaning methods, which were quite vocal, in this area for about 40 minutes. His children would come out and practice with us, which would make us laugh. The master would say that this was a good function.
We began our strengthening with 10 postures he referred to as Dat Mao Postures (Buddha Dharma). We would always finish with some Tai Chi and sitting qigong, to create a balance between the hard and the soft. Then we would go inside for medical theory.
Lee, his wife, was a wonderful cook and she loved to make us snacks to eat whilst we studied. Pan fried spring onion pancakes, sweet pork buns and pork and chive dumplings were just some of the treats she would bestow upon us.
We soon decided to move the class to our school in Elizabeth Street, which was only around the corner. Being winter it was great to have somewhere out of the elements. But alas, no more treats from Lee.
Now that we had room to move we were introduced to five animal moving qigong. The practice was to bring out the primordial animals within us, while cleaning the internal body through the lungs and the Liver. Forty minutes of this type of practice is a real workout on its own, great for both strengthening the internal and external body, and the cardiovascular system.
It was now time for us to start learning Shaolin postures. As the weeks went by, one could feel the body becoming stronger, the energy within becoming stronger and our health becoming much stronger.
My muscles began to develop quite rapidly into long lean rope like muscles down my forearms and across my shoulders, the training was certainly having an effect on my physical appearance. Sifu Garry had managed to break a thick paving brick with his hand, much to the surprise of the Master.
Dr Xu decided to hold an open day to promote his clinic and Qigong. There would be demonstrations of his power and a free clinical diagnosis from him personally. He informed Garry and I that we would also be doing some demonstrations to show how strong we had become using his methods. I was curious and a bit nervous to say the least. I knew I was stronger, but I was not sure what sort of feats of wonder, I might be able to perform.
Each morning I pushed myself to the limits, I would be sweating by the end of the practices, no matter how cold it was when I started. Whatever the demo's would be, I would be ready.
Part of our responsibility in training at home each day was that we were required to get up between 4am and 5am every morning to practice.
5 minutes from home we have beautiful park land and a river to do our practise. It was extremely chilly at 4am but it was freezing at 5pm, so we had chosen the 4am time slot. It is a wonderful time to practice, there is no one out and about in the park at that time, so I am able to make as much noise during animal clean body practice, as I like. Against a Southern sky, the stars are so glittery bright and the moon is golden yellow huge when it is up. The moonlight gives the clouds a silvery lining as they float across the star studded sky and the beautiful gum trees are silhouetted in the soft light giving them an eerie but magnificent presents. Nature is the only thing out at this time; an Tawny Frog Mouthed owl watches us approvingly from the limb of a eucalypt tree, as another regular visitor, a thick furred red fox, circles around wondering if we might have something it may be able to steal, there are a few possums disapprovingly scurrying and growling in the trees above, not happy with our presence at all.
When D day arrived (Demo day) I felt ready, but the nerves were flying. We had practiced some of the demonstrations, but not to the extent that we were expected to perform that day. I prepared myself and gathered my energy, Doctor Xu also prepared, I stood strong and he began to punch into my abdomen, he was giving it his best shot and I was not flinching. It did not move me or hurt me in any way. My next demo was to have a number of people ride over me on a bicycle, five guys weighing in at 70 to 80 kilo each. I had never practiced this before the actual day. If we could have fitted a few more on the bike I could have handled the weight, no problems. We then did a joint demonstration, with Garry and I laying on the ground, with a plank of wood resting on our abdomen creating a bridge between him and myself. We would have 8 men stand on the plank, total weight being roughly 7 t0 800 kilo's. Bearing in mind I only weighed 49kgs.My final feat was to have 7 bricks smashed over my abdomen with a sledge hammer. I did graduate to a slab of cement and seven bricks on a bed of nails. Sifu Garry had the most impressive feat of laying in between two chairs, with 3 slabs of cement and 5 bricks being smashed over his abdomen with the sledge hammer. His body never moved, he was like a piece of iron, it was very impressive.
If you would like to view some photo's please go to my face book page, Sifu Linda Baniecki, scroll down through a few photo's and you will find them.
Master Xu told us, that what he had achieved in 2 years would have taken someone in China 10 years to achieve. We were both very proud of what we had accomplished and there was no doubt in our mind about the training, it definitely worked..
Stay tuned for my next blog
Sifu Linda's Blog
Meeting Qigong Master
Professor Shan Hui Xu
From a very young age, I realized I had a spiritual being inside me that I wanted to nourish. When I was a young girl in the 1970's India's Krishna was being introduced to the west. I read lots of books and found myself fascinated by the idea of meditation and enlightenment, it pulled at me somewhere deep inside, maybe a past life. I went as far as burning incense, I loved the smell as it wafted through the room, the beautiful aroma's could transport me to another place, another time, a serene place of spirituality.
Many years later while training at David Cheung's Wing Chun Academy in Melbourne, one day in the early 90's, a little Chinese man came up the stairs and entered the training hall and began talking with Sifu David. Garry and I actually thought it was someone who had come to hassle David about his late rent, so we sent him out a few heavy vibes. A couple of weeks later he moved in down the back of the training hall and we were told that he was Qigong Master, Professor Shan Hui Xu (su) from China. With no clinical patients to be treated in the beginning, David would ask does anyone want a free massage, I would always put my hand up. Over a period of time I learnt quite a bit about massage and pressure point manipulation through the experience of being massaged by the master.
Garry picked up a bit of a cold one day not long after the Professor, whom I will refer to from now on as the Doctor: opened his clinic in our training hall. Garry had come to class only to watch as he could not stop sneezing, his head was blocked and his nose was full of rubbish and quite red from blowing it. The Doctor blurted something to him in Chinese, which we couldn't understand, then gestured him down the back into the clinic.
After about 40 minutes Garry returned, looking 100 per cent. He looked totally back to healthy, not a smidgen of cold left. Myself and the students were amazed to see the difference. Garry was stunned, he couldn't believe his symptoms were completely gone, no more sneezing, no more runny nose, completely back to normal. Garry and I were very impressed and realized that here was the real deal. Garry never got a cold again and to this day roughly 17 years later still never really suffers from cold and flu.
Dr Xu soon began teaching Qigong classes of an evening after Wing Chun classes, I took every class he offered, even if we were only repeating basic standing methods. My chance had finally come to learn proper mediation methods from a master and I was going to utilise every moment I had. Plus he would always emanate Qi into the room and individuals, I had read that having a master do this would help to open your channels and blockages much quicker than doing it on your own.
He is a Taoist and had studied Qigong from a young age, had been a Professor of Qigong in a variety of hospitals in China. But in 1972 the Chinese unearthed one of the greatest archaeological digs in the world. The 2000 year old Ma Wan Dui tombs. Revealing three of the best preserved mummies in the world, on their chests were ancient Qigong scrolls, lost acupuncture knowledge along with the oldest known version of the Yi Ching; plus the oldest version of the Dao De Ching. The archaeological world went crazy.
Professor Xu became the Vice President of The Ma Wan Dui association and had access to all this wondrous information found. The main body of his Qigong practice and teachings would now evolve around these findings. For me this was amazing, not only was he a real qigong master but he had access to 4000 to 5000 year old ancient knowledge. I will admit his qigong is very primordial and unorthodox, but very powerful in its healing capacity. It's not for everyone.
The Professor did not speak English, but due to the fact that his clinic was in our Wing Chun training hall, we spent a lot of time around him and adjusted to his broken English. Soon after Garry and I began lecturing for him during his classes and retreats. Even then I did not realize the universe had a bigger plan for me and I was being groomed for my own classes in the future. It was funny, but I said to Garry after many years, that we probably did not really need to interpret too much for him anymore, as students must surly understand him by now. At one of the lectures I asked the students, "was there any need for me to translate what he had said", and every one of them laughed and replied that they had not understood a word he had said. I laughed to myself, it was all clear as a bell to me.
David organised a qigong open day at the school to promote Dr Xu and get his name out there. During the course of the day he would ask for volunteers, some believers and some not. After getting us to close our eyes and relax, he began emanating Qi/energy into us all one at a time. He pull you forward, he would push you back, he spun us around, it was incredible to feel and experience. I could literally feel the energy like a magnet pulling and pushing and spinning me. Some people began to cry and others were full of laughter. It was a very enlightening experience, especially for the non believers, and one I had been waiting a long time for. I knew then, that Qi was definitely a real phenomena.
I awoke one day with incredible pain in between my toes, it was as though someone had placed a razor blade between my toes. I hobbled to class and explained my problem. Dr Xu's first suggestion was to have some X rays to see what was actually happening. The results were bone spurs between my toes, he suggested I might have to have them cut out. He would first try a Taoist spell (Fu Jow), I was intrigued. He spoke to his spiritual Sifu or teacher and asked for their help in healing me, then drew some characters with his finger over a glass of water. I was asked to drink three sips and then he took a big sip and sprayed it over my foot. Nothing seemed to happen, he suggested we try again tomorrow. So we did, half an hour after being treated my pain had subdued and by the end of the day I could walk. The next morning I was brand new and training again. Two years later I had a relapse, one spell and the problem disappeared and has never returned. What can I say, Wow.
I could go on and on about the amazing feats of Qigong, the things I have seen are amazing and incredible and make you think differently about the world we think we know.
Next Training Iron Shirt
Sifu Linda's Blog
2012 Jee Shin Wing Chun Kung Fu
'Roots of Wing Chun'
Chan Wah Shun's Ancestral Gravesite
Monday Afternoon - 3rd December.
This morning we went to attend the Bruce Lee Paradise(a 200 hectare property dedicated to Bruce Lee) and were blown away with a surprise visit to Bruce Lee's Ancestral house, (previous blog - bruce lee's ancestral house).
Our tour now takes us off to find Chan Wah Shun's Ancestral Grave site. (Chan Wah Shun being Yip Man's Sifu) We have given our bus drivers a vague description of where we have to go, so we are not sure if we will actually be able to find it.
As we drive along Garry and I recognise some of the area we are travelling through, we have been to the Ancestral gravesite before. This is a good sign as it means we are heading in the right direction. I spot the hill with the graves on it and yell for the driver to stop. Garry and I are elated that we have found the site. We pull into the village and park. Our bus driver proceeds to take us walking into the village away from the graves. For the second time today, we inform our students that we are not sure where we are going.
A few hundred yards down the street we come across Chan Wah Shun's Ancestral Temple, it's quite a large piece of ground. A testament to the family's wealth and stature in the village. Garry and I are flabbergasted, we can't believe our good fortune. Having been here before three times, we had no idea the Temple was so close. We burn some incense to pay our respects and get some photo's. The universe has thrown us yet another gift on our tour.
As we leave totally buzzed out and begin to walk back through the village, a lady reads the calligraphy on our jackets and asks our bus drivers who we are. He explains we are a Wing Chun School from Australia. She asks if we would like to come with her to a Kung Fu house in the village?
The house is four storeys with a high wave like fence with imitation bamboo logs atop, its beautiful, there is a very small entrance area before the door. This is definitely an influential house. She unlocks the door and we enter the beautiful courtyard. Our interpreter then informs us that we are standing in Chan Wah Shun's actual house. I'm stunned....... how amazing is that...........I can't believe this..........Garry and I are both gob smacked. She shows us inside, it's a beautiful house, with a magnificent dark Rosewood table and Rosewood chairs with grey and white marble inlays, there is a photo on the mantelpiece of Chan Wah Shun and his wife.
We step outside and the lady is sweeping the courtyard, she opens up a little metal lid that covers a small square hole in the ground and begins to scoop the rain water out with a ladle. She then gestures for a couple of the guys to go to the front entrance, where they find Chan Wha Shun's wooden dummy. It looks old and fragile, I perform some sequences very gently on it, I can't believe I am working on Chan Wah Shun's wooden dummy. We are so blessed.
The lady of the house, informs us that the Sifu's can go upstairs to the third floor and burn incense to Chan Wah Shun, but the students must stay down stairs. What an honour. There are photo's of his Mum, Dad and him together. Also a plaque commemorating him for a demonstration he had done at the Lee's (Bruce Lee's) Ancestral home on the 1/3/1947.
It's a long pole so I perform a few movements and postures and have some photo's taken. Then I pick up the Big Chopper and perform Look Dim Boon Kuan. I can't believe I am performing with Chan Wah Shun's weapons, I am blown away. Garry and I can't believe this is happening to us. Thank you universe.
We all pay the lady of the house some money and thank her. She is apparently the cleaner and only comes once a month to maintain the house. What are the chances of being there the same weekend and bumping into her on the street, when we weren't even meant to be in the village. We are the luckiest martial artists in the world.
We close up the doors to Chan Wah Shun's house, the lady of the house walks with us to the edge of the village, we thank her so much and we bid her farewell, then climb the 108 stairs to Chan Wah Shun's Ancestral Gravesite. We burn more incense and thank him for his martial spirit.
Back on the bus, I am just shaking my head in disbelief. What a day it has been, so full of surprises. I didn't get much sleep that night, I could not stop thinking of the privilege that had been bestowed upon us.
From the morning to the afternoon this would have to be one of the most incredible days of my life.
Sifu Linda's Blog
2012 Jee Shin Wing Chun Kung Fu
'Roots of Wing Chun'
The Bruce Lee Paradise and Bruce Lee Ancestral Home
Monday morning the 3rd of December; we are heading off from Foshan to visit the Bruce Lee Paradise in Shunde on our private tour bus. The weather in the South has been slightly cooler this year, it is lightly raining and the air is fresh. In Beijing though, it is minus three degrees and snowing , our timing there was perfect.
Being Monday there are no tourists around at the park, it actually looks closed. The last time we came here was on a weekend, they were having a Bruce Lee Festival and there was about 5000 tourists. Our bus driver goes in and buys our ticket to get in, but a lady comes out of the booth and jumps on our bus and we take off. We drive away from the entrance; we inform our students that we are not sure what is going on or where we are going.
We travel down the road a bit, the rain has stopped, the bus pulls up at 'Shang Cai Village'. The guide leads us into the heart of this Ancient village, these tiny old streets weave past traditional houses with the local people wandering around. We are still not sure where we are going. We take a right turn and half way down this street we stop at a door with a sign saying......... Bruce Lee's Ancestral home. Wow, what a bonus, she opens the doors and allows us to enter. It is a very small quaint house, made of brick and wood, holding Bruce Lee's wooden dummy, some unique photo's of himself and his family, beautiful old furniture and an Ancestral incense burner.
On the bus driving back to the Bruce Lee Paradise Park, we are all buzzing from this unscheduled visit. Entering the park is surreal. There is not another soul on this 200 hectare park. Nothing but silence and peace, just what the nerves in our brain needed during our tour that has been nonstop. A real break from the noise and chaos. We spend 2 hours wandering around taking in the calm, the feng sui and doing some Kung Fu. I did not think it possible to go somewhere in China, population 1,354,040,000 and not find another living soul. It was perfect.
We head off to look for a restaurant before trying to find Chan Wah Shun's Ancestral gravesite. Garry and I had attended a specific restaurant on a lake with small eating huts on our first Roots of Wing Chun Tour and for the last 6 months we had been trying to find it through our China contacts, but with no luck, very disappointing.
A restaurant is found just 2 kilometres down the road, as we walk through a corridor we enter into an open space with a lake and eating huts set around it. Garry and I just look at one another and start laughing, we have found it without even trying. Thank you universe. The Feng Sui is amazing and the food, specific to Shunde is divine. Specialities on the menu included, fried milk ....mmmm yummy,....also something I have never tried before, warm fresh corn juice.... absolutely delicious.
Garry and I are so happy, we can't believe our luck. Today has been full of bonuses for us and the students. Back on the bus with our bellies full, we sit back feeling exuberated and very satisfied.
Now we are off to find Chan Wah Shun's Ancestral Grave site. We have given our bus drivers a vague description of where we have to go, so we are not sure if we will actually be able to find it.
Sifu Linda's Blog
2012 'Roots of Wing Chun'
'The Shaolin Temple'
We have just caught the fast train from Beijing to Zongzhou. This is the China we recognize, lots of pollution, heaps of bikes, cars and buses everywhere and an absolute maze of people. We take a quick tour of the Yellow river before relaxing for the night.
Tomorrow is our pilgrimage to the Shaolin Temple. Can't believe I am going to walk on the same paths as so many of our great an ancestors, Jee Shin, Ng Mui, Bak Mei etc etc. What a privilege this is going to be. Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would ever be standing on this sacred ground of Mount Song.
We leave around 10am and arrive into the tourist area, shops selling tea and trinkets. It's not familiar, I've seen the Temple so many times in photo's. Our first stop is a Kung Fu show, we follow the path, past the huge training grounds. There are hundreds of students training a mixture of swords, pole, acrobats and empty hand, it's quite amazing, an awesome sight.
We get great seats for the show, right in front of the stage. The monks perform some incredible feats during their performances. They are so light, flexible and fast, oh so fast. It is so inspiring. We watch transfixed as one monk throws a needle straight threw a piece of Perspex. The students were mesmerised.
Our guide suggests we go to the local restaurant for lunch before checking out the temple. We catch a couple of vans up the mountain to a small group of houses and the eatery. It's like something out of the documentary 'Wild China'. As we walk past the chaos in the ancient kitchen, ones senses are filled with the wondrous smell of Chinese cooking. The local food was delicious, so many varied dishes. With our bellies full we are now ready for our adventure to the Temple.
We walk over a small bridge and there it is, that familiar sight, The Shaolin Temple entrance. I recognise it immediately. The path under our feet leading up to the entrance is made of slate and is shinny from all the footsteps that have been placed upon them over hundreds of years. They look polished. You can tell that the pine and fir trees are so old, they have that beautiful ancient windswept look about them.
Wow so many tourists, there is no peace for the monks here now. We try and get a group shot on the steps of the temple, but the Chinese tourists have realized we are a Kung Fu group through the calligraphy on our jackets. They keep jumping into our photo so they can get a photo with us. It's funny. The Chinese just love there Kung Fu heritage. We finally get our group photo and enter the grounds.
A small chill runs through me as I step over the threshold. We walk past the great statues of the North, South, East and West guardians. They look fierce. The first thing you notice is this huge old tree. It has a lot of small holes in it. The guide explains they are bullet holes from the Japanese invasion. The ingenious monks used these holes to jab their fingers into for strengthening. The holes are smooth and deep from the repetitive finger jabbing. To see this tree and more photo's go to my face book page. In this courtyard the trees seem older. There are some incredibly beautiful marble statues of turtles and lions. The turtles heads are so shinny due to the fact that they have been rubbed by thousands of hands over the years.
Garry and I practice some chi sao and perform Chum Kieu, we become surrounded by Chinese tourists taking photo's as we perform. They love it. We get the group together and find a quiet spot to practice Sil Lim Tao. Again we get a big crowd observing. There are a few monks walking around and they stop and watch us for awhile. I feel quite privileged.
We walked past the pagoda forest on our way to the cable car to the top of Mount Song, they were beautiful, it seemed such a peaceful place.
A few of us ride the cable car to the top of the mountain. There is snow on them there hills and its cold. Wow what a view, we are on top of the world and it is freezing. As we gaze across the mountain side we notice a temple carved out of the face of the mountain, miles away. It looks like something from Raiders of the Lost Ark. Wow would I love to go there. Unfortunately its a 2 and a half hour walk to get there and the Shaolin Temple closes at Five. We have no time.
We meet back up with the rest of the group at the tea house around 4.30pm. After buying some trinkets we catch our bus back to the Motel. Wow, what a day.