11.    Shifu, I have heard that you had learnt your martial art from and practiced Zen with an eminent monk.   In what ways do contemporary martial art students differ from those of your time in the way/ways they pursue martial art?  

I started learning when I was 12 years of age.  In my time, the trainings were tough beyond description.  I reckon only those 1960s martial art practitioners can relate. Besides being a keep-fit exercise, martial art was practised more as a form of traditional self-defence skill.  No fussing over the artistic aspect – fluidity of each move/style or footwork but rather more for the pugilistic aspect.

Contemporary practitioners, in my view, tend to focus more on the artistic aspect.  That to me is no longer practising martial art but performing art or even exercise.    It does look impressive though but not that practical as a set of self-defence skills.  

12.  For the past half year, we have watched and noticed that some qigong or martial arts protégés coming from the same schools/clans practicing or displaying different styles amongst them.  The differences can be significant in some cases.  Why is it so,Shifu?

My view is that those practitioners are not practising traditional martial arts/qigong but are only mimicking the movements.  Different ability in mimicking will display differences in style. Theses protégés must be clear about what they are pursuing.  Likewise, those instructors must be mindful about what they are imparting to the next generation of marital arts students. Excellent imitating skills will produce martial arts movements that look very impressive.  In reality, they are just but a good form of workout/exercise.

13.    Some friends of mine who are either martial arts teachers or students commented that martial arts skills hardly come in handy in Singapore society.   A call to the police will suffice to get one out of danger. There is no need to learn self-defence skills.  What is your take on that, Shifu?

Learning martial art is for self-defence and not for fighting.   It is always better for one to arm oneself with a set of self-defence skills.  For one can never take personal safety for granted, be it in Singapore or anywhere else in the world.

14.   Shifu, how many types of Qigong are there currently? What is your opinion on the popular one which emphasize on unblocking the Ren Du Qi Jing Ba Mai?

I estimate there to be about more than 2000 variations of Qigong in China alone. With the multifarious diversity forms of Qigong, some are to me odd and eccentric. For instance, there is one that moves round in a circle; another that incorporates shouting, shaking of head and mimicking the cries of various animals as they walk along and; yet another that focus only on deep breathing. All these are classified as Qigong? It is indeed an`eye-opener’ to me. I am really befuddled by how new Qigong is conceptualised. Putting together a few techniques taken from the world over and from different cultures and there you have it – a new form of Qigong.

As I have mentioned before, if there were blockages of Qi in the meridians, you won’t find yourself standing upright. I only know if the flow of Qi is strong or weak along the meridians, hence no unblocking needed.

15 .   Shifu, we have seen qigong masters/practitioners placing their hands over a person head as he transmits Qi.   It was said that a mild warm feeling was felt.  Why is it so?

This is not any amazing qigong.  Anybody can just do that, especially the healthy and the strong.   By placing your hand a distant away from the head or any other parts of the body, a slight warm feeling is usually felt.   Practitioners should not be mistaken this as transmitting qi.   Your qigong master will be the best person to advise you on that.

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