Most people realise health is the most important thing but how many people live by this belief? We usually make the excuse of having no time like a friend of mine who called to say he was unwell. I asked him to come and visit me so I could teach him Qigong, he told me he didn’t have time, I said to him, but when you are sick you will have time to go to hospital because you have no choice. The next day he came and studied with me for seven days.
We need to start today. In order to help us stay on the path to health I have translated an extract from one of the Shaolin Classics. Written by a monk who was a great martial artist and scholar, here he gives advice to lay people as to how to stay young and healthy.
Ten Tips From A Shaolin Monk On How To Stay Young
1) Don’t think too much. Thinking takes energy. Thinking can make you look old.
2) Don’t talk too much. Most people either talk or do. Better to do.
3) When you work, work for 40 minutes then stop for 10 minutes. When you look at something all the time, it can damage your eyes and also your internal organs and peace.
4) When you are happy, you need to control your happiness, if you lose control then you damage your lung energy.
5) Don’t worry too much or get angry because this damages your liver and your intestines.
6) When you eat food don’t eat too much, always make sure you are not quite full as this can damage your spleen. When you feel a bit hungry then eat a little.
7) When you do things, take your time, don’t hurry too much. Remember the saying “Hasten slowly you will soon arrive”
8)If you only do physical exercise all the time and you never do Qigong this makes you lose your balance and you will become impatient. You lose the Yin of your body. Exercise balances the Yin and the Yang.
9)If you never exercise, just peace, meditation, soft training, Qigong, then this doesn’t give you Yang energy so you use up your Yang energy.
10) Shaolin Gong Fu gives you everything. The purpose of our training is to balance our Yin and Yang. How many hours is not important. It’s down to knowing what your body needs.
I’ve been interested in the latest research done by scientists who want to discover how to slow the ageing process down. What they have discovered is that we all age at different rates. One of the ways in which they calculate what they call “ageing scores” is by testing how well the organs are functioning. Those with the highest score have the best organ function and are the least likely to die.
This demonstrates how important our organs are. We notice ageing of our skin but we never think about our internal organs until something goes wrong. Shaolin Qigong is the only exercise I know that stretches and exercises the internal organs. Kung Fu doesn’t do this, yoga doesn’t do this, and meditation doesn’t do this. Aerobic exercise does use the heart but what about the kidneys, liver, gall bladder etc?
Keeping our body strong internally is one of the keys to keeping our mind strong and living well into old age. It’s optimal to keep up a regular practice of at least three times a week. And finish with the Instant Health Massage. The Instant Health Massage is a way of sustaining the energy from our Qigong and clearing any blockages from the body.
As we progress, we move onto massaging with the metal brush. The vibration from this brush is so deep that it cleanses the very marrow of our bones. Red blood cells are produced by bone marrow. It is believed that using the metal brush, cleanses the marrow and this creates new blood cells so that even our blood doesn’t age.
I am in awe of the wisdom passed down from our Shaolin Ancestors. Their desire for a long life was so they could have more time to attain enlightenment. Their motivation was pure. They wanted nothing more than to help all beings find peace in their life. Each time we practice Shaolin Qigong, we connect with their wisdom and enter the path of peace and longevity.
If you don’t have a Shaolin teacher near you my Shaolin Warrior Programs give you instant access to the authentic teachings you would learn if you entered the Shaolin Temple. In order to learn Shaolin Kung Fu, you need to respect yourself and respect your teachings. Train regularly, five- six times a week and clearly define your goal. Why are you training? Do you want to learn Shaolin as a martial art? Or do you want a fast track to fitness?
My original goal was to test my skills. I was a very angry 15 year old who was always getting into fights. My Master – who is now the Shaolin Abbot – was fed up of coming to the police station to get me out of jail so he sent me to a very well known Zen master.
In the Cultural Revolution when Mao was destroying all the temples, this master risked his life to stay in the temple. For many years he lived in this destroyed temple and when Buddhism was allowed to flourish again he started to re-build the temple. Every morning he would sit in meditation and chant and I would train. He asked me to sit with him but I had no patience to sit. After a few weeks of trying to get me to sit he told me to make training my meditation.
When I came back to the Shaolin Temple, my training was no longer a way of being able to learn new fighting techniques so that I could conquer other people but it became my meditation.
Shaolin transformed my life, and it’s my goal to help as many people transform their lives. I’m very happy that thousands of students all over the world now train with my DVDs and books.
In this post I give a quick overview of each Kung Fu Program program, what benefit they will give you and some suggested training programs.
If you want to learn Shaolin as a martial artist then you need to start with Shaolin Workout 1, 2, and 3. If you’re not so bothered about Shaolin martial arts but you want exceptional stamina then train with Shaolin Bootcamp and Shaolin Circuit Training.
Shaolin Workout 1 is exactly the same as if you were stepping into a class at the Shaolin Temple. Don’t expect to keep up and understand everything. As you keep studying with the DVD, you will slowly see improvements and gain an understanding. Once you’ve mastered the five fundamental kicks and the five fundamental stances, even if you still can’t keep up, you’re ready to move onto Shaolin Workout 2.
One of the reasons for moving up quickly is so that your body doesn’t reach its plateau, in order for your body to keep improving, you need to keep surprising it and keep finding the edge of your training. Alternate between Workout 1 and Workout 2.
If you’re only interested in fighting techniques and not traditional Shaolin then skip Workout 1 and 2 and go straight to Workout 3, where you learn fighting kicks and fighting punches and combinations.
As a martial artist continue to come back to these three DVDs, and now to improve your strength and stamina and challenge your body even more, add in Shaolin Bootcamp 1 and 2. These DVDs use your own body for strength training and are more challenging in terms of stamina.
You can alternate the days so now you have a complete 5-day workout:
Monday: Workout 1
Tuesday: Workout 2
Wednesday: Workout 3
Thursday: Bootcamp 1
Friday: Bootcamp 1
Saturday: Self-train without the DVDs perfecting your techniques.
If you’re a fighter or you want to work more on your stamina and modern fighting techniques then alternate between the Circuit Training DVDs and the Bootcamp DVDs. Circuit Training Volume 1 focuses on punches and Circuit Training Volume 2 focuses on kicks.
It’s good to do each of the Circuit Training DVDs twice a week:
Monday: Circuit Training 1
Tuesday: Circuit Training 2
Wednesday: Bootcamp 1 or 2
Thursday: Circuit Training 1
Friday: Circuit Training 2
Saturday: Bootcamp 2
With the Bootcamp DVDs, correct form is not as important as pushing your strength and stamina. If you’re working with all 7 of the DVDs then work out a program that fits with your goals.
I have two other kung fu DVDs, these are more specialist DVDs specifically for martial artists, Fighting Punches and Kicks Volume 1 is exactly what the title says Kung Fu Ch’an and Fighting Punches and Kicks Volume 2 teaches takedowns so you need a partner to practice with, Kung Fu Ch’an demonstrates how kung fu can be a direct gateway to the teachings of Ch’an Buddhism or Zen, this is not a teaching DVD as such.
You can share your training experiences with other students by joining this Facebook page.
“Bodhidharma travelled to the East to teach these two Yi Jin and Xi Sui classics. A bird like the crane is able to live long, an animal like the fox can be immortal, a human who cannot learn from these classics is worse than the birds and animals.”
The Mind and Body of a Buddha
Ee Jin Jing makes your muscles and tendons strong, flexible, fast and powerful while building up the health of your internal organs. Xi means wash and Sui means bone marrow. Xi Sui means clean your bone marrow. The aim of Xi Sui Gong is to detoxify your body and cleanse the unhealthy aspects of your mind. The highest aim is to help you reach enlightenment and give you the mind and body of a Buddha. But even if you can’t gain enlightenment in this lifetime (or you don’t want to), the least this Qigong can do is give you a long, healthy, and peaceful life.
Connecting With Your True Nature
It is vitally important that you use your heart to train, not just your body. You can train as regularly as you like but if your heart isn’t present then you will never get the true benefit. Your true nature can only be found in the here and now. Qigong plants you in the present moment. It does not give you anything new; it simply connects you with your body’s internal power and automatic wisdom that already exists within you.
The Power of Concentration
The more you concentrate, the more benefit you gain from Qigong. Every movement of Xi Sui Jing is done from a sitting position. This sitting position helps you to develop patience. When you begin to go through the movements, your mind will be busy at first. This is natural. But as you focus on the breath and the movement together this will calm your mind and you will feel peaceful. This calming of the mind cleanses the mind. With a clean mind, your mind and body work in harmony. Once your mind and body are working in harmony, your body can self-regulate itself; unblocking your channels and preventing disease from building up in your body.
Your body is Your Own Doctor
This is why at the Shaolin Temple, we say that our body is our own doctor. Shaolin Qigong gives us access to the medicine. But this all happens unconsciously. Your body will start to feel better of its own accord without you having to intervene in any way. This has led many people to shun conventional medicine in favor of Qigong or other alternative medicines but I believe we should use the best of both worlds. If a person is suffering from an illness I recommend that they combine Western medicine with Qigong so that it’s not an alternative approach but a complimentary approach blending the best of two worlds.
There’s a famous story in China about a Zen master who was famous for his meditation and a Shaolin martial artist who was famous for his martial arts. One day the Shaolin master challenged the Zen master, as he believed his skill was much better than that of the Zen master. The Zen master chose a narrow ledge at the edge of a high mountain; one wrong step and the person would fall to their death. Because they were both unskilled in archery they decided it would be fair if they challenged themselves in this way. The Shaolin master went first, he stood at the edge of the mountain but when he placed the arrow into the bow he couldn’t stop himself from looking down and he became scared at the thought of plunging to his death. This fear meant that he failed to hit the target. The Zen master took the bow and arrow, stood at the edge of the mountain, and hit the target perfectly. The Shaolin master was amazed and asked him what his secret was so that he could improve his skill. The Zen master said, “No thinking. No reason. Just do.”
No thinking. No reason. Just do.
This is exactly what you must apply to our practice. EE Jin Jing makes your body like stone. Xi Sui Jing turns your body into a Buddha. But you need to practice and find this out for yourself.
Bone Marrow Cleansing Massage
As you advance in your Qigong you will advance in your self-massage by moving from the bamboo brush to the metal brush. This heavier brush creates vibrations in your bones and helps to cleanse them so even though you are still doing the Instant Health massage it is having a much more powerful effect. This is where the name “Bone Marrow Cleansing” comes from.
As you age, not only do your bones and muscles shrink unless you exercise to prevent them but also your blood cells produced by your bone marrow slow down. This is because your marrow becomes dirty. Through using the metal brush you cleanse the marrow and stop this reversal. Once I was in my thirties, I started to do this massage alongside my Iron Shirt. I’ve found it to be incredibly powerful and have seen a similar result with my private students who do this massage.
I can describe to you what a piece of chocolate cake tastes like but unless you eat it you won’t experience it. This article is just a menu, you need to experience these two Qigong’s through practice and gain the benefits for yourself. Break it down to ten minutes five times a week, and within a month you will feel and see a noticeable difference. Comment below to let me know how you get on and share your experiences with other students on my Facebook page that I’ve set up for Shaolin Warrior students training around the world with my teaching.