Tuesday, January 3, 2006, 01:34 PM - Martial ArtsInterview with Robert Chu Sifu by Alan Orr
It is a great honor for me to introduce my sifu, Robert Chu, in his first UK interview. They say even a single ray of light can cast away many shadows. For me, Robert Chu has been such a ray of light and I hope you find this interview equally illuminating.
Alan Orr: Allow me first to introduce Robert Chu. He has been involved in the martial arts since 1972, specializing in Wing Chun Kuen. Over the years, he has been fortunate to learn several versions of the art such as the Yip Man style from several prominent instructors, including his current teacher, Hawkins Cheung, and the Yuen Kay Shan and Gu Lao styles from his good friend and ,teacher Kwan Jong-Yeun.
Robert Chu is co-author, along with Rene Ritchie and Y.Wu of 'Complete Wing Chun: The definitive
guide to Wing Chun's history and traditions’ and author of numerous articles and columns on martial arts and Traditional Chinese medicine. He lives in California where he practices Chinese
Medicine and can be found on the web via www.chusaulei.com.
Robert Chu: Thank you, Alan.
AO: Sifu, could you begin by giving us some background on your book, ‘Complete Wing Chun’ ? What inspired you to put it together..
RC: The book ‘Complete Wing Chun’ – and I should mention we didn’t really want to call it that but.the publishers wanted to to fit it into their continuing ‘Complete’ series - was meant to embrace the historical traditions of Wing Chun (which was actually the original title of the book). The idea was to let people know that in the 150+ years of history of Wing Chun, many different variations had developed, not just that popularized by Yip Man and now spread over the world. We wanted to show that there are, in fact, many different branches and sub-branches of Wing Chun and that despite all the differences we’ re all of one martial arts family.
AO: One of the first things that drew me to you was the way you stressed structure in your writings, something which seems now to have spread quite a bit. When people talk about structure, though, are they all talking about the same thing?
RC: It has become a bit of a buzzword, hasn’t it? And words do all tend to sound the same, so people may not be quite sure what I mean by structure. When I first wrote an article about body structure, I wasn’t talking about the way a form looked per say but more its function. I have two sayings’ let application be your guide’ and ‘let function rule over form’. Lacking this, you can have the shape, but the movements would be dead.
For example, a lot of people begin Wing Chun and stay there and learn the first form and keep standing there, and standing…I think that people should not only develop their strong stances by sitting there but they need to know how to move it and make it practical as well. This is what I mean by proper structure. Its very common to have some sort of transitory structure but it is it emphasized. I put a strong emphasis on it. In my opinion, Wing Chun has five or six major areas that need development. Its not just hand techniques or individual techniques, but expression of the tools through the body structure. Body structure powers those tools. Then there is timing. Proper timing is what makes these tools come to life. Positioning can cut down on the timing. From there is also sensitivity, which tells how to feel and how to move accordingly. If you have sensitivity and a person gives you a certain energy, he is in essence telling you how he likes to be hit. His position is saying ‘this is the most favorable tool for the moment and occasion and you can use the proper timing to deliver it and have a proper body structure to power it and you will finish me.’ Lastly there’s experience. With experience you know what your options are and you know when to cut down your options you know how to limit your options. Then you’re not just all over the place. You focus on the job in hand you know this is the best option for the moment.
AO: Could you explain some of the methodology behind this? What approach do you take in teaching and training it?
RC: You know, Wing Chun is pretty much Wing Chun. The differences lie in the teaching approaches. Do people really understand the methodology of the system? What I try to do is teach my students a clear understanding of the methodology of the system and from there, let them use that to guide their own training, qand develop their own attributes. The methodology of a system is called “Faat Mun” in Chinese – For example, getting back to the ‘just standing there’ comments above, many people do Pak Sao (slapping hand) exercises and they only stand there and do a very fixed drill. In my approach, we emphasize a lot of walking and moving right from the start. Then I do a lot of isolation exercises as well.
AO: Isolation exercises?
RC: Yes, I take drills from the wooden dummy and I take drills from the forms and then I practice them singularly. In this way, people can develop better attributes, speed, power, sensitivity, so on and so forth.
AO: Okay. And this moves into Chi Sao (sticking hands) as well?
AO: I’ve noticed many people seem only to train Chi Sao in a mechanical, technical way, with not much exploration or experimentation. How do you prevent this from happening in your approach?
RC: Over the years, I’ve come up with conceptual methods to help get students passed the drill.
AO: Could you explain that a little more?
RC: Wing Chun already has a technical progression. Chi Sao, Luk Sao etc… but these are mechanical methods and they don’t really explain the strategies behind Chi Sao. What I like to do is say OK – you have lets say perhaps ten basic tools (Pak Da, Lap Da etc.) and you’re relatively good at them. How do we get you to vary them or change them so that you can really use them? You need to have different methods for that so what I did was break them down into fourteen distinct examples. The first is called Mun Fa or asking (also called Yin Fa, or enquiring method), which is to entice or lead. What I do is I give pressure to a point and then that gives rise to my method or tool. This way I check and ask what are you going to do. Once I do that and there is a response, I’m better able to adequately use that. For example, I might press an opponent and if he reacts a certain way then because of my feeling and sensitivity I can use the Tan Da concept. Lets say in another case where I’m being pressed heavily, I might need to run away from that pressure so this is called Jau Fa – the running method and I run away from your pressure and then it gives me a rise to a new tool – so that’s another way. For example, I run away from it then I come with Tan Da. See, it’s not just a technique-oriented way of doing it, it’s a conceptual guide to create the changes. Sometimes people attack very quickly and in the space of one beat you can be hit so what I do is I need to break the opponents speed and beat him to that punch. I need to intercept him so maybe he’s about to punch and hit me – I intercept him on the 3/4 beat or half beat. So this is Jeet Fa, a method of interception. Sometimes I see opportunities and I’m feeling them so I see the opponent hasn’t time to move so I might Tau or Lau, steal in or leak in, and hit him. I see and opportunity and I steal it of I passively come across and just take advantage of that situation at that moment. Another method is while I practice I like to see how would I move and just try the movement on it. So it might be from one movement to another – so that’s another one called Chum Fa, which is method of crossing or moving. Sim Fa is for when I need to know how to displace my body, to dodge or move my body., It could be a small evasion where I use my torso to evade or a large evasion where I use my step to evade. There might also be a method where I have to guide an opponent into walls or objects or different directions – this is called the Dai Fa. If You’re trying to hit me but I guide you off course, I redirect you or put you in another situation where it’s not your outcome. You meant to hit me but I control you. Sometimes you’re giving me a lot of power, so I borrow your power so this is another method – the method of borrowing. Your power comes to me, I borrow it, I simply absorb it into my structure and then I can use your power against you because my body’s like a big spring – you push me into the ground and then I come back and release it back into you. There are also methods of uprooting. By uprooting I don’t just mean body and stance - I’m trying to mentally uproot you. The reverse of that is called sinking – I have a method of collapsing you, making your structure collapse or making you stop looking for opportunities to try to hit me or take advantage. There are also ways of swallowing force or absorbing force and then ways of extending force and expelling force. My body again is like a spring, you push into me and I absorb it, when I let go I spring out and hit your – this is a natural method. There’s also a method of linking and de-linking the body. I call the Tuen fa. I extend my hand and I de-link my hand from my body. Now, of course, I don’t mean just take it off, what I’m saying is dropping and bending and folding the joints. I can break it or I can connect it at any time.
The idea behind all this is Wing Chun should have some sort of key words as a guiding light to help practitioners. This way a practitioner can say ‘all right I need to have sensitivity…’. For me, I need to have a vocabulary to explain my methods, otherwise it’s just always going to be random. These fourteen methods are not written in stone but these are fourteen good guidelines that I use.
AO: Since I’ve been using them in my own training, I’venoticed they dissolve into each other, so they’re not separate but they work together in conjunction with the whole system.
RC: That’s how it should be!
AO: I’ve heard you mention (Yi) intention. You said this improves the intention of your training?
RC: It certainly does because again, the universal formula for success is based on four factors: you have to have a goal in mind and then you have to make this goal time down and then you have to have a plan to reach this goal. In reaching this goal you have adjusted your plans accordingly.
Sometimes things don’t happen according to the right time frame or factors or anything you expected and then you make adjustments. As long as you have a goal in your Wing Chun then you can make it very successful this way. If your goal is to be a great Wing Chun fighter then you should learn it for fighting. If your goal is to be a great Wing Chun forms man then they should study what would make their form better and more appealing.
AO: Since we’re talking about forms, as a Chinese medical practitioner,you’ve explained a lot about Siu Nim Tao training and some of the pros and cons. You’ve said that if it’s done in an overly static manner, this will cause stagnation?
RC: The theory of Chinese medicine says that the Chi must flow normally – so if the Chi doesn’t flow then it’s impeded. The liver governs the chi flow through the body. We often see cases of liver Chi stagnation; when the body is very rigid and you’re using the shoulder,the GB 21 point has a tendency to be rigid. You also have the other gall bladder points in the area. People tend to be very rigid when their knees are locked and not moving. Therefore you’re causing stagnation of Chi and blood. In the theory of Chinese medicine, that is also not very helpful. The Chi must always move. If the Chi doesn’t move it get stagnated. If it gets stagnated then it can start causing the Yang rising. You see a lot of incidents in Wing Chun where people have the Yang rising. You can see signs and symptoms such as red eyes, bad temper, red face, they feel very uncomfortable or irritable, they have a tendency to shout and so on. I see a lot of Wing Chun people being very aggressive. I don’t think it’s just the normal fighting spirit, what’s happening is that their normal practice is causing them to be hyperactive in the Liver Yang or the Liver Chi.
AO: As a practitioner myself, it brings a picture to mind of the Liver and Gall Bladder channels, which are wood channels, so the difference might be vibrant Wing Chun as a young, fresh sappling and Wing Chun that’s not so vibrant and an old, dry branch?
RC: Wing Chun people can be very proud for a good reason – we are a very famous system throughout modern China. However I see a tendency for over aggressiveness in a lot of practitioners and I think that they’re not balancing out their training well enough. When we talk about vector forces we never talk about a punch as an entity by itself with the shoulder alone because that’s separate from the organism. The entire organism when it’s punching then every aspect from head to toe should be connected in that punch. The intention is that the body alignment is there, the hip placement is there, the foot gripping the ground is there for that split second. Many people will teach you that you have to grip the toes for example. If you do that then your Wing Chun is locked, relax the toes, there’s a certain point of gripping the toes – there’s never just gripping the toes all of the time. There’s a vector force you can say from kidney 1 to heel as the route and then linking up through the leg into the knee, into the hip, from the hip to the waist, from the waist to the rib cage and back to the shoulder, the shoulder connected to the elbow, the elbow connected to the ribs and then extending outwards. All these are within a line what we’re also doing is we are stressing the system. The stress causes hypertrophy of the bone because you’re extending the bones to fight against gravity. The muscles have to hold the bones in place causing hypertrophy of the bones, making the bones thicker, stronger. This is basic training. The idea is that you twist the motions so when you twist the motions, when you elongate the tendons, you cause again a stress on the bones, causing a minor force to act upon the bones, causing bones, muscular and tendon development. Internally train one breath of air; externally train the skin the muscles and the bones. Externally train these from the movement. We train the skin because its attached to the muscle – attached to the bone and the sinew.
Going back to the stance – the Wing Chun stance is obviously based around developing energy for fighting so there are pros and cons of the Wing Chun stance training.
The stance is not a physical stance. I think the early translators of martial arts had nothing to equate it to – perhaps they learnt it from fencing or boxing or they learnt it from different poses. No one just takes a stance and fights from a stance. A stance is always dynamic and changing. In Chinese we call it Ma Bo, Ma is horse and Bo is a step or we talk about Bo Fa, methods of stepping. We do not talk of a stance as a fixed entity – only in Chinese martial arts today has it become a fixed entity. Stance is not fixed it is never fixed. There’s an active phase to the stance or shall we say to the body structure because I tend to use an English translation but it is actually co-coordinated with the torso methods – what’s called in Chinese Sim Fa. Sim Fa and Bo Fa work together. Bo Fa is the stepping methods and so the active phase is when you are applying power the neutral phase is in-between and then there’s a passive phase where you are absorbing power. Each of these is how Wing Chun is used properly. Everything begins and originates from the footwork. Footwork transfers into the body and into the torso methods and produces more energy. We don’t lift up our feet too much – what we do is basically glide over to position and then relax sink and root. It’s never a point of just stopping and applying force from there. From there that differentiates and delineates the different methods of Wing Chun. Some schools believe one hundred percent that all the weight is in the back leg, zero percent is in the front leg, some may say ok graphically that 99 percent on the back leg and 1 percent on the front leg. Maybe those schools had to worry about leg sweeps and the like in the early days so they have a paranoia of protecting the lead leg with that. To me the functional aspect is always embodied 50-50. If you’re being active and you wanted to space someone – the weight has to go from the back leg into the front and then you displace them and then you can go back to your neutral position. If you choose to go 99/1percent distribution on the back leg. I have a tendency of doing 50/50 because I think that’s the most neutral on balance. Then if I need to go the other way from there I can easily shift all my weight to another angle. There’s a time and place for every weight distribution. Wing chun does not depend on a fixed format – so you can’t say OK I only do my form 50/50 and that’s the only way that will do – it depends on your relationship with your opponent –so that will cause the weight to be a certain way. When you do the first form you’re using your own timing and energy, however if you want to train all the time you always put more weight on one leg. You stand like a crane in Wing Chun. A crane always stands on one leg. If you stand on one leg – one leg is always doing the work so you always have a chance to train and develop. In our method some people might incorrectly say well you’re standing 50/50 oh you’re rooted – no people don’t understand what double rooted means from that point. Double rooted doesn’t mean you have weight on both legs 50/50 - it’s talking about a relationship between me and your opponent means that you can control the linkage and the relationship of having weight on your opponent from you so in other words If you have your opponents weight on you and you put your own weight on a leg then your double rooted. Then you’re stagnating again. If you receive his weight and you can control his weight you maneuver it accordingly – you are not double rooted.
From a Chinese medicine point of view Wing Chun stance has pros and cons. It helps more fire but it builds up too much fire if not understood correctly.
Ah yes the stagnation of Chi . Where the stance is locked and stiff. The pelvis is locked forward, the feet are turned inwards at a 45 degree angle and you sink your weight – you might be leaning back all of the shoulders are locked. In my opinion your locking up the Liver and Gall bladder channels that’s wood in the Chinese elements. Wood turns to fire when stagnated very easily. I think that’s why a lot of Wing Chun people are aggressive; this is a byproduct of improper training.
Wing Chun can you say something about that because that's something that's particular to your expression at the moment
Theory is something that is kind of half-baked. You have an idea that you can do it like this but you’ re not quite sure of what the outcome will be. So you have a theory you’ re theorizing about it. If you’ re talking about the actual teacher they should have the experience that ok I thought this would work but I know now that it doesn’t work so he should pass on principles to his students not theories. The same thing goes for concepts. Teachers need to teach concepts rather than techniques. Concepts are just like I am saying. Rather than him having to go through 2- 300 variations if he is given the concept then he can adapt to the circumstances it’s kind of like in herb logy when you see a person with an ailment you know that a certain group of herbs will benefit that ailment and if you see other signs and symptoms then you add additional herbs. That s a mark of a proficient herbalist.
From my point of view I felt that you’ ve made me teach myself by teaching me the concept I can see the technique myself. The cuts down the idea of chasing a thousand techniques.
Exactly. A lot of Wing Chun people are all-familiar with Tan Da rudimentary part of the system. It’ s a technique in itself, but you see their so many variations. How can you say there s only one variation of it, but if you give them the concept they can spring forth many different ideas that’s the idea behind Wing Chun. Wing Chun is supposed to be alive. Our art is called in praise of spring. Spring is like things are blooming and new. It has to be where the art is alive, it’ s changing and adapting to circumstances, you’ re able to use it in every circumstance and never worry about it.
This is going back to the idea that forms are not just sets of techniques they’ re actually expressions that accumulate to build up.
Forms are concepts in itself. They are an aide to help you memoriese many different things that you would otherwise forget. They help you with concepts of understanding of fundamental principles. E.g. Some of the principles are the center line we must keep our center line these are understanding of the gate the inside and the outside gate and understanding develop over your training, so a lot of these are considered isolation drills.
Well Sifu you know me, I could ask questions all day and night and you could answer them, but I think the magazine will have had enough of us for now. Let me thank you personally for sharing your insights on Wing Chun.
Robert Sifu please complete any last message.
You can check out Robert Chu’s web site via wingchunkeun.com. Chu Sau Lei Wing Chun.
Alan Orr is Disciple of Robert Chu Sifu and the UK representative of the Chu Sau Lei Wing Chun system.
[ add comment ] | permalink | ( 3 / 5954 )
Tuesday, January 3, 2006, 01:33 PM - Martial ArtsIn Search of Truth:
An Interview with Robert Chu
Interview done by Mark V. Wiley, Originally published in Inside Kung Fu, February 2007 and originally submitted to Martial Arts Combat Sports Magazine in 2003
Robert Chu is a name that cannot be separated from the world of wing
chun kuen. Not only is he a master teacher of this style, but one of its foremost researchers and educators. He has co-written with Rene Ritchie and Y. Wu Complete Wing Chun, which is to date the most comprehensive book on the various histories of the art, and has recently completed his opus on the physical analysis of the art, the soon-to-be-published The Essence of Wing Chun Kuen. He is a featured columnist in Martial Arts and Combat Sports, a frequent contributor on WWW.WingChunKuen.Com, and teaches his scientific version of the art to students around the world.
In this exclusive interview, Robert speaks directly to the wing chun
community to shape up their act, be more responsible with the
information they are perpetuating, and on the research that went into
his seminal books.
Mark Wiley: Robert, your background in martial arts in general and wing chun in particular is quite diverse. Would you share with us a little of your background?
Robert Chu: Sure. I have been involved in martial arts for 27 years. For the past 23 years I have been concentrating on wing chun. Prior to that, I studied hard styles like Shaolin and Hung gar. I have also studied Yang and Sun styles of Tai Ji, Xing Yi, Ba Gua, Lama and Bak Mei martial arts. I was also fortunate enough to study with Lui Yon Sang and inherited his teachings of the Fei Lung Fu Mun martial arts that specializes in the spear and pole.
MW: Regarding wing chun, I know that you have studied multi-lineages
of the art. Why did you feel the need to study various versions rather
than sticking to one?
Chu: I look at wing chun as one family, despite the lineages that all
clamor as to be unique. If they all share the name “wing chun,” it means that one version has more in common with another than differences. To see what my martial arts cousins learn and how they express it does much to enrich my understanding of the art as a whole. In China, when you studied a martial art, especially at advanced levels, you went to visit other relatives in your system, visited with masters of other systems, discussed and shared different points of views, showed applications, and read classics of other martial arts. This is what also inspired what I try to convey in my “Wandering Knight” column. I think this is the only way to reach higher levels.
MW: What do you see as some of the more overt differences in the
practice and application of wing chun between the various lineages?
Chu: As I said before, all lineages have their strong points. Certainly everyone says they're the most original, traditional, authentic, secret or whatever, but usually that is just hype and marketing. It makes people put on blinders and think what they have is the best. To me, "original" is what you start out with - you're constantly refining and modifying your practice as your knowledge increases. You have to get beyond all the silly hype and look at a system as a vessel of knowledge taking you from ignorance to wisdom. In a way, I look at Wing Chun people passing down the art as they interpreted it and sometimes with that direct transmission, certain points may not be emphasized as they are in another branch. For example, the Jee Shim Wing Chun system has bigger motions in a core set called Sam Bai Fut, and their pole work is exceptional and in my opinion better developed than some other branches. The Gu Lao branch of Wing Chun that was taught to me by my sifu, Kwan Jong Yuen, has no forms and emphasizes formlessness, a quality that where you have form but are not bound by it. The Yuen Kay Shan system has a core of twelve basic concepts that applications are built around from. The Yip Man system is very simple, direct and practical and fits in with modern day society. The Cho Hung Choy system has a complete set of fist principles that tie it with the internal workings of the art. I could say more, but to sum it up, each branch of Wing Chun has a unique feature and way the knowledge is transmitted.
MW: Your book, Complete Wing Chun, offers the many histories of the
art as told by the varying groups that spread the art around the world. What prompted you to write such a book?
Chu: Complete Wing Chun came about when my good friend, Rene Ritchie
suggested that I work with him regarding a book on multi-lineages of the wing chun system. He got the idea from Y. Wu, a practitioner in
Singapore, who suggested he expand the material on his website into a
book on multi-lineages of the wing chun system and Rene invited me to
work with him on it. Since I was experienced in the Yip Man, Gu Lao, Pan Nam, Yuen Kay Shan, and familiar with other styles of wing chun, I guess Rene thought I could help round out the project. I’d be natural to co-author the book.
MW: With so many lineages in addition to the well-known Yip Man
school, who do you think created wing chun or has the most pure
representation of the original idea of the art?
Chu: Both before and since Complete Wing Chun’s publication, I have
given much thought to this question. There are several theories, but
nothing that can be considered fact. I think it’s obvious from the book that any serious scholar rejects the thought that Ng Mui and/or Yim Wing Chun did, as they were fictional characters, perhaps based on local heroes. I think they’re are fine fairy tales, but at the same time and these characters are probably more fictional than factual, based on the research I did. Also, while Tan Sao Ng might
have been the founder of Cantonese Opera, I think the time frame between him (1730s) and Wong Wah Bao (1850s)—about 150 years—is too great for him to have transmitted the art directly to the Opera people.
I think in all likelihood, wing chun developed along within the same way as other Cantonese/Fujian southern fist systems like Hung gar, Choy Lay Fut, Lee gar, etc., developed by people engaged in illegal activities of wanting to overthrow the Qing government. In my opinion, then, I think the only wing chun elder we can really document and verify is Wong Wah Bao. Most lineages mention him by name, and excluding contrary to those unique names unique to one particular lineage or another, his name comes up most often, almost across the whole art. If I were a gambling man, I’d say he was probably the central figure. Because of political reasons and a negative image, it was better not to promote an art with connections to a secret society (which is related to today’s underground triads), a conspiracy to overthrow governments, a failed rebellion, or even an assassin’s art.
MW: Myths and legends are rampant in the martial arts field. Why do
you suppose such stories of a woman and nun were attached to wing chun?
Chu: I believe the fairy tale story got attached to the formation of
wing chun. In Hong Kong and China during the late 1940s and early 1950s to give it a better image, as other systems did as well. This was a better approach than linking the art with the Triads or secret societies, which were associated with crime, drugs, prostitution, extortion and the like.
MW: Your articles and columns seem to focus on the teacher/student
relationship as opposed to fighting theory. Why?
Chu: When I first started wing chun, I had a teacher that taught in
secrecy, had a special high disciple fee, taught behind closed curtains, had secret oaths, secret gestures, and considered regular students as nothing, and always withheld the higher level information from the regular students. I didn’t like that feeling. When I learned anything in school, I thought martial arts should be like any other educational endeavor: the teacher should give the mind set, knowledge, and work for and want a student to be successful. When I saw that teachers would deliberately hold back their teachings, keep their students down, and not truly give what they said they were giving, and that people were getting something less than what they were expecting, I felt this wasn’t right. Since then, I’ve managed to overcome these roadblocks and I feel I owe it to those coming along the same path to share my experiences and hopefully help them avoid the same pitfall along the way. That’s why “The Wandering Knight” talks about the student and his seeking for higher knowledge—whether it be within one’s self or finding it in others.
MW: Some say there is a modified and original style of wing chun. What is your opinion?
Chu: You have to understand, some people make a living off teaching wing chun and like any commercial endeavor, they need marketing to support them, they need fancy stories and they need new students to think they’ve found “the best most authentic teacher and system” on the planet. Those of us who have been in the art for a while and are
familiar with its true breadth and scope smile at this—you can’t get
away with that type of material being passed off in Chinese, in Hong
Kong, and certainly not China, for example. Sometimes these people have strong personalities and they attract students who really want to feel they are unique or special or “the best, most authentic.” That’s really when you see arguments and problems arising. Teachers forget or start to believe their own hype and don’t properly discipline their students. You see that on all levels, of course. Personally, I think that is a marketing ploy. Some people just trying to differentiate themselves as being the most credible or closest to the source.
MW: What would really be “original” and “modified” wing chun then?
Chu: For me, I think its personal. You start out with “original” wing
chun, which is your innocent, naive, carbon copy version of wing chun.
As you get older and progress through the stages of development, I
outlined, you become wiser and can easily “modify” your wing chun
according to circumstances. Wing chun is expressed in your body and not from your mind. You do not fight from your memory, you have to fight from being in the moment.
MW: I heard a rumor regarding casting you as “King of Wing Chun.” How do you think such a name came about?
Chu: King of Wing Chun? That is a good joke! Sounds like a joke, right?
That’s what I thought when I heard it. I thought, I should be called the king of washing dirty dishes in my home! Anyway, I think some people have become erroneously concerned about this due to my involvement in exploring multiple lineages, thinking I was trying to bring them under one umbrella. This couldn’t be further from the truth. I think any reasonable person would realize that by definition, sharing information on many branches shows there can be no single “King of Wing Chun.”
Of course, there are people who are recognized heads of certain lineages or families in wing chun—I’m not referring to those. I don’t let things like that get to me, however. While they can be annoying and disappointing at times, in the end I’m content with what I have, and personally, I don’t have the time or energy care for fancy titles for nonsense like that. I’m only into teaching people with a sincere desire to learn and of good character. I am happy with my own family and group of students. Happy to teach only those people with a good character and a sincere desire to learn.
MW: So what is it about your version of wing chun that makes it
different than the many other systems?
Chu: What makes anyone’s wing chun different? People may talk about this famous version or that awesome method, but at the end of the day, all you really have is your own expression, and we’re all unique in that. If I had to pick one thing, though, for the sake of the interview, I’d have to say it’s not style, but rather my systematic approach to teaching. I try to be very systematic and well rooted in the real world. You see, to me, style is how you express your training. A lot of teachers can’t teach. That’s true in martial arts and in the world at large. Some teachers have good intentions, but just don’t manage to connect with a student; they are poor teachers. I like to make sure that I touch on as many different methods of teaching as possible so that, for example, those who are kinesthetically, auditory, or visually oriented, all find
something to relate to. If a person prefers to learn hands on, I let
make him feel it. If a student likes to see, I show him. One other
thing, of course, is that The other thing is I prefer to teach concepts, not techniques, and principles, not theories.
MW: So you’re saying that it is the method of imparting knowledge and the methods through which students absorb and train that knowledge that sets one system apart from another.
Chu: Right! I feel I have worked things out; theories have become
principles. To me a theory is an idea, a guess—some thing that might
work. Principle is a fact. You ca do it, prove it so to speak. So, in
essence, a student has to prove his martial arts training. On paper, you might think “the shortest distance between two points is a straight line,” but in reality, you have to understand the timing, positioning and mind set that really makes it so for such a thing. For me, techniques are just examples of concepts. If a teacher teaches you a technique, you still have to understand the context of a situation, otherwise it’s dead, just a single paint-by-numbers example. With a concept, you can create any techniques you need to fit the circumstances. For example, a wing chun technique, tan da, can be done in many, many ways. I teach at least 15 different ways to do this, which can be modified maybe 100 ways or more.. What’s easier to teach though, one concept or 100 techniques? What’s easier for
the student to remember? To use? In this way, rather than having a
student memorize the techniques, I have them understand the concept so
that they can make it up in a time of need. There are other things too, of course. For example, I am also different in that when I teach, from day one, I emphasize body methods and what I refer to as body structure.
MW: I have found your famous “structure tests” to be quite useful and insightful. What is the point of creating these?
Chu: I created these “tests” as a means for beginners to feel the force transfer from a person pushing on you so that you understand and
feel connection to the ground. Some call this bone structure alignment. So many students on their first day of in wing chun on day one are told to simply mimic the teacher, they don’t get to feel what should be happening to them. This goes on for many years and they find they can’t even do “test one” which is (a simple press on the sternum to see if you are rooted in the basic horse stance of wing chun). It’s a pity. I have seen practitioners with 10 - 20 plus years of practice unable to align their body to cancel out a vector force on their person. What does this say about the next generation of practitioners? This leads to a new generation of lousy practitioners. To me, body structure is the core essence of wing chun.
If you don’t have it, your art, no matter how many fancy hands, is
empty. If you have it, everything revolves around it, partner training,forms, wood dummy, weaponry, sticking hands. They are all extensions of that training. It’s what makes wing chun unique and how we generate power and issue force. I should also add, since some people seem confused by these “tests” that they are, as I said, simple things for beginners. Like everything in wing chun, there is a whole process that comes after them.
MW: Why do you think it is that few people actually teach this?
Chu: Well, in one sense, I think many people came to this country with
good intentions to share their wing chun but were not able . The problem is they may not be able to speak English and didn’t have knowledge of how motion and the other elements are explained in a western manner to properly and convey their ideas. Others, as I said earlier, might simply not have the knack to teach, or may even have preferred to teach the exact same way they were taught, regardless of circumstances.
Similarly, there can be a problems with students as well. As the system has spread, many students have perhaps been told they have the correct transmissions and have been encouraged teach too early.
They may not really understand yet what they’ve learned, and have not
adequately received tuition. Wing chun is not some art that you pose
with, the stance taught to you from day one is a means of conveying
power into your hand or leg movements. You need to know the system well, however, before you can teach it, you need the experience and
perspective the later elements give you in order to understand how the
early elements really integrate. As you may guess, I’m all in for
quality control in the art. I’m not sure how we’ll achieve it yet, but
I think we owe it to the art to make sure the In this way, we pass on
the correct teachings, regardless of personal interpretation, are
passed along to the next generation of wing chun practitioners.
MW: To backtrack for a moment, why do you emphasize body structure?
Chu: Because, to me, it’s important that the martial aspect of the arts are preserved. When I first learned wing chun, I was taught to open a stance and sit there, with a rigid stance, gripping toes on the floor, knees turned in and bent and pelvis forward. When I did the first form, I was shown to use the local muscles from my shoulder and forearm to do the motions of attack and defense. Throughout this early training, however, a little voice in the back of my head kept saying "you have to use the entire body". In athletics and physical education, you people are taught to isolate the different parts of the body and then coordinate them—why would martial arts be an exception to this? It didn’t make sense.
Luckily, after meeting other teachers and doing a lot of personal
research, I later learned I’d been taught incorrectly. I met better instructors who showed me how to use my body and connect it to my movements and I did a lot of my own research so that I could understand this and explain it to others. From this, I was better able to understand how the body is aligned and how to maximize vector forces. When I began to teach, I felt this was more important and something that should be learned right away, from the first lesson on. You see, in learning martial arts, you have many roads.
You can be limp and empty inside, but this is dull and lifeless and
weak. Or can also you can also be rigid and overfull externally hard
and empty inside. In this case, you are still just as weak. You can
also be soft on the outside and internally strong, however, and this is where I start my students from. Finally, you can have no form, but are a conduit of energy, and this is the level of high level mastery. Teaching body structure to coordinate with your movements early on makes you more powerful from the onset. I should point out, of course, that these aren’t radical ideas. These, I believe, are the core of traditional Chinese martial arts and most physical activities that require the optimal use of the whole body. They may have been forgotten or overlooked at times, but they’ve always been there. I certainly didn’t invent the laws of physics or the anatomy of human beings, after all!
MW: How long do you think it should take a beginner to learn WCK?
Chu: Personally, I think it depends on the individual. Basically, they
can learn wing chun, which has a pretty short curriculum, in two to
three years. Now, of course, mastery is different. To master the art,
one should know all the forms, individual movements, terminology,
weaponry, applications, sensitivity training, body structure, changes,
principles and concepts of the system and be able to show and prove all of that. It is a stage of constant refinement. My opinion is that
martial artists go through three stages. The first is the “fixed stage.”
They really don’t know how to apply the art and essentially, the student is fixed in his knowledge. He’s robotic, even mechanical, in his movements and thought. Over time, he reaches the second stage, that is, the “moving stage.” With this, the practitioner becomes more fluid in his movement, and has a better understanding of his mechanics, but may not be able to adapt to changes yet. They are still mechanical, but better.
The third stage is what I refer to as the “changing stage” or
“alive stage”, the martial art is “alive” with the expression of the
practitioner, who can adapt the art to all circumstances. Regardless of style or system, I think all people go through these stages of
MW: Could you please elaborate on that third stage?
Chu: Yes, mastery is when you learn all aspects of the system. All of
the forms, drills, partner drills, weaponry, fist principles, internal
training and the like. They make this all alive, with personal
expression and the art is second nature to them. The art is natural, embodied in their nature. It is spontaneous in the moment with feeling and adapting to circumstance. It holds up under stress. This is the stage of the where the masters, past, present and future are at.
MW: I understand you specialize in the weaponry of WCK. Why?
Chu: For a long time, wing chun weaponry was considered a secret. Forms, concepts and applications were withheld by many masters and were often taught last. Since I was pretty much against secrecy, I wanted to promote this aspect of wing chun as best I can. I found that basically, to be good at weaponry, you have to practice with them all the time.
Weaponry also imparts many additional attributes to you, such as
strength training and issuing force through an object. It is a way to
develop wind and strength with an external apparatus. Also, over the
years I found I had a personal affinity to the weaponry. Wing chun’s
weaponry was adapted when ancient Chinese weaponry was phasing out and
modern weaponry began to be more important. I think the wing chun
ancestors saw the benefits of attributes training with the weaponry in
hopes that future generations can still enjoy the trained strength that weaponry develops. The pole teaches the use of the body with up, down, in and out motions. The knives serve to strengthen and unify the body structure and improve the gripping and striking. Also, knives will always be a common available tool for self defense.
MW: Is wing chun considered an internal or external art?
Chu: (Laughs) Oh, big debate. Really, I think these labels are pretty
silly. Wing chun developed in the south, independent of those
labels and terms like “neijia” (inner school) and “waijia” (outer school). In fact, as far as I know, Huang Bai Jia coined the term “neijia quan” to explain the difference of his wu tang style, to mark it as unique from and how it differs from other systems. Somehow, this has grown into the popular misconception that People still think the term incorrectly means tai ji, xing yi, or ba gua, liu he ba fa and other systems, none of which, of course, are not even actually related to this original Neijia Quan. Maybe the misnomer got applied in the Central Gou Shu Guan by Sun Lu Tang and others who tried to differentiate their styles from Shaolin.
To say that Shaolin is hard, and neijia is soft—well, I think people
seasoned in both would find that is also ridiculous. Personally, like
“original” and “modified,” I think the difference between neijia and
waijia is dependant upon the level of the practitioner. In high levels, wing chun practitioners should use their bodies skillfully and avoid using tension and localized muscles. In that sense, wing chun could be considered a “neijia.” (Of course, there are so many definitions of the terms neijia and waijia, it’s not worthwhile to really clarify them here.) Some say that Shaolin is waijia because it is Buddhist, a tradition that stems from outside China, but as I understand it, wing chun was not developed in Shaolin as some people say, so that really doesn’t apply either.
MW: What do you think is the goal of WCK training?
Chu: I value teaching wing chun as an art to understanding the
centerline. It is a recurrent theme in the system. One has to be
balanced spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically, so I think that is the goal of wing chun training. Wing Chun started out late in the development of martial arts. In my opinion, the art took the refined essences of the different martial arts and stressed the functional, rather than the flowery. As time went on, the recurring essence was simplicity, directness and economy of movement. All systems contain wing chun in my view, when an artist practices Shaolin to a high level for example, they are expressing wing chun, that is, the simple, direct and economical manner of movement. If you have an art stress that along with transitional movement, what you have as a result is wing chun.
[ add comment ] | permalink | ( 2.9 / 5992 )
Tuesday, January 3, 2006, 01:04 PM - Health & HealingThe package insert is often thrown out with the packaging or the print is so small and the language so unintelligible that the average consumer could not make heads or tails out of it. Often pharmacists don't have the time to consult you on all aspects of medication when they have long lines of other customers waiting.
Also if you're shopping around and always looking for a lower priced pharmacy, or following the popular trend of ordering online, going to Canada or Mexico to save money, you may not have access to a pharmacist to advise you. Medical Doctors (MD's) are not the authorities on medications in the health care industry, but pharmacists are. The ultimate say so regarding medications and interactions amongst multiple medications are pharmacists.
The ultimate say so amongst nutritional supplements, foods, herbs and medications is still ultimately the pharmacist, however, few pharmacists can know the biochemistry of all foods, nutritional supplements and herbs. In this case, it is still up to the consumer to be ultimately responsible for his or her health.
A good herbalist can help you make informed decisions about herb and drug interactions, but you must be upfront and detailed about what herbals, nutritional supplements and medications you are currently taking, the dosage, and the frequency. To be detailed with a list is to be prepared anytime you see a new healthcare practitioner.
I never offer herbal advice unless I have met with a prospective patient in person and know their entire health history. The reason is because I have to know their background and what they are taking now.
For example, if they take Viagra, a common drug for erectile dysfunction, I have to be careful not to give herbs that have a function of blood thinning, as that can cause an adverse effect. One has to be aware of possible adverse or "side" effects that can result from wrongly prescribing any form of medication. I want to stress that I am not against the use of medications because I am a labeled a "Complementary/Alternative Medicine" practitioner.
I feel that all medicines have their proper time and place, have their proper dosage, and will have a great effect when used specifically for an ailment. The problem is only when one paradigm of medicine seeks to outlaw or diminish another paradigm of medicine because they are threatened or worried about money.
One doctor that I admire, Alex Chen, OMD, PhD, once said, "It doesn't matter if the medicine is eastern or western, what counts is that it works." I firmly believe in that statement.
If you're taking Lipitor or Atorvastatin, a common drug for people with high cholesterol or high trigycerides, there are many side effects of this medication. Not all people will experience adverse effects, nor will they experience all of the adverse effects. Properly used, Lipitor can save lives and help keep people healthy. However, a close look at the warning label suggests you contact your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following: skin rashes, blisters, peeling and swelling; chills; dark-colored urine; diarrhea; fever; itching; joint pain; red irritated eyes; redness, tenderness, itching, sore throat; sores, ulcers, or white spots in mouth or on lips, Headache; hoarseness; lower back or side pain; painful or difficult urination; pain or tenderness around eyes and cheekbones; stuffy or runny nose, Abdominal pain; back pain; belching or excessive gas; constipation; general feeling of discomfort or illness; heartburn, indigestion, or stomach discomfort; lack or loss of strength; loss of appetite; nausea; shivering; sweating; trouble sleeping; vomiting.
It makes me think wouldn't it be better to do some dietary and lifestyle changes than be on a medication with that many side effects?
Lipitor is supposed to be prescribed only when additional help is needed and is effective only when a schedule of diet and exercise is properly followed. It does not mean when you are taking Lipitor that you can freely eat what you want without a care in the world. The Drugs.com website writes, "Remember that this medicine will not cure your condition but it does help control it. Therefore, you must continue to take it as directed if you expect to keep your cholesterol levels down."
You should also be warned that you should avoid taking Atorvastatin with grapefruit juice or other grapefruit products because these may increase the concentrations of Atorvastatin in the body. Atorvastatin has also been linked to problems in the liver, such as jaundice, and increased liver enzymes. People who take Atorvastatin should also avoid alocohol. That in itself is warning enough to make changes in diet and lifestyle.
Warfarin (Coumadin) is another common medication that is necessary for the prevention of heart attack, stroke or obstruction of the blood vessels.
Basically it is an anti-coagulant, which thins the blood and prevents formation of blood clots, Unfortunately, this medication has numerous side effects and patients making a change in diet, adding supplements or vitamins and minerals have to be very careful when on this medication.
Problems include signs of unusual bleeding, such as bleeding while brushing teeth, urinating blood, unusual nosebleeds, small red spotting on the skin, easy bleeding or bruising, unusually heavy menstrual bleeding and the like. The risk is also for hidden bleeding internally in the internal organs such as the stomach or intestines, back pain, dark, tar-like stools, vomiting blood, chest pains, mental fugue, coughing up of blood and the like.
You are advised to see your MD immediately if you are having any of these side effects. It would be best for you to check the Advanced Consumer information on Warfarin at www.drugs.com for more detailed information.
Warfarin is one of those drugs that needs to be monitored closely. If you're considering going on a diet, or changing lifestyle and eating habits, it's best to check with a health care professional.
Taking common things like vitamins, minerals, other nutritional supplements like nutriceuticals or herbs like Dang Gui, Dandelion, Licorice, Nettles, Ginseng, Pau D'Arco, and Ginko Biloba can be hazardous to your health if you take Coumadin. Eating liver, broccoli, kale, spinach, cabbage, grapefruit juice, pineapple, garlic and onion can also be hazardous to your health if you take Warfarin/Coumadin. Because of the many adverse effects of this medication, I am often reluctant to advise any herbals, supplements or dietary changes to people on this medication. I strongly advise any one on this medication to discuss with their pharmacist and MD for any other safe alternatives to this medication.
Glucophage or Metformin is also a common medication for sufferers of diabetes, particularly Type II, Diabetes mellitus. Diabetes is better controlled through a strict diet, eating at regular intervals and maintaining a healthy lifestyle of frequent exercise.
Many side effects may include, cramping, diarrhea, shortness of breath, tiredness, low blood sugar, blurred vision, cold sweats, mental confusion, excessive hunger, tachycardia, headache, nausea, and lack of appetite.
These signs and symptoms may also indicate that Metformin is not working for you, and that your diabetes is getting worse. I strongly advise anyone with diabetes to visit with a nutritionist or registered dietician and make radical changes to the diet, avoiding excessive intake of carbohydrates, and balancing diet with complex carbohydrates, protein and fats.
There are herbal alternatives to the medications above, but each has to be balanced with diet and exercise and are to be diagnosed carefully on a case by case basis. It is best to consult with a licensed Acupuncturist/herbalist, Professional Member of the American Herbalists Guild (AHG), or Doctor of Naturopathy for this.
[ add comment ] ( 641 views ) | permalink | ( 3 / 5343 )
Wednesday, December 28, 2005, 07:25 PM - Health & HealingEveryone needs downtime to relax and just do nothing. It’s a way of recharging ourselves and a way to help us reflect on life and time to heal. In this column, we will examine the best way to give yourself a short 20 minute vacation. Use it when you’re feeling stressed out, emotional, tired, confused, or for a brief break after the holiday parties. Perhaps you just need a recharge, or a calm moment. This practice involves allowing yourself to completely relax and breath and guide your attention at various areas of your body. You can even use this method to reduce pain, or discomfort from a chronic disease.
First of all, you are going to lie down in the yoga asana (posture) called Savasana or “corpse pose”. If you’re offended by that, we’ll call it the “final resting position”. We lie on a mat, carpet, bed, or even the couch will do. All you have to do is lie down and close your eyes. Start breathing deep from the abdomen – you slowly inhale fully, pause, slowly exhale fully, then pause, and then cycle again. Try this for at least six breaths.
Next, bring your attention to your toes and allow them to relax totally. If you have to wiggle, crunch them, snap, or pop them, now’s the time to do it. Then relax totally for six more breaths.
From here, we move to the heels, bringing our attention there. We may relax, wiggle, adjust ourselves into comfort, then relax for six complete cycles of inhale, pause, exhale, pause.
We then shift our attention to the ankles, allowing ourselves to rotate, shake, stretch the ankles, then complete a cycle of six full breaths.
Bringing our attention to the lower leg, we relax completely, allowing the calf muscles sink into the ground (bed, floor, etc.), and complete six cycles of breathing.
Moving to the knees, we adjust ourselves and allow the articulation of the knee to completely relax and feel the space. Breathe for six more cycles.
Our attention then shifts to the thighs, allowing each muscle to first tighten, then relax completely. Breathing all along for six complete breaths.
Coming to the buttocks, we feel the gravity pulling us into the ground. The tailbone tucked and feeling fully relaxed. We breath and hold our attention here for six complete cycles.
Shifting to the lower back, we can feel the small of our back and realize the curvature there. We dissolve all our tension and tightness there, releasing that breath by breath for six breaths.
It is at the midback where we feel a sense of our breathing massaging us into the ground (bed, floor, etc.), and breath by breath feeling the embrace of Mother Earth. Six breaths and we feel revitalized.
Now at the upper back, we completely relax and feel our chest relaxed and sink. With every breath, the shoulder blades melt into the ground and we feel our tensions and frustrations melting away. We maintain our attention here for six full breaths.
Reaching the shoulders, we realize we have no burdens to shoulder right now, allowing ourselves ease of spirit. Breathing deeply, we completely relax for six complete cycles.
Our upper arms sink into the ground, as if a weight has been lifted off our shoulders. Completely flaccid and relaxed, we continue for a full six breaths.
At the elbows, we feel the space of our joint, and breathing deeply and slowly, we feel completely relaxed for six cycles of inhale – pause – exhale - pause.
Coming down to the forearms and wrists, we let go of any tension, any desire for control, and completely allow ourselves to relax. In and out, we breathe, fully for six cycles.
When we reach our hands, we realize we have to let go completely. Our hands are not stiff and straight, neither clenched and closed. In letting go, we erase all tension trying to control things in our lives. Be breathe and practice letting go for six complete breaths.
We bring our attention to the neck now, allowing all tension to be erased. Our head feels so heavy – as heavy as a boulder and we struggle to maintain our consciousness. We have not felt so completely relaxed in months. Six breaths.
Our scalp is completely relaxed. Our brows unfurrowed. There is no face to maintain, only the bliss of our relaxation. Our face is completely serene, reflecting the calmness within us. We breathe in and out, inhaling good thoughts, exhaling bad thoughts. Inhaling good energy, exhaling bad energy. Inhaling the good, exhaling the bad. Calmly breathing in and out…
You can get up when you wish to…
[ 4 comments ] ( 190 views ) | permalink | ( 2.9 / 3518 )
Wednesday, December 28, 2005, 07:22 PM - Health & HealingDr. Li Dong Yuan of Jin Dynasty propagated the principles of the tonify Spleen and Stomach school of Chinese Medicine. Li’s theories expounded that chronic diseases are largely a part from improper diet and malnutrition. His solution was to treat the Spleen and Stomach organs through herbals and acupuncture for chronic diseases. I regularly use Li’s herbal prescriptions and principles in my acupuncture, as I practice the Tung style of Acupuncture, and heavily treat the Spleen and Stomach channels to prevent disease, as well as treat chronic diseases like asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, and cancer. In Chinese Medicine, Earth is representative of the Spleen and Stomach and is believed to be in the center. As such, it is believed that by treating the Spleen and Stomach, one can treat everything.
As of late, I have been paying attention to my diet and nutrition and have been regularly exercising when I have time. Often, with my schedule, I do some exercise between my patients and clients. Eating late at night is a taboo and I try to stay away from it. I also avoid excessive consumption of cold beverages and sweetened soft drinks like soda or bottled ice teas, preferring to take unsweetened ice tea (without ice) and room temperature bottled water. This is because the Spleen does not like the cold in Chinese Medicine, and cold inhibits the Spleen’s function of transformation of food into energy and transportation of energy in the body. As such, a diet of cold foods can surely affect your energy with weight gain, edema, lethargy, abdominal bloating, indigestion, constipation or diarrhea. It is better to avoid them, or at least, balance when you eat something cold like a salad or sandwich, accompany your meal with a warm beverage or hot soup.
Of course, foods prepared with ginger or cinnamon can also help warm the body and help with tonifying the Spleen and Stomach functions. This is why Chinese food is almost always cooked with ginger. Ginger also acts as a detoxicant and is particularly helpful to cook with foods like seafood and vegetables.
When eating, never eat to the maximum of being full – always aim for two thirds full. It is important to chew your food well before swallowing. Eating should be done at a leisurely pace, and not rushed. In the Chinese tradition, not too much talking should be done at the dinner table, as it can upset the Spleen’s digestive function, particularly if strong emotions such as anger, fear, fright, and grief are the result of too much talking. Also too much thinking or pensiveness is bad for the digestive function, so it is best to not do work, watch television, or video games when one is eating. The idea of television and dinner is a poor one. Sex and eating also are not good companions for the very same reason.
Of course, on rare occasions, it is okay to go to a salad bar or buffet, but even then, restraint is necessary. Eat warm foods first, perhaps a soup to start with, then eat salads, your entrees and then a small dessert. I believe it is a strategy for certain restaurants to bring ice water to your table and offer cold salad first, as you tend to get full faster on these items. As for dessert, only a bit of fresh fruit is better than ice cream, pies, cakes, cookies or other sweetened items. A small piece of watermelon can help move the bowels, relieve thirst and provide the Spleen with the craving of the sweet it desires. It is said in Chinese Medicine that the Spleen craves sweetness, and that the sweet flavor tonifies the Spleen. Overeating and abnormal consumption of sweets can inhibit the Spleen’s normal function.
After eating, rubbing the abdomen in a clockwise manner thirty six times can help settle the meal and stimulate the body’s natural energy for digestion. It was said that if one takes 100 steps after you eat, you can live to be 100. Of course, taking a short walk after eating a meal can help digestion, help move the bowels, promote circulation and burn off some the energy from the calories you ingested.
Followed properly, these little pearls of wisdom can certainly help you live to a ripe old age.
[ add comment ] | permalink | ( 3 / 3187 )
Wednesday, December 28, 2005, 07:20 PMHypnotherapy is a wonderful healing art and offers a great method of reaching goals, motivating oneself, as well as eliminating many problems. Hypnosis and Hypnotherapy as terms are often used interchangeably. There are several methods of hypnosis, and these include stage hypnosis for entertainment purposes; Self Hypnosis, which is a form of inducing yourself to hypnotized state and offering yourself suggestions; guided meditation, which is essentially the same thing as hypnosis, but generally taught or led in groups; and lastly hypnotherapy, which is using hypnosis to bring about a change or therapeutic benefit.
The late Charles Tebbetts, a famous hypnotherapist in Seattle, defined hypnosis as, “All hypnosis is self-hypnosis, and the power is in the mind of the person being hypnotized.” I think very much this is a true statement, as the power is in you to induce changes. Thoughts often turn into action, then snowball into results. Proper thoughts will only lead to proper action, leading to proper results.
Hypnotherapy basically consists of someone guiding your thoughts, ideas, beliefs and then you are lead into a trancelike state, offering you thoughts that you wish to follow. This trancelike state is like a focused concentration, such as when you feel enthralled in fascination by something. Others may describe it as somewhat like a “blanking out”, just as when you drive a long distance on a long stretch of highway.
Roy Hunter, a well known hypnotherapist in the Pacific Northwest, states that hypnosis is basically a form of “guided meditation”. Once you are into this state, the hypnotherapist guides you into a deepened state and offers you a suggestion to your subconscious mind. It is natural for the human mind to focus concentration such that one is able to access and control the subconscious. These 3 steps are the major key to hypnotherapy. Once these are done, repeated sessions may assist in anchoring a suggestion in the subject. One might think that basically hypnosis is a method of uploading new programs in to the mind.
Many of the modern disciplines and forms of alternative medicine are derived from hypnosis. NLP, psychotherapy, sports psychology, life coaching, advertising, communication all use hypnosis principles to bring about a change. Many self-help books all employ hypnosis methods. Even many of the Tibetan vajrayana and yogic practices make use of similar techniques to bring about changes to the mind.
One can’t be hypnotized against their will, or be made to do some foolish things like jumping up and down and quacking like a duck as most Hollywood movies and television shows would have you believe. The hypnotically induced state is relaxing and comfortable.
I have creatively combined acupuncture and hypnotherapy to treat certain patients and have experienced great success in depression, anxiety, weight loss and smoking, as well as reaching goals. My “Acuhypnotherapy” is a great development in combining these 2 different but useful arts. Basically in my method, I use the acupuncture to induce the trance state, then offer indirect or direct deepening methods, followed by the implanting of a suggestion. For example, if a person want to lose weight, I interview them as to their goals, plan, and steps to reach their goal, have the entire goal time bound and simply plant all the steps that will lead a person to success. Once known, these are written down to coincide with the patient’s beliefs and goals. I then induce them by inserting needles into certain points while they are lying down relaxed, then allow them to rest briefly. I may test the level of the trance or use methods to deepen the mental focus, then simply repeat to the patient what they were wanting to overcome or change.
Properly done, hypnotherapy can benefit one in bringing about changes in behavior, anxiety, eliminate poor habits, problem solve, overcome strong negative emotions, bring about healing to the body, control pain, and deal with substance abuse. The list can be endless, as many problems of the body begin in the mind.
If you’re seriously considering hypnotherapy, do so with a person that you have rapport with and check for their qualifications through certification. Many life coaches, psychotherapists, MFT’s, psychologists, and psychiatrists have some experience with hypnotherapy or can refer you to a reputable one.
[ 2 comments ] ( 10 views ) | permalink | ( 3 / 3056 )
Wednesday, December 28, 2005, 06:17 PM - Health & HealingI am a practitioner of Master Tung’s Acupuncture, which differs greatly from Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) Acupuncture that is typically taught in schools here in the USA and in China. Many people might wonder who Master Tung was, and my information here will introduce him to readers here.
Master Tung Ching-chang was probably the greatest Acupuncturist in the last generation in Taiwan. So great was his fame, that he literally had over 100 patients per day which he saw in his small clinic. His fame was due to his extreme efficacy with acupuncture needles, and he only used a few per treatment.
Master Tung arrived in Taiwan after the Communists took over in China in 1949 along with Chiang Kai-shek’s Nationalist party and began a successful practice in Taipei, Taiwan. He was an Acupuncturist in Taiwan for 26 years, and throughout that time, he allegedly treated over 400,000 patients, with about a fourth of them treated at no charge. For these humanitarian deeds, Master Tung was decorated with an award of “Representative of Fine People and Fine Deeds” in Taiwan.
As the personal acupuncturist to Taiwan President Chang Kai Shek, his reputation was so great that he was asked to visit Cambodia between 1971 and 1974 to treat Cambodian President Long Nuo, who suffered from hemiplegia due to a stroke.
Master Tung was also decorated by President Chang Kai Shek with a “Certificate of Honor” in the field of Chinese Medicine, which is an amazing accomplishment because initially the Nationalist Party was not responsive to Chinese Medicine, due to the fact that Sun Yat Sen was a Western trained physician.
Master Tung’s Acupuncture is truly a living treasure and storehouse of Chinese Medicine, untouched by modern TCM, and a glimpse into the family systems of Chinese Medicine as taught in previous generations. It is itself a conglomerate of classical acupuncture and pricking methods, flexibly applied, and proven clinically with practical, often with quick and dramatic results. Currently many practitioners of acupuncture may use a lot of needles and needle around the local area. Not so with Master Tung’s Acupuncture. For example, if a person has neck pain, a TCM trained acupuncturist would typically needle the neck area. But a Master Tung acupuncturist will apply a few needles to either the wrist, ankle, knee, shoulder, hip, or thigh to treat the pain. The advantage is very clear, as you can give feedback immediately to your acupuncturist upon insertion. When needles are in the neck, one has to wait until they are removed to give feedback! For the acupuncturist, the flexibility of the method is extremely attractive.
Done properly, Master Tung’s acupuncture is painless, quick, efficient and requires only a few treatments if problems are acute. A full range of problems are treated, including allergies, anxiety, arthritis, asthma, back pain and sciatica, Bell’s Palsy, bronchitis, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, high blood pressure, colitis, common cold and flu, constipation, diarrhea, ear pain and ringing, eczema and other skin problems, edema, frozen shoulder, GERD, headaches, IBS, impotence, insomnia, laryngitis, menstrual problems, menopause, nausea and vomiting, numbness and neuropathy, pain of all types, PMS, prostate problems, rheumatism, stress, stroke, tennis elbow, TMJ, and Trigeminal Neuralgia with just a few needles. It is almost inconceivable as to the efficacy of this form of acupuncture. In my own daily practice, I am still amazed at the immediate results I see with this system of acupuncture.
Master Tung’s Acupuncture in the USA is practiced by Young Wei-chieh of Rowland Heights, CA, Esther Su of San Jose, CA, Jim Maher of Oklahoma City, OK, and myself. I had the fortune of learning from Young Wei-chieh and Esther Su, and did extensive research in this system of acupuncture and practice it daily in Pasadena, CA. Currently, I am sharing with this great system with acupuncturists and Medical Doctors nationally and internationally through my organization called ITARA - International Tung’s Acupuncture Research Association. We seek to preserve, educate, research and pass on the legacy of Master Tung’s work through seminars, private trainings, and other mediums.
As students and practitioners of Master Tung’s Acupuncture, our practice is to benefit others in a practical, simple, direct, economical manner and it is hoped that the reader can use seek out a Master Tung Acupuncture practitioner to experience these amazing points - the same points I use daily in my clinic with amazing results!
[ 4 comments ] ( 9 views ) | permalink | ( 3 / 2952 )
Wednesday, December 28, 2005, 05:09 PM - Health & HealingWhy Acupuncture and Herbal Therapy for Cancer patients?
Acupuncture and Herbal Therapy can help those suffering with cancer to prolong life, enhance quality of life, and aid in recovery. In China, Acupuncture and Herbal Therapy are used as primary treatments for the treatment of cancer, in this country there are legal ramifications with this approach, so most western cancer patients often choose to combine their biomedical treatment with alternative therapies. They are not quite sure where to turn to and may try any treatment alleged to treat cancer, or even self medicate with herbs and other substances. Often chemotherapy, surgery and radiation cause damage to healthy tissues, as well as diseased tissues, and weakens the immune system. This is where Chinese medicine can be very helpful. Chinese herbal medicine is the therapy of choice in treating the side-effects experienced by oncological treatments, and is proven in its effectiveness.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) theory, cancer is caused by the stagnation of energy and blood in the body due to strong emotions, poor exercise, poor diet, inadequate rest and hereditary factors which are triggered from poor health. Acupuncture and Herbal Therapy eradicates disease through the balancing and moving stagnant energy and blood. .
How Does Acupuncture Work?
According to the principles of TCM, energy flows through the body via 12 primary meridians and 8 extra channels. To strengthen the flow of energy , or remove blockages in the meridians, acupuncturists insert a few disposable tiny, sterile, flexible needles just under the skin at certain specific points (called acupoints) along these channels. These acupoints are associated with specific body function, and when stimulated, they trigger the immunity system to provide almost instantaneous pain relief and cessation of symptoms ailing the patient. For example, if you are suffering from nausea and vomiting from radiation or chemotherapy, a few carefully selected points might be stimulated on your ear, scalp, hands, feet, wrist or ankle. TCM practitioners believe that acupuncture stimulates the body's internal regulatory system to nurture a natural healing response without having to directly treat the site of injury.
Acupuncture stimulates the body's internal regulatory system to nurture a natural healing response.
Centuries of empirical observation indicate that acupuncture leads to real changes in the body. The insertion of acupuncture needles has an effect on the autonomic nervous system and homeostatis. Recently, numerous studies have shown that acupuncture stimulates nerves, send a signal up the spinal cord to the brain, leading to the release of endorphins and monoamines, which are natural chemicals in the body that block pain signals. This may be one explanation why acupuncture is so good at stopping pain, but does not fully explain the healing response one has with other disorders. More research is needed to fully explain the acupuncture mechanism.
What To Expect
When first visiting a practitioner, there will be a thorough medical history inquiry, the pulse is taken on both wrists, the tongue is examined, and the body may be palpated to check the site of disease or pain. A treatment plan will be discussed. Depending on your ailment, you may also have your first acupuncture treatment and Herbal Therapy prescription at that first visit. In general, visits occur initially two or three times a week until therapeutic results and stabilization have occurred. After that, follow up visits will be scheduled as needed. Therapeutic exercise and meditation may also be prescribed to aid in overall well being.
Does it hurt?
Acupuncture needles do not hurt like hypodermic needles used to give injections or draw blood. The needles are hair-thin, and may feel like a tiny prick or pinch upon insertion. Sterile disposable needles are always used. Once the needles are inserted, the practitioner may manipulate them manually or send a weak electrical current through them to increase the energy flow. The needles are typically retained for 20 - 45 minutes, depending on the ailment. Different people experience sensations of a "tingling", "distended", "electrical" or "full" feeling, whereas others may feel numbness or nothing at all. Most find the sessions relaxing, and fall asleep during the treatment, waking up refreshed and feeling great.
Herbal Therapy in a nutshell
In our society, herbs have now come into vogue, but there are dangers. Although herbs are natural substances, they can be dangerous if wrongly or self prescribed. Herbs are combined with other herbs of similar function to reduce the danger of toxicity and increase synergistic effect. In our clinic, we use the finest Herbal Therapy formulas in pill and powder form for convenience. There is no need to be inconvenienced by the taste, smell and time preparing raw herbs. There are also herbal lotions, liniments, herbal wraps, patches and pastes that may be used externally, depending on your condition.
Other Physical Medicine
Practitioners may also use moxibustion, a form of heat therapy on acupoints, to stimulate healing, depending upon the ailment. Other techniques include cupping, Gua Sha (scraping), massage and manipulation therapy, often complimented with dietary advice.
How soon can I expect results?
Some patients notice rapid improvement after just a few sessions. In acute pain cases, one or two treatments may lead to dramatic results. In chronic conditions that may have taken years to develop, treatment may take longer.
Acupuncture and Herbal Therapy effectively treats:
Back Pain and Sciatica
Chemo and Radiation therapy Side Effects
Ear Pain and Ringing
Eczema and other Skin Problems
Nausea and Vomiting
Numbness and Neuropathy
PAIN of all types
Does my Insurance Cover treatments?
Currently many insurance carriers cover treatments. If your insurance company has acupuncture benefits, you may qualify for treatment.
Acupuncture and Herbal Therapy can help prevent cancer by strengthening the immunity system, insuring adequate rest, balancing strong emotions, promoting proper diet, and avoiding hereditary triggers that can lead to developing tumors.
During oncological treatments of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, Acupuncture and Herbal Therapy can be a safe adjunct for an already taxed immunity system. We can boost immunity, help dissolve nodules, reduce anxiety, stop headaches, treat nausea, vomiting, dizziness, lack of energy, prevent peripheral neuropathy, treat chemo induced menopause, and restore hair loss to maintain quality of life and give you time with your loved ones and put your business in order.
After you've gone through treatments of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, we can restore you to good health and help you recover from whatever symptom is ailing you.
In summary, Acupuncture and Herbal Therapy can help you before during and after treatment of cancer.
About Robert Chu, L.Ac., QME, MSOM, PhD:
Robert Chu (Chu Sau Lei) began practicing the martial and Chinese healing arts since childhood. Robert is a Licensed Acupuncturist and Herbalist, specializing in the Master Tung Acupuncture and Optimal Acupuncture methods in which he effectively treats pain, industrial injuries, sports injuries, and neuromusculoskeletal disorders. Dr. Chu also treats a wide variety of internal diseases including hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes, psoriasis, thyroid disorders, gynecological disorders and side-effects from cancer treatments. He is appointed by the Industrial Medical Council as a Qualified Medical Evaluator (QME).
Dr. Chu was formerly affiliated with the St. Vincent Medical Center , as the first fulltime Acupuncturist on staff and treated cancer patients with Acupuncture, Herbal Therapy, Qigong and Tai Chi. Dr. Chu is a former faculty member of Samra University of Oriental Medicine in Los Angeles, where he taught acupuncture. He has also taught Tai Chi and Qigong at Loyola Law School . Dr. Chu volunteers at Pasadena's Wellness Community , where he does monthly lectures for cancer patients and a weekly lifestyle/nutrition and Qi Gong class. He is occasionally featured as a speaker for the American Cancer Society . In July of 2004, Dr. Chu was selected as the Acupuncturist to Olympic athletes at the Olympic Trials held in Sacramento, CA.
Dr. Chu also lectures nationally and internationally on Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine to provide continuing education to MD's and Acupuncturists. In 2003, he founded the International Association of Optimal Acupuncture and Clinical Chinese Medicine to spread his effective clinical system. He also serves as President of the ITARA - International Tung's Acupuncture Research Association, which he founded in 2005, to preserve, standardize, educate, and research new applications of the Tung family system of Acupuncture with integrity, open sharing, and a goal to help end suffering in fellow beings. He has been decorated as an honorary member of the Finnish Traditional Chinese Medicine Society of Acupuncture and Herbs and a therapist member of the National Register of Acupuncture Therapists in Finland. Dr. Chu is also listed as a Master Practitioner of Oriental Bodywork Therapy and Master Practitioner of Tui-Na Manipulations, awarded by the International Association of Tui-Na Therapies in London, England. He has lectured at Emperor's College of TCM , CSOMA , and other functions as a dynamic and entertaining speaker.
In 2004, Robert was awarded a Ph.D. in Buddhist Ayurveda from the non-profit college Ayurveda Healing Arts Institute in Berkeley, California.
Currently, 40 - 60% of Dr. Chu's practice is devoted to treating breast and prostate cancer patients. He may be contacted at:
Robert Chu, L.Ac., QME, MSOM, PhD, AHG
Oasis Vitality Center
2502 E. Washington Blvd
Pasadena, CA 91104
Cell/Voice Mail: (626) 487-1815
[ add comment ] | permalink | ( 3 / 3163 )