training for Life
Column by Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong
January 2009 Issue

training from Silence to Action

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Silent training refers to internal training, such as: Da Zuo, seated meditation and Zhan Zhuang, standing meditation. These two methods are the simplest ways but are also the most difficult for most people. Many people believe that practicing these exercises for even five minutes is wasting time. These people usually prefer to take a nap or watch TV. No, I can tell you from my experience that it is not wasting time at all. Practicing internal training can improve your health both mentally and physically. Mentally, meditation can reduce your stress level and make your mind more sharp. A recent Yale University study has shown that regular meditation can possibly prevent Alzheimer's disease. The researchers also found that regular meditation practice may slow age-related thinning of the frontal cortex. Physically, meditation can lower high blood pressure, improve stomach problems such as indigestion and ulcers, prevent heart disease and many others. If you have never done any internal training, you must find a good teacher to teach you. Your teacher should have been practicing daily for many years.

How long should you practice daily? For beginners, it is good to practice between 20 to 30 minutes each day. After six months of training, you can increase your practice time from 30 minutes up to one hour. After one year of training you can increase your practice time from one hour to one hour and half. Advanced practitioners can practice twice a day for one hour and a half each time or longer. That's how I do my practicing daily.

Some people are inpatient and cannot practice internal training for more than 15 minutes. These people think that meditation is too boring. How about practicing some internal exercises? Tai chi chuan is the most popular of these. You can learn chi kung exercises from a chi kung teacher. Practice internal exercises for 15 minutes per day to begin with. You can double your exercises up to 30 minutes later. Of course one hour or more is the best. By doing the internal exercises, you have movements and forms to work with, therefore it shouldn't be too boring for you. If you have no time, can you do it just 15 minutes per day? Some people said, no, its too slow for me. I can't stand it.

Since tai chi or other chi kung exercises are too slow for you, how about learning some kung fu forms? By practicing the external kung fu forms, it can give you some physical exercise and improve your stamina. training kung fu forms can keep you in good physical shape. For example, a choy li fut form such as the Sup Jee Kau Da is a very long set. It required two minutes to four minutes to finish practicing this form. For keeping you in shape, you can keep practicing this long sequence over and over for up to 15 minutes or more. You can gradually build it up by practicing it once and double it to twice and keep going up to many times to increase your stamina. Besides the physical workout, the choy li fut form also give you practical fighting techniques which while practicing the form over and over your muscles will memorize. When you happen to get into a real fight, you can naturally used some of those techniques.

Any kind of training is good for you. Make sure you keep working out on it consistently with patience and hard work. I know some of you might say that you have enough physical work at your job. In this case, the internal training is good for you. And you may say again that it is too boring to train in meditation. You can train internal exercises or external exercises. Don't forget, a workout is different from work. For your good health, practicing something is better than doing nothing.

Doc-Fai Wong writes a bi-monthly column for Inside Kung-Fu.

January 2009 Inside Kung-Fu