Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 12: Breathing & Teaching

Kung fu training, Thailand

Martial Arts Master Tan Soh Tin, Present Master of the Nam Yang Pugilistic Association, at Nam Yang Shaolin Training Camp, Thailand. Special Breathing Methods The special breathing which characterises Sum Chien training is certainly a very powerful form of Chi Kung and is the subject of much interest and discussion.  It is important to noteContinue reading “Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 12: Breathing & Teaching”>>

Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 11: Origins

Some Background Information To me, what is most important about Sum Chien training is its huge potential to change our lives for the best.  Hence discussing this first.  To benefit from it we do not need to know about its history but, as humans, a knowledge of our background and culture and just where weContinue reading “Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 11: Origins”>>

Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 10: Tapping into the Energy of the Universe

Chinese kung fu & the energy of the universe

As I mentioned earlier, when we adopt the straight Sum Chien posture we connect our crown point (Pei Hue) with the Yang Chi of the Heavens and our root point (Hue Yin) with the yin chi of the Earth.  Sum Chien training also typically begins with a sequence of movements which include one which thrustsContinue reading “Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 10: Tapping into the Energy of the Universe”>>

Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 9: Speaking with the Body

Sum Chien training, Thailand

A good example of how training our body posture and language, including the face affect us as a whole. Martial Arts Students demonstrating the Sum Chien at Nam Yang Thailand Training Camp. Life is largely about how we interact with others.  Psychologists tell us that only 7% of what we communicate is through our wordsContinue reading “Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 9: Speaking with the Body”>>

Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 8: Training the Emotions

Meditation Thailand

Martial Arts Master Iain Armstrong demonstrating the Sum Chien Face at Nam Yang’s Thailand Retreat. Training the face during Sum Chien practice seems to have gone out of fashion a little. It is widely known that the old masters used to contort their face into a strange grimace when they practised but most of theirContinue reading “Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 8: Training the Emotions”>>

Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 7: Training the Senses, Expanding Awareness

Kung fu training courses, Thailand

Practising the Sum Chien face and body posture prepares us to switch into the right emotional state should we need to fight. Female Martial Arts Instructor Emily McCarten at Nam Yang Thai Retreat. This is one of the most powerful yet least understood aspects of Sum Chien training.  I was fortunate that it happened toContinue reading “Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 7: Training the Senses, Expanding Awareness”>>

Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 6: Strengthening Internal Organs

Sum Chien – strength is no barrier

If Sum Chien is performed with the right breathing methods the internal organs are greatly strengthened both in terms of their ability to perform their function and their ability to resist damage.  In this sense it may well be considered a form of iron shirt chi kung, although this name is more usually used toContinue reading “Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 6: Strengthening Internal Organs”>>

Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 5: Internal Power

Meditation Thailand

Martial Arts Master Iain Armstrong releasing springy internal power into a lethal throat crushing technique. There was a period, beginning at the close of the 1990s, when I was writing a column for ‘Combat’ magazine and Master Tan took me around Singapore’s most prominent kung fu groups to interview their Masters.  He would translate sinceContinue reading “Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 5: Internal Power”>>

Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 4: Body Mechanics

Sum Chien – strength is no barrier

Twisting the elbows in while performing ‘holding the tree branches’: one of the key techniques in Sum Chien training. Relaxing and sinking into a stance keeps all of the joints intact.  This is essential for the efficient transmission of strength. The stance is relatively short, with the front foot only one foot’s length further forwardsContinue reading “Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 4: Body Mechanics”>>

Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien (Three Wars) – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 1

This short, superficially simple routine is the core training exercise of not only Southern Shaolin kung fu but also many styles of karate.  It must be one of the most widely practised yet least understood martial arts exercises and is still shrouded in mystery.  Here I describe how, over the last three decades, the mysteryContinue reading “Kung Fu Training: Sum Chien (Three Wars) – The Heart of Shaolin, Part 1″>>