Question from a student:
I understand that Kungfu, a multifaceted system, is a system of combat, and hence dominant and superior combat power is its highest priority. Is that true?
Answer from Wong Kiew Kit:
It is a matter of perspective. I would view kungfu in this way. Kungfu as a mutifaceted martial art, has three levels of attainment. The lowest level is combat efficiency. This is also the most fundamental level, without which it ceases to be kungfu and degenerates into a demonstrative form.
The intermediate level is internal force training. With this level of attainment, the kungfu exponent has radiant health and vitality for his daily work and play. Although I consider this level higher than that of combat efficiency, it is not fundamental (i.e. essential). Hence, some styles of kungfu may be only physical and external, without any internal force training; they may not contribute to health and vitality but if they can be combat efficient, they are kungfu.
The highest level is spiritual cultivation. With this attainment, the exponent is joyful and peaceful with himself and with the whole cosmos. At the apex, which happens to only rare masters, the exponent attains the highest spiritual fulfillment, called variously as return to God, unity with the Great Void, or enlightenment.
These three levels of attainment in kungfu are not necessarily progressive. In other words, it is not necessary for an exponent to be proficient at one level before progressing to the next. All the three levels are integrated and trained simultaneously.
Wong Kiew Kit is an acclaimed master of Shaolin Kungfu, and the author of the best-selling book The Art of Chi Kung: Making the Most of Your Vital Energy. You can continue reading this interview on his personal website.