Monday, July 12, 2010

The Mysteries of Kung Fu

There is an old Shaolin story that goes
like this:
A young man was accepted into the
Shaolin school. He showed up to his
first lesson excited to learn.

The old monk led the young man to
a raised pool and told him to slap the
water.

When the young man came back to
class the next day, the monk told him
to go to the pool and slap the water.
Day after day, this was the only task
he was given.

After 12 months, the young man became
so frustrated that he broke his instruction
and went to the monk who was eating
breakfast. The young man demanded
a lesson, slamming his hand down on the
heavy wooden breakfast table, which
immediately broke in half.

The monk looked up at the young man
and said, "you're ready for your next lesson."

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Sun Lu Tang is perhaps the most famous
XingYi Boxer in history. It is said that his
first teacher taught him how to stand for
his first lesson, and did not check on him
for one year. When he returned, he struck
Sun in the back and was surprised that
Sun did not lose his balance.

It is said that Sun's best student practiced
the stance for three years before he learned
anything else.

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In the beginning of June, a young man came
to me asking for private lessons. In the very
first lesson, I saw just how clumsy and stiff
he was. But he practiced hard, and made
amazing progress. Two days ago, he came
for a lesson. I asked him how much he was
practicing. He said, "two hours a day, but
I would practice more if I was learning anything."
He had not noticed how his clumsiness had
waned, and how much stronger his stance
and balance had gotten.

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