In the 1978 film, a young student enters the Shaolin Temple where he quickly progresses through the 35 Chambers of Gung Fu training, advancing faster than any previous student. He then leaves in order to help his town people fight against local oppressors. Returning to Shaolin a triumphant hero, the student, now turned Master establishes the 36th chamber, a special martial arts class for laypeople to learn Gung Fu.
Archive for August, 2011
When I left my sifu in January of 2004, I realised that the Gung Fu he had taught me had enriched my life in ways that I find hard to convey. Some seven years after his death I now attempt to honour him by bringing the same joy to the people who come into my life. But, ultimately the greatest tribute I can pay to the man who patiently taught me martial arts is to continue on the same path, to keep practicing.
The hardships that are faced during Gung Fu training are physical metaphors for the hardships we face in life. Gung Fu is about discipline, practice, moving forwards and following through. I accept that no-one can be coerced into training. The flash that gives rise to the burning desire to practice must be borne out of a person’s free will. Despite initial progress in movement, self expression and fighting, it is difficult to provide encouragement whilst also asking that they remain patient, because many of the benefits of Gung Fu are intangible. I can’t fathom how my body, my central nervous system, my thought processes have been altered since 1993 when I started my voyage into chinese martial arts. In fact, I am no better equipped to describe the changes than I am aware of the cells of my fingertips vibrating.
I will always remain thankful for the person I have become because of Gung Fu.
The most merciful thing in the world, I think, is the inability of the human mind to correlate all its contents. We live on a placid island of ignorance in the midst of black seas of infinity, and it was not meant that we should voyage far. The sciences, each straining in its own direction, have hitherto harmed us little; but some day the piecing together of dissociated knowledge will open up such terrifying vistas of reality, and of our frightful position therein, that we shall either go mad from the revelation or flee from the light into the peace and safety of a new dark age.
The Call of Cthulhu by H.P. Lovecraft