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The Truth of Gung Fu

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The Truth of Gung Fu

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Lee_Fang_Tze on Tue Jul 07, 2020 2:10 am

Before I can talk about Gung Fu, it's first important to have a context of Chinese history and language, as it is quite different from western arts. Chinese is not a language, but a group of dialects with a similar writing system that are phonetically different. Mandarin is the national language of China spoken by an estimated 960 million natives, mostly in northern China and Taiwan, and it is considered the official language of government, media and education. Cantonese is the mother language of China, an older language, spoken by only about 60 million natives, mostly in southern China in places like Hong Kong and Foshan.

Being more familiar with southern Chinese martial art schools, I prefer to use Cantonese, which is why I will use the term Gung Fu instead of Kung Fu, but both terms are similar and mean the same thing. Now according to the Oxford dictionary, Gung Fu is a primarily unarmed Chinese martial art resembling karate. But I'm sorry Oxford, as respectable as I find your university, you are wrong. Gung Fu here in the west, and especially where I am in the USA, is almost automatically associated with Chinese martial art, sort of like a coined term. But even today, this term is used out of context. The correct term for Chinese martial art is what they call Wu Shu, or Wushu, and some people use these terms interchangeably, but I don't.

Gung Fu has a very deeper meaning, not just to me, but in actual literary context. So instead of going into some rant about my personal experience with Chinese martial art, I will attempt to explain true Gung Fu, and by the literary context itself, I hope that others will be able to see the difference and know the difference in quality without the need for any physical demonstration. When you read this article, you will automatically know that my personal Gung Fu is of a higher caliber than many others simply by the time and effort I put into explaining what Gung Fu actually is, rather than what many other people say it is.

So what is Gung Fu? Well at a glance, it is actually two words. Gung literally means effort, hard work, merit or achievement. Fu means man, but it can also mean time. So literally speaking without speculation, Gung Fu means the achievement of man. Or perhaps more accurately, time and effort. Gung Fu then basically means Skill, and in the context of role-playing, Skill is not an ability or talent, or even necessarily having to do with martial art, but is some kind of merit or skill achieved through hard work over a period of time.

Say you are a fisherman, and you are really good at catching fish. You study the tide, the weather, everything. You know what spots to fish in, and what tools to bring. This skillfulness is known as Gung Fu, because it requires time and effort, or hard work to achieve. Now say you are a culinary artist, or a chef. You know what ingredients you need, and what to do to appease your customers. You study the menu, and you get into the habit of a natural routine. This too is Gung Fu, because it takes time and effort to develop good quality meals that will effectively appease your customers. So it doesn't have to be martial art. Gung Fu can be any skill which is achieved through hard work.

One day, a Westerner witnessed a Chinese individual practicing martial art. He asked the Chinese individual, what is that you're doing? I want to learn Chinese martial art. How do I learn that? The response was Gung Fu, and to this day, that is what Chinese martial art has been known as in the west. But it is by no means limited to martial art, as I've just explained. So I want to clarify when I say that I practice Gung Fu, that I am not just speaking about Wu Shu, as I find that particular term to be very limiting and not entirely what I am trying to convey. There are schools which teach Wu Shu, and then there are schools which teach the broader aspect of Gung Fu, and you will find that most Gung Fu schools include martial art as part of their training, but not as all of it.

That being said, it is true that the quality of Gung Fu is higher in the USA and the UK than it is in mainland China, and there are many reasons for that which require some understanding of Chinese history. China underwent many political struggles in the past, and cultural revolution so many of the really good high quality Gung Fu branches were completely wiped out, and many Gung Fu masters fled to the west. I was privileged enough to train with some of those Gung Fu masters, particularly from places like Kowloon in Hong Kong who passed this knowledge on to me, and so I am now passing it on to you, so that good quality Gung Fu may be preserved for generations to come.

Thank you. :)
"Gung Fu has one purpose, to develop a reaction that happens naturally. Gung Fu is in the way you walk, the way you talk and the way you breathe. It is in the way you treat life, and the people around you. Everything you do is Gung Fu." - Shi Zhen Li

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Re: The Truth of Gung Fu

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Lee_Fang_Tze on Sat Jul 18, 2020 12:56 am

There once was a great Kung Fu master from Xiaoying who wished to be the greatest warrior in the universe. "I will conquer the world," he said, "I will be famous, the most feared warrior in the universe". And so he gathered an army and set out to conquer the world. He travelled from city to city, slaughtering everyone in his path. Men, women, children, animals, nobody could stand against him. He became so great and powerful over time that when villagers heard he was coming, they fled in fear, and he just walked right on in and took several villages without even having to put up a fight.

Then one day, the warlord's army went to a village near Wutang mountain, where they were met without a challenge. Again he slaughtered everyone. Men, women, children. And there was a little girl crying on the side of the road as he walked by. The warlord smiled and said, "Everyone in China knows who I am. I am invincible, and the whole world fears me, even this little girl. Nobody can stop me. I can beat anyone". Then the child looked to him and said, "I know who you are, and I do fear you. But I know someone who you can't beat, the Wutang master who lives on that mountain".

The warlord snickered, then murdered the youngling before ascending up the mountain. "I'll show her," he said. "I will find this great Wutang master, and I will break his limbs, and make him scream for mercy". At the top of the mountain, he saw a skinny old man who was very frail and unarmed. "Move aside decrepit old man, I have come to see the Wutang master" he said. "I am he," the old man replied. "What?" asked the warlord. "I am the master of Wutang," the old man said. The warlord stopped, looked at the skinny fragile old man for a moment, then burst into laughter.

"Surely you must be joking," the warlord said. "You are the Wutang master? A decrepit old man who can barely stand straight?" he chuckled. "I am," the old man replied. "And you shall go no further up the mountain. I advise you and your army to turn around," he added. But again the warlord burst into laughter, before this time unsheathing his sword and bringing it against the old man's throat. "Old man, are you a fool? Don't you know who I am? Don't you realize that you are talking to someone who can cut your head off of your shoulders without even blinking an eye?" he cringed. "Young man," said the monk. "Don't you realize that you are talking to someone who can have their head cut off of their shoulders without even blinking an eye?"

At that, the warlord was caught off guard. He felt something inside himself that he had never felt before. Finally, he had found someone who was not afraid of him, and could not be conquered. The warlord didn't know what to do. After a moment of thinking carefully, he dropped his sword and knelt before the old man on one knee. "The rumors were correct. I have now seen true greatness. Master, please forgive me," he said. "Teach me your Kung Fu," he begged, lowering his head. That man's name was Wo Hei, and from that day forward, he never hurt another soul. In fact, he renounced all warfare and became one of the greatest Wutang legends who ever lived....

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Re: The Truth of Gung Fu

Tips: 0.00 INK Postby Lee_Fang_Tze on Tue Jul 28, 2020 6:04 am

I told you the lesson of the Wu Tang master. That's an old Taoist story. But I know many Buddhist stories too, like the lesson of the two monks from Henan province. It's not as far north as Wudan, but still not as south as the Fujian temple. There were actually 5 main temples that were all closely related, but there were two Zen Buddhist monks from the Shaolin Temple in Henan province who were washing their hands and faces in a river near Guangzhou when one of them noticed a small reddish brown scorpion which had fallen into the river and was drowning. Feeling compassion for it, one of the monks stopped what he was doing and scooped up the scorpion with both hands, placing it on a dry rock near the shore.

In the process of saving the scorpion, the monk got stung on his palm. He shook away the pain and went back to washing his hands and face. A moment later, the monk noticed as the scorpion fell off of the rock that was on the shore and back into the flowing river. Once again, that same monk stopped what he was doing and scooped up the scorpion in both hands, placing it on the shore.

Once again, in the process of saving the scorpion, the monk was stung on the same palm. He winced slightly, shook away the pain and went back to washing his hands and face. Seeing this display, the second monk smiled and asked, "Brother, why do you continue to save the scorpion when you know it's nature is to sting?" Once again, the first monk stopped what he was doing and looked at the second monk who was washing in the river beside him. "Because," he answered, "to save it is my nature."

Enlightened by that response, the second monk finished washing his face in silence and would go on one day to rescue Captain Heitosa from drowning once he fell into the Guangzhou river by fainting from blood loss after being defeated by the Red Boat Opera rebellion. Heitosa was the captain of the Qing Army who had helped to destroy the Shaolin Temple in Henan province, the monk's former home.

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