By: Micheal Heflin
For some people imparting words of wisdom to others comes easy. Those people always seem to have a combination of intelligence, experience, & intellect to be able to take their life experiences & communicate those experiences to others in a way that makes the listeners see the wisdom & beauty in what is being communicated to them, and it provides a level of inspiration to the listener. I am not one of those people so please bear with me.
As I grow older it is easier for me to see the wisdom in ‘those old sayings’ that we all heard growing up. You know, the ones like “waste not, want not”, “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me” & my all-time favorite “the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”. That is not really my favorite saying, but I heard it so many times growing up, it just seems that it should be my favorite.
By now you are asking what does this have to do with martial arts? A very good question. As I said before, I am not the wisest of people, so I am about to attempt to take a line from a movie and weave it into some relevance to our martial arts training and how martial arts relates to our everyday lives.
The quote I would like to use is from the movie, The Karate kid. In the movie Jackie Chan’s character, Mr. Han, takes on Jaden Smith’s character, Dre Parker, as a student of Kung Fu after Dre gets beat up by some local kids. At first his training consists solely of putting on his jacket, taking off his jacket, putting it on the floor, picking it up, hanging it on the pole, taking it down, putting it on, taking the jacket off, and so on and so on. Day after day this is all Shou Dre does, and he begins to have doubts about his teacher, and it seems he begins to doubt if he is learning anything at all about Kung Fu. Finally one day he snaps and tells Mr. Han that he does not know Kung Fu, & the other kids can continue to beat him up, & that he is quitting. At this point Mr. Han grabs Shou Dre by the shoulders & tells him that Kung Fu is in everything we do, it is in how we put on a jacket, how we take off the jacket, how we treat people, everything is Kung Fu. At this point the proverbial light bulb comes on & Shou Dre achieves a level of enlightenment, and his interest in learning “real Kung Fu” intensifies. He reapplies himself in his training, and the movie goes on to have a happy ending.
So what is meant by “Kung Fu is in everything we do”? Well here is what it means to me. I hope you find some value in this.
One of the major precepts of Kung Fu, is that to ever become very good at Kung Fu, one has to apply oneself, train every day with purpose and intensity, and hopefully learn something new every day. One must strive to be better today than you were yesterday. This also happens to be a very good recipe for life in general, by the way.
Another precept is focus. Developing one’s ability to focus allows you to live entirely in the moment. And living entirely in the moment maximizes one’s focus. With enough training & focus one will develop an advanced level of competence in Kung Fu.
It is by applying this same level of intensity, focus & being in the moment, to every aspect of our lives that allows us to grow and develop as employees, as parents, as friends, as martial artists and as human beings.
As I understand it, a literal translation of the words Kung Fu, means hard work. As you know, our training here at the Peaceful Dragon qualifies as hard work, but it is the level of hard work one puts into our training, that dictates the level of competence we achieve. In other words, what you get out of your training is directly related to what you put into your training. The harder one works, the more one achieves. This is how Kung Fu is in everything we do. Life in general takes hard work in order to ever achieve any real expertise at it. You get out of life, what you put into life.
In any endeavor we undertake, whether it be training for a new job, or training to run a marathon, our outcomes are directly proportional to how much ‘hard work’ or Kung Fu we put into it.
See, I told you that Kung Fu is in everything we do. Thanks for listening.