2012年8月2日 星期四

From the Bible to Tai Chi (10) Kung Fu Development


‘He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him,
nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.’
Isaiah 53:2

Compared with King Saul and King David, it is surprising that Son of Man was not so attractive and charming in appearance.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.”

Let me show you two video clips on Youtube, which one do you prefer?


In Kung Fu world, not many people like to watch someone practicing Kung Fu of Qi.  The movements are so slow and boring that you would lose patience and interest quickly. 

Kung Fu of Li is much more impressive and spectacular in term of rhythm, flow and presentation.  It is easier to win burst of applause in performance or competitions.

Moreover, Kung Fu of Li is much easier to master.  No matter how difficult, challenging the postures is, the player can give a perfect performance after organized, well-planned training in a few months. 

On the other hand, Kung Fu of Qi needs to go through an ‘ugly duckling stage’ for years.  It is an embarrassing stage that your Kung Fu of Qi is not strong enough to defeat ordinary Kung Fu of Li. 

Kung Fu of Li, like many traditional arts such as music, has already developed a systematic, mature and institutionalized inheriting arrangement.  It has been introduced into the formal education system.  The curriculum is clear and continuous.  The assessment system is open and reliable.  Professional qualifications in this respect are recognized.

Unfortunately, this is not the case for Kung Fu of Qi. Its existence is questioned. The curriculum is hardly available. Let alone the assessment and recognition systems. Inheritance of this skill remains outside the formal education system. Without open and reliable assessment system, it is hard to differentiate between the authentic and the fake for outsiders.

In the past, traditional Kung Fu masters would strive for enhancing their Kung Fu level by changing their concern from tangible aspect to intangible aspect, from use of Li to use of Qi.  This is the small and narrow gate. Only a few find it. 

Nowadays, most of martial artists are striving for enhancing their skills by changing from easy, simple physical postures to more difficult, complicated physical challenges.  The level of Kung Fu refers to its level of difficulty and complexity, just like gymnastics.  This is the wide and broad road.  Many follow.

Can we call it advancement? 

I believe we can hardly call it advancement in technology when we use horses to replace donkeys to pull the cart, though the speed does increase.  But if we use electricity to replace mechanical force, that is a real breakthrough.

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