When speaking of kung fu, let us drop the banalities. What kind of banalities? Like the ones about secret styles and techniques, or which style is the coolest one with the greatest number of lethal strikes, or about masters who lived long ago, or… Let us talk about something important: what kung fu actually is and why we need it. It is amazing that in our age of information, people know very little about kung fu. Usually, it comes down to talks about styles and how kung fu has originated from the Shaolin Monastery … It is what everybody talks about, but let me tell you, there is little truth to it. Kung fu has been around in China for at least 5 thousand years, while the Shaolin Monastery is only 1500 years old. We will talk about this and other inconsistencies existing in popular literature later. Now, let us focus on something important…
Nothing can survive the ages unless it is really essential for mankind. We live surrounded by multiple matters and numerous things to do, but many of them vanish without a trace over time. What is left is the most important and people should spare no time or effort to own it. The ancients used to say that the time of life well spent is the time of self-improvement. Not so many ways to do it, although there is a very special one among them that includes virtually all the aspects of human development. For centuries, people have been reaching harmony in their lives and total self-fulfillment by practicing this method. We are talking about kung fu.
Contrary to popular opinion, kung fu is neither a sport, nor a funny movie made in Hong Kong, and, certainly, it is not just a bunch of self-defense techniques. Had martial arts been just a means for fighting, they would have been extinct long ago. In our modern world, people have many ways to sort out their disagreements: laws, weapons, mass media, or even economic tools. What modern man really lacks is a tool to sort out his own self. It is hard to believe, but here is a fact: we have more problems within us than on the outside. They include our never-ending struggle with laziness, continuous search for motivation, and addressing of moral issues that consumes a lot of time and effort.
And what about health? It is a separate issue altogether and once you try to deal with it you will quickly realize how true some medical professionals are when they say that there are no healthy people. So, what should we do? This may sound quite primitive, but we need to fight our limitations mercilessly, fight for the right to be different from others. We need to summon courage and take this challenge. No one can repeal the laws of nature and, as always, the winner takes it all. Only when you become strong enough, your problems will come to terms with you, but not before that. Same as everywhere else, only a strong mind, not just any mind, wins all the respect in our inner world. To carry out this task, one needs to choose a proper tool. What kind? Martial arts would be the right choice.
Kung fu practice affects a person on the whole, both physically and mentally. It is not a secret anymore that hair growth and skin condition depend on the heart and lungs functioning and muscle strength – on the kidney condition. This knowledge does not belong to the Chinese traditional medicine only. Our Western medical science shares it as well. The ability to control emotions helps to keep our psyche in check and, in its turn, allows our mind to stay clear, take in the world in all its beauty, and value life, so to speak.
Kung fu develops and improves absolutely everything that constitutes man. Kung fu is a wholesome system that leaves nothing unattended. Through breathing exercises, chi kung improves our circulatory system, strengthens our nerves, enhances performance of all internal organs, and builds up immunity. Gong fa makes muscles and tendons strong, ligaments flexible, and joints – mobile. Chuan fa brings the body to perfect coordination and quickens not just body movements, but the mind as well, making the thinking process as rational as possible without impeding creativity. As a necessary element of martial arts, interaction with the opponent teaches to keep your cool in the face of danger, helps to have full control over your emotions, strengthens your mind, and keeps your body healthy. All of this is kung fu: a martial art that guards our health and is, in fact, an art of life.
If you still do not know whether to engage in martial arts, let your common sense decide. It will give you the right answer.