21 May 2018

Kong Fu


The Kong Fu You Know is Not Kong Fu

What is my favorite movie? Hard to say. But if you ask what movie did you watch the most times, definitely it is Kung Fu Panda. It was addictive because at its heart, a nameless panda, Po, became a hero, EASILY. What did Po own? Nothing! Lazy, lovely, and normal—just like anyone in the world. But it is him to be the Dragon Warrior. Look, there are the Furious Five, each one practiced Kong Fu day after day, night after night. Each one is more strong, and more professional. But hey look, it is the one with good willing who success at last—no need of hard working, no need of 10000-hour’s practicing, and yet better than anyone else. Who don’t want to become Po? Who don’t want to pay nothing but get everything? Does Po has Kong Fu? Yes… and NO, this is not Kong Fu. It is a piece of opium the Hollywood made to entertain everyone, to fulfil their stupid fantasy.

What is Kong Fu?

Hong Kong has long has the atmosphere of loving Kong Fu. If we move our sight a little further, the south China also has the trace of Kong Fu tradition. For example, Wing Chun (咏春) is one of the famous traditional Chinese Kong Fu.

Today I took the first class of Wing Chun. There are some interesting talking with the Master. As a newcomer, one has the privilege to ask harsh questions.

  • Q: Can Wing Chun fighter against other Kong Fu? In other words, Is Wing Chun can only fight with another Wing Chun player?
  • A: Every Kong Fu has its strength and also shortcomings. Wing Chun has many technique highlights such as the attacking speed is very fast. The average height of south China is shorter than the north. It has to be such fast because, otherwise, if you allow opponent attack you, you will enjoy a very hard time. So, start attack after they have started, but finished before their move’s accomplishment, is a great strategy. This also means that Wing Chun is designed for “small” and “short” people. With Wing Chun’s technique, you can overcome the physical shortcomings to some extent. In other words, if you are quite tall and strong. You do not need to learn Wing Chun. You even do not need any Kong Fu. Just swing your arm and use your fist. Interestingly, the geographic environment also affects Wing Chun. South China is full of mountains. Seldom there are wide open areas. Also many work on boats. So, the horse stance of Wing Chun is not as wide as a typical north Kong Fu’s. These all become part of the Wing Chun and form its distinguishing features.

Then, the master talk about what Kong Fu is. “In south China, people talk about Kong Fu. What is Kong Fu? Kong Fu is years of years of dedication.” With a despise glance to the side, he continues, “Someone learned something in a short time, and maybe he accomplished some task, but that is not good enough to call Kong Fu.”

I read his words with great sympathize. For a same thing, due to self limitations, one is easy successor, and the other has to devote much more for the “same” effect. Which will be better? Often, is the latter— he has to use the magic of Kong Fu.