What I Learned in Kung Fu

By John Paul

What I learn and often neglected in kung fu is a topic that society at large is need of a heay dose of. Its a lost art and many great kindoms were founded on it. This one thing is the most important ingredient to not only a great fighter, great martial artist but a great man. Without this nothing is possible. This is the first thing in kung fu even before the horse stance. Even before conditioning. Even before fundamental training. Jogging pushups stretching. Even before locating a teacher.

This element is so vital that if you have this one thing you can fail at everything else and still be the best. This most important thing is not really one thing but a set of things. The most important ingredient to be a great martial artist is kung fu ethics. These are the ten commandments of life. Even the mafia observes ethics. The reason they existed for so long was because of their ethics.

Every culture, house, relationship, business, family, marraige, friendship, school, university, gather, church, religion, government etc is founded on a code of honor, a set of morals, a vow, a bond, rules, values, virtues. At least ten of these are vital to any gathering. Without rules there can be no order. Without values there can be no progress. I have narrowed these down to ten to start with, at least to make my point. They are integrity, loyalty, respect, commitment, dedication, intimacy, sacrifice, patience, honor, honesty, accountibility, apprectiation, Obedience.

First of all, integrity. Integrity is the most important in my opinion because with this one virtue everything else falls in line. To me integrity can be explained very simply. "My name, and reputation are the most valued thing and are to be taken care of." Someone is always watching. If you dont want to be looked down upon, you want to be known as an honest trustworthy person. You want people to always remember you and say good things about you. Even when your gone people are going to talk about you to your grand children and descendents. Your grandfather was a great man!!! Wise, wealthy, honorable, generous. And he had great kung fu!!.....Can you teach me?

Loyalty. Never do something to your team, your wife, your teacher, your children, your parents. Those close to you who should have your allegience. Never turn your back on them. Betray them. Lie to them, back stab them, disrespect them. Behind closed doors, whatever happens or is said is between the family. But total loyalty never lets the world see us fight or have a divided front.

Respect. Common courtesy. Selflessness. Your teacher is not just some guy who shows you an uppercut. This is where kung fu in america differs from that in China. The teacher deserves the utmost respect. Hes more like a general commanding a troup rather than a teacher. In china in the old days if you didnt respect your teacher he would kick your ass. To teach you respect.

Commitment. Before you become a student. Know what your getting into. Its like getting married. Till death do us part. Its a lifelong commitment with an agreeement from both sides. Be clear about that. Don't half ass. Dont jump into it. This is why Sifu wong gives everyone a two year evaluation so that they can know what this is about and he and the student can both get to know each other. Its a courtship. An apprenticeship, especially in kung fu, is not for children. Its for men, for adults.

Dedication. Once you have decided to stay. This is for me. Im not going anywhere. Im here for the long haul then you can begin to master techniques. I dont care if it takes me ten years for one move. It has to be done. Im dedicated to keep working at it.

Intimacy. Only by close family meetings can some things be learned. Otherwise they would never come out. There are things that a husband and wife share when no one else is around. This is what strengths them both and makes them closer.

Sacrifice. Any relationship requires both parties to sacrifice. The founder of Aikido, Morihei Ueshiba sold his family's ancestoral estate to learn the bagua footwork that would later become Aikido. The Yang style founder dismembered his face to the point that he was unrecognizable in order to learn taiji at the chen family village.

Patience.Rome was not built in a day. It takes 1000 years for a dragon egg to hatch. Great things always take time to mature. If you pluck up a plant before its ready it will die and never be as strong as it would have.

Honor. Just like integrity. All men should be honorable. Your honor. The family name. Your reputation. All very important.

Honesty. Complete and utter transparent honesty is vitally important. But it takes time. As you spend time and intimacy with someone you get to kno each other. Then you build trust. Then honest comes. Theres no other way. Theyll reveal themselves in time.

Accountability. Carry your own weight. Help out where you can. Do what you can. Use what you have to get what you want. Effort is more important than amount. Its the thought that counts.

Appreciation. This is the big one. Also if you appreciate and cherish your relationship with your wife, your friend, your teacher, your brother you will protect it. You will honor what they give you and respect what they dont give you. Dont force them. Be a gentleman. Ever technique is gold. Sharing kung fu is sharing many generations and hundreds of years of hard work, blood sweat and tears. Treat it as such. One simple technique not only probably save someones life in you kung fu ancestory but could potentially save yours. This is serious, priceless stuff. People have died to learn it.

Obedience. Uncompromised, unwavering obedience shows that you have complete trust, complete trust means you have complete loyalty.