Kung Fu – What place does it have in the 21st century?
Kung Fu, in ancient times, was a matter of life and death…. It’s the same today…
Kung Fu, in ancient times, was a literally a matter of life and death. You trained to avoid death and thereby prolong life. Avoiding death may have been defending yourself in war or from a bandit attack, for example. There would have been a real sense of danger to drive you to train to survive. In the West today there is little sense of real imminent danger in normal society. In fact, it’s probably safe to say that for most people there seems to be little danger in our lives. However, in reality, there are toxic dangers that are running through our modern lives that go almost unnoticed, and this is the real danger.
Modern Kung Fu has similar goals to Kung Fu in older times – to avoid death and prolong and improve your life. There aren’t threats in the old sense of the word; for example, a hamburger isn’t going to run over a hill and bash you over the head. Instead, the threats today take on a more sinister undercover pervasiveness. They are all around, attacking constantly so much so that you become immersed in them due to the fast nature of life today: watching TV, overworking, over eating for your type of lifestyle, comfort eating because you feel down, eating processed food because you’re too tired to cook …. These will all attack your health and well-being if you’re not vigilant and don’t take some positive action.
Where I see Kung Fu helping people time after time is where it combats the damage done to our minds and bodies from stress, overwork, sitting for long periods, eating the wrong types of food, lack of exercise, depression, lack of life goals; the list could go on. There is an old saying: “What you don’t know can’t hurt you”. Today what you don’t want to know could be killing you slowly - almost unconsciously.
What are the benefits of training in Kung Fu?
Becoming skilled at Kung Fu is a solo project. It teaches you that whatever you put into it, you will receive. It’s grasping life and running with it. It’s not hiding yourself behind anything. It’s taking control and enjoying life. After all, life is to be enjoyed, not endured. Training is time totally devoted to yourself – it’s not your job or your family but just about you. This is why it’s such a great stress relief: Not only are you getting superfit, you’re so engrossed in what’s going on that for an hour you escape from your outside issues. When class is finished you have renewed vigour to face anything you have to. This is what makes it so amazing for self-confidence and self-discovery. It teaches you about yourself and helps facilitate your life progression based entirely on you. It sees a new you emerging after every class.
One of my favourite speakers, Jim Rohn, says: “If you don’t have a plan, then you’re part of someone else’s plan, and guess what they’ve planned for you …. Not much! What long term plan has your favourite TV show got for you? Sitting for an hour on your couch – not much! What plan does your favourite soft drink company have for you? drinking sugar or aspartame – not much! What plan does your local pizza/takeaway shop have for you – not much! So be vigilant, develop your life plan, start Kung Fu, take those initial steps to succeed in your health as this is the thing that will drive everything else and the thing that will do most to increase your happiness and help you enjoy the beautiful challenge of life itself.”
Tomorrow will never change, if you don’t change today.