What is Kungfu?

When I say the word kungfu, most of my White friends would start inmitating Bruce Lee sounds and pretending to be a martial arts master. But the word kungfu is not directly connected to martial arts in any way, as most tend to misuse it. The word “kungfu” in Chinese simply means “time spent (practicing something)” or “a learned skill”, most of the time it is use to desribed an amount of time/effort or to compliment someone’s skill in an area.

The word “kungfu” ‘s written form is very symbolic of its meaning, the writting is comprised of two horinzontal lines and two diagnol lines coming through them. It examplies the idea that it is simple to practice something, but to master it takes years upon years of dedication and creative ingenuity. People aren’t seperated by what form or techniques they use, they are seperated by their kungfu, their time spent in one area and their skills acquired in that area.

One can have kungfu in almost anything; writing, cooking, singing, even skills like chopping vegetables can be considered kungfu. More modern activites like skating or basketball are areas as well, most of the time kungfu is used to described mastery of “physical activities” (yes writing is a physical activity, a manifestation of mental thoughts).

Chinese Wisdom: Your Body is the Universe

One of the new ways I will be sharing my experiences in China with you all is through the discussion of some of the “Chinese Wisdom” I am currently learning to understand and appreciate. For those of you who are Asian, these might sound “remotely” familiar to the “Confucius Says” jokes or even “rants” by your Asian parents and relative. I just hope that doesn’t get in the way of you enjoying my posts and trying to pry open the vault of wisdom it holds.

One of the first concept I learned from Chinese Medicine after I got injured at Shaolin was the intimate relationship with natural universe and our bodies. All the laws of the universe, from it’s patterns of growth to the Circadian rhythms of plants, are all exemplified in the human body in ways both obvious and unfathomable. Like nature, our body takes time to change such as growth in height and of body hair, but change is also happening constantly in our body such as when we produce proteins and renew enzymes every single second. The constant state of change and activity is one of the principle similarities, another is the balance of opposite, the Yin and Yang. Just as our bodies are constantly growing and changing, it is also constantly decaying and dying. For every new cell generated, waste of the dead ones must be transported out of the body, it is always working and striving for a state of balance.

Whenever one has a question about life or about the world around him, one has to look no further than ones own body, because all the answers to questions of philosophical depths to cutting edge science can be answered by observing and understanding our own bodies. Whether you believe that we are creations of Gods or a product of time and constant change, our body is the most intricate and enigmatic object known to man. Even the most advanced computing technology of today is no match for the human brain, a mere part of the human body, though a very important part. Until the day of Singularity comes, when Artificial Technology can reach the same efficiency of human thinking, I firmly believe that all the questions we have today (from chemistry to physics to psychology to math to even bio-fuel) can be answered by further researching and analyzing the human body.

That is how great I think our body is, which is also my reason for respecting all human beings no matter their background, ethnicity  sexual choices, income, education, or personal belief. Because I believe the human body is absolutely wonderful and beautiful, almost as beautiful as the human soul. So the next you disrespect someone, think of it as disrespecting yourself,  because respecting yourself and your body means respecting others who share the same human body.