The Wounded Warrior Trains in Patience

Like Young Fang Kang in The One Armed Swordsman or General Pang Qingyun in The Warlords, I returned from travels a wounded warrior. My brain and body were weak from the poison; my knees, still struggling. I found an old house surrounded by dark woods in which to recover and a beautiful woman prepared warm soups for me. (In my case her strong and brilliant husband chopped wood and made soup too.)

one armed swordsman
fortress of solitude
kai kung fu

Like Superman in his icy Fortress of Solitude this frozen land keeps me from the distractions and dangers of humanity. The solitude in this distant wilderness of the suburbs protects me as I am nursed back to health. My only visitors are passing deer, pausing to look up into windows, holding for a moment before moving on, knowing we are alone and safe from the hunter’s sight. The snow falls gently, filling their tracks behind them.

Like Huo Yuanjia in Fearless, the seasons pass quickly here as I recover. The thick snow and cold of winter blankets the earth only until the sun’s return brings the warmth and melting of spring… which is suddenly replaced again by winter who’s grey clouds rush back in before suddenly springing away again into… What the..?!

Like Linghu Chong in the Smiling Proud Wanderer I find strength in the study of music, and study Kung Fu alone atop this small hill.

On even days I awake to breathe my way through Ashtanga yoga. My balance grows steadily stronger. My headstands smoother and longer. I am, for the first time, beginning to feel myself float as I glide and exhale between poses.

On opposing days I run the elliptical. At first my knees could only handle five minutes before the pain returned. Slowly that number has grown and my breath grows more steady. I get ever closer to making it through a complete Chinese Pod lesson.

Each day I add a little bit more of my chosen Kung Fu style, Ziranmen‘s, 身法。(Shēnfǎ : Body method). For now my upper body briefly rolls and flows through the movements, a little bit each time. As my knees grow stronger I’ll be able to add more and more of my body, completing the ripple from heel to fingertip.

There was one thing I was told more often than any other in China. I heard it from teachers, fellow students, Kung Fu brothers, my master and even people I met on the street: 慢慢来:(màn màn lái : go slowly). I got frustrated with my Chinese language progress. I pushed my body to the limit every day in Kung Fu training until I broke. My 师父 (Shīfu : master) says each day of training is like laying down a piece of tissue paper on a slowly growing pile. Progress is the weight of it over time.

Màn màn lái. Go slowly. Now I am stacking tissue paper here, day by day. 谢谢为汤妈妈和爸爸。(Xièxiè wèi tāng māmā hé bà ba : Thanks for the soup mom and dad).

Related posts:

  1. Kung Fu Breakthrough
  2. Going To China
  3. Peer Pressure
  4. What Do You Do When Part of You Quits
  5. Losing A Mind 6: Home to Wood and Stone

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