Kung Fu: The Forgotten Meaning

The word Kung-Fu is on the tip of everyone's tongue after seeing a BRUCE LEE movie or any other Asian fighting style film. However, few people know what the meaning of the word is. One might say it is a form of Karate, which some think is the equivalent of Chinese boxing . If you are one these people, you have been looking at the wrong meaning of the word Kung-Fu. Its true essence can be found in your everyday life no matter what activity you are engaged in. Whether you are driving your car, or digging up your garden, you can be practicing "good" Kung-Fu. Anyone who has participated in martial arts classes or any other exercise routines will understand the true nature of this discipline.

Kung-Fu encompasses all aspects of one's life: it means being a gentleman or woman, being clean in all aspects of the word, showing respect not only to those that you admire but also those you encounter in every day life. Yes, all of this is difficult to put into practice. But who said Kung-Fu is anything less than hard work? It is hard work which will be richly rewarded if you follow this basic philosophy: whatever you put into your training is what you will get back in return. If you put in 30%, you will get back 30%.

The next time you go to your qwon or school to practice and you only practice those techniques with which you are most familiar, those you believe are certain to impress your fellow students and teacher, consider whether you are in fact giving 100% of yourself in this instance. I would disagree. If you are eager to impress anyone, start by impressing yourself .Be true to yourself in your training and you will achieve your goal. It is imperative that you take the time to perfect those techniques which present the greatest challenge for you. Only then will you improve. Further more, don't be afraid to practice newly pre-sented techniques which may initially be a challenge for you.

As my master once told me when I started my Kung Fu lessons, "I will teach you the best that I can but this does not mean that I cen make you the best. This is something that you have to do on your own" It is advisable to apply the same principles out of school . You might try to be more efficient at work or more assertive in dealing with your boss. For instance, submit your ideas and wait for a response. If they are turned down, don't be discouraged; just try again. If you readily give up on yourself, you give up on life and life is far too precious to throw away.

Many of us are subject to daily stresses in todays hectic world. It is therefore essential to develop some strategies to counter the pressures we may face at work or at home. After you finish your nine to five job, instead of going home to the same routine, do something for yourself. Practicing martial arts is one approach you may take; joining a fitness center is another. Why not go for a run, a swim or even a walk with a friend for a chance of pace and mood. In other words, do something beneficial that you will enjoy. Strangely enough, time seems to pass more quickly when you engage in regular actvities aimed at improving your overall quality of life and lifestyle. The goal is to live life to the fullest, but remember to stop ever so often and sip a bit of tea without spilling any of it. Stay on the path you have chosen. It may not the easiest path but it may be the most rewarding.

The Path

If you feel you are in no physical condition to commence this journey, as a first step you should consult your physician. I am sure that he/she will diagnose your physical state, pinpoint actual or potential problems, then point you in the right diection. With patience, your initial idea will develop into a plan of action once you have taken the decision to follow a plan of action leading towards improved mental and physical health. Just remember to stay on the path and to follow through to your end goal which will reveal itself to you in time. Soon the activity you have chosen to improve your physical condition will become a routine and if you are diligent and faithful to your plan it will turn into a most beneficial habit which will serve you well. Remember: first walk ,then run. It is preferable to set reasonable goals in the beginning, so that you could see the progress you are making, while gradually improving your physical condition. At the same time, always remember that enjoyment of and interest in this journey is a constant priority.

You might consider that an eight hour workday provides sufficient activity. When can you possibly squeeze in an exercise regimen. The answer is surprisingly simple. A minimum of three hours a week will get you and keep you in good condition. In order to achieve this you must get your heart rate beating at an optimal level,which is 60% or 80% of its maximum capacity. This can be determined by the following formula: 220 minus you age equals your maximum heart rate. For instance, in a twenty year old, this would translate into 120 beats per minute (minimum) and 160 beats per minute `(maximum). In addition, you muscles need to be pushed beyond their normal workday activity.

A strong mind in a strong body is a precept of Oriental philosophy. Thus an exercise program can be looked upon as a means of prevention of illness or deterioration,especially as we grow older. Not all of us are fortunate to maintain excellent health throughout our lives. We should not take good health for granted; however, we should tray to minimize the risk of illness by making the effort to keep ourselves strong in all respects. We must not forget to listen to our bodies and take care of them long before illness strikes. Perhaps a combination of listening, thinking, exercising will prevent future health problems and increase you present sense of well-being.

This is one of the hidden meanings that Kung-Fu can teach you; therefore, make a commitment to yourself and find out what you like to do. Then go for it. Now I will reveal the secret of how to get in shape. It is the art of Kung-Fu, whose literal tanslation is hard work. In much simpler terms, go out there and sweat for your health. Now that you have started your exercise routine, you will see that your body will grow accustomed to the same movements. As soon as this occurs, you must shift gear. For example ... if you could do ten push-ups or ten sit-ups, you must always keep adding numbers to your sets. Suddenly ten is no longer a problem, so do not stop at ten. The chain of progression has begun. You are now on the path that leads to better shape, improved health.

But remember to be patient in your quest. Kung Fu is having patience and perfecting yourself as a person. It is learning to wait for something. Its philosophy and way of life will be acquired through time and practice without missing a day.

It seems to me that everybody seems to want everything right away. It is not as if your can go to the school and buy Kung-Fu. Nor can it be sold for a profit. If you are a true and dedicated student of Kung Fu attending a true and respected establishment of `Kung Fu, all involved will benefit from this relationship`; the students,the instructors, the school, and even society. Each and every one of us can contribute our part to society by first looking after our own well-being. This can be done by taking those first steps on the lifelong path towards health,happiness and peace of mind.

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