Tai ChiCultivate the Power OnlyTai Chi

Alongside the Control


By Simu Patti Everett


With the power of Kung Fu comes the responsibility of having self control. Protect yourself and control the situation by doing the least amount of damage to others. Taoism and Zen Buddhism, the basic philosophies behind the art, espouse the belief that you are one with the rest of the universe (and so with your opponent). To hurt another you hurt yourself. If you are driven by vengeance or power hunger you will destroy others and also yourself. You must strive to cultivate a genuine benevolence toward mankind and nature. As you become more secure as a practitioner and as an individual this will come naturally. You will feel less threatened and will lose the desire for vengeance. Perhaps, the following quotes will facilitate your understanding. The philosophical aspect of kung fu is "Learn the ways to preserve rather than destroy. Avoid rather than check; check rather than hurt; hurt rather than maim; maim rather than kill; for all life is precious, nor can any be replaced."

"Kung Fu must be thought of, in its final form and spirit, as an expression of man's indomitable will to survive adversity in the most direct, self reliant manner possible. This requires only that which nature gave him, a mind and body, vigorously disciplined as an inseparable entity. Within this framework Kung Fu will be presented as an experience which begins on the physical level and gradually deepens to a pervasive philosophy the totality of one's behavior."

"If there is no contention, there is neither defeat or victory. The supple willow does not contend against the storm, yet it survives."

"It may some day become necessary for you to take a life. . to save another, or to save many. You will feel as I do, then ... you will feel sorrow no matter how evil is the creature you slay."

Forget the dominant western demand for someone to "overpower" an antagonist; dismiss any personal desires or emotions in the midst of conflict; instead follow the enemy's intent by permitting him to overpower himself. Kung Fu is sweat, repetition, pulled muscles, and hard work through sacrifice, time and effort. This is the method of Kung Fu, not the movie version.

Mastery of the simple life is the glory. Treat other students with respect. Those students who fail to respect you. They too are your teachers. Observe They teach you ugliness and how not to be. Train hard every day, but do not over-train. Learn to know how to get the most from your body, mind, and spirit.

Know yourself. Don't be an alien in your own body. Judge yourself only by where you are in each self contained moment. The past is gone, the future only a fantasy. Now is the only time in which you can act. Judge yourself not by the color of the ribbon around your waist, but by the quality of your art each moment you practice. Kung Fu can work for you or it can destroy you. Handle the art in the proper way. Let the symbol of the break stance speak for the art in general. Cultivate the power only alongside the control.