True Tales of Shaolin Kung Fu!
We were hanging out after a class in Shaolin Kung Fu the other day, engaged in a generalized sort of BS session, and one of the guys, Ron, started telling us about when he was young and growing up on a farm.
“Yeah, I had to get up at 4 in the AM and go chase the calves, they’d wander off, get in mudholes, that sort of thing. The worst was when they’d get tangled up in the barbed wire, they’d get a leg wrapped up, the leg would die, and we’d have to amputate it and sew it back on. If we weren’t fast enough, the calf would die.”
One of the other fellows at this BS session, Mike, leaned forward and asked, “Really?” Nobody said anything, and Ron went on with his story, telling about the details of how to sew a calves leg back on. Suddenly, Mike got it, he looked sheepish, and we all started laughing.
Interestingly, Ron then told us of how he had been had. His father told him to go squat under a calf every day and stand up. As the calf grew older and heavier, Ron would grow stronger.
Another story, recorded in one of the earlier kung fu legends to hit the American shores, was that you dug a hole a foot deep, and practiced jumping into and out of the hole. Each day you throw out another shovelful of dirt, and after a decade you would be jumping six feet up and down. This was supposed to be how you learned how to do Light Kung Fu.
Interestingly, the history of athletic prowess is filled with other tales such as these. People buy leg weights, and increase the weights on the legs every month. This is the way to have a faster sprint, a higher and more powerful kick.
And, athleticism itself is a study in this type of thought. We practice running more and faster every day. We want to be able to run faster and longer; is this not the same, be it of a more common and ordinary way of thought?
But the fact is, these legends are good for us. Legends inspire us, get us going, and, who knows, maybe there is a bit of truth behind the fancy. After all, have you ever tried lifting a calf every day?
Have you ever jumped in and out of a hole a thousand times a day for months on end? How do you know these types of training methods don’t work? Have you ever used used Shaolin Kung fu to sew the legs of a poor, little calf back on?
Al Case began his study of Kung Fu in 1974. Check out his Blog at Matrix Martial Arts.
This really understated article is available at: Free Martial Arts Online.
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