Getting It Right

When I was sixteen and started martial arts I wanted to get everything right. Right, of course, meant snappy, clean and hard. got it directly from my teachers who would proudly lock into a horse or bow stance with the driving energy of shifting gears in a Jag. It was thebeginner’s satisfaction, “At least my stances are cut.” Years later a fine instructor cured my of that in about a minute. On an early lesson he asked me to perform a horse, then a bow, then a horse again. I snapped from one to the other as my other teacher had taught me. “Good,” he said, slowly after my performance, “I never want to see THOSE again.” And the amazing thing was I understood what he was saying. Ever wonder why some of the stances of children, which are indeed beautiful in their way, are just as good as the stances of their teachers? For the same reason that big, blocky printing from a seven year old is totally appropriate and from an adult is a little sad, especially if he is still trying to perfect it. In Kung Fu we, too, have the admonition, “When I was a child, I talked like a child …”

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