The Eternal Journey

The Eternal Journey

Kung Fu (功夫) – The Eternal Journey

Kung Fu (功夫) is a life long journey. There are many obstacles and steps along the way. It should be approached in stages or steps, because if all you do is look for the end of the path, you’ll realise that the end is no where in sight, and this will force you give up before you have even started. You will be tested multiple times along your journey, you should aim high, aim for the stratosphere, it is harder than anything you will ever do, but it will be the most rewarding. I will be there, right next to you as your Sifu (师父) on your journey, to help you along the way. Ultimately it is your journey – you must stay the course and one day you’ll find it is you that is helping others along their own journey’s.

The first step in Yongheng Qiang Kung Fu (永恒强功夫) is your first badge or stripe on your belt. This is that first stepping stone on your long and perilous journey. When you reach it, it shows to you that you can achieve success – one step at a time. Only one in five make it this far – congratulations you have made it further than four other people.

The next stepping stone is your first coloured belt – yellow belt. By achieving your yellow belt, you have shown you have the strength and dedication to travel the path to eternal success. One in ten make it this far on the journey. You have made it further than nine others.

Each successive coloured belt is that next stepping stone, and they grow further and further apart – more people fall off the path along the journey. Each step you achieve shows your continued dedication and strength to stick to the beaten path, even when outside influences are trying to pull you off of it. The darker colours of the belts are to show your dedication to the art, over time. In the old days the Shaolin monks were issued with a white belt to begin with. They were not awarded any other belt. Their belts grew darker because they trained for longer and they trained harder. This was a true indication of their hard work over time.

When you near the end of the first path, you then meet a great obstacle – the wall. It is a wall higher than any you have come across – many do not get over the wall, many give up before their first go at climbing the wall, others give up after successive tries to climb the wall. Only one in a thousand ever make it over the wall. This is the first true test of Yongheng Qiang Kung Fu (永恒强功夫) or the eternal strength of your hard work and dedication over time. Your journey up until now has been to grow and develop you so you can conquer the wall – your effort and dedication along your journey will determine whether you get over it.

When you finally get over the wall, you feel a great sense of satisfaction. It was a very high wall, there was nothing to grab onto and no one was there to catch you if you fell – but you did it. Your dedication and effort over a long time (over 5 years of continuous training) is duly rewarded by confirming you as a master. Your embellishement? Your Black Belt. Congratulations, you are one in a thousand, you did what 999 others failed to do.

Then comes the fork in the road – one way leads you off the path – this is the exit. The other way is longer, more windy, perilous, and full of obstacles designed to make you fall off the path. This is when your Yongheng Qiang (永恒强) or undying power, truly comes into play. Only one in ten thousand manage to navigate this path to the next stage of the journey. Knowing this, you have a choice – do you exit, or do you take the long, dangerous path? Will you be the next to conquer this path? Or will you fall off the path as many before you have?

Sifu (师父) is the next step along this most perilous journey. The title is more rewarding than any embellishment – it is the true sense of satisfaction in helping others on their journey and watching them grow from seedlings into grand oaks.

On this journey not only do you have a longer, more dangerous path to travel, but at the end you must climb the mountain. It is so hard because you place all your time and effort into pulling others along their own paths, but you must also push yourself along this new path, which is getting increasingly thinner, more dangerous and even more difficult. You can see over the edges of the path, its soft, easy and tempting to jump off the edge – but you have come this far, so why would take the easy wrong as opposed to the hard right? Because it would be easy to jump? Or because the rewards at the end of this path are greater than anything you have experienced in your lifetime? These are the thoughts that go through your head, time and time again, and this journey is even longer than the all the previous ones combined. Complexity, difficulty, dedication, effort, time. All are against you. You get less of your Sifu’s time as well, as their hands are full pulling others along their paths. But do you give up? That is ultimately a decision you must make on your own.

This is why only one in a hundred thousand make it to the end of this path. I challenge you to be one in a hundred thousand. Join me as we stand on top of the mountain at the end of the path – we can help each other pull even more people up the mountain and together we can enjoy the view and the sense of satisfaction that we have conquered the mountain. Make it your goal – without goals there is nothing to achieve. When you reach the peak, you’ll understand why so few have made it there, but you also understand why you never want to leave.

But does it end there? No. The next step is Si Gung 師公 or grand master. Only one in a million make it this far on their journey. Why? Because the next step is the martial arts equivalent of conquering Mt Everest – on your own. I want you to be one in a million, because everyone who walks through the door into our training hall has the potential to be that one in a million. But remember, 999,999 others have failed to conquer Everest, are you the one who makes it to the top?

Then comes Si Dai Gung (師太公) or great grand master. This is the martial arts equivalent of landing on the moon for the first time – by yourself. There are few living examples and all have stood the test of time. It is most difficult because you are fighting time and increasingly losing, but you also have to travel into outer space – without oxygen, to where no other before you have gone. But your will, your desire, your eternal strength 永恒强 and your experience propel you, against all odds, to reach past stratospheric heights. When you reach these heights, you are one hundred million. You, against all odds have made it, where 99,999,999 others have failed.

Once you pass on from this life, you leave a legacy, the direct correlation of your legacy will be commensurate to the level of effort you put in over time – your Kung Fu 功夫. You will be forever immortalised as Si Zu 師祖 or the ancestral master. Your legacy will live on forever through your teachings, through your art, but more importantly, through how many lives you touched during your time, and how many lives you will touch after your time. You have shown true eternal strength. Yongheng Qiang 永恒强. It’s what we’re all about.

Sifu Chan

BySifu Chan

Creator and Chief Instructor of Kung Fu Academy NZ.