Kung Fu choir

From the tv series “Marco Polo”:

A kung fu martial arts master is talking to Marco Polo and says the following:

If you one day make it back to the west, what will you tell men of this strange word “Kung Fu”? Will you tell them that it means “to fight”, or will you say, like a monk from Shaolin, “to summon the spirit of the crane and the tiger”?

Kung fu”, it means “supreme skill from hard work”.

A great poet has reached “Kung Fu”.

The painter, the calligrapher, they can be said to have Kung Fu.

Even the cook, the one who sweeps steps or a masterful servant, can have Kung Fu.

Practice, preparation, endless repetition, when your mind is weary and your bones ache and you are too tired to sweat, too wasted to breathe, that is the way, the only way, one acquires Kung Fu.

Two takeaways from this quote:

  • You don’t “learn” Kung Fu, you acquire Kung Fu.
  • Practice, preparation, endless repetition – the only way.

You don’t practice till you get it right; you practice till you can’t get it wrong.