As mentioned in the first article, kung fu is about two things - mastering a skill and mastering the way. Mastering a Skill is about cultivating the techniques, Mastering the Way is about cultivating your mind.
The way to cultivate a skill is through practice, repetition and endless preparation. This means it will take a lot of work to become a skilled practitioner. Whether it feels like a chore or enjoyment, the amount of work will be the same. How you feel about it will be explained in Mastering the Way.
The practice of kung fu, or the practice of a skill is done through practicing the basics. A master is simply someone who has become highly proficient in the basics. The techniques are practiced until they have become instinctual, until they reach a level where they “perform themselves”.
There is a process to developing any skill. That is through breaking it down into its key components, the essential few instead of the trivial many. There can be many ways to do something, but there are few essential things that can be done that will account for most of your success. When you break it down into the essential few, it is about practice, practice, practice. It is through this way that it will become a part of you.
The amateur is good at a technique, but a master is the technique, meaning it becomes expressed through him at the right time. This is the height of developing a skill. When you can reach a level that you are so proficient that it becomes expressed, this is when it becomes elevated to an art form.
In Chinese Kung fu, what matters the most is the practice, the expression of the technique and they look at the end result as "mere skill". This way they are looking at the practice itself as the ultimate aim to excel at, rather than focused on the end result. The end result is still valued, but they put the emphasis on the practice and being able to express themselves through the medium or method they choose.
If you look at art from the west and art from the east, you will notice that it is quite different. In the west, they typically try recreate what they see, in the east they try recreate what they feel.
If you look at a mountain, a western painting will paint the beauty of the landscape in very great detail and it will be a masterpiece. In Chinese art, they will look at a landscape and feel something inside and they will try recreate that expressed in the landscape. This is what you could say, "Being one with nature".
This isn't to say that one is better than the other, it's just pointing out the different aims of art.
This video below explains it quite well.
Here are some examples of different kung fu forms and what they may try express.
Calligraphy is a form of gongfu:
Cooking is a form of gongfu:
Writing is a form of gongfu:
Different writers have different expression styles. But these styles are not necessarily created, they can be, but often it is their preferred way of expressing themselves.
Making good judgement is a form of gongfu:
Interacting with people is a form of gongfu
Basically any area that is an art, you can apply the concepts of gongfu to. Develop the skills and develop the mental abilities to acquire more skills faster and with more ease.
Once you have the learn the rudimentary skills, you can begin to elevate them to become your own form of expression. Eventually, you want to get to a point where it become effortless.
Read (1 of 3): The Quest for True Fulfillment
Read (3 of 3): Mastering the Way
About the blog
Luke Shao and Master Wang are on a mission to share the ancient Chinese approach to acquiring any skill.