Not so long ago there was a man that was looking for the essence of kung fu. He desperately wanted to know what the true meaning of kung fu was. He traveled everywhere to consult the greatest masters around the world
One day he met a well-known master. Our friend thought that this man must know the answer to his question. He thought it because this master was known for his big demonstrations of very complex and physical demanding movements. But this man could not tell him about the essence of kung fu. But he knew another master, and he was convinced that this man has got the answers.
When he met this second master our friend was impressed with his knowledge of self-defense applications of kung fu. But again he was disappointed; this great master also could not tell our friend was the essence of kung fu was. But this second master also knew another master, and maybe he can tell you want you want to know.’
Again he followed the advice and searched until he found him. This third master was famous for his iron- palm’ techniques. He could break granite with his bare hands. If a man can do this, then he must know the essence of kung fu thought our friend. He was much impressed with the iron palm techniques, but was again disappointed when he found out that even this man with these qualities could not tell him about the essence of kung fu. But still there was hope, because this iron palm master also knew another master.
This master had a big kung fu empire and his students had schools al over the world were they thought the style of their master. A master with that many students and followers must know the essence of kung fu, because how could he have so many followers without knowing the essence of kung fu? But yet again this master could not answer his questions. But he knew an old man, and he was convinced that this man knew what the essence of kung fu. This man was living in a cave of a mountain.
Our friend traveled to this man and indeed he was living in a cave. This man had no school, no students and wore simple and old clothes. He just sat there. “This man can not possibly know the essence of kung fu”, is what our friend thought. But still he asked him. And to his big surprise the man answered that he knew what the essence of kung fu was. Our friend asked if he could tell him. The man replied that he could tell him about the essence of kung fu and that he could show him the way how he also could find out the true meaning of kung fu.
The old man took our friend to a river. Together they stood in the water. The old man took the head of our friend and putted it below the water level. And kept it there. Our friend struggled to bring his head above water, but the old man would not let him. After a few minutes he was allowed to breath again. He was very angry. He asked the old man why he almost drowned him.
The old man asked what our friend thought and wanted while he was under water. “Air, just a little bit of air”, was his answer. “I would have given everything, all my money, all my possessions for a little bit of air!’
The old man said: “At that moment only one thing was important for you, your thoughts were focused on only one problem: air. You searched for a solution with all your willpower because it was the thing you most desired, the only thing you desired. If you search for the essence of kung fu with the same willpower you had in your last seconds under water, you will certainly find it’.
(Thanks to F. for providing the story)