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Kung Fu Preacher Man

June 23, 2013

I was dressed a little differently this evening when I went to speak at an evening event. I had a seminar booked with the World Master of the form of Kung Fu that I do (Ip Man Wing Chun as taught by Grand Master Samuel Kwok). So when I was asked to speak  I said that I could get there but that I might be a minute or two late because I would be dashing back from the seminar. With that in mind I thought I would use myself, dressed like this as the visual aid for today.

Then the seminar was cancelled at the last minute, but I decided to come dressed for a Wing Chun seminar anyway.

Dressed like this you would think that I’m a violent person who likes a fight. Well, I do like to fight but I don’t like hurting people! I am not a violent person, so why did I spend so much time and effort learning a martial art, particularly a very full on martial art like mine? Or why did I go still further and learn how to fight with a stick and with Butterfly knives?

I did it, at least in part, because Jesus told me to! Indeed, it was in passages like the story of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10.25-37) that he did so. Particularly, the last line, “Jesus told him, ‘Go and do likewise’”.

I suspect that anyone reading this is now a bit puzzled.

Well, it really started with me trying to be a pacifist … and failing. I really tried but I knew that in certain circumstances I would want to use force, no let’s use the right word; in curtain circumstances I would want to use violence. I could probably allow myself to be hurt, but when I thought of those close to me getting hurt, particularly my wife and daughter, I know that I couldn’t just stand by and let it happen. I am a peaceful person but there are times in this fallen world when I am willing to use violent force.

This revelation shook me, but the more I fought with this conclusion the more I realised that it was not going to change. So, if I ever did have to act in this way, I wanted it to be affective. Violence is a big deal and if I ever need to use it I want it to be effective, to protect, and keep safe the people that I love. The confidence that can come with knowing how to look after myself has also allowed me to get myself and others out of difficult situations without harm to anyone.

It is a sad fact that sometimes you have to fight for what you believe in. If you think that this cannot have come from Jesus then think a bit. Jesus spent at least 3 years walking on the sort of bandit infested roads mentioned in the story of the Good Samaritan. Jesus used force to clear the temple of the money changers, and at the end, before Jesus’ arrest the disciples reveal that they are carrying weapons, including some swords. They wandered around the countryside unmolested, after all who would bother trying to rob a band of strong well armed men, and those travelling with them?

Like that religious leader that asked Jesus, “who is my neighbour”, Jesus took me to a part of myself that I didn’t want to see. I did not want to be forced to realise that I could not be a St. Francis! But Christ showed me that, and then showed me the way he wanted for me.

  1. I’m personally very grateful that you feel that way; though God help anyone who ever chooses to attack me if you’re present too!

  2. Linda Griffiths permalink

    Loved your article. In the past I trained in Shaolin kungfu and wingchun. Now that I am a little more mature, hopefully, I train more in internal styles such as qigong, taiji and neigong. In extremis I have used taiji to defend myself, which was effective as I avoided injury and surprised and discouraged the attacker. The meditative aspect of these arts appeals to me too and as a depressive I find it useful to centre myself and be entirely in the moment.

    • Hi Linda, thanks for the comment. I have practiced Yang form Taiji and qigung in the past, as well as Lau Gar kung fu. I have found that the wing chun, plus meditation, is the best balance of internal and external martial art for me, at least at the moment. I am glad that the you learned the martial as well as the meditative side of the taiji, it helped you in a difficult place but I think it is also the key to unlocking what taiji really has to offer.

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