With Thanksgiving behind us and Christmas just ahead of us followed by the coming new year. I'm sure most if not all are saying where did the year go? The passage of time is never-ending. As each year passes, we lose loved ones are situations change and maybe they go from good to bad or bad to good. There is no telling what each new passing day will bring each of us.
The Martial Arts is a system of self-defense as we all know, and encompasses within its teachings,what we call the study of the Tao and the forces of Yin and Yang. As most of us know the art of Shaolin kung fu gained its popularity at the Shaolin Temple in mainland China. Most everyone is aware that the Shaolin Temple proselytizers Buddhism, and Buddhism does not advocate the taking of any life be it human or insect alike. Therefore, it should be no surprise to anyone that the Shaolin techniques are heavily tempered as not to take a human life. However, the martial arts was developed for one purpose only, namely self-defense in warfare. A true Buddhist monk would rather have his own life taken rather then to take another's life, as this is the greatest of all sins.
Many of the well known martial arts seen today, such as Tai Chi, BaGwa and Hsing Yi had its roots in Taoist teachings. Tai Chi, Hsing Yi, Ba Gwa are all connected in some way to this study of the two great forces of Yin and Yang, which promote change. In fact, one of the greatest forms of divination ever created by the master Fu Shi was known as the father of the I Ching. This system of divination was based on 64 hexagrams, and if you multiply 64 x 64 you get a possibility of over 4000 various forms of change. Many other art forms of martial arts have been based on this principle of constant change. Today, the I Ching is being used by people throughout the world for guidance in leading a productive and well informed life. You may question what does the I Ching have to do with the martial arts? But if you study the Asian arts long enough, there's no escaping coming across these philosophies built into the teachings of the arts.
The martial arts has so much more to offer than mere fighting, it is a way life, and a way of making ourselves better people. The more one studies the martial arts the wiser one becomes. We come to realize that life is nothing more than a dream passing through our mind. At first glance it would appear that we have little or no control of any of the events in our life. However, at second glance, you come to realize by manipulation of the forces that surround us we can in fact lead a better life.
As we advance in years and gain wisdom, we sooner or later will realize how our life is progressing. We are certainly not getting younger, but rather taking another step towards the graveyard. However, there is hope. If you study hard enough and contemplate the wisdom of these great stages. Those that came before us, came to understand there really is no and, there is only another beginning. The Buddhists believe in reincarnation of some sort and until our soul is fully cultivated we must return to this plane of existance for further purification.. However, once we are fully cultivated we can then enter into some form of the heavenly realm and never return. On the other hand, the Taoist believe we just moved back and blend again back into natures natural forces.
Human beings tend to believe that we are very intelligent. However, most if not all of what we know comes from what other people tell us or or what science says is true. The reality of the situation is, we really can't even trust our own senses. If you look at something, you tend to make a judgment call based upon what you see. However, seeing with our eyes is only a small part of drawing a conclusion. It takes many other parts of the human brain to formulate what you think you see. It is only through our own experiences that we can be reasonably be sure something is real or not, and even then there is no guarantee you are right in your judgment call.
I have spent much of my free time not only in the practice of kung fu, but also in deep study of the sciences and theologies. These studies point to a new understandings of what is real and what is not. As science progresses further new truths are being discovered and older ones cast aside. Today, there are many new discoveries happening in our generation. To name one recent discovery that Einstein's theory of E equals MC squared, has been proven wrong. This theory as most are aware is mainly concerned with energy, mass and matter and relates to the speed of light. Einstein proclaimed that nothing can exceed the speed of light, however, continued research has proved that Einstein's law is not infallible.
Scientists all over the world have always sought to find how the universe was created. The main theory was the so-called Big Bang theory that started it all. However, the question always remained, how could something be created from nothing. Again this brings us back to the study of the martial arts and its many theories. Now scientists all over the world are considering such new theories such as the string theory, which leads to the M theory, which hypothesizes that the universe itself is one large series of membranes much like the human brain. In turn, these theories bring about the possibility of 11 dimensions of time and space. I only bring up these points not to digress from the martial arts, but rather to exemplify how little we truly know about life, God, and the universe as a whole.
Even now as I write this article, I am still unsure of anything. The one thing I can be sure of is that I'm not sure of anything. This is the mystery of life. In the martial arts we start out by learning stances and punches, but as we progress in our studies and learn more about the many theories of the martial arts, we will eventually be asking those four profound questions namely, who am I, what am I doing here, what is my purpose here, and where am I going. All humans sooner or later ask these questions, because life seems to make no real sense of purpose without the answers to these profound questions. Fighting is barbaric, and the only reason we fight to this day with each other, and other countries, is because we have not found the true reasons for living.
As I continue my studies, I become more convinced each passing day that there is a higher power, and our true purpose in life is really to try and develop ourselves to higher levels of understanding, love, and goodwill to all mankind. It is my firm belief, when we achieve this, our rebirth into this world of sorrow, grief, and pain will end.