Zen




Good kung fu! Marvel at the amazing expression of human excellence in this video: The Incredible Power of Concentration with artist Miyoko Shida. Be warned, there are no kicks or punches or fighting techniques, but this is an artistic and athletic example of real kung fu – great skill that demands discipline effort over time.

This feat epitomizes supreme mental concentration and expresses the zenith of balance and control of the human body. Although there is no apparent martial application, think again. If you can cultivate the equivalent mastery of mind, body and spirit, you will invariably become a superior martial artist what ever your style.

This video is for everyone. We urge impatient young warriors to slow down and watch the entire video to appreciate the great power of softness.

Be inspired,
Lawrence Tan

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In TanDao, we use this famous zen tale as a metaphor for long and winding path to martial arts mastery:

The Master’s Three Sons

Once upon a time two old kung fu masters were in a teahouse. One master asked, “How are your three sons progressing with their martial arts?”

“Let’s test them,” said the host. He took a heavy vase and placed it over a door so when opened the vase would fall. He called his youngest son, a strong youth who demonstrated powerful punches and kicks with fierce shouts.

“Pay your respects,” his father said. His son strutted over and shoved the door open. The vase crashed on his head but when it hit the floor he shattered it with a punch.

“Your boy is powerful,” said the guest. “He is young, one day he may understand power,” said the host, placing another vase over the door. He called his middle son, a tall youth who performed graceful and ferocious animal movements. When the youth pushed open the door he dodged and caught the vase as it fell. He bowed.

“Your second son has power and control,” complimented the visitor. “If he perseveres he may one day achieve true power.” the host said, putting up another vase. He called his eldest son.

After doing a slow moving meditation form, the son calmly walked towards the door. Noticing the vase, he reached up and took it down. He held it out while bowing, “Pleased to meet you, sir.”

“This is my number one son,” his father smiled. The visitor said, “Indeed, he is on his way to becoming a master”

Photo by Toni Tan

Three Stages of Mastery: Technical. Strategic. Intuitive.

The sons correspond to three different stages: technical (youngest son), strategic (middle son) and intuitive (eldest son). Each stage is a different mindset and focuses on a particular way of problem solving (the falling vase). The three sons express three alternative options reflecting their stage of development: the youngest son aggressively confronts the problem, the middle son strategically defuses the problem and the eldest, avoids the problem through mindful awareness.

Think about it.

Lawrence Tan