Kung Fu People
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  • The scholar and the businessman

    There are two masters who have inspired me to do this thing and do it right.

    The first lives nearby. His home is a drafty farmhouse that sweats in the sun and shivers in the cold grey rain of winter. Most days he sits alone at a table and sips tea. Sun bleached photos of him, his master, and friends and family hang on wooden poles wrapped in rope around the farmhouse. A few kids wander in and out of a room with the TV running. They are unwanted kids from the mountains with little in the way of education or opportunity. Shifu trains them in kungfu, but they are not real students. Just kids in need of a place to be and a father figure to watch over them.

    Every now and then he attacks the iron circle, beats up the wooden dummy, dances in and out of reach of swinging bamboo poles. When someone shows up, the energy level rises and he takes off his shirt and starts training. Horse stances, blocks and strikes. Running and stretching. Kicking the bag. When the farmhouse stands empty, he texts his friends and dreams of a school in the mountains, where dozens of dedicated disciples rise before the sun and train till night falls. At night he eats rice and vegetables and slaps mosquitos in his sleep. When I watch him at his table, I think of a warrior-scholar, like many others I have seen in China over the years.

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    September 23, 2012 • Kung Fu People • Views: 4225