So- after much happening here (mainly my PC going out of action, me fretting about entering the post- Windows 8- world of computer purchase and then being delighted to find that this old workhorse was still reparable after all...) I am finally able to write this post.
As I have expected we were asked not to use flash photography. Because I do not trust my phone I have decided not to risk any monks' lives and rather bought this photobook after the show.
(Please- don't smirk. Yes. They sell merchandise, but I for one would have been really let down if I could not take anything home from this show.)
Well- if you haven't seen Shaolin demonstrations yet your martial arts experience is at a huge disadvantage.
For one thing- we who have seen these monks in action know they do stuff like this:
Then there's also this:
Well- the demonstrations were only part of the whole story. The show itself was actually a stage performance telling the story of 5 individuals known as the 5 Elders who have survived the massacre of the Shaolin Temple.
These 5 Elders were:
Fung Dou Dak- A healer
Bak Mai- A blacksmith
Ji Sin- A sage
Ng Mui- A farmer
Miu Hin- A woodsman
The Five Elders trained relentlessly for years and gathered support for their cause of reclaiming their Temple until they were eventually ready to face the Emperor who has had their brothers and sisters slaughtered.
The whole motivation for the temple massacre at the beginning is as sickening as it is one that we can expect in these modern times as well. The Emperor used the monks to defeat his enemies in battle. The monks agreed to this course of action because the Emperor had promised to bring peace to the land once he has subdued the unrest.
After the last battle had been fought the Emperor offered the monks valuable treasures from his vaults. The monks declined the offer, however. This led the Emperor to fear the monks because he then realised that he had no hold over them. So- he decided to have them all wiped out so that he had nothing to fear.
That is sort-of a recurring theme. We are often advised not to show off our skills, to hide our power. This is not necessarily to cultivate humility for spiritual purposes, but it is because history has taught us that power scares people and that fear can easily turn to hate.
So often I see bright newcomers in a profession being seen as a threat by senior colleagues who go out of their way to belittle and humiliate these people simply because they feel threatened by them.
Very often I, myself, am only acknowledged in times when my skills are needed, but get mostly shut up and pushed to the side so that those regarded my superiors may look good. Very often I find myself getting belittled and humiliated by somebody with none of the knowledge or experience I have, but who is nonetheless appointed above me.
Yes. Scaring the Emperor is indeed a recipe for misfortune...
What deserves note is that the kungfu of the Shaolin Monks was also not able to save them from being wiped out to leave only 5 children surviving.
I can easily identify with those who endeavour to make a positive difference in this world. I know very well that you are on a path on which you will meet hardship and resistance. Still- if it wasn't for people like you humanity itself would serve no purpose on this planet.
The feats of strength shown by the monks of today and their story shows us that we as people are meant to grow much further than simply from childhood to adulthood. We face many challenges that we easily accept as insurmountable by saying: "I am not meant to...", "I can't...", "I don't...(that is the latest it seems)" and of course an endless series of "buts".
It is your choice in your life to accept things as unchangeable.
It is also your choice in life to choose which challenges you will face.
Overcoming that challenge will signify the next stage in your growth. How much do you think you can grow?
How many challenges will you face?
To everyone in the Martial Arts community a good week and a rewarding time of training.