Kungfu is for Fighting

Kungfu is for Fighting


Would it be alright to propose a friendly sparring match if an instructor from another school makes a comment about, for instance, combat efficiency? This instructor was very polite in this case, but what would be the right way to act if he slandered Shaolin Wahnam? Would it then also be permissible to ask for a friendly sparring match?

— Sifu Roeland Dijkema, Shaolin Wahnam Netherlands


Yes, if an instructor from another school makes a comment about combat efficiency, especially if the comment is derogatory, you or any of our instructor can, in fact should, propose a friendly sparring match. We walk our talk.

But be careful not to hurt the guest, or make him feel degraded. You can show him clearly that you could hit him but you didn't by moving your hands over his face. However, if he is a student, and not an instructor, you can ask him to spar with one of your students.

If another person, instructor or otherwise, slanders our school, we can choose to ignore it if the slandering is not serious, or to take up the challenge. If the slandering is intentional, and as part of our scholar-warrior training, we are sure to beat him, we can ask him if he would like a sparring match.

As you know well, a scholar-warrior does not fight to win; he is sure of winning before he fights. If you are not sure of beating him and he agrees to a sparring match, let me know and I shall arrange for some of our instructors to fight with him. We always walk our talk.

But we shall not be the first to issue a challenge. We would not say, for example, "Let's have a sparring match so that I can prove to you that our kungfu can be effective for combat," but instead we would say, "Would you like a sparring match to see whether our kungfu is effective for combat?"

I am proud and happy to say that we accepted all challenges so far, after considering the combat efficiency of our opponents and of ourselves. I am indeed gladder that without an exception, all our challengers withdrew their challenges. No fighting is better than fighting, even when we win.

In the last challenge many years ago, I was sure that our instructors would have seriously injured, or even killed, the challenger had the challenge not withdrawn by the challenger. Even if we had signed a life-death agreement, there would still be trouble for us if we killed the challenger.

But we would have to kill him if he persisted on with the challenge. I knew it was a lose-lose situation, but we had no choice if forced into this situation.

That was why I specially asked our instructors who took the challenge not to hold back in the contest. Some of our instructors were too kind. They forgot that a life-death contest was a life-death contest. If they did not kill the challenger, the challenger would damage them seriously and mock us. To be compassionate is not just not killing when killing is absolutely necessary. It is not causing unnecessary suffering. If it is absolutely necessary to kill an opponent, we must not be afraid to do so. Very fortunately, in real life it is usually not necessary.

The above is taken from Question 3 February 2017 Part 2 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.


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