Derek, I’ve been studying kung fu for the last three years. I bought your books based on my sifu’s recommendation. He says understanding the Tao can help me take my martial arts to the next level. I’ve been reading your stories and find them quite enjoyable, but I don’t see how they can help me improve my techniques. My sifu will probably ask me what I think of them, but I don’t really know what to tell him. Please help!
Well, I would certainly be very surprised if you did discover secret kung fu techniques in my stories. I believe your sifu is refering to the aspect of kung fu that promotes spiritual growth.
The beginning levels of kung fu may seem like a purely physical discipline, but martial arts experts all tell us that, at the higher levels, you become aware of the powerful connection between body and mind. Thus, when you improve yourself physically, you also improve yourself mentally. That connection is a two-way street, so becoming a better Tao cultivator also makes you a better martial artist.
In all likelihood, your sifu is preparing your mind and spirit for your entry into a more advanced form of practice, so this is a very good sign.
If you would like to explore the connection between kung fu and the Tao further, I would suggest a story called “The Kung Fu School” from The Tao of Success. It is the third story in the third section, “Step Three – Your Relationships.”