How do you save the last of the Kung Fu Masters that remain on earth? You write about them, of course.
If you haven’t heard, the ancient Chinese tradition of Kung fu is dying. Unless something happens soon, the last of the remaining kung fu masters, who truly qualify to pass on its teachings, will die out in this generation and the true form of kung fu will be lost–reduced to nothing but a show.
When I say ‘kung fu’ I’m not talking about Kung Fu Panda or Jackie Chan or even Bruce Lee – I’m talking about the ancient art and practice of Traditional Kung Fu — the one that takes years of discipline, a lifetime to master and pass on – the sweat, focus, strength, speed, and precision that truly earns the title of Master.
When I set out to write my novel, CALCULATED, I never intended to have ‘kung fu’anything in it. But when you live in China and personally know one of the last living Kung Fu masters it proved to be a hard thing to omit.
Today, there are less than a couple hundred men on earth who can truly qualify as a real Traditional Kung Fu Master. One of those men is Master Li Quan.
In my book, the male protagonist has two mentors–brothers and masters of kung fu. Their image and kung fu traditions and teachings were based on Master Li Quan. Although their part is rather small, it was fun to write.
My husband met Master Li in 2004 and they have been good friends ever since. If I could describe Master Li , (as I do in my book) in a word, he is like a lion, not a man. His countenance is gentle despite his obvious rock like strength. He is observant and discerning–a student of movement and behavior. He is wise yet humble; powerful and yet respectful of the weak; lives a simple lifestyle, lives off the land yet he is beyond generous. And his heart beats for one thing: Kung Fu.
As Master Li describes in great sadness, the true practice of Tradional Kung Fu will die with his generation because there are no students left who are willing to commit to the discipline (and life dedication) it takes to becoming a true master. Master Li and his kung fu brothers share the burden to pass it on. Therefore, Master li has dedicated his life to finding and training students all in the name of passing on the legend of kung fu.
His school is called Kung fu Family. It is a humble locale in the countryside outside of Chengdu Sichuan. His methods are traditional, devout, and hardcore.
What I (and my husband who studied with him for awhile), learned from him will always stay with me. His persona enriches China, like it does for my book.
Undeniably, Master Li is an inspiration. I wish someone would write a book about him.
If you want to connect with him, click the link to his school or find him on Facebook as (Chengdu) KungFuFamily …
Nova, kicking off from Seattle! We are home for the summer then off to China again in August.
Find more of my writing at The Spinning Pen.