We want to look good. We want to be beautiful (you have my permission to roll your eyes) in the bright flowery sense of the word and in the more sublime confident-lion-about-to-pounce-on-a-bear sense of the word.
Wang Xiangzai said that if you call it "quan" (fist/boxing) it should make you healthy, happy and strong.
Should we really claim that gongfu makes sad people happy? And what happens if you already feel happy? Does gongfu make you more happy?
Part of the reason we practice is because we feel beautiful when we do it. I don't normally bring this up to my students because it would make me sound like a pansy, but naturally it's a feeling I try to transmit.Â But what happens if you feel beautiful right in the first few weeks of practice, what then becomes the motivation to keep getting better?
Most of us are twice as strong as we need to be for 95% of the tasks we do, and frankly you could put a little less stuff in each grocery bag and still get the job done. While it may be fun to accumulate power and efficiency it doesn't serve much purpose outside of fantasizing about some major fight to the death in some dark alley we aren't likely to venture into anyway.
I was falling asleep trying to read a book as is my habit, and it occurred to me that my health has been extremely good for the last three years. I haven't gotten sick. Actually it was kind of a lament-- because what is getting sick but a chance to spend a couple of weeks bundled up in bed with chicken soup and a pile of good books to read?Â I kind of miss it.Â Clearly the hours I spend everyday on gongfu practice are not justified by my good health.
So while tomorrow I'm going to pretend I didn't say this, for today let's just admit our main reason for practicing Martial Arts is vanity.