In this month's philosophy instalment I want to tackle the issue of whether one should discuss their training activities with others.

Have you ever told someone that you practice Kung Fu only to have them strike a strange pose and emit an even stranger noise?

Well it has happened to me. What do I do now? Well I don't really bring it up in conversation but if it does come up- usually if someone who knows me well mentions it to someone else - and the response is as above I just have a laugh along with whoever is taking the mick.

At the same time I think about what Lao Tzu says below and I get a double enjoyment of the fun being made of me. One because someone is having some harmless fun at my expense and two because they have a point.

If you look at some of the things we do to ourselves, patterns, forms, poses not to mention injuries! you would have to conclude that some of it "appears" silly. So why do we do it if it "appears" silly at times? Because we have the benefit of seeing or trying to see a bigger picture or greater good that will come out of our continued training and piecing together the smaller parts of our chosen martial art.

Before I leave you with the ever wise words of Lao Tzu: Try substituting leaders with individuals and the Tao with Kung Fu. Also pay particular attention to two lines in the stanza;

1) The Tao advancing appears to be retreating

2) The greatest talents are slowly mastered

Because sometimes you might feel your training is not going so well or you can't get something right and then all of a sudden it seems to click. Actually, you have been improving all along but your perception was at odds with the reality.

Mastering the Paradox

When superior leaders hear of the Tao, They diligently try to practice it. When average leaders hear of the Tao, They appear both aware and unaware of it. When inferior leaders hear of the Tao, They roar with laughter.

Without sufficient laughter, it could not be the Tao; Hence the long-established sayings:

The Tao illuminated appears obscure; The Tao advancing appears to be retreating; The Tao levelled appears uneven.

Superior Power appears to be low; Great clarity appears to be spotted; Extensive Power appears to be insufficient; Established Power appears to be stolen; Substantial Power appears to be spurious.

The greatest space has no corners; The greatest talents are slowly mastered; The greatest music has the rarest sound; The Great image has no form.

The Tao is hidden and nameless, Yet it is the Tao that skilfully supports and completes.

Lao Tzu

Good luck and train hard.