I’ve spent the last 12 years as a student of Pak Mei Kung Fu from the Guangzhou lineage. My art is steeped in tradition and history. Our founder was even featured (pathetically) in Kill Bill 2. I’ll just put it out there now – We were responsible for the deaths of many, many Chinese folk heroes during the Ming-Ching transition period, all for good reason too, but that is another story.
This year, for the first time, I have finally come to understand just how deep Confucianism runs through Kung Fu and traditional Chinese culture generally. Since my arrival in Asia I have made an effort to connect with my Hong Kong cousins. This doesn’t sound too out of the ordinary for most people, but Pak Mei people will know that we are a fractured lot, with lots of tensions between different groups from different and within geographical areas.
Or so I thought.
I have been visiting Sifu Lee Shek Lin (www.pakmeilsl.com) who is based near Shatin, Kowloon side. Master Lee is an amazing practitioner with over 40 years experience. He teaches for free every morning because he loves the style and wishes to spread the art form. Initially there was some caution on both parts, but within half an hour of sussing each other out, I was accepted without question as a nephew. I immediately became family. Similarly, over the next few days I came to meet my other uncles and they too welcomed me with open arms.
Like all families, we share meals, we share stories and we share laughs. It is indeed a special feeling and not one I would expect many to understand or even appreciate in this specific context.
By chance or design, a fellow Pak Mei brother (Or my kung fu nephew, in this case) from Vancouver, Canada has also been training here whilst on holidays. I truly believe this is will be a long connection and I hope we remain in contact for many years to come. Plus, his Sifu thinks I sound like Russel Crowe (He probably thinks all Australians sound like Rusty, but I’ll claim it).
As one of my newly-found uncles put it. This is all Yuen Fun (Fate). I don’t know if I have ever truly subscribed to this concept before, but perhaps this si-sook (uncle, who is by the way 77 yrs old ) is right. Perhaps we were destined to meet – Even if for no other deeper or more meaningful reason than what it is already at this point.
This concept of fate can also be applied to other relationships in life. Sometimes people enter our lives for a specific purpose. They enter (or maybe we enter?) into each other’s lives to teach or learn some lessons – Then we part ways. All significance ceases to exist beyond those lessons being learnt. Both parties continue on their respective journeys.
But then there are those who enter our lives for a long time. These people become our friends, our loved ones. You would give up your limbs for these ones (Pak Mei our founder, took lives to protect his loved ones). I’ve been blessed enough to have a few of these types in my life and it would be remiss of me to forget that.