Category Archive: Kung Fu Exercise Book

When I was 16, my uncle gave me some hand written pages of philosophy with the title "The Kung Fu Exercise book" at the top. These 90 wise snippets helped guide me through some of the most difficult times in my life, and was foundational to my worldview.

Jul 01

KFEB #28 – The Master said “Learning without thought is labour lost; thought without learning is perilous.”

This one is rather simple to ferret out where it comes from – pretty much any time that the words “the Master said” are used, it’s associated with Confucius. China would go through a major period in their history when people would do tests based on the different philosophies that made their way to prominence …

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Jun 24

KFEB #27 – A gentleman blames himself while a common man blames others.

I have always loved this one, although I never really understood it that much (beyond the intuitive level) when I was a teenager.  I’ve always tried to be a gentleman, and I’ve thought I’d succeeded on many occasions, but it’s not something that is readily available in a modern society; parts of, yes, but there …

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Jun 17

KFEB# 26 – There is no greater lie than the lie that becomes necessary to defend another lie.

I have loved this saying since I read it – and, like most people, I have felt the sting of lies… Unfortunately, I have also felt the sting from lying… which only underscores the point. In a valuation of “lies”, which is what this KFEB entry is trying to say, the initial lie does not …

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Jun 10

KFEB #25) Do you know the fate of the praying mantis?

The entire passage is: “Do you know the fate of the praying mantis?  It angrily stretches out its arms to arrest the progress of the carriage, unconscious of its inability for such a task, but showing how much it thinks of its own powers.  Be on your guard, be careful.  If you cherish a boastful …

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Feb 18

KFEB #21 – It is impossible to please men in all things; our only care should be to satisfy our own consciences.

It’s been a while since I’ve written anything on the KFEB, so I thought it was about time.  This particular maxim, once again, comes from China; Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find the era, nor the source.  That being said, this one is rather straightforward and could be rooted in most belief systems. I …

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Jul 20

Thoughts on the Kung Fu Exercise Book (KFEB)

When I was a young man of around 16 years of age, my Uncle (who introduced me to Martial Arts) gave a gift of slightly yellowed, handwritten pages of philosophical snippets; something that I have cherished ever since.  He told me that he was lending them to me to help me with my philosophical development, as …

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Jul 18

KFEB # 90 – What a man dislikes in his superiors, let him not display in the treatment of his inferiors.

“What a man dislikes in his superiors, let him not display in the treatment of his inferiors.  What he dislikes in his inferiors, let him not display in the service of his superiors.” – Confucius, The Great Learning Chapter 10, para 2. So, I’ve tagged this particular entry into the Kung Fu Exercise Book (KFEB) as …

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Dec 08

KFEB #19 – When you do a favour, do not expect a reward; should you expect a reward, it is not a favour.

19) When you do a favour, do not expect a reward; should you expect a reward, it is not a favour. I have not found where this one comes from and, honestly, I don’t even want to hazard a guess.  Frankly, this one makes a lot of sense – if you do something with the …

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Jul 11

KFEB #16 -The Superior man always observes the issues in order to know the origin; scrutinizes the past in order to know the future. Such is the Principle whereby he attains foreknowledge.

16) The Superior man always observes the issues in order to know the origin; scrutinizes the past in order to know the future. Such is the Principle whereby he attains foreknowledge. YAY! We’ve come to a non-Confucian KFEB entry! This one is from Taoism, specifically from Lieh Tzŭ from the 5th century BCE. Again, you …

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Apr 29

Kung Fu Exercise Book #11

11) The door of Heaven is Non-Existence.  All things come from non-existence.  The first existences could but bring themselves into existence.  And not existing is just the same as Non-existence.  Herein lies the secret of the Sages. I remember being a teenager and thinking “um, what?” when I read this.  For years I had tried …

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