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.

Apr 03

Kung Fu Exercise Book #10

10) The great man does not lose his child’s heart. Out of all of these proverbs and statements, this is one of my favourites.  When read out loud, there are two meanings that immediately pop into my head – That a great man does not lose the love of his children, but also that they …

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Mar 30

Kung Fu Exercise Book #9

9) To preserve one’s mental and physical constitution, and nourish one’s nature is the way to serve heaven.    This is another one that I remember thinking was rather simple to interpret – keep yourself mentally and physically healthy and you serve the will of God… Admittedly I subscribed to a Christian ideal at the …

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Mar 19

Kung Fu Exercise Book #8

8) Meditation in activity is a hundred, a thousand, a million times superior to meditation in repose.  The only difference between how I used to interpret this and how I do now is that I have a slightly better understanding of where it comes from.  Although, admittedly, this is another one that I have had …

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Mar 15

Kung Fu Exercise Book #7

7) When aroused, become awake. When awake, reach understanding. I will be honest and forthright with this one – I have not been able to find any reference to it beyond the KFEB. It’s likely to be a Buddhist reference, specifically with the words “awake” and “understanding”. When I was younger, this one perplexed me …

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Mar 03

Kung Fu Exercise Book #6

6) Those who lose themselves in their pursuit of material objects, and lose their nature in the study of what is vulgar, must be pronounced people who turn things upside-down. Admittedly, this one was relatively easy to decipher when I was younger.  Honestly, the simplest interpretation makes the most sense here – Don’t make thing …

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Feb 18

Kung Fu Exercise Book #5

5) The Perfect Man leaves no traces of his conduct. This statement created so much paradox when I was a teenager… In a society that is so focused on giving people the limelight and spotlight, and awards so many things in the effort of inspiring people to greatness, this statement cut that focus short.  I …

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Feb 12

Kung Fu Exercise Book Entry # 4

4) The wise not thinking become foolish; the foolish not thinking become wise. This is the fourth statement in the KFEB, and I remember distinctly the issues I had with it at first.  It seemed so circular that it couldn’t mean anything… there was nothing that could be gleaned from this particular fools gold nugget …

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Feb 06

Kung Fu Exercise Book #3

3) Our bodies are the creations of our minds. Admittedly I have not found a single source for this particular quotation, but it has become a concept that has been well received; especially in the post Human Potential Movement of the 1960’s, and after the popularity of “The Matrix”.  It does have an Asian root, …

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Jan 30

The Kung Fu Exercise Book #2

2)  When thoughts arise, then do all things arise.  When thoughts vanish, then do all things vanish. This particular quotation comes from Huang-po Hsi-yun, an influential Chan Buddhist purportedly to have died in approximately 850CE.  This information is useful because it immediately sets the tone for the work, but to not have this information (such …

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Jan 23

Kung Fu Exercise Book Entry #1

1)  Everything in the past died yesterday; Everything in the future  is born today. I have not been able to find a single source for this quote, but it is a Chinese Proverb.  It is not attributed to any particular school of thought, and appears to be shared amongst all of the predominate Chinese philosophies. …

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