• Michael


Having decided to replace our wooden decking with stone tiles, we recently received a delivery of some 120 granite slabs which were delivered to our front garden, each about 15kg. The next challenge now was to transfer these to the back garden, ready to be laid. Carrying two at a time on the hand cart, this meant 60 trips through the cellar. As I started doing the work, I became tired very quickly. My movements were slow and inefficient. It took me valuable seconds (while holding the heavy stones) to position each on the hand card, and again to pick them off and place them in piles. The stones were brittle, I even broke one moving too quickly on one bumpy section of the ramp. As I worked, I was worrying I could not possibly finish the job in one day. But then, gradually, something happened. On each iteration, my movements became more fluid. One position began to flow into another. As I lifted one slab, I rotated and found myself at the correct position to place it again. Ironically, the more work I did, the faster I got!. By the time I was half way through, the whole sequence had become a smooth ballet.. and my mind was no longer racing - I was perfectly calm, and the movements and I were one. Sifu says "Kung Fu means 'That, which comes from the heart'". It also means 'Achieving skill/quality, following hard effort'. As I worked, I caught a glimpse of some of the overlap between these two descriptions.

To work very hard at something, requires heart - the giving of oneself.

What one receives in return, is skill.

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