Su: now that you have learned Kung fu for a few months, what are your general impression of it?
Heinz: I think, maybe, it takes a real Kung fu master to give a more fair assessment; meanwhile, I am no more than a beginner. But I really doubt whether kung fu would be of any great help when it comes to defending oneself in real life.
S: you mean, kung fu may not be so powerful as it is imagined? To some extent your idea holds water. Kung fu was originally intended for self-defense, but with time it became something more than defense skills. Now we are apt to treat it as an art.
H: an art! You have a good point there. So it is called martial arts in English. The Chinese are really capable of doing things nicely. They've been made fighting a great enjoyment, so marvelous and fascinating.
S: thanks for your compliment! Perhaps the Chinese culture as a whole has a special inclination towards aesthetics. Do you know Jin Yong?
H: I know he is a martial arts fiction writer. But I've read none of his novels.
S: all of his works have been translated into English. I recommend you to read one or two works of his. You'll get a general glimpse into Chinese kung fu culture. When you go through the pages, you are likely to feel they are not about kung fu alone, but cover all walks of life.
H: I see. They must have incorporated a series of Chinese cultural elements.
S: yes, take philosophy, for instance. What makes a true, respectable da xia, or a worrior hero? It's not enough only to be formidable. It also involves a man's character, sense of justice, and values of life.
H: so kung fu is also a means of self-cultivation, isn't it?
S: indeed, you're exactly right!