Cheng Man Ching – Why So Great?
Reportedly the man hated fighting, yet met every challenge from the best fighters and never lost a fight. He was virtually untouchable. Unassuming, generous, humble, some even described him as grandfatherly to all and of a “sweet” disposition. He only studied for six years with his Master, the great Yang Chengfu. He may have far surpassed his Master in skill and power. Six years! For most martial artists, a study of only six years makes a novice, not a master of any kind. Yet nobody who knew the great Cheng Man Ching would call him anything less than a supreme Master and fighter.
Why and how did he become such a great martial artist? Was it his style? No. If it were his style alone, then everyone who studies that style would be great. They are not ALL great. No style can claim such a thing, though many martial artists make that very claim about their own style, teacher, school, lineage, etc., and it is simply not true of any style, including mine, that EVERYONE who studies it is great, or even good.
Then why was he so great?
I’ll tell you.
Cheng Man Ching was a great martial artist and a great fighter because he was a great man.
He was an exceedingly great artist, poet, scholar and doctor. A true gentleman and loving person; he lived by deeply-held religious convictions and impeccable morals.
He wrote that he practiced only seven minutes in the morning and seven minutes in the evening every day. But he also revealed that he practiced Tai Chi in the way he walked, sat, stood, ate, slept and talked throughout the day.
So there are the big secrets. What he did and the way he practiced is absolutely counter-intuitive to everything the rest of us have been taught about how to become a great martial artist and great fighter. And yet the man was virtually invincible!
You want to be a great martial artist or great at anything?
Be a great man. Be a humble, loving, generous, industrious, steady, discerning, scholarly and good moral man.
I think the late great Master would tell you the same, or perhaps laugh that anyone might think there is some other way.