Sadly, our world is a little poorer, with the passing of Wang Hao Da on 24 May 2002. His remarkable life was cut too soon short at 78, by lung cancer, in Shanghai. The sacrifices and commitment he made to his art produced an outstanding martial artist. Those of us privileged to study with him in North /America, Europe, and China were able to witness his outstanding abilities, but it was his unique character that truly captured us time and again.
Wang Hao Da began his internal arts career late in life in order to overcome the effects of tuberculosis. He was fortunate enough to have 9 the very best i n teac hers in : the late (Grandmaster Ma Yueh Liang. Throughout ; the period of the (Cultural J Revolution he studied . daily in the sequestered confines of Ma's home. Afte r the u pheaval he continued his practice of Wu style Taiji B _ and developed his \ unique flavour in both the slow and fast forms. His Qigong, which he only taught openly in * America and Europe, was also the legacy of late Grandmaster Ma. It comprised a lengthy session of both traditional medical Qigong and internal organ cleansing/ fascia strengthening exercises.
He was best known however for his exceptional abilities in Tui Shou or push hands. In his manyyears of practice at Cao Yang Park, here in Shanghai, he never refused a challenge. He once told me that the better part of Tui Shou is in losing to you r partner rather than trying to overcome them. He said he spent years of losing in order to develop his listening skiil (ting jing). One would have never known by watching or touching the man only a few months ago, that any individual could have ever overcome ^ him. His intention i-a^m
Perhaps it was his years of suffering, first under the Japanese occupation and later as a hard labourer during some of China's most dificult years that shaped his character but those of us that knew him in recent years only saw his contentment and happiness played out in his art. To witness him doing the Wu style form was not only astonishing and unique, but was profoundly moving in his expression of artistic means Whether this was a result of his character or his character was shaped by this confident abi lity we shall never know. But travelling with him in Britain, America, and studying with him here, he always seemed to me the happiest most fulfii led person I have ever known. He was never fazed by the size or strength of opponent, the cultural incongruity of a newand diferent land, or even being in a serious car accident in San Francisco. He had the ability to laugh through any adversity and guide one with kind patience in the direction of understanding of his a nd softness was so pure and quickly changeable that long before you thought you had found his root you were wondering what happened to yours. Large and small, hard and soft, from all over the world people challenged him in push hands yet his wonderful a bil ity re ma ined centered and softwhile others would fly. He reminded us daily that only the sung would develop true yi/chi skiil in the internal arts.
"He was the happiest most fulfilled werson I have ever known.
enigmatic art. To say he was a pleasure to be around would be cheating the immensity of his presence. We sail all miss his amiable ways and astounding talents and the world of the internal arts will indeed be less for his loss by J. Reynolds JJelson.
One ooour biggestpaiiings is taking other people por granted, Pe it tteir friendship, love, support, krnwledge or kindness. We do not notce it as no one as taught us to value it.
Chan and Ma were walking through the town. It was a hot day and they had been working hard that morning and now they were trying to decide what to have for t heir l unch. Ma said, "I know, why don't we go to the bakery? Mrs Ho is always very friendly and usually gives us a free cake." Chan agreed so they rushed off to the bakery.
Sure enough they got somefreecakes and took them back. When they went into the yard, their Sifu was sitting at "1 his table writing some letters. -i "Have you been to Mrs Ho's again? " he asked. They both nodded. 'And how many free cakes did she give you today?" he then asked without looking up. "Six today, Sifu," said Ma.Their Sifu looked up and just said, "Hmmm". "Sifu, would you like some?" asked Chan. "No thank you," he replied and then went back to writing his letters. So the two went off to eat their lunch.
The next day they decided to goto Mrs Ho's again. Once again they got some free cakes. They took them home and ate them in the garden. While they ate, their teacher walked past, "Hmmmm" he said in a low voice. The two looked at him and smiled.
The following day they decided to go to Mrs Ho's again, but just as they were leaving their teacher called them over. "Where a re you going today?" he asked. "Mrs Ho's. Would you like something?" Said Ma. Their Sifu shook his head. "Come and sit down," he told them.
"I am disappointed," he said, "you are taking advantage of Mrs Ho's kindness." Chan and Ma were surprised,
as'they were not■ expecting this. "Sifu," sa.id Chan, "I don't understand. We buy some buns from her and she likes to give us some extra cakes." Their teacher nodded, "But do you go expecting to get free cakes?"
They both knew they had done something wrong, but neither could derstand whatitwas. "She likes give us cakes," said Ma. "I know," said their teacher, "but equestion I asked was, do yo u go expecti ng to g et free cakes." They both nodded. "Mrs Ho is a very nice person. She gives you free cakes because she is very kind and likes you. This is how older people treat young children. But you are both old enough to know how to behave."
"If you go to Mrs Ho's shop because you
Do you think you should do anything in return?"
expect she wiil give you something, then you are taking advantage of her kindness. Whatis the difference between this and a spoiled child demanding where his present is?" he said.
"But Sifu,'we never ask" for the cakes," said Ma. Their Sifu said, "This might be true, but if even though you do not ask it, the thoughts and feeling in your mind and in your heart are the same. Have you ever doneanything for Mrs Ho in return? I know you wiil say she has not asked for anything and does not expect anything, and again, this is because she is being very kind. But if she is be.ing so kind to you, do you think you should do anything in return?"
They both looked down. Nowthey understood. "We have been very selfish. Once we take Mrs Ho's kindness for granted and only think about how much we can benefit from her generosity, we are taking advantage of her. Even if she does not notice or even mind, it does not make our actions acceptable," said Chan, "Sifu, we are sorry."
"I am glad you understand," he said, "everyone makes this mistake at some point. If you turned the situation round and imagi ned you owned the cake shop how would you feel if people came to your shop just to get something for free? Of course you would not be happy. If you want to give them something, this is another matter. If you are showing true kindness, you too wiil not expect anything in return, but it does not mean that if someone shows you this kindness you do not need to do anything. Maybe it means you wiil be kind to some one else, perhaps a complete stranger. If this was the case and Mrs Ho finds out you did something to help another person, she would be very pleased and would feel good and say good things about you to others. She" might say, "Oh, I always liked those two boys, t hey come to see me all t he time." So you see what goes around wiil come around so you would do well to remember, there is no such thing as a free lunch."B
by Daryl Aiqy. darryKc^qima^ia^ine.com
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