fighting-spirit.jpg

Fighting Spirit

Everyone says that my kung fu is strong, but they also say that it doesn't seem very traditional. In fact, the reason it's strong is that it looks a bit ridiculous. If my kung fu was just like it was in the old days, that would make it weak, wouldn't it?

My kung fu still has three old gems from the old days. If you take them too, they'll keep you safe. The first is compassion, the second is character, and the third is not bossing people around. Compassion inspires us, character empowers us, and not bossing people around gets the best results.

Modern kung fu is a hero with no compassion, a cop with no character, a boss with no humility, and that makes it a dead end. But if we bring compassion to the fight, we prevail, and in defence, we're safe. God is with us when compassion watches over us.

Notes

is the quality of being not like one's forebears. A conservative interpretation would probably take as unorthodox or unconventional if not outright unworthy.

I think that is something like a subjunctive in English, and I think that contrasts the that appears later. If (my ) were like the past, that would be the opposite of , wouldn't it?

is usually treasure, and the poem is Laozi's Three Treasures.

I like as a conditional. If held dear, then protected by them.

character is economy moderation temperance prudence restraint self-control simplicity frugality parsimony.

Mawangdui versions of this poem contrast more clearly with (A) and (B) than does Wangbi's , and Han Feizi quotes the saying as it appears in Mawangdui A. is pretty common in ctext and seems to be a vessel or other artifact fashioned from raw (?) wood or jade. is very common in ctext, and seems to mean something like achievement in modern Chinese.

XY is more literally set aside X in favour of Y.

is arguable, as usual.

Vocabulary

tiān
大 37 + 1
sky, heaven; god, celestial
xià
一 1 + 2
under, underneath, below; down; inferior; bring down
jiē
白 106 + 4
all, every, everybody
wèi
言 149 + 9
say, tell; call, name; be called
戈 62 + 3
our, us, i, me, my, we
dào
辵 162 + 9
path, road, street; method, way
大 37 + 0
big, great, vast, large, high
shì
人 9 + 5
resemble, similar to; as if, seem
一 1 + 3
no, not; un-; negative prefix
xiào
肉 130 + 3
look like, resemble, be like
大 37 + 1
man, male adult, husband; those
wéi
口 30 + 8
only; yes
攴 66 + 5
ancient, old; reason, because
ruò
艸 140 + 5
if, supposing, assuming; similar
jiǔ
丿 4 + 2
long time (ago); time passage, grow late
矢 111 + 2
particle of completed action
八 12 + 6
his, her, its, their; that
糸 120 + 5
fine, tiny; slender, thin
乙 5 + 2
also; classical final particle of strong affirmation or identity
yǒu
月 74 + 2
have, own, possess; exist
sān
一 1 + 2
three
bǎo
宀 40 + 17
treasure, jewel; precious, rare
chí
手 64 + 6
sustain, support; hold, grasp
ér
而 126 + 0
and; and then; and yet; but
bǎo
人 9 + 7
protect, safeguard, defend, care
zhī
丿 4 + 3
marks preceding phrase as modifier of following phrase; it, him her, them; go to
一 1 + 0
one; a, an; alone
yuē
曰 73 + 0
say; KangXi radical 73
心 61 + 10
kind, charitable, benevolent
èr
二 7 + 0
two; twice
jiǎn
人 9 + 13
temperate, frugal, economical
gǎn
攴 66 + 8
to dare, venture; bold, brave
wèi
火 86 + 5
do, handle, govern, act; be
xiān
儿 10 + 4
first, former, previous
néng
肉 130 + 6
to be able; can, permitted to; ability
yǒng
力 19 + 7
brave, courageous, fierce
guǎng
广 53 + 12
broad, wide, extensive
chéng
戈 62 + 2
completed, finished, fixed
口 30 + 13
receptacle, vessel; instrument
zhǎng
長 168 + 0
long; length; excel in; leader
jīn
人 9 + 2
now, today, modern era
shě shè
舌 135 + 2
house, dwelling; dwell, reside
qiě
一 1 + 4
moreover, also (post-subject); about to, will soon (pre-verb)
hòu
彳 60 + 6
behind, rear, after; descendents
歹 78 + 2
die; dead; death
人 9 + 3
by means of; thereby, therefore; consider as; in order to
zhàn
戈 62 + 12
war, fighting, battle
刀 18 + 7
rule, law, regulation; grades
shèng
力 19 + 10
victory; excel, be better than
shǒu
宀 40 + 3
defend, protect, guard, conserve
囗 31 + 5
to become solid, solidify; strength
jiāng
寸 41 + 8
will, going to, future; general
jiù
攴 66 + 7
save, rescue, relieve; help, aid
wèi
行 144 + 9
guard, protect, defend
shì
亅 6 + 7
affair, matter, business; to serve; accident, incident
木 75 + 12
simple, honest; plain; rough