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 mean it's 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 means it's 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.


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.

I don't think compassion is a very controversial interpretation of .

I overuse the English word character in these poems, there's no doubt about it. Here, it's , economy moderation temperance prudence restraint self-control simplicity frugality parsimony. This poem, like many others in the Daodejing, riffs on the short-sighted self-destruction that tyrants and a bullies inevitably wreak on themselves, so restraint is probably the closest to the intended meaning in this case.

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.


大 37 + 1
sky, heaven; god, celestial
一 1 + 2
under, underneath, below; down; inferior; bring down
白 106 + 4
all, every, everybody
言 149 + 9
say, tell; call, name; be called
戈 62 + 3
our, us, i, me, my, we
辵 162 + 9
path, road, street; method, way
大 37 + 0
big, great, vast, large, high
人 9 + 5
resemble, similar to; as if, seem
一 1 + 3
no, not; un-; negative prefix
肉 130 + 3
look like, resemble, be like
大 37 + 1
man, male adult, husband; those
口 30 + 8
only; yes
攴 66 + 5
ancient, old; reason, because
艸 140 + 5
if, supposing, assuming; similar
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
月 74 + 2
have, own, possess; exist
一 1 + 2
宀 40 + 17
treasure, jewel; precious, rare
手 64 + 6
sustain, support; hold, grasp
而 126 + 0
and; and then; and yet; but
人 9 + 7
protect, safeguard, defend, care
丿 4 + 3
marks preceding phrase as modifier of following phrase; it, him her, them; go to
一 1 + 0
one; a, an; alone
曰 73 + 0
say; KangXi radical 73
心 61 + 10
kind, charitable, benevolent
二 7 + 0
two; twice
人 9 + 13
temperate, frugal, economical
攴 66 + 8
to dare, venture; bold, brave
火 86 + 5
do, handle, govern, act; be
儿 10 + 4
first, former, previous
肉 130 + 6
to be able; can, permitted to; ability
力 19 + 7
brave, courageous, fierce
广 53 + 12
broad, wide, extensive
戈 62 + 2
completed, finished, fixed
口 30 + 13
receptacle, vessel; instrument
長 168 + 0
long; length; excel in; leader
人 9 + 2
now, today, modern era
shě shè
舌 135 + 2
house, dwelling; dwell, reside
一 1 + 4
moreover, also (post-subject); about to, will soon (pre-verb)
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
戈 62 + 12
war, fighting, battle
刀 18 + 7
rule, law, regulation; grades
力 19 + 10
victory; excel, be better than
宀 40 + 3
defend, protect, guard, conserve
囗 31 + 5
to become solid, solidify; strength
寸 41 + 8
will, going to, future; general
攴 66 + 7
save, rescue, relieve; help, aid
行 144 + 9
guard, protect, defend
亅 6 + 7
affair, matter, business; to serve; accident, incident
木 75 + 12
simple, honest; plain; rough