The Emperor of the Chinese Qing dynasty had a special guard squad that could execute any order. These guards were not banal killers.
First they passed exams in painting, poetry, music, calligraphy, history, exact sciences and mathematics, medicine and statecraft. Then there came fighting with swords, horse riding, archery, martial arts and warcraft. Those who passed the test were given a title “A True Talent in Sciences and Martial Arts” by the Emperor himself.
During the day they were elegant and polite courtiers, at night they turned into ruthless and invincible warriors. They could challenge most prominent masters in silk painting, sonnet writing and cittern playing. And they had no equal when it came to fighting. The films do not lie – their mastership was next to magic.
I believe being an accomplished martial artist means being a “scholar warrior”. The regular physical and mental trainings are indispensable. However, intellect and knowledge of other sciences are important too.
It is necessary to learn to listen to the music that stood the test of time, understand poetry and philosophy, acquire the foundations of history and psychology. A serious practice of martial arts always aims at physical, mental and moral perfection of a man, rather than making a ‘fighter’ out of him.
And most important, it is necessary to learn from personal experience that those who dare to stand out from the crowd are doomed for solitude, even though they are admired. Perhaps this is the most difficult thing – to learn to be lonely among people, but joyful and happy at heart.