One time I hung out with my friends and we quickly heated up our conversation about all the martial arts movies we watched a few days ago.
One friend said he enjoyed the Wing Chun style and he bet it can defend against any kinds of attack. I bet he had that from Yip Man movie.
Another friend said his Muay Thai knee strike could break any bones (probably Ongbak or Chocolate, etc..) and my oldest friend think Karate could knock someone out cold before they could even begin a move !
Then, they started to talk about the disadvantages and advantages techniques of every system, even traditional styles. Believe me, the debate took hours.
In the end, we could not agree to any particular styles that should be the best. Wow, a big waste of time for such predictable outcome!
Verbal argument settled down little to nothing to feed their curiosity, they began to test various techniques physically. Likewise, that did not come to a conclusion, either.
I myself as a martial artist, would also wonder what style could the best of them all. Such as the root and unique system that dominates all other martial arts.
However, my question no longer needs answer until it came a story by Sifu Darryl Moy that I had a chance to read recently. It began like this..
Long ago there were two masters who possessed powerful style of martial arts.
They were great men with great reputations in their towns. Often people from two villages would argue whose martial arts skills better than the other, since both seemed to be undefeatable. Each of the two masters came from long illustrious histories, however they seemed to approach things from a very different, to almost opposite positions.
Thus the styles they practiced were quite different, too. The only same boat they would ever be on is, each of them thought his own particular system was best and therefore they became very close minded.
The two towns where the masters lived in are closed together, but separated by a range of mountains.
One day, it was decided that both masters would meet at the top of the Five Tigers Peak to exchange pointers, a fight in other word. They chose this very mountain because it would be the neutral ground high above and neither would gain the advantaged of the home field. The journey would take a few hours from both of them.
That morning, both masters set out very early to make sure they would get to the top of the Five Tigers Peak mountain on time. The terrain they had to climb up was quite difficult from either side. One side of the mountain was very rough and rocky that it required a lot of careful climbing, the other side though not as rocky, was covered by a thick and deep forest.
Although they were very strong and fit, they found the travel very difficult.
After two hours, the master climbing the rocky side was covered in grit and dust, and his clothes were torn. The other master had to slash his way through the thick forest and he too was covered in mud with his clothes was snagged and ripped by branches.
However, each was spurred on, determined to prove he was the best.
Finally the master climbing the rocks reached to the top and came to clearing with a large flat stone at one end. He was quite tired and needed a rest. Suddenly he heard a sound and a rather scruffy, dirty man appeared from the forest.
They looked at and immediately recognized each other. They were both in sweat and dirt, exhausted from their climbs.
“Why don’t we have a short rest before our match?” One called out.
They agreed and as the flat rock was the only place to sit, they both climbed up and sat down. Momentarily, both were surprised at the view that met them. They could see for miles around and everything looked picturesque and peaceful.
After a few minutes one pointed to a town in the distance and said, “I went to that town a few years ago, they have a temple there with a tree that has lived a thousand years.”
“Really”, replied the other “I went there myself, did you also see the lake that is next to the golden pagoda?”, “Oh yes, it is beautiful isn’t it?”
The two men went on with their stories and shared their memories of their visits. They even started to point to other places down below.
Some they had both been to and others only one had been, but they recommended where to visit and what to see. As they relaxed more, they even began to laugh together. They had a lot in common and after a while all thoughts of their challenge had been forgotten.
“It’s funny how this mountain has mirrored our lives.” One said finally. “You are right,” said the other, “What is the point in fighting? It is better to go and have tea. There is supposed to be a very good restaurant in that village just over there.”
He pointed to a small village a few miles down the mountain so they both got up and set off for the village.
You probably wonder or break a smile of how “two masters had lots of time to waste and liked random talks”. And what they even mean by saying “the mountain mirrored their lives” ?
Would you believe that nature is very clever, there is actually nothing new from nature, all the questions already exist as do the answers. You just have to search for them.
Both men had worked very hard in their life to became the master of their styles, but their training was different, just like their climb up the mountain. One had to overcome the steep slopes and rough rocky terrain, the other had to battle through the thick and deep forest. However, after overcoming all the difficulties, they both came to the same point and could see the same view.
They even learned that they had experienced many of the same things.
So there is point arguing over which is better. The wise man will try to appreciate the other, and understand how both lead to the same place.
So I bet, all my friends were right.