Monday, May 14, 2007

The Gōngfu Masters

A park.

Early Evening.

Late Spring.

North East China.

The sun is setting, and the square is filled with running, screaming children; with young lovers holding hands and laughing nervously; with scores of the elderly, slowly going through the motions of their Tai Ji, their steps keeping time to a scratchy boombox that is turned loud to drown out the voices of those practicing opera in a nearby pavilion.

Yet amidst all this chaos and hubbub and life, two men stand, stoic and unaffected like weathered stones in a fast flowing river, motionless as the stream of youth and modernity unconsciously parts to flow around them.

It is difficult to gauge the years in their weathered faces, but they are old, in their late 70s perhaps. One is dressed all in White Silk , the other in Black.

They stand, toe to toe, with their left forearms braced against each other, their poses showing their familiarity with a discipline in which their bodies and minds have been schooled for decades, a martial tradition perfected untold generations before their birth.

They begin to sway, in a circular motion, each taking turns at first pushing, and then yielding to the others calm, indomitable strength. In the long shadows of willow trees, their eyes lock onto each other, their concentration absolute, their focus unbreakable. As the mournful strains of an Erhu cut through the air, the two men move back and forth, back and forth, a dance of both force and passivity, black and white, calm and strength, Ying and Yang made flesh.

Then, just when it seems that they have ceased to be separate people, transcending flesh and person to become a manifestation of pure qi, the guy in black kicks the guy in white up the bum and runs away giggling, pursued by his laughing, white pajama'd friend.

I notice he's wearing bright red chuck tailors.


Anonymous said...

They being to sway

Ben said...

I swear it never said that.