Vincent Nguyen

I have been practicing Kung Fu for over 10 years. At first it was a fun hobby that was also beneficial towards my physical fitness. Now Kung Fu is a lifestyle and a career choice that would be a waste to keep to myself. I am not what happens to me but the choices made from my experiences.

The biggest benefit for Kung Fu in my life is teaching me to stay calm. In the past, there were so many moments that I have regretted due to rash and impulsive decisions. If it weren’t for this teaching and way of life, It would have been easier to fall into a deep depression long ago.

Not too long ago, I have had issues with my shoulder becoming dislocated on its own. While training, while stretching, reaching, moving objects, and turning in my sleep, my shoulder would pop out of its socket. It would hurt when it rained, it would hurt every summer, and every time, I would break into a cold sweat. It was an annoyance, it was a pain, it made me desperate. I would go from training all the time, to a little bit, to just standing around giving out directions in class. It was exasperating and demoralizing and I was depressed. Not only this but I would receive advice from others saying that my shoulder, even after surgery, would never make a full recovery, that there would always be permanent damage.

I learned about a fear I never had. A fear of losing control over my own body. It was around this time that I remembered a story that I heard a long time ago. It didn't make much sense to me the first time I heard it but this time, it spoke to me.

There once was a prince who was following under a master in his path of enlightenment. His master told him to simply climb up the peak of the highest cliff and meditate, that he would know when he was ready to come down. In his meditation, a mysterious voice claiming to be his ancestor asked him,

Voice: "to complete your trial, I must break your legs. Do you accept this."

Prince: "Yes."

A pain like none other ran coursing through his lower body.

Voice: "You cannot walk, as your legs are broken. I shall then take your arms and feed them to the crows. The taking of your arms, do you accept this?"

Prince: "Yes."

Voice: "With no arms or legs, you can only lie there. Now, I'll cut your ears off. You do not mind my taking your hearing away, do you? Do you accept?"

Prince: "Yes."

Voice: "No legs, no arms, no sound.. By the words floating in the air, I must ask you. Do you care if I take your eyes? Do you want to live in eternal darkness? I shall steal your sight. Do you accept this?"

Prince: "Yes."

Voice: "Young prince, I can only speak directly with your mind. Your mind is all you have left.. In the end, I will take your mind, though you probably don't want to allow that, do you? So.. You can't answer, you can't even move? Are you sad, Are you lonely? If you lose your mind, you also lose any feeling of sadness. Do you accept this? I will take your mind young prince, know that I will possess it."

The prince quietly opened his eyes and descended the cliff without saying a word.

Here I was, depressed over one dumb little injury. It's natural to have strong feelings towards something that you see value in. More so if it's part of your own body. The stronger your feelings are, the stronger they'll be when taken away. With this mindset, it's better to expect nothing and plan for the worst. And so, I soldiered on.

Here I am one year later, post surgery. My right shoulder more defined and muscular than it was before the surgery, has a scar smaller than a dime. A reminder of my needless worries.


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