Tuesday, July 24, 2007

American Shaolin
Matthew Polly

“To suffer and learn a lesson, one pays a high price, but a fool can’t learn any other way,” reads a Chinese proverb, with which Matthew Polly begins American Shaolin (http://www.crosswordbookstores.com/).

The first lesson is a challenge match that the laowai (old outsider, a polite term for white foreigners) has to fight against Master Wu, a kungfu teacher from Tianjin.
The venue is a tourism centre in Henan province. Bao (Polly) Mosi (Matthew) narrates the walk to the performance hall, along with his teacher Monk Deqing, who quotes his favourite martial arts maxim: “I do n ot fear the 10,000 kicks you have practised once; I fear the one kick you have practised 10,000 times.”

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