☳ In the movie Red Cliff 赤壁, there is a scene where warlord Cao Cao 曹操 is served tea 茶 on the eve of the battle for which the movie is named after. I love the scene, after all I am a tea drinker.
☶ It just so happened during that scene that I received a mobile text message from a beginner martial artist, who wanted to know why we do katas and forms 形. Why indeed - why do we do them?
☷ Those who are mastering the inner-game may know the answer and can expand on this further. But there is a simple answer to this best explained through a story I was once told by my wife.
☰ Once upon a time warlord Cao Cao 曹操 and his army found themselves in a bit of a tight bother: To advance meant almost certain defeat and to give up meant the whole campaign was a waste of time. To top it off, one of his strategists called the situation "Chicken Breast". Meaning that the chicken breast meat was on the one hand bland to eat and on the other hand too good to throw away. Cao Cao 曹操 executed the strategist.
☵ To most people, what Cao Cao 曹操 did was a rash decision. But in actuality he executed the strategist because his flippant comment was destroying the morale of the army. In the Art of War 兵法 morale is one of the key deciding factors in winning.
☲ Cao Cao's decision was not rash but well thought out in advance: If A happens then B will be carried out.
☴ The moral of the story is, katas and forms 形 are drills designed to prepare us for future situations that we cannot foresee but need to be prepared for in the case that they may occur and can act upon them without needing to think about it.
☱ Tea Time equals Me Time. Go out, enjoy your katas and forms 形. And work on your own definitions and meanings on why you do them. It can be enlightening.
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