Living Tao

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Living Tao

By Shifu Ron Goninan ~ China Fuzhou Zhenlan Crane Boxing Australia / International White Crane Gongfu Association

“In the world of knowledge, everyday something is added”
“In the world of Tao, everyday something is let go”

This regular column will deal with aspects of the Tao or Way of Martial Arts and living … as the two are inseparable.

So what is the Tao? Literally translated Tao (道) is the “Way”. The famed Chinese philosopher Laozi 老子 taught that the Tao is an important way of natural order.

To many, Tao cannot be defined as it is in a state of constant change and seeking constant balance 陰陽 or Yin Yang.

In many ways Tao is the constant virtue of “Harmony” 和諧 Héxié. Harmony is looked upon as being that which makes nature beautiful, society peaceful, and the body healthy and is for only a few, the end aim of their Martial Arts, being harmony within one’s self.

As a Chinese Martial Arts stylist, the Tao is of great importance. Not only for its value within my everyday life but also within the White Crane Gongfu that I teach. We strive to be fluid and flowing. In short, we aim to do “Nothing which is not Natural”.

Sometimes when looking out across the current state of the Martial Arts, I ponder just how many really strive to apply this principle in their own style and it’s “Way” (Tao) forward?

“In the world of knowledge, everyday something is added”

As Martial Artists we often strive too hard to add to our knowledge, our art, our training. Seeking that next technique, the next form, that championship or rank. But is this the right way? Do we have to arrive at a personal and Martial epiphany and say to ourselves “How much do I truly need? How much do I really need to know?

“In the world of Tao, everyday something is let go”

You’ll know when you have arrived at that point, when you no longer need to strive for something that is unattainable and start living for the journey and not the destination. You will no longer feel the need or pressure to do more and more, to add upon adding because you will discover you have driven such a deep understanding into your body, into your art, into yourself because of your diligent training.

Don’t go wide, go deep!

There needs to be a balance; a sense of natural learning and then letting go. Stop acting like the dog chasing its own tail and getting increasingly frustrated with the process!

My research has led me to seek the original. That is the essence of the art at its origin and my seeking has told me that the essence was simple, direct and natural. It had to be! These people weren’t concerned with that next sash, trophy or title … they were concerned with their very lives!
Don’t buy into the myths within the martial arts! Many of the histories are more myth than truth!

The original arts were simple, functional and easy to learn … because they had to be!

Later on, people added more and more to the arts, made them performance arts, marketed them and this is still happening to this very day! But it is NOT the original essence.

For me personally I’ve stopped looking for more and more! I’m happy seeking to understand that which I do. I no longer spend my time chasing that new form, that rank, that technique. I came to a point in both my personal and Martial life when I decided to stop and try to understand and embody on a deep level that which I already held in my hands. I learned to simply “Be”, isn’t this the way of the Tao?martial arts16
About The Author:
Ron Goninan is an old, slightly overweight & grey-haired seeker of the arts with very little skill and knowledge! He can be contacted via email at: