The Problem with Chinese Martial Arts (Schrödinger's Kung Fu)
We'll keep this one short and sweet.
Chinese Martial Arts / Kung Fu seemingly is never what it claims to be, especially when it has to be identified, defined, and quantified by Kung Fu practitioners themselves.
The Schrödinger's Kung Fu thought experiment plays out like this:
- If it looks good but can't be used, then it isn't Kung Fu.
- If it looks bad but can be used, then it isn't Kung Fu.
- If it looks good and can be used, then it certainly isn't Kung Fu - because it's not our lineage or the Kung Fu *we* practice.
- But of course, if some famous pro fighter uses it by imitating Kung Fu / Ip Man movies, it definitely is Kung Fu, because we all want to claim it. 😉
This thought experiment plays out most prominently in the Southern Chinese Kung Fu style of Wing Chun - where there have been so many teachers and students since it exploded in popularity in the 1950's - 1970's thanks to Ip Man and Bruce Lee, that no one even knows what Wing Chun really is anymore.
In quantum mechanics, Schrödinger's cat is a thought experiment that illustrates a paradox of quantum superposition. In the thought experiment, a hypothetical cat may be considered simultaneously both alive and dead as a result of its fate being linked to a random subatomic event that may or may not occur.
Thus, Schrödinger's Kung Fu assumes that everything we practice is in fact not Kung Fu, but yet Kung Fu at the same time (only when it suits our biases, interests, and perspectives).
- Dynasty Team