No two arrows fly the same….they are all different in their different ways

December 1, 2013

In the Gong Fu martial arts of Hon Kuen – there is a chapter known as the vermillion curtain – ‘Pak Sau Heng Kah,’ each quatrain consist of a seven movements further divided into another twelve or thirteen movements – to learn this chapter the ancient weapon of silent death must first be mastered….the bow….and arrow.


“No two arrows are ever the same. They are like people when you look at them fleetingly on a train platform, they’re all the same like wallpaper.

It takes a while to realise this. You probably have to practise quite a lot on the same quiver of arrows to get to know how each of them flies – in a sense arrows are very much like people.

As although they like probably all of us started life the same, through time, some of them have gone slightly crooked as a result of hitting something really hard, lost their balance or are simply so worn down they can’t even fly straight any longer even if they wanted to.

But that doesn’t mean that it’s time to get a brand new dozen of arrows – as even with a quiver of old arrows each with it’s peculiarity, each unique to call it’s own – has a character, that should not be feared, but rather understood and appreciated.

By knowing how each arrow takes flight and cuts through the wind…to find the mark. Knowing so intimately one is even able to imagine it’s flight in the mind’s eye…slowly….carefully like a serpent in the air.

To know is to understand the power of a thing – only then is possible to bring out the best in this thing that the rest of the world sees as meaningless – a slightly crooked arrow for instance has a habit of veering either to the right or left, can very easily be made to fire like a curve ball – where by pulling and twisting the string ever slightly in the cocked position and releasing with only the fingers, such an arrow can even swing around a tree and hit a target hiding behind it – even a blunt headed arrow in many cases can be more effective to bringing down large prey when compared to a sharp spear tip, especially if it can find a wafer thin bony section on the head, such as the temple bone to deliver a shocking blow.

Every arrow flies differently – each has its strenght and weaknesses, quirks – every arrow is so special and purposeful in it’s form and function to serve the accomplished martial artist who is only concerned about developing his mind, body and spirit – above all every arrow is a guru and they all add up to offer the bow hunter limitless possibilities of wisdom.

This is the highest acme of archery to meditate on the flight of a single arrow… even use this idea as a metaphor to see the world….and to only strive to be at one with this thing before you… go so deep into it’s Dao and understand it from the inside out.”

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