The art of playing dead

December 29, 2016

Never try to be larger than life even when you are larger than life – as to do so will only invite attention and eventually trouble. Where possible pretend to be small and if possible insignificant to the point where no one pays you a second look.

When others insult you or try to put you down – smile and slink away…do not fall into the trap of reacting. Instead play dead.

Playing dead is incredibly easy. All you need to do is let it all slide. Go on…it’s so easy. Just let go and whoosh…Doing so removes all incentives for those who may not be happy with you to do what they do….in life while you certainly do not have the power to control what others may think or do.

You certainly have all the power within the four corners of your being to choose whether you want to participate or not.

Playing dead is most diplomatically way of saying – I am just going to do my thing and not bother too much about you.

Giving in or playing dead is not weakness – it is highest form of self control and the supreme acme of the art of war.



‘In the ancient martial discipline of Hon Kuen – there is a hidden chapter known as the book of the floating world that reaches to the heavens (fei siong tien). It’s better known in Hong Kong Kung Fu movie land as the drunken master style.

It is the only chapter in Hon Kuen that does not seem to contain any manner of instructions as to how the exponent should stand, fight or for that matter even defend himself – instead there is only a cryptic phrase…..give yourself completely to the way of the floating world. Do not resist it’s pull of a thousand contradictions…give yourself completely and without reservation to this force….

So perplexing is this one chapter. Most students turn frantically to the next page half expecting either a continuation of what appears to be an unfinished entry or perhaps they even expect to find a detailed explanation of what this means – only to discover a missing page….and that is the kernel of the lesson in the book of the floating world….yes, that is the lesson.

One expects…and in that expectation one is completely defeated by the unknown.

No…I don’t expect you to get it the first time. But I assure you. As you sit, reflect and observe all things around you – there is certainly a very powerful lesson there.*

Many things can be said about this one chapter in the great book of Hon Kuen – then again many things are better left unsaid.

Research and study this well. As it applies to all things in life.

*Some time back ago. A char siew pau woman approached me with a compliant concerning her wayward husband. When this woman asked of me whether I could have a word with her husband – as he has not been fulfilling his duties as the man of the house and since he does not seem to listen to her. This woman is at her wits end and believes I could perhaps influence him. I asked of her – do you know why he does not listen?

The woman looked dumbfounded. I went on to share with her – the reason why you can’t get your message across is because you don’t know how to play dead and give in.

She protested loudly, ‘you are asking me to give in?’ That was when I told her, ‘yes…either that or continue to jump up and down like a mad woman – as whether you like it or not, your methods of persuasion don’t seem to be working very well. Coming to think of it – how can it possibly work when all you seem to do whenever you see your husband is to give him an earful. Even before his feet touches the floor in the morning – you are at it. When he comes back after a hard day in the field, you’re at it again….tell me…do you want me to teach you how to play dead?

The woman nodded her head vigorously that was when I asked of her to put three hot chili’s in her mouth every morning and in the evening when her husband returns.

Thereafter I told her – say what you need to say only when your man is well rested and has had his fill…above all do the unexpected and not what you would normally do….you will find that he will be more receptive to your message and he will eventually come around very nicely.

Before the woman left – I told her….playing dead is not a weakness. Do not be fooled by mere appearances – it is both strength and wisdom….two in one.

Shortly thereafter I heard her husband finally came around.’

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