Chapter 6: Incense Outside the Wall (3)
“You Chinese are magical. Using chopsticks is such a difficult task.”
There was nothing Josh could do. He wanted to eat with his chopsticks, but he could never master its dao. His strength was great, his physical fitness impeccable, and his chopsticks exquisite, but no matter how much power he used, it was useless.
“We’ve been using chopsticks since we were young, so of course we know how to handle it.” As Su Jie spoke, he suddenly became silent. It was like he had thought of something.
“Why aren’t you speaking?” Josh asked vaguely, swallowing his food hard.
“I was thinking… You Westerners are born strong, so you use knives and forks to make up for it. We Asians are relatively thin, so we have to use skill to make up for it. Perhaps I can see some logic behind Kung Fu…”
Su Jie appeared to have a different mindset from his peers.
After dinner, the two went back to the dormitory room to rest. It was a double room, but there was no separate bathroom. Instead, they had a public bathhouse. Overall, the conditions of the bathhouse was neither good nor bad.
From Su Jie’s point of view, the lodging conditions were unfair to the amount he had to pay.
Su Jie laid on the bed and began to write on his diary, summing up the events of the day, then reflecting on what he had done wrong, what he had learned, and what he needed to improve upon.
This was his habit. It had been like this since primary school.
“On the second of July, I learned a bit about digging and hoeing. I never knew farming could be so hard, but who knew that there a profound skills and methods to it. This is an essential training in traditional martial arts, and I think it’s like that too because in Ancient China, farmers had to do a lot of physical work. There was a shortage of supplies in the countryside, and there were frequent gang fights…
“There are many examples in the historical textbooks where two villages fought over water resources and dug ditches. Both would suffer from massive gang fights and heavy casualties…
“The idea that a man is valued more than a woman in Ancient Times was because if a family did not have any men, or if there weren’t many men, the family clan was doomed to be eradicated––bullied to death by their neighbors, villagers, and tyrants if no one strong was there to protect them…
“In Ancient Times, a chicken, a tree, and even several catties of rice were all important assets. If a family did not have any men, most likely their assets would be robbed and stolen. If there are many men in the family, and they knew martial arts, chances of their survival were high. Such patriarchal mindset was forced upon because of survival. There was no other way…
“Josh said that only by fighting in actual combat would one have the courage. I agree with him. It’s just like learning. You can question it, but you’ll lose your mind without learning anything. Your mind will be blank if you know nothing. It’s kind of like a test. If you know nothing, your mind is empty. Testing is a bit similar to fighting I guess…
“The next thing I need to do is to practice my movements, and learn how to use it in actual combat…”
After he finished writing the summary of the day, Su Jie closed his eyes and heaved a deep breath, feeling full of vitality again.
He was young. Only sixteen or seventeen years old. His ability to recover from setbacks was strong too.
He then opened his eyes and added an additional sentence at the end of the page on his diary.
“To improve my oral English, I need to talk to Josh in English.”