Quod Natura fecit, Ars perficit.
When I started practicing Kung Fu, I had been driven for years by a serious and profound interest for Asia. I was awe-stricken by the way the Chinese and the Japanese people had been able, thousands of years ago, to incorporate martial arts into the tiniest aspects of their life. Including art. Even the smallest and apparently most meaningless daily actions were perfection in motion; each single activity was accompanied by an inner grace which was the quintessence of discipline, aesthetics, practicality, and economy of movement.
For me, Kung Fu had become a necessary completion to my cultural approach to Asia. Practicing it, my models started assuming a more definite shape; I began admiring more and more the Eastern physical dynamism over the heavy Western body; mass systems were quickly substituted, in my vision of life and art, by kinetic systems based on revolving energy.
Bruce Lee was for me the ideal model who successfully blended together the Eastern and Western physical, mental, psychological, and philosophical dimensions.
I soon discovered, though, that there was potentially something more to it. I started pondering about the possibility of combining Kung Fu to my dearest artistic passions, acting and writing. What would the result be? "Certainly, not a bad one", I resolved!
So, I gradually let it work its way into my activities and, on a broader sphere, into every single detail of my life. Of course, this doesn't mean I write or make pizza while keeping my leg raised in a side-kick stance! Well, sometimes I do... But my point is, could I ever succeed in fusing it into my acting, my writing, my life, turning a physical stance or movement into a mental and psychic attitude?
What good would it do to art anyway, you might ask.
Let me tell you:
the essence of Kung Fu (and of all martial arts) is based on centering our body weight on what is named Dan-Dian. This is a spot about 2.8 inches below the navel; the same kind of balance is sought in singing, acting, dancing (especially Tango), Yoga, and whatnot.
I personally believe that complete actors will be able to make use of their whole body when the context requires or allows them to; Kung Fu made me more body-conscious than I once was.
Breathing in Kung Fu is very important: it all happens in the belly; it's another way to connect to our center, the Dan-Dian. Singers are taught to breathe exactly in the same way when singing. The same rule applies to actors when talking. Teachers too, or their vocal chords at least, would be better off if they did so when teaching.
Not to mention the respect for life and nature that Kung Fu naturally instills into the sensible practitioner.
And so, since then, I've been trying to make Kung Fu into an invisible mechanism that moves me, unseen, from inside, adding a grain of grace, charm, power, elegance, and the ability to better express my personality in any way that I choose.
Have you ever practiced a martial art?
Is there an activity which is not directly related to your acting, writing, painting, or playing, but which you think might bring great benefits to it?