In the year 606 I removed my top and walked into the tall grass of Wudan.
It was amongst this grass, on these meadows, that Master Po learnt to fight many thousands of years before. This grass was blessed by 9,999 butterflies of varying colors.
Master Po would pluck them from the sky before releasing them unharmed at lightning speed. Grabbing and hurting a butterfly is doable.
To snatch one from the sky without damaging it, was the art. Their irreplicable flight patterns are what built Po’s irreplicable style. He could pluck a butterfly from the sky - and with the exact same movement he could pluck your throat from your neck.
Every few hundred years you would see him once again descend into the meadow and dance through the grass snatching and releasing many butterfly’s per second in a dizzying display.
The butterfly’s were not only unharmed, but invigorated by their momentary capture. Often fluttering particularly fast and high upon release.
As if in to the heavens above. As adept number 1, I understood I would one day succeed Po himself. I had to learn what he knew. To do what he could do. So I decided to attempt the same. I stood amongst the grass and began to move.
Tigers claw failed, along with my snake fist. I spent 23 days moving, quickly and slowly, grasping at nothing but air. The butterflies would land on me as if to taunt, but my hands touched nothing.
By my 24th day my technique had begin to fail. My footwork was sloppy and my stances irregular. Instead of correcting myself, I let it happen, and 3 hours later I caught my first butterfly.
I didn’t know it then, but these irregular movements of traditional style were the beginnings of Tateshinkai.
Excited, I held it in my hands as gently as I could, and ran back to the temple to show Master Po. I ran up to him as he was drinking his tea. “Master, Master, I have caught a butterfly!” I exclaimed.
He slowly placed his tea cup on the ground and a tear began to run down his face. Perplexed I continued “What’s the matter? I have been very gentle, she is alive!” It was at this moment that I opened my hands.
And although I had been gentle, the many minutes in capture had saturated her wings with the natural oils found on the human hand.
I now understood why Po’s captures were so short. Catch, with instant release. This was the consequence of prolonged contact.
Her cage was open, she attempted to fly, but couldn’t. She laid on my hand and died. I sat next to Po, and we cried together.
I never understood why there were exactly 9,999 butterfly’s in this meadow, and although PO never confirmed it, I fear there was once 10,000 before he made this very same mistake.
There are still 9,998 butterfly’s atop Wudan. I never returned to the Meadow.
Such is the way of Wudan.