Learning gongfu was a big challenge. It requires flexibilty, endurance, strength, perseverance, and concentration of mind/energy. I was so amazed by the number of kids who studied gongfu in the vicinity of the Shaolin Temple. Kids starting from age six come to the gongfu schools and start learning martial arts. They train intensely everyday by drilling, practicing, running, stretching, sparring, jumping, flipping, swinging, you name it. The gongfu schools are the very manifestation of the word "intense" or "厉害".
Climbing the Song Shan, the central, most sacred mountain in the area, was certainly a task. Simply put, it was "freaking tall." My legs burned like crazy. Yet, I found it meaningful to climb those thousands of stairs to the top, the highest point I have every been in my life (besides in an airplane). I kept wondering to myself why I was even trying to get to the top. Curiosity? Sense of accomplishment? Finishing what I started? I still don't know exactly why. But I climbed it, and I feel like it was more than just a physical journey. It was also a reflection of our spiritual journeys. The higher you climb, the harder it gets. It's harder to breathe, harder to step, harder to climb, harder to see out because of the clouds. Similarly, our journeys with God gets harder as we feel like we grow more and more mature. More temptations, more roadblocks, more distractions, more everything. Yet, I did realize something. There is a distinct difference between climbing that mountain and climbing the wall of spirituality. As it got harder and harder, I relied on my body, my own strength to climb each step. As the spiritual journey gets tougher and tougher, you learn to rely on God more and more.