There once was a man named Tai Kwei who lived in a small village in China. The village that Tai Kwei lived in was owned by a selfish and greedy landlord. This landlord would charge all of the people who lived in the village a great amount of money just to live and do business in his village.
The people of the village were all very downcast and desperate. They were all made very poor by the high prices of the selfish landlord.
So they gathered up all the rice they could find, to give as an offering to the Shaolin Temple. They hoped they could give the rice to the Shaolin monks and in exchange they would train Tai Kwei in kung fu. They thought that if they had a Shaolin master among them that the landlord would no longer be able to force them to pay very high rents.
The Shaolin temple
When Tai Kwei reached Shaolin, the master of the temple agreed to let him live and train there. The master called for a large barrel to be brought out. The barrel was filled with water and the priest then gave Tai Kwei instructions. He was to hit the surface of the water with all his strength. Tai Kwei decided that this was a simple task and leaned over to hit the water with all his strength.
The master told him to continue hitting the water for the rest of the day.
He slapped the surface and splashed water in all directions. The master told him to continue hitting the water for the rest of the day. The barrel was refilled each time the water level dropped too low.
The next day Tai Kwei was told to continue his exercise. This stretched into weeks and then into months. Tai Kwei pounded the water furiously every day even though he had his doubts about why the master had asked him to do this task.
2 years later…
Finally, after two long years of hitting a barrel full of water he could take it no longer. He was angry that he had come all this long way and had not learned any kung fu yet. While sitting at the table for dinner Tai Kwei stood up and spoke to the master. “I have been hitting that barrel of water for nearly two years. I came here to learn kung fu and in all that time I have learned nothing!” In anger, he pounded his fist on the dinner table. To his complete surprise the sturdy wooden table broke in two with the force of his blow.
There’s always a lesson
The other priests all gazed in wonder at the remains of the table. Their dinner was now scattered all over the floor. Tai Kwei turned to the master. He was in shock. He immediately bowed to his teacher and apologized. Still in his chair, the master smiled and folded his hands while speaking. “Now my pupil you have learned your first lesson”.
Tai Kwei left Shaolin temple and went back to his village where he helped all of the people who lived there. The landlord was so afraid of Tai Kwei’s new skills that he no longer charged the people of his village unreasonable rents and everyone was able to live happily ever after.