Thursday, January 18, 2007

By Gonzalo “Jun” Policarpio

An Indonesian Muslim classmate of mine from my college years at the University of the Philippines during the 60s asked me: “Show me a Christian and I’ll be one.” I thought for a while if I would qualify to be considered as a true Christian and finally said. “I am a Christian.” Then he replied, “Do you truly love your enemies?”

It’s really hard for anybody to love one’s enemy but that’s one of the qualifications to be a Christian.

One evening, my daughter Desiree, handed me a CD movie titled “FEARLESS” and convinced me to watch it. She was so sure that I would like the theme of the story. This movie starred Jet Li, a famous Chinese martial arts champion and actor-producer. It was supposed to be his last movie. It’s about a Chinese Kung Fu tournament champion and master of a martial arts school set during the days of Old China when it was closed to foreigners.

The plot revolves around the vow of the main character played by Jet Li to beat all martial arts masters in China and be the over-all champion. He made this vow to himself when he saw his father, a martial arts school master, who held off his deadly hands against his opponent that caused his defeat in the competition. Because of his father’s defeat, he was ridiculed by the opponent’s son. Though he didn’t know how to fight, he charged the bigger kid, a martial arts student, who easily knocked him down.

He studied Chinese martial arts secretly and trained very hard instead of learning calligraphy as directed by his father. His father once told him that martial arts is not supposed to harm or kill another person but to be used a form of self-discipline.

When his father died, he took over the martial arts school as the chief master. He beat all the masters of other schools in a series of tournaments including the son of his father’s opponent. He was feared by all Kung Fu masters except one.

One day, one of his favorite students was brought to him badly beaten black and blue. The student told him that it was the master of another school who refused to fight him in a tournament that roughed him up. He was incensed with anger and challenged the other master in a fight to the death. He won and killed his opponent. But he learned later that it was his student’s fault why he was hit by the master. The master caught the student sleeping with his wife.

The slain master’s adopted son took revenge by killing the champion’s mother and daughter. The champion rushed to the slain master’s house and killed the adopted son. But he did not kill the adopted son’s mother and sister. He suffered intense feelings of guilt and sadness and decided to drown himself to death. He was saved by people from another locality who did not recognize him. A blind girl nourished him and restored him to be strong again. When he left that locality, he promised the blind girl that he would return for her in time.

The champion went back to his hometown and found a lot of foreigners. After a lapse of years since his disappearance, China opened her ports to foreigners. So the champion reopened his martial arts school to preserve the honor of China as the best in competition. He joined tournaments and won all of them except this time an opponent from Japan. China and Japan were then considered as mortal enemies in every respect. But this time, he had a new philosophy about martial arts: it’s just plain competition based on self- discipline and not to kill.

After winning over other competitors, the champion’s main tournament was against the Japanese opponent. There was intense rivalry and animosity between the Chinese and Japanese during those times especially in the field of martial arts. Before the fight, the champion had a small talk with the Japanese opponent who understood his new attitude in fighting.

On the day of the tournament, he was winning over his Japanese opponent. When he was about to hit him with a fatal blow, he remembered his father who held it off against his opponent. He did it, too. But the Japanese handlers poisoned him. He could no longer fight his opponent because of the effect of the poison on his body. The Japanese opponent saw him weakening and unable to fight. He had all the opportunity to knock him out dead as directed by his handlers, Instead, the Japanese opponent held his hand high and declared him to be the winner.

Moral of this story: Your enemy can be your friend through love and understanding. And I must say that Love is a universal force so strong that it transcends all religions.



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