“I came to visit a friend of mine who passed away.”
“But I’m not dead yet!”
After the brief misunderstanding was cleared up, he arranged for dinner to be prepared. After the meal and some drinks I told him that there was another reason I was there to see him. I told him that I didn’t have enough money to get back to Chengdu. He asked how much I needed and I told him that I needed ten dollars. He got up and went to a cabinet in the living room and got and envelope and gave it to me. There were twenty dollars in there. I told him that I only needed ten. He insisted that I take twenty. I told him that I didn’t know when I would be able to pay him back. He said to spend the money first, then figure it out.
We chatted for a bit and he suddenly suggested that I don’t return to Chengdu, that I stayed there for awhile. “Stay here and do what?” I asked. “Don’t you like kung-fu? There is a guy named Master Zhao in this town who has excellent kung-fu skills. He was born a cripple, but his kung-fu is still very good, especially his soft-style. He can put on a pair of new shoes and walk a mile in the snow and there won’t be a speck of mud on them. He once had a disciple that learned kung-fu pretty well but misused what he had learned. One night the disciple crept over a wall into a families house and raped a woman, so Master Zhao had to kill him. And after that he hasn’t taken on any more students. It’s a shame that someone with such good skills won’t pass them on to anyone. But with my recommendation I think he would take you on as a student. If you train with him for three years, you will be a master yourself.” I told him that I would go back to my lodging and think about it.
Early the next morning, Li Zongwu met us at our lodge and continued with the idea of me training with Master Zhao. He said that he would even pay for those three years of study for me. But I had decided that three years was too long. I went back to Chengdu.
Not long after, I heard news of Li Zonwu’s passing. He died of natural causes. I was quite sad. I though of him lending me the money and his offering to pay for my kung-fu studies, this “father of Thick Black Theory” didn’t seem to be very “Thick” and “Black” at all. He actually seemed quite sincere.