Master Po was very critical.
It is difficult to not be pessimistic, when you are eternally correct.
Of all my time atop Wudan, I struggle to think of a conversation that took place without him correcting someone, or something.
Po had a particular dislike for dreams, which always confused myself and the other adepts. Each morning he would line us up, and force us to tell him what we dreamt of the night before. He would often interrupt loudly and visibly angry.
On this particular morning he started with me. He pointed, and I began to speak. “In my dream, I saw three trees. Each different colors. You were there and ordered me to climb the red one, but when I approached it, it became blue...” I began.
He interrupted me. “Inaccurate and imprecise!” he screamed. He struck me hard in the face before pointing at the next adept.
This reprimand was particularly upsetting, as his accurate insults left me in a difficult position. I struggle to think of any dream, had by anyone, which was neither inaccurate or imprecise. The following morning he once again pointed at me to recite my dream.
Surrendering to further beating, I began to speak exactly as before. “Last night, I dreamt I was on a cloud, high atop the temple.
It was early morning, and as all of the other students stood exercising, I sat atop this cloud and simply watched.” Po’s expression did not change. “So you dream of mastery?” He ushered me over to the exercise floor. “Only practice breeds mastery, not dreams.”
I walked over, and began my forms. Atop Wudan we had 7 basic forms, a demonstration of the 7 Wudan styles. Po stood and watched me without moving.
A few hours later, after reciting every form, I looked over to Po for instruction, but he did not move or speak. Unsure what to do, I simply started again.
Hours passed. The Sun faded and the day finished.
The darkness came and went. I had practiced all throughout the night and was well into the afternoon of the following day. Po was still standing in the exact same position, even the wind which shook the trees did not dare ruffle the fabric of his robe.
He was perfect stillness. Resisting exhaustion, I continued to train. Until deep in the next night I heard Po shout: “Enough!”
I had not had a moments rest for two days. Not a sip of water. Reciting forms in the summer sun had left my mouth so dry I was unable to speak.
The only force which kept me going was the fear of Pos punishment for stopping before I was told. I drank a large cup of water and went straight to bed, I slept a full 3 hours before the 5am wakeup call. It felt as if only a minute had passed.
I was so tired, I remember only darkness. As we stood in a line, PO once again pointed at me to begin reciting the story of my dreams from the night before.
For the first time since my ascent to Wudan, I had not dreamed anything. “I did not dream last night, I was so tired. I don’t remember anything but black,” I said to Po.
He didn’t reply. Simply pointed at the next adept.
Such is the way of Wudan.