True mastery of the martial arts is fading as people today fail to fully appreciate their principles, the financial secretary said as he recalled his kung fu memories. In a blog post published yesterday, John Tsang Chun-wah described his recent encounter with the city’s leading kung fu figures including Pak Mei kung fu master Li Shek-lin, Tung Kong Chow Ka Preying Mantis Li Tinloi, Hung Kuen master Lam Chun-fai and his disciple Hing Chao, who founded the International Guoshu Association. The blog was posted prior to next week’s opening of the Hong Kong Culture Festival, organised by Chao’s charity Earthpulse Foundation. Tsang, who studied kung fu at a young age, said historically martial arts were about making a living or even survival, but today they had become a hobby and viewed as fashionable. “Master Li Tin-loi said, ‘in the past, people only asked you which school of kung fu you practised. But today, people ask you how many forms you can perform. It seems the more you know, the better’,” Tsang wrote. He said Rome wasn’t built in a day and that despite kung fu’s different forms, the basic training was more or less the same. Tsang said there was nothing fancy about the daily drills one must perform to hone one’s skills. He revealed that his strenuous practice had left him with scars on his arms that only recently healed. Yet he maintained that “boring” training could yield surprising results. Tsang said he once witnessed an old master shattering a tiny olive seed with nothing but the tip of a rod. The three-week culture festival, running from September 25 to October 18, aims to serve as a wake-up call to the government and public to preserve local living heritage, including kung fu, Cantonese opera and ink art.