The 64 Hands of the Gong Family

While visiting his fellow masters to train for an important fight, Ip Man meets a man who mixes various kung fu styles.

“The 64 hands of the Gong family can be combined in an infinite number of ways,” Master Yong explains. “Your Wing Chun only has three techniques. Do you think you can win with that?”

“I’m sure it’ll be enough for you,” Ip Man counters — and promptly proves it in a fight. Where Yong switches from fists to fancy finger poses and from one stance to another, Ip Man retains his traditional style.

Flexible arms, flat hands, and quick feet is all it takes. The techniques may be straightforward, but they break through his opponent’s kung fu firework in a heartbeat. Less than a minute later, Master Yong admits defeat, and the sea is calm once more.

Knowing more is not the same as knowing better. When we accumulate, we usually do so because the excess comforts us. We feel that with more options, we’ll be prepared for anything. But a small number of choices we can execute to perfection will give us the same confidence — and lead to quicker, more efficient results in most situations.

You don’t need the 64 hands of the Gong family to be a kung fu expert. Three techniques are enough. Pick your tools and master them. When you make do with less, chances are, you’ll do better because of it.