Why do I want to teach you Kung Fu? Is it because it’s so much fun? Well, yes, that’s a big part of it – but it’s not the only part of it.
For me, Kung Fu is the art that brings together everything else. It makes the different strands of my endeavours resonate harmoniously together. It takes me deeper into myself and further out into the world. It unites the mind with the body, illuminates relationships, expounds situations and solves problems. It’s a constantly surprising journey into life – your own life, and the lives of others.
I’ve had a portfolio career – organised music events, worked in academia, in the rare book trade, and at a human rights NGO. For the last few years I’ve been a research consultant and investigative journalist.
As a scholar of philosophy I’ve pored over books and manuscripts to examine mankind’s beliefs about ourselves and our universe. As an investigator I’ve dug into complex international lawsuits, exposed secret operations and brought hidden histories to light. As a musician and DJ I’ve experienced the transcendence of the right tune, the right note, at the right moment and seen its effect on others, from warehouse parties in Paris to musical healing sessions in Tangier to nightclubs in Addis Ababa. I love to travel, I love to write and I’m a book and record addict. So why, alongside all this, do I want to teach you Kung Fu?
As you learn our patterns you’re not just learning how to move your limbs. You’re travelling through time and space – from hundreds of years ago and thousands of miles away, through the insights of the masters who have developed and refined our style and lineage, to yourself, the present-day practitioner. In short, you’re learning about the world.
“Kung Fu”, famously, translates as “hard work”. So are many other things. It’s hard work spending long days and nights analysing impenetrable data, piecing together fragments of thoughts or cajoling and persuading colleagues, competitors and opponents. Often, in our professional lives, we find that our results were not what we hoped for, or that our desired impacts were illusory. Kung Fu is different. Your impact is in your control.
Crofton is a legal researcher, writer and investigative journalist.
He has a PhD from the Warburg Institute, London, in Medieval Philosophy. He was formerly a Humboldt Fellow at the Free University Berlin.
His book, Negative Publicity: Artefacts of Extraordinary Rendition won the New York International Center of Photography’s Infinity Award for Photojournalism in 2017.