Anyone who studies the crane in the wild will see the patience it exhibits, as it stands in stillness for extended periods of time, waiting for its food source (small fish, frogs, insects, seeds, berries, etc.) to swim or float by (or sometimes they actually dig for roots or worms).  Whether the crane stands on one leg, or both of its legs, the ability to be absolutely still requires much patience.  As for defending itself, the crane is adept at using its long wings and legs to keep its attackers away, and will use its beak, when needed, to strike.

In our kung fu studies, the crane movements are illustrated by mostly using straight-arm strikes, front kicks, and very focused hand strikes where the fingers all come to a point. Vulnerable, soft tissue areas are targeted with a strong flicking strike of the gathered fingers.  The crane stances require much balance and a strong centering of body weight.  It’s a challenging, yet beautiful, part of the kung fu animal form system.

As for the patience aspect, this is the character trait that we associate with the crane.  When the kids are asked what patience means, they usually reply that it means to wait…wait your turn in line, to speak, whatever the circumstances.  And this is a very good answer, because to wait for anything does often require patience.

Adults all know patience in the form of taking a deep breath and striving to get through life’s minor, and sometimes not-so-minor, annoyances without saying or doing something they will later regret.  It doesn’t matter the environment—work, home, school, shopping, driving—you name it, there will definitely be a time when patience is greatly needed.  Some are pretty good at this.  Others, not so much.

But one thing is certain.  We can all probably be more patient.  So, whether formally studying the kung fu crane form, or simply living your life……strive to develop the patience of a crane.  Perhaps if we could all do so, our world would be a better place.