Experiences from a "Tough Guy Competition" in England

A Western Practitioner in Engl

PureInsight | February 26, 2006

[PureInsight.org] On January
29, 2006, my good friend J, who is also a practitioner, and I entered
into the annual "Tough Guy Competition." Although the name of the
competition sounds macho and not something a practitioner should aspire
to, it provided us with some excellent Hong Fa
opportunities and taught me many lessons, such as not to always look at
things on the surface. The competition is supposed to be one of the
toughest one-day events of its type in the world. The course is
approximately eight miles long. It starts with a cross-country run and
then leads into a 20-part military style assault course.  

In the months leading up to the competition we printed leaflets with
the phrase "What is Tough?  Being tortured for believing in
Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance is Tough." The leaflets explained
that we were entering the competition in order to make a statement that
no matter how much we might suffer in this competition, it is
absolutely nothing when compared to the suffering of Falun Dafa
practitioners who are being tortured in China. I displayed the flyers
in my place of work for the customers to see, as well as in some shops
in the town where I live. I told everyone I knew why I was entering
such a difficult competition. For young practitioners it is sometimes
difficult to work the subject of "truth clarification" into a
conversation. If you just start talking about it out of the blue,
people sometimes find it strange or wonder what connection it has to
them. But with the Tough Guy Competition, when people asked, "What are
you doing this weekend?" I could tell them all about it. It was easy
for them to relate to, as people in England are used to hearing about
people running marathons or entering competitions for charity.

In the process of getting the leaflets displayed in shops I uncovered
some of my attachments and was shown the extent of the pre-destined
connections that are at work in all Falun Dafa practitioners' truth
clarification activities. First I went to the local sports center with
30 leaflets. I felt a bit nervous when I went in, but as I walked up to
the desk my fears subsided, as a girl I used to attend Tai Chi classes
with (before practicing Falun Gong) was working there. She was very
interested in the leaflets and the practice of Falun Gong and promised
to display them. A few days later when I had to return something to a
sports shop, I thought, "Well, there are already loads of leaflets at
the sports center, so I'll just take one for the shopkeeper to read."
This was a wrongheaded notion, because when I showed the leaflet to the
shopkeeper he immediately said, "Have you got more? I'll display them
for you." I rushed out to my car and got more leaflets for him to
display. A few days before the competition I went to a friend of mine's
shoe shop to get some cross-country running soles fitted to my shoes.
Based on my experience at the sports shop I decided to take some
leaflets and ask him to display them. But when I got there my human
notions interfered with me and I thought, "Hmmm…. The shop is so small,
there's not really an adequate spot, and I don't want to cause my
friend any trouble. I'll just give him one to look at." But, as soon as
I gave it to him he said, "Wow! This is really good. Have you got
more?" To which I replied, "Yes." He took them and put them on the very
small counter and said, "We'll leave them here and see if anyone grabs
one!" These experiences taught me that no matter how something may
appear on the surface, everyone came here for the Fa and they are
waiting to play their parts. We have to put in maximum effort in order
to give them that chance.

The Competition

Although the "Tough Guy" is a competition, we did not enter it for
personal glory but to help others and hopefully learn something
ourselves. Three other practitioners came with us, two of them to hold
a banner with our "What is Tough? Being persecuted for believing in
Truth, Compassion, Tolerance" phrase written on it and the other to
film the event for a future Hong Fa
film. We camped at the site the night before the event. When I woke up
on the morning of the race there was frost on the tent and the
organizer announced over the loudspeaker that they were breaking the
ice over the numerous pools that the competitors would have to swim

Other competitors were doing war dances to get themselves ready. When
we stood near them and practiced Buddha Showing a Thousand Hands, the
energy field was very strong and I felt an atmosphere of great serenity
and peace amidst the chaos of the other competitors. Just before the
race started, J handed me a small laminated card that he had made.
Printed on it was:

"It's hard to endure, but you can endue it.

It's hard to do, you can do it."

Master Li Hongzhi (from Zhuan Falun)

This was truly the most meaningful thing my friend had ever done and it
moved me almost to tears. We were both now mentally prepared for what
was to come.

The first half of the course was tough but still enjoyable. It involved
running cross-country for about an hour and a half, up and down hills
as well as through pools of cold, muddy water. When we reached the
assault course, we climbed over a large wooden structure and were
confronted by three sets of electrically charged wires hanging down for
us to run through. With out thinking too much I just ran through all
three sets and wasn't shocked; neither was J. After many more obstacles
we reached the Underwater Tunnels. I jumped into the water, which was
freezing, and started swimming. I ducked under two logs floating on top
of the water and then approached the tunnel, which consisted of three
small tunnels of no more than a meter across. After exiting the water
on the other side I felt as if I was about to throw up. I was also
feeling very dizzy and was stumbling around. One of the other
practitioners was on the sidelines and shouted "Falun Dafa Hao!!" As
soon as I heard that, I remembered who I was and immediately started
running. He was filming as I ran past the camera and I put both hands
together into the Heshi gesture and said, "Falun Dafa Hao!" with all my heart.

After climbing over another obstacle, we reached something called the
Titanic Ice Death Plunge. There were some planks for the runners to
jump off about three meters above a lake of more cold water. The
marshal at the obstacle said, "You can climb down and drop in gently
from the side if you like," but I thought, "No, I am a practitioner. I
do things properly!" and I ran off the plank into the water. After
swimming across to a small island, we crossed some floating bridges
made of wooden planks with gaps in between. At this point I felt
incredibly sick and dizzy. There were some military guys next to us
shouting and I just wanted to tell them to be quiet. It felt as if a
cold shell was closing in around me and my own heat was struggling to
push it away. After running some more we came to a six-meter-high wall
of cargo nets with an easy route and a hard route. Feeling beaten by
the cold water I started to walk towards the easy way. But J came
running up behind me and pointed to the harder route, so I followed.
Climbing up the net I couldn't feel my hands and my state of mind had
changed to one in which I didn't really care about anything or have any
thoughts. As I climbed over the top I was overwhelmed with a feeling of
compassion and great respect for those practitioners being tortured in
China and especially those who have remained steadfast under the
immense pressure. Even though I was at the height of the hardships in
the competition, I knew in my mind that it was a speck of dust compared
to what those practitioners had experienced. With this thought to guide
me, we finished the rest of the course with reasonable ease.

After the race the other practitioners told us that many people had
asked about our banner and were very interested in hearing what they
had to say. The organizer of the event also gave his support and
offered that in the modern world people are losing touch with what life
is about, and his competition aimed to show them the meaning of
hardship as well as bravery and friendship. That evening I was left
with a calm mind and two observations. The first was that a great
tribulation had been passed, but the second was sadness about what
practitioners in China are having to endure. We could have opted to
quit at any time in the competition and we also knew we could have a
nice cup of tea afterwards. But the practitioners in forced labor camps
don't have these options. They suffer brutal torture not knowing when
it will end. Their endurance is truly admirable and our righteous
thoughts need to be with them.

I feel I truly learned some things that day, most of which I am not yet
fully aware of. But I think I was humbled by the whole experience. I
thank Shifu for showing me these things.

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