The RZA Revisited
By Chi Tung
An arresting storyteller, philosopher and anthropologist, the RZA is at his best when he just riffs. Call it the RZA reel o’rama, if you wish. Or simply sit back, and let him kick some knowledge.
On the origins of the Wu Tang sword…
Shaolin fit in with the mental part of life; the Shaolin discipline was able to produce the Wu Tang sword. The person who invented the sword according to the history I read was a monk named Shien Tseng Fei. He was a great martial artist, but he wasn’t in depth into Buddhism; he actually had more Daoist thoughts in him. He ended up leaving Shaolin; some say he was exiled and expelled, some say he left on his own. But he walked to Wu Tang mountain, which was started by General Wu hundreds of years earlier and founded a place of peace, true enlightenment within himself.
On the parallels between Shaolin and Staten Island…
How it fits into the Wu Tang philosophy and the urban culture is that Staten island — where we grew up, were disciplined at, had our fights at — that’s Shaolin, but we’re the Wu Tang clan. Because the Shaolin monks were really good guys, but we weren’t good guys — we had good principles, but a lot of actions that weren’t considered good.
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