I have studied martial arts for 13 years; two bouncing around from school to school, and the last eleven as a student of Master Lee, Hoa Yen. Having studied one style for so long, I sometimes lose track of what else is out there, so now and then I will spend a few hours surfing, seeing what Google has to say about the state of the Martial Arts in America.
While surfing yesterday I rediscovered Raven Hill , a site which I first came across a couple of years ago. Back then, it was just a link to a story. Now it is a full-blown martial arts website, put together by someone who wields at least a little mojo.
I was delighted to find that the original story is still up, and has been added to significantly. Basically one of the students of this school sat down and wrote a historical/fantasy novel about a group of 17 young men who go off on their own to learn 17 different styles of kung fu, then from what they learn create a new style. Someone put a great deal of time and thought into these stories. The writing is decent; not Pulitzer material but better than most anything you will find on the New York Times rack at the local McBookstore. Where these stories truly shine is in the descriptions of the training these young men go through in the course of learning their kung fu. As a serious martial artist myself I can say that the methods used in the stories make good sense, and to utilize them for eight, ten, fourteen hours a day, as the characters do, would indeed create martial artists of the highest calibre.
So if you feel like being inspired to practice hard, read these stories. The first, Chu Jeng, can be accessed from the link above. The rest can be found linked to the resource page of the Raven Hill site.
Now, if you will excuse me, I need to go stand in horse stance for a few hours.