Not only is a traditional ‘form’ or ‘kata’ a vehicle for martial excellence, but through the specific shapes (and psychological and physical conditioning required to perform these ‘forms’), longevity and health are a by-product of proper and correct martial practice.
He was so famous that when aged 122 years old, his portrait was painted by the famous artists Rubens (see above) and Van Dyke – with one of his portraits hanging at the Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery carrying the inscription: ‘Thomas Parr died at the age of 152 years 9 months’ – and another at the National Portrait Gallery. It is also interesting to note that Thomas Parr attributes his longevity in part, to the following of a vegetarian diet.
A more extreme example of longevity belongs to that of the modern Daoist Immortal Li Qing Yun whose birth and death dates are given as 1677 – 1933. This means that he lived for 256 years and according to Chinese record, there is ample documentary evidence for this extraordinary life-span.