Children, and childish adults, call each other “chicken” when they showed reluctance to try something different or dangerous. In most of these situations, being a chicken may have allowed you to reach old age with all your body parts intact.
Chickens are also found in the martial arts. Some are chicken because they are afraid to try something different or perceived to be dangerous, such as board breaking. Being this kind of chicken may keep you completely safe in your life, but it will also make your life dull and uneventful. Eagles soar, chickens walk around scratching at the ground. Sometimes they look up at the eagles, not in awe, but in fear of being an eagle's dinner.
Other martial artists also behave as chickens but for other reasons.
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