This Chinese of Practice Makes Perfect--Shu Neng Sheng Qiao is 熟能生巧, and Pin Yin shú néng shēng qiǎo. 读“熟能生巧”的中文故事.
During the Song Dynasty of China, there lived a military officer named Chen Yao Zi who was great at archery. As he had defeated dozens of challengers, Chen Yao Zi was very proud and confident of his shooting skill, thinking there was no match to it.
One day, as he was shooting arrows at his garden, an old oil seller happened to pass by, who put the burden down and stood watching Chen Yao Zi for a long time. When he saw that almost all arrows that Chen Yao Zi shot hit the bull's eye, he smiled and just slightly nodded his head instead of giving a great ovation like others.
Noticing this, Chen Yao Zi could not help getting a little angry. He came over and said loudly:" Old man, do you know anything about archery? isn't my shooting skill superb?"
"That's nothing, all it takes is practice." the old man replied blandly.
"How dare you belittle my skill!" Chen Yao Zi shouted in a great rage .
"Easy, Sir, I know it by my experience of pouring oil." the old man said, and then he placed a gourd on the ground, and covered its mouth with a Chinese copper coin (a coin with a square hole in the center). Filling up a wooden ladle with oil, he used it to slowly drop oil into the gourd through the hole in the coin. Ladle by ladle, he did not spilled a single drop on coin until the gourd was full.
Amid spectators'cheers, the old man turned to Chen Yao Zi, saying:" See. Sir, this is also nothing. I can do this simply because I have practiced a lot."
Astonished by his skill, Chen Yao Zi apologized and let him go.
Background and Writer Comment:
This Chinese idiom story is from "Old Oil Seller (卖油翁)", an article of Ou Yang Xiu (欧阳修), a Chinese statesman, historian, essayist and poet of the Song Dynasty.
The idiom of "Shu Neng Sheng Qiao" has the same meaning as the English phrase--"Practice Makes Perfect".