During the Northern Song Dynasty, there was a very skilled archer. One day while he was doing drills on the field, a big crowd drew around him. The onlookers cheered with excitement each time he made an accurate shot. He was very proud of his skill, but his pride was hurt when he saw that an old oil peddler standing in the crowd was only nodding his head indifferently.
"Can you do this?" he asked the old oil peddler.
"No, I can't."
"What do you think of my skill?"
"It's OK, but nothing special. You've gained your accuracy from persistent practice. That's all."
"What can you do, then?"
The old man said nothing. He put a gourd bottle on the ground and covered its mouth with a copper coin. He then scooped out a ladle of oil from his big jar, held it high in the air and began to pour it into the gourd. A thread of oil came down from the ladle into the bottle, just through the hole of the coin. Everyone in the crowd watched with amazement. The old man said, "This is nothing special. I can do this because I have practiced it a lot." With these words, he left.
Later, people used the phrase, "shú néng shēng qiăo" to mean, "practice makes perfect."
shú néng shēng qiăo
yī sī bù gŏu
scrupulous about every detail; conscientious and meticulous; in a careful and serious manner