It has always fascinated me throughout life that achievement of each new goal or objective just leads to a new baseline for an even greater objective that will stretch you in ways you hadn’t imagined.
It was a realisation made during my on-the-job training as a Life Coach. It was standard practice at the start of a fortnightly 6 month set of coaching sessions to try and open the client’s mind to what they dreamed about doing when they were growing up and the wealth of possibilities that they thought lay ahead of them. As adults it is easy to fall into the routine of life, parking our dreams and settling for what is comfortable. I’m sure we never imagine that parking our dreams effectively means ditching them altogether.
Awakening The Vision
This part of the coaching practice was designed to reawaken those early visions of what life might hold and rekindle a desire to realise those early objectives. By getting the client to paint the picture in their mind’s eye of what life would be like had they achieved those goals it becomes far easier to break down the barriers that stop us getting there. Once the coaching journey starts, the client sees small obstacles falling by the wayside and momentum kicks in so that the bigger obstacles are addressed head-on. Forming a new habit of brushing aside these potential obstacles means that within a couple of short weeks, people start to see that they can achieve their objectives if they have a burning desire to do so.
By far and away the most fascinating part for me as a coach was the transformation in people’s ability to set bigger and better goals and have even greater vision after six months of coaching. At the start of the process their objectives were small and achievable but limited by their own beliefs. The marvelous truth is that after a few short months of coaching and accountability, the vision becomes far greater and the client’s objectives change and grow so that they make the original objectives seem small and insignificant. The change is down to the fact that constant action overcomes the limiting beliefs and allows people to ‘dream big’
What Has This Got To Do With Wing Chun?
With Wing Chun as with personal development, there is always another level. Getting to the end of ‘the system’ should not be the objective of a student in my opinion. Gung Fu is a way of life and not something you dip into to learn to fight. Mastery of your biochemistry (created by the mind), body mechanics and Wing Chun concepts is a lifelong goal. The sooner you accept that you have not mastered a technique the sooner your mastery of the technique will happen.
Wong Shun Leung
Wong Sifu was asked if he was the best fighter in the world and he maintained that he was the second best fighter because until he had fought everyone how could he know. The same is true of every technique in the forms. You cannot know if you have mastered any technique until you have used it in every situation and with every variable; different sized opponents, different states of mind, different levels of tiredness, soft versus hard, transitioning from every other technique, from every angle, against other Wing Chun practitioners, boxers, kick boxers TKD fighters, MMA brutes, Karate kings, Tai Chi healers, Krav Maga aggressors, BJJ floor masters etc.
We can always learn from other martial arts which is why I don’t treat Wing Chun like a religion. I personally no longer practice any other form of martial art, however I have no problem with my students that do. Their experiences and feedback only serve to enrich the group and make the club a far better and more realistic place to be.
You Are What You Do & Not What You Wear Around Your Waist
Your capabilities don’t lie within the colour of your belt and whilst a higher degree of ‘qualification’ may give you greater confidence on the street, that confidence may well be misplaced. With so many people practicing martial arts today the population is filled with confident people, and with black belts and Dan grades being based on economics and time-served rather than an individual’s capability, I have some concerns that people might bite off more than they can chew.
Real Gung Fu teaches us that whilst we are perfectly capable of defending ourselves against many threats and defeating aggressors in short shrift, we should not go looking to start fights with people. I am aware that this contradicts Wong Sifu’s attitude of fighting anybody and everybody, however times change and in his day there weren’t cameras everywhere recording your every action. Start something today and chances are you’ll be captured on CCTV footage, mobile phone video or even a drone in the sky, possibly resulting in a court appearance and a prison sentence.
So what was the point of all this?
Simply, you cannot see the bigger picture until you have mastered the detail along the way. Don’t rush to get to Chum Kiu, Chi Sau or Biu Tse; enjoy Siu Nim Tao, learn it, play with it, practice it every day wherever you are and after a couple of years of practice it will reveal new layers to you that will help your fighting, your stance, your structure and your sense of calm.
Train hard. Fight easy