MightyBands, home gym system

Sunday, November 22, 2009

15th Anniversary Seminar

Saturday morning I wake up to the melody of Rihanna playing on my radio. "Time to get up, Bri... You got a full day ahead of you."

Did I ever.

So to my "to-do" list that morning: Breakfast. Check. Pack a lunch. Check. Extra T-shirt for seminar. Check. Towel. Check. Fist protectors. Check. Shin pads. Check. Change of clothes. Check. Quick stretch routine. Check.

And like that, I was out and heading to Philip's Golden Monkey kwoon.

Seminar starts at 10am, ends at 4.30pm. Of course, it was pouring rain..and i think mixed with a bit of snow. Temperature gauge registered a measly 4 degrees in my car. Brrr... And here I was wondering how cold it'll be to train in his place...

How silly.

By the time I got there, the majority of the students were ready to go. Paid my fees and just started mingling. It was good to see German (Sifu of the Calgary club) and his wife Wanda. In addition to the familiar faces, were some visitors from the Island as well. Other than Anselm, the rest were new faces to me.

So off we go.

And as quickly as the seminar kicked off, did the temperature in the place rise! It was fairly crowded with a total of 30+ people punching each other - that only added to the dynamics of the training I thought.

So what did we do? Well, the best way to describe it is - the drills themselves were "basic" but how they're implemented was at the more advanced level. What does this mean? How could this be possible? maybe..it's just repackaged marketing jibberish! Well think of it this way - imagine Jane Smith auditioning for her 2nd time in Canadian Idol and next to her, you have Celine Dion or Mariah Carey. Ask them both to sing "do ray me fa so la te do" and you'll get two VERY different products. Both basic, but one is natural, instinctive and rich - the other, maybe not bad but perhaps missing flavour and soul..

So when it came to the drills, we worked on the different punches - double punches, hooking punch, lifting punch. More importantly, getting the whole body and weight behind the punches but within a WT context. Si-Fu discusses how much of this is like boxing and Mike, a former boxer, who I was training with also mentioned the same thing - it's like boxing!

And I have to agree.

To me, the body can only move in so many ways. We have two arms, two legs in a rather fixed proportions. To that, only certain ways can be used to fight. And to that, only certain attacks are more successful than others at fighting. The end result - it filters many attacks, leaving certain punches and kicks that are similar across all styles, across all cultures, across all environments.

Near the end of the seminar, the senior assistant instructors (Gary, Ciprian and myself) and Sifu German were asked to perform the Siu Nim Tao, then the Chum Kiu. 4 different representations, 4 different flavours - even though we all have the same instructor. Students were given the opportunity to ask us questions: what do these parts of the section mean, how is it applied, how often do you practice the form? etc.

Finally, the biu tze form was demonstrated by Sifu German and Ciprian. It was very cool to watch. I have to say it also looks exhausting. I think I caught Cirprian running out of gas by the end of it at one point actually! ;P Again, both had very different ways of moving. One more soft fluid, the other with more power.

The seminar ended with certificates for those that attended the seminar. And also a gift was presented to Si-Fu on his 15 years, bringing Wing Tsun to Vancouver. The gift was a thick, heavy leather and wool jacket with Wing Tsun embroidered on the chest. All he needs is a Wing Tsun Harley and he's set!

Si-Fu also took a moment to discuss what it means to be a Sifu. Describing that it may not necessarily be solely on skill (as skill can be relative), but also who has their own students, opened their own school, contributed their time and energy into the school, etc. All these factors together make a good Sifu.

And on that note...

He presents Sifu titles to Gary K. Ciprian C. and myself. What an honour. and of course, i'm SO going to let this get to my head. At that moment I made sure everyone called me Sifu and when I got home I did two things with my new found status:

1) Opened up my sacred chest of red t-shirts and pants and headbands and wristbands with spikes on them

2) Beat up my pregnant girlfriend because she refused to get an abortion and went to jail.

OK, I'm sorry. I couldn't resist.

No, I have to say I'm very honoured. I've been with Si-Fu's school for at least 10 years now and it's been quite a journey, getting through school, work, family and health-related issues..it's been quite a ride. I haven't always had the luxury to do private lessons all the time through the years nor afford classes (having to stop for a semester or two) but it just came down to persistence and just keeping at it.... I'm just a regular guy and somehow, I got here.

And then 5pm roles around. Just like that.

Seminar is done and we all say congrats and a group of us head out to dinner. Beer and wind down time with some good conversation. Always fun to see everyone outside the kung fu setting.

Oh and how could I forget. We also had a wonderful cake to celebrate the 15 years! The best cake I ever had. Seriously. I can't go back to T&T cakes anymore. It was just THAT good!

Thanks to Phillip for having us at his kung fu school! This time around, no one smashed any holes into the walls. Guess that's a good thing?

Until then.

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