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Sunday, December 16, 2012

2012 Year End Seminar and What It Means To Be Technician Grade

Yesterday, our school had the 2012 year end seminar. Another great seminar and an intensive one. From my perspective, I find it very interesting/amazing how my Si-Fu adds another dimension to stuff we already know, only to further build on the existing skills we have.

The drills we did that day, on the surface, work on nothing particularly new - bong sao, tan sao, turning stance, etc. Nothing particularly new, right? We then worked on drills using wing chun tools, such as the butterfly knives as well. Again, nothing new.

So really what were the major points I took away from the 6 hour seminar? "just" two things:

1) determining the absolute limit of which you can rescue your structure and centre line by bringing your body behind/into a movement.

2) intensity in your training

As you read this, you're thinking, "ya we do that too". But as the writer of this post and participant of the seminar, I'm skeptical that you really do. And i don't care what lineage you're in either, by the way WT or not. Unfortunately, there just aren't words that can properly capture what we was taught that day in a way that filters out 'crap' wing chun.

Then again, i'm sure others say the same about what I do. Fair enough.

On a lighter note, many of the senior students got promoted to technician grades. Haha, suckers, they have no idea what's ahead of them ;)

I remember when i got my first technician grade. I really thought "FINALLY..i'm getting somewhere." The following Monday night class, all of a sudden my Si-Fu's punches/hits were harder, faster and the general energy was of a darker, more intense nature. I remember getting slammed into the wall quite fiercely..and by the way, this is normal for us students..but we got slammed harder that day. Expectations were higher, the intensity of the lessons were stronger...

I thought it was just me. but i don't think I was alone. My fellow colleagues were right beside me getting thrown around too. I remember the looks in their eyes that night..it was just different. and at that point forward, you can see how their attendance also started dropping too by the way...

NOW, let me make it clear it's not like my Si-Fu is one abusive f*cker or anything like that. It was just very apparent that once you hit technician grade, that is truly when you start to learn and realize that levels 1-12 was just preparing you so that you can really start to learn the stuff that matters when it comes to kicking butt.

It's uncomfortable..and that's the point. I think students, especially student levels 9-12 get into a level of comfort - the students below them are easy to handle and the students above them don't really challenge them too hard either because they don't train with the senior guys too often, or the senior guys go easy on them.

and it's that new uncomfortableness that shakes your little wing chun world and all of a sudden, things you thought that worked, don't work anymore. Moves you thought was going to save you, take too long to execute, your structure sucks again, your enemy is stronger and faster than you imagined before...and on top of that..you have the technical programs and drills to learn.  oh and Si-Fu's expectations are higher too.

i personally believe this has something to do with why over the years some senior students have left..yes life gets in the way. No doubt i'm in that camp too as attending classes regularly is difficult to foresee week to week. But then you got some people that just totally disappear. I think the realism of the drills and the scenarios and the lessons themselves takes away from the fun factor in some cases.. and that might also play a role in creating discomfort.

When the going gets tough... what would you do? do you get tough and get going? or do you just get going?

And let me just take a moment here to say that I'm not implying that the new technicians will start dropping out or that every class will be hell moving forwards. On the contrary! these group of guys i know are so dedicated and fond of the art, that I can only see them embracing this! They also know how to have fun and train seriously without letting ego get in the way. They are truly a great group of guys and I always learn something from them when I have the privilege of training with them.

I just wanted to share with you, my observations experience from having received my 1st technician grading.

At the end of the day, I'm sure we can agree that you only really begin to learn once you hit 1st technician.

Until then...

Sunday, December 9, 2012

X-factor....are you ready?

So you've been practicing martial arts some time now. You've either decided to do it for fun, as a hobby, for self-defense aspect and/or for its fitness and health benefits. Whatever the case, the martial art system touches on any of these topics..some focus in on a particular thing more than others..but they all look at those things:

  • health/fitness
  • fun/hobby
  • self-defense
  • confidence
but i think it's missing another element. An element so crucial and essential to martial arts but i think have dissipated given the society we live in..as well as it being diluted by time, economics, teacher's preference, etc.

And what is that element?

that element is handling fear. Fear is that natural instinct we all have that means survival. No fear = death...from an evolutionary standpoint.

Things have no doubt changed now that we live in the society we live in..we are, for the most part, safe. 

But fear is an essential element in the fight scenario - either fight or run....or freeze up. 

But it's interesting that karate classes, taekwondo, boxing, etc do not tackle this subject head on. it's almost assumed that we will be able to fight in the face fear. i don't think everyone will. i think some will run, some will freeze and some will give in...and some will fight.

But shouldn't our self-defense classes teach us how to handle fear? how to use it to your advantage? how to train your body to deal with the fear response?

What are your thoughts?

until then.

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