Yesterday was a lovely warm day, but as the sun faded, so did the temperature (strange that isn’t it?), so I decided to make a fire.
Cutting a long (and unnecessary) story short, I stacked the log burner with kindling, all set around a fire natural lighter, lit it and closed the door over, leaving just enough of a gap to get the thing going wild in no time.
At the time of choosing to light the fire, I forgot it was also round the time of the children finishing their evening meal, which meant me leaving the room, in order to help clear up and get them ready for bed.
After a while, with a spare moment I popped my head in the main room again to check on the fire, it had almost gone out!
I found the smallest pieces of wood I could, scraps, splinters, sticks and other kindling, re-lit it with a match and waited until it took shape on its own, at that point I placed a larger log on top and left to continue the kids bedtime routine.
Finally managing to get everything done, I then returned to the fire only to see it in the same state as before, with just a few embers desperately trying to keep alive, and it is alive, it needs oxygen, it needs fuel, and it needs an ignition.
A fire can be such a beautiful thing but it can also be very dangerous.
As always with me, when I see something like this I always find myself making Wing Chun comparisons, and I might add, comparisons with life.
For a life comparison I thought of the ignition being like a birth, a moment where something suddenly creates life.
For your Wing Chun connection it would be the one thing that told you:
‘Yes, this is the one for me’
The oxygen, in many ways, needs no explanation, although we do change our breathing to fit with our needs
Slow breathing for when we need to relax, for when the fire is now fully alive, and for when we play our Siu Lim Tau.
Fast breathing for when we use exercise, to get a rush of air that will help create the fire’s initial flare, or for when we spar let’s say.
My main connection though was thinking of the fire lighting like a new student.
How we cannot always leave to chance that they will just be fine and just leave them to it.
As Instructors we need to be there to constantly check on them, to nudge them back on track should they start to falter.
As the Chief Instructor for wingchun.online it is not possible for me to constantly check on all of my students, but it is important for them to check in with me should they have any questions, and it is also vital, for this very reason that we do not listen to our teachers just the once, or watch a particular video, just once, because just once will not be enough.
If we do not go back regularly to check on our students, or you do not go back to check you understood the earlier videos, if you do not going back to get confirmation from your Sifu on the understanding of a technique, this is the same as not going back to check on the fire, this will undoubtably see that flame burn away to nothing, no matter how much enthusiasm you may have had at the start of your journey.
‘The candle that burns twice as bright,
burns half as long’