Get Back On Track
Do it today
(Photograph by Jake Weirick)
Some time ago I saw a funny meme which went along the lines of:
‘When you look back at all the crazy things you’ve done, do you wonder how you’re still alive?!’
I liked this because, as with so many of you too, no doubt this rings so true.
Through the decades of training, and more so the decades of teaching, I have incurred so many injuries, breaking most of my fingers, wrists (both at the same time on one occasion), ankles, nose, knee, shoulder, along with head injuries, gouged eyes and the rest, not to mention more scratches, cuts and scars than a butchers chopping block, and why is this?
Not because I was a bad practitioner, but because I was trying to be a good teacher.
My Sifu, Master Ip Chun, told me over thirty years ago in Hong Kong:
“A good teacher should be humble and mild, and not go around blowing his own trumpet.”
(That was translated by the way and probably not quite word for word)
This principle is something I have always lived by, he also said to me:
“Whenever teaching a student, only ever train/play, that little bit better than they are,
this way it will always encourage them to develop, believing ‘They almost had you then’.
There is no reason for a teacher to embarrass a student or bully them,
they are there to learn, not get beaten”.
This too is something I have always done, unfortunately at my expense and later paying the price.
I have never chastised a student for hitting me and I have never raised my voice to them either, I’ve only ever tried to calm them down immediately afterwards as they panic at either the thought of possible retaliation from me, or at the sight of their Sifu’s blood. LOL 🙂
Teaching, to me, carries a great deal of responsibility, and if I do not see it working for a student in class then there is no way it is going to work for them in the street, therefore I must make it work, encouraging them to, ‘Put the technique in!’ (Only when training on me of course!), often with me directly afterwards thinking, ‘Why the hell did you just say that?’.
In my younger days I just seemed to bounce back, healing in no time, but as the years roll on, the injuries tend to linger, taking much longer to repair, but not only the new injuries but the ghosts of all the past ones revisiting too.
It is for this reason that I have now decide to say B***S to it, I’m not going to just let the strikes in anymore, and, I am also going to get some of my fitness back too.
Not as any kind of a new year resolution or anything like that, but mainly due to catching Covid just after Christmas which I must admit knocked me for six.
There was a time, and for a LONG time too I might add, when my daily training would easily see 10,000 punches and 500 sit-ups just as a part of my routine, now let’s be honest, I’m not expecting to get back to that level (apart from the punches as they never left) but I do feel that we all need some level of fitness, I do not mean just for fighting etc but more in our general day-to-day well being.
It is never a good thing to labour over what we used to be, or to revel in the days of what we used to be able to do, instead, try to think of what you can or cannot do today, right now, and let’s see how we can build on that to make ourselves a better person tomorrow.
Christmas for so many, seems to be a time of filling yourselves with good food and enjoying lots of sofa time, so to help get you back on track, make a start by just going for a walk, trying a few press-ups, throwing some punches and playing a Form, you know you’ll feel better for it, then continue the trend, building as you go.
Oh and if you are already in peak fitness then well done to you, remembering to still build on that or at least maintain it.
It is the easiest thing to let things slip, so regular reminders to ourselves will prevent this from happening too often and too much, and not just in your fitness but in so many aspects of your life.
It is incredible the amount of people I have heard, commenting on how they used to do Wing Chun, and how they,
‘Wished they’d kept up to it, just think how good I would have been by now?’
It’s not too late!
If you have had a break from training, possibly starting with lockdowns and travel restrictions, and then letting the rut set in, get back to class now, just do it, your teacher is there waiting for you, who knows, maybe the break has done too good, allowing you to get rid of some bad habits, giving you the chance for a fresh start, BUT still carrying all the basics, knowledge and mileage you’d gained previously.
To me it’s a win – win with nothing to lose, get back to training, get back to fitness and let’s get our lives back.
Keep strong, let’s get rid of Covid and let’s get back to some normality, a normality that allows us to be grateful for what we have.
I’d like to think that at least one good thing can come out of this pandemic, that it will make us all better people and teach us to be kinder to each other as well as ourselves.
Happy training everyone.