‘Play’ Your Forms
The other day I had the pleasure of chatting with one of my students as we discussed Forms, not the importance of perfecting them, but the importance of enjoying them.
It is the easiest thing to put so much stress on yourself regarding perfection that you begin to create your own problems, issues that were not even there to start with.
Baring this in mind I am reminded of one of the most powerful stories
Master Ip Chun ever told me:
Think of your Wing Chun like growing a beautiful flower, you plant the seed give the soil food, sunshine and water, but you are still just looking at soil.
The next day again, you give the seed food, sunshine and water, but still you are just looking at soil.
It is at this point that many students leave Wing Chun because they do not see immediate benefits, only soil.
After a while you begin to see a shoot growing out of the ground, this is exciting, but it is also slow, and you are eager.
Each day you give the young flower food, sunshine and water, but in order to make it grow faster you give it a pull.
Again, every day you give food, sunshine and water, but again in order to make it grow faster you give the shoot a little pull.
The outcome of this will only serve to see the flower die.
So give the flower food, sunshine and water, but also time, and eventually you will enjoy all the beauty it has to offer.
Yesterday I had some free time and decide to play the Knife Form, ‘Bart Jam Dao’ (Eight cutting broadswords).
As I picked up my knifes I realised that I had not actually played the Knife Form since the end of November!
Now before I share with you the outcome of this Form, I wish to share another story, one of my own, one I refer to as:
The 8 Ball Of Wing Chun
It’s a very easy thing for a student to miss a session or two, and, provided they get back to class fairly soon, no harm done.
But in a time of Covid and lockdowns how many classes are actually missed and how bad is it?
Well actually, sometimes missing training for a while can possibly even be a good thing.
Let me explain (Covid restrictions aside for a moment).
If you’ve ever played pool (or any game for that matter), and then not played for a while, have you ever noticed how when you do have another crack at it, you seem to be awesome and not miss a shot!
Maybe you’re in a pool bar playing ‘Winner stays on’ and there you are, game after game, still winning, why?
The reason for this is that you have nothing to loose, you don’t care, before you even started the game you’d probably already told them you’d not played for years, so therefore there is no pressure.
Now there’s a word, Pressure, this is what makes us make mistakes.
You can bet your bottom dollar that the moment you start thinking of your shots, planning you strategy and how you’re going to win, perhaps even thinking of the next game, THAT is when it will start to go belly-up, why, because you’ve now started to put pressure on yourself.
Now let’s imagine you’re back in that bar, you’ve only had a few games and the whole thing was lots of fun, everyone is about to leave for the next bar and all you have to do is pot the easy black and grab your coat.
Imagine that just at the moment you are about to take your last shot someone drops $500 on the table, betting that you will miss it, a passing TV crew just happen to see this and quickly set up camera and lighting (it could happen, you never know! LOL).
The point is, that this previously easy black, has suddenly become very tricky and you begin to doubt your abilities.
This can also be the same for Chi Sau.
When you were at class before you tried and tried, week after week to get it right, and without knowing it, the more pressure you put on yourself the more you MAY HAVE made mistakes, through tension and over-eagerness.
What I am saying is that if you have missed class for a while there may be some positives to draw from this.
Do not think that all is lost and you’ll never get back to where you were, of course you will, and you know what, it MAY have even done you some good with regards your opportunity for Chi Sau progression.
If you have been taught Chi Sau correctly it should be like riding a bike, you never forget, you just loose that edge you may have had previously, depending that is on your mental approach and your ability to take a step back before thinking of moving forward again.
It is important that we take this beginner mentality onboard as this will allow us the opportunity to take a fresh look at our basics again and re-train without the mistakes, rather than returning thinking you are it, as this would be horrific to your training, as even if you were it, before the break, you certainly are not it now.
Return to training humble, take off any expectations and pressures you may put on yourself, and, this could be the golden ticket to propelling you forward and getting you to where you truly want to, and even deserve to be.
Do not return to class a big head, going in all guns blazing and expecting that you will be the same as you were before this crisis hit, otherwise you will quickly hit a ceiling level of which your ego will never allow you to pass.
Getting back to my Knife Form,
How did it go?
I felt like I played the most perfect Form ever, because I simply ‘played‘ it, I listened to my own teachings and just enjoyed myself, no teaching, no students watching, no demonstration, no seminar, no cameras, NO PRESSURE.
Although I must admit that when I got to the final few moves of the last section, I realised how perfectly (it just so happened) I’d played the Form up to this point and did not want to mess up the ending, luckily I didn’t, BUT what a strange thing to do, to put pressure on yourself like that for no reason?
So DO study hard, DO train hard, but also know when to just enjoy your training, because THAT is when you reap the benefits of all that previous hard work and those countless hours of perfection drilling.
Happy Form training everyone!