What Started You Off?
At wingchun.online we have a popup which appears from time to time when you log in, reminding you of the ‘Goal of the month’ and the goal for January, was to:
‘Remind yourself of why you started in the martial arts,
What was it that first sparked that interest and love, that made you want to train?
Find that spark again and relight that a fire.”
I mention this because it raised a few interesting chats through the students, allowing me to read enjoyable comments of peoples ‘First love‘, if you wish, of the arts,
For me, the initial attraction was in Judo as a child and then Karate, mainly as I began to realise the need for wanting to train kicks, especially after having seen a certain Mr Lee at the movies and enjoying ‘The Water Margin’ and ‘Monkey’ on TV.
The early years
It was when I started competing at Brown/Black belt level that I discovered I needed additional help, taking an interest in Muay Thai for my legs and Wing Chun for my hands, after seeing Wing Chun however, for me, that was the end of my Karate days.
Early days of transition eh?
One of my students mentioned his past training and asked me:
“What is your opinion on Bagua?”
And it is this idea which I wish to elaborate on, mainly for Michael (the student asking this question), but also to share with others by way of a discussion I guess?
I’ve always loved the idea of the traditional elements and the old styles, unfortunately they often no longer serve so well as an effective street self defence.
Some of these styles are 2000 years old, some styles even recorded as early as 3000BC, and I am sure they would have worked considering their attackers would have had NO idea of what they were doing (if only it was still like that! LOL).
Wing Chun is a crossover, being developed only a few hundred years ago (at the most), it links the past skills, to that of more modern attacks.
We have seen rapid changes in recent history, changes for improvement, but it will I am sure these improvements will burn themselves out at some point, (Just like that of the effect of fossil fuels on the planet!) so we will need some traditional elements, like a default setting to go back to, for reference if nothing else.
We’ve seen changes in everything, and this is to be expected, even through language, we speak very differently today, using ‘Modern English’, compered to how we did in the 17th century, in Shakespearian times and yet even though we know this, it is given little thought.
In ‘Biblical English’, the King James version, which came out in 1611, in the New Testament it reads:
‘Forgive them Father, for they know not what they do’
Whereas today we would simply say,
‘Forgive them Father, they do not know what they are doing’
Look at the last 100 years, improvements in medicine, in diet and in our abilities, we have grown taller, stronger, faster, to run a 4 minute mile was unheard of before Roger Bannister, just as running the 100 metres in under 10 seconds, now these are normal goals at professional levels!
To me it is important that we keep a record of our past, and respect where we have come from, but I also think we need to make this work for us too.
My Sifu, Ip Chun, once said to me:
“Wing Chun must evolve, otherwise it would be like we never invented the wheel”
It would be so interesting to see how a boxer from just fifty years ago would match up to the modern day pugilist.
In street fighting,
30 years ago it was considered unbelievable that someone could be kicked in the head if they went to ground.
20 years ago it was considered unbelievable that someone could be glassed.
10 years ago it was considered unbelievable that someone could be knifed.
These days, these things are to be expected.
Wing Chun for me carries a balance, strong connections to the traditional elements of Chinese Gung Fu,
but still having practical uses for todays modern society.
Whatever your reason for starting your training and whatever your reason for continuing to train, let them be for good, to protect you yes but to also keep you in good health and in happiness, for the sheer joy of being involved in this most beautiful of the arts.