Last week at my job we went into a staff meeting simply to not sit at our desks bored anymore because we still don’t have work. One of my coworkers told me she just saw the movie IP MAN. (She brought this up because she knew I study wing chun.) She even knew he was Bruce Lee’s teacher.
I said, “Yeah? You want to see something cool? Check this out.”
I went to the dry erase board and showed them the following lineage flow chart:
Grandmaster YIP MAN
——————–>YIP CHING (his youngest son) and BRUCE LEE
——————————>RUSS CICHON (student of Yip Ching)
—————————————->STEVE GROGAN (student of Russ Cichon)
In other words, in terms of the “wing chun” family tree, Bruce Lee is like my kung fu “uncle.” They were impressed by that.
Then someone asked me if I could show them some moves, so I ran through the first form, Sil Lum Tao. Every now and then I stopped to show some applications of certain techniques. As I got to the end of the form, I started thinking about showing how things I have learned in wing chun can be applied to the workplace. (Believe me, some of them need it.)
What was the grand lesson I wanted to share? Learning to accept what comes.
Here is the analogy: let’s say you get into a fight. Your opponent comes at you with a right hook punch. What do you do? You react! You can’t say to yourself, “No, that’s not right! He was supposed to come at me with a left front snap kick!” Well, he didn’t do that. You have to accept what he DID do. That’s the way it is.
How can this be applied to work? I will show you an example. At my job I have a coworker, who I will name Goofball. This is not meant in a derogatory way because I can be pretty silly myself, but I’m not as uninhibited as him. There are some people who get very irritated by Goofball because they come to work angry about one thing or another and, when they see him being goofy and lighthearted, it makes them angrier because THEY can’t be that way. In their minds, they say, “He shouldn’t be all goofy and carefree like that.”
Maybe he shouldn’t be, but he IS. And in my opinion, you have to accept it…just like when someone doesn’t throw the attack you were expecting them to. I mean, why get all hung up on the fact that he can be so carefree? The only reason they get so mad is because they’re jealous THEY don’t feel that way.
On most days, I feel the same way Goofball does…but even on the adys when I come in mad as hell over something, I don’t take it out on him like my coworkers do. If anything, I tell him he is lucky he can feel that way.
It’s my opinion that Bruce Lee’s idea of “being like the nature of water” stems from his wing chun training. Think of water flowing down a mountain. When it encounters a boulder, does the water stop moving? Does it say “hey, you shouldn’t be here?” No. It maneuvers around the obstacle and goes on its way.
I think there are quite a few people at my job who could use this lesson. I’d love to share it with them. Even if they ignored it, at least I planted a seed. Whether they choose to cultivate it or not is their decision.
As always, feel free to comment.