Lately I’ve been thinking about attending my wing chun class again for at least one lesson per week. That got me thinking about one of the most important lessons martial arts ever taught me: humility. As always, I’m going to walk you through how I learned it via the arts, and how I apply it to daily life.
I met this friend named Mike, who is a team mate of mine through Team Beachbody. I was telling him how I studied wing chun and did P90X. At the time he wasn’t doing any workouts so he wanted to see what that AND my martial art were all about.
When he came over, we did Kenpo X together. Then he had me show him some wing chun moves. I told him the three basic features of the style, then told him to come at me any way he saw fit so I could demonstrate how it worked in action. The attacks he did were completely improvised, and yet I was able to take care of business every time he came at me.
This had me feeling pretty cool, as you can imagine. After all, when you study a martial art, in class you always have that lingering doubt in the back of your mind: “How good am I? Would I really be able to handle myself on the street?” My training session with Mike proved I could.
We’re talking world class martial artist here, right? Well, not completely.
Keep in mind due to my time and money restraints, I’m hardly ever able to make it to class. Shortly after my time with Mike, I went back to my school for the first time in ages. Sifu had us focus on chi sao for the night. (For those of you who don’t know, this is like our version of sparring.)
We took turns pairing off and doing chi sao for several minutes. And you know what amazed me the most? How easily they dominated because they had been going to class on a regular basis, and I hadn’t! Out on the street against someone with no training I could do pretty good, but in class…not so much.
I think it’s easy to see how this lesson could be applied to daily life. You never know when someone else may be better than you. Don’t ever think you are the greatest at anything. Always remember to “keep your cup empty.” And above all, you should remember this quote from Thomas Carlyle, who also spoke of humility:
“Every man is my superior in that I may learn from him.”
You know the drill: feel free to leave comments…intelligent, constructive, non-insulting comments. Let’s not forget another lesson that most of us were taught by our parents, and which certain people out there (you know who you are) should be able to easily remember because you probably STILL live with your parents:
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it.”