I went to my wing chun class for the first time in ages yesterday. Sifu had me run through the wooden dummy form in its entirety, then told me to go through it slowly, section by section.
We didn’t wind up getting further than the first section. Why? Because one of the problems I’m having involves body mechanics. The first two moves in the dummy form are two biu saos. Then your right hand goes behind the dummy to grab it. After that you pivot so you are facing left, then pull with both hands.
My problem was when I pulled, I would be rocked by the motion just as much as the dummy! That’s because the top and bottom half of my body are not synchronized. I was using just my upper body strength instead of my ENTIRE body. When you turn to the side, you have to “sit in your stance,” in other words sink your weight down.
So, for the next 15-20 minutes, Sifu had me practice that…and that alone. But you know what? Even though we were doing only one thing, I didn’t feel the least bit bored. Why? Because I’m into wing chun for the long haul, and I know that what Sifu showed me in the dummy form would affect EVERYTHING ELSE. Improving the synchronicity of my body will help my wing chun improve as a whole, not just the dummy form.
Not everyone gets that…or when they do, they say “that’s too hard” and bail. Some people want to just get a pat on the back and be told they’re on their way to mastering the art. Sifu won’t do that. He won’t let you sell yourself short…won’t let you go out there with a false sense of confidence.
That’s why people don’t “get” his school. They go to other places that stroke your ego and hand you out a belt simply because you paid for it (not to mention the test fee).
I remember talking to a young woman (who we will call TRACY here). Tracy went to SUNY Albany with me, and she also attended my wing chun school. She started there around the same time as me, but she was mad because Sifu had started teaching me the second form (chum kiu) while she was still on sil lum tao.
I tried explaining things to her, saying, “This isn’t like other schools. They don’t move you on to the next form just because you finished the previous one. You have to be ready, and he must not feel you are ready.”
Well, my statement wound up causing more problems than it solved. Needless to say, she stopped attending school soon after that.
While I certainly do appreciate it when Sifu compliments me, I don’t expect it. I want to learn the rest of the pole form (I know about one-third of it), I want to learn the butterfly swords form…but I know he won’t let me until I am ready.
If I had a bad ego, I would bail on the school just like my fellow SUNY classmate…but since I don’t, I am fine with it.
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