Originally today I planned on writing and posting a blog called “People CAN Change,” but that is going to have to wait. I tried starting it on my lunch break, but the words wouldn’t come. I know what I want to say, but I didn’t feel the fever to write it down. That’s when I know I’ve really locked into something special: when my hand moves across the paper so fast that it feels like it might start a fire!
Instead, I am going to write down my thoughts about one of my other great loves: wing chun kung fu. I’ve been attending on a steady basis, except for last week: I was out all week because I hurt my back. But a few glitches aside, I have been pretty good. Up until a few days ago, I’ve been on autopilot. Do I mean just going through the motions? No, I have still been making a conscious effort to get better. What I mean is when Sifu asked me if I had questions on anything, I would say “no.”
I usually don’t think in terms of asking specific things or techniques. After all, you shouldn’t think to yourself, “I’m going to improve this punch or this kick or this block.” You should think, “I’m going to improve my wing chun.” I equate it to the breakthrough I had when I was trying to get better at singing. I didn’t ask myself, “How do I sing a rock song better?” It was simply, “How do I SING better?” When I realized that, I started to improve…well, until I temporarily gave up on music. In any case I try to avoid thinking about things like that with wing chun because of this “bigger picture” approach, but yesterday it dawned on me that it takes little things to COMBINE INTO the big picture. So now I had an epiphany going in the opposite direction: focusing on the smaller things, the little weak areas.
With that realization in mind, I came up with the following list:
1) Practice more chi sao.
2) Develop uprooting energy. This is the feeling you develop where your opponent feels as if you are “under” them, which disrupts their balance. For a short guy like me, it is IMPERATIVE to learn this skill. After all, a big
guy can’t take me out if he has no balance.
3) Still need to tap into my agressive side.
4) Get my arms more along my centerline. Sifu showed me in chi sao that, while my structure was good, my arms had a tendency to drift off the center.
5) Proper release of two-way energy. If one arm is going forward and the other backward, they should both have the same kind of release.
6) Work on forward intention. If I feel an opening in my chi sao partner’s defense, then I should GO FOR IT. Instead I find myself standing there saying, “Yep, there’s an opening,” but I do nothing to pursue it.
Most of these problem areas are tied together and be solved by the same process: for example, if I address #1, then this will lead to improvement in #2, #3, and #6. If I practice my forms, this will address issues #4 and #5. Chi sao will also PARTIALLY address the “drifting off centerline” issue, but ideally that is something that should be corrected during forms. In other words, it is something I can address on my own time, and Sifu can help me with when I attend class.
I want to address the issue of tapping into my aggression separately here. This is something that actually exists outside of wing chun, although I know Sifu could help me with it if I asked him. As I have said in blogs in the past, I seem to be a bully magnet. It seems like people try to bully me more than anyone I know. In fact, a coworker said to me, “Man, in this last month you have told me about more situations where someone tried to bully you than I’ve had to deal with in the last five years!” It’s pathetic and sad. I’m 38 years old; the days of being picked on in the schoolyard should be LONG GONE…but for me, they’re still here. Well, I want it to stop. I want
to project an image that says, “That’s a guy I shouldn’t mess with.” Since I can’t figure it out on my own, I need to ask for guidance, and Sifu seems like a good person to start with.
I know it won’t transpire overnight, but here’s to hoping it works.