Hold this thought clearly in your mind: I CAN DO THIS. It does not matter where you are starting from. Your age, weight, athleticism and physical ability are irrelevant. The only thing that matters is your determination, and that is ageless, weightless, and stronger than you can possibly imagine.
Every human achievement – in fact, every human talent – begins with Ignition, that powerful spark that sets off a chain of events that gets you off the sofa and into action. In this case, you’re moving onto the training floor. As you face challenges – and we’ll cover the most frequent in just a moment ‐ remember that with every step forward you are becoming more powerful. This is how you get started.
The First Step
Human beings are funny. They want a Reward Ratio to motivate them. They have to be challenged or excited or entertained in order to be motivated to do anything. From a purely logical standpoint, we would progress through the Wing Chun Concepts self-defense material based on a descending arc from most common to least common threats and responses. Unfortunately, that’s really boring.
Most threats can be avoided with simple Evasion strategies, but that involves learning about violence dynamics, types of Bad Guys, recognizing pre-incident indicators, and personal behaviors that make you a “hard target.” While valuable to know, its mostly lecture and abstract understanding. There’s not much to do in that section.
The exciting part about self-defense is dumping the Bad Guy on the ground and breaking pieces and parts that he considers important. Unfortunately, accidents happen if we jump straight to the really cool stuff. We don’t want people to end up getting hurt unintentionally. So we’re going to take a hybrid approach.
We’re going to build a solid foundation that gives you practical stuff from day one, and add onto that with each new module. As you saw in the Curriculum section, each phase is a combination of forms and drills. Each of the Wing Chun forms is like a textbook containing physical structures, techniques, tactics, and principles. All of the drills start simply and then become progressively more challenging. Just when you begin to get comfortable with a drill and think, “Hey, I got this!” we’re going to modify it, add onto it, or blend it with something else. The goal is to continually stimulate and challenge both your brain and body so that you continually improve.
Three Excuses. Three Agreements.
It is possible that as you begin Wing Chun training, you will likely face down every fear and doubt that your mind can dredge up. This is your Ego resisting change. Before you step onto the mat the first time, simply be aware of the most common tactics your monkey mind is going to throw at you. With some simple agreements with yourself, you can get past this stage.
THIS STUFF LOOKS HARD
In the old days, the Kung Fu Master would make a potential student prove their dedication and commitment before they could begin the training. Often a student would be harshly rejected time and time again before finally being accepted. This was done to test the student’s persistance.
Training Kung Fu is not easy, and it is not for everyone. The Kung Fu legends are full of stories where a new disciple would have to endure a brutal series of physical and mental tests to prove their readiness. This course has no such initiations, but the sense of commitment is the same.
Once the novelty wears off you’ll figure out that Kung Fu is Chinese for “Hard Work.” Your first agreement is simple: be willing to do the hard work. Push past the short-term pain to reach the long-term goal. It takes effort, determination, and pure grit, but you are forging a Warrior’s mind, body and spirit.
I DON’T WANT TO LOOK STUPID
This is huge. This excuse is one of the most powerful weapons our change-resistent brain will use to keep you parked in the recliner in front of the TV. No one wants to be embarrassed, feel awkward or look stupid. How many people do you know who won’t try a yoga class, dance class or new sport for this same exact reason?
There’s only one way around this: be willing to look stupid. I wish I could tell you that with this approach, you will always be comfortable, happy and graceful. You won’t. Feeling awkward is no fun. But being willing to look stupid — risking the emotional pain of making mistakes — is absolutely essential to success.
The way you improve any skill is to try, reach the limits of your ability, fail, and try again. You problem-solve, playfully. If you screw up, laugh it off and try again. If toddlers were afraid of falling, we’d all be crawling around on hands and knees. Mistakes are not verdicts on your self-worth; they are sign posts that help you navigate to the correct move.
As a last resort, your monkey brain will throw a tantrum and start calling you names. You know the drill: you’re too fat or too skinny, too old or too young, too flabby, too busy, or too something. If one of those hooks sinks in, your brain will start bargaining with you. Come back to this after you’ve lost weight, it whispers. Or maybe, wait until you’re in better shape. Sound familiar?
I’M TOO ______ TO DO THIS
Go re-read that first line on this page and make it your third agreement: I CAN DO THIS. Every excuse you can dig up is just that: an excuse. Start right now from where you are. This is a transformational process and it works TWO WAYS.
One, we’re going to use the training to get you into the fittest version of yourself. In other words, eat right, exercise and pay attention to your body. The Focus strategies will help you manage time and stress. We can’t make you any younger, so just don’t put this off. Start now, or that “I’m too old” excuse is going to be a self-fulfilling prophesy.
Two, you’ll learn to adapt Wing Chun to you. This is a core concept of the art. Your arms are too short for that technique? Here’s how to modify it. You’re not flexible enough to do that? Try this other variation. Problem-solve.
Today there are people training that have lost one or more limbs, are blind, and are adapting the techniques to work for them despite their disabilities. Your excuse is invalid.
That said, DO check with your doctor before beginning this or any other new physical activity. Being SAFE begins with being SMART. Make sure that you are “mechanically sound” and ready to train.
What To Expect
By this point you’ve developed a feel for how the information is this course will be presented. So far, each chapter has hopefully given you something to think about. The biggest difference when you start the actual course is that each new lesson is going to give you something to do.
Expect to get up and take action after reading each module. That action may be practicing a strike, repeating a footwork pattern, assembling a piece of equipment, or standing in complete stillness while focusing on nothing but the breath. Whatever the module prescribes, you stand up and go do it for twenty minutes. That’s the deal.
If you agree, then we’re going to start with a course called Level One: Initiate. This course costs only the time and effort that you put into it. Even if you don’t continue to the advanced lessons, we think you’ll learn something valuable here.
NEXT STEP: Sign Up
That’s it for the preparation work. You are now ready to begin training Wing Chun Kung Fu. Take a deep breath, shake off any tension, and get ready to step into the training hall. Click the Sign Up button to choose between in-person or online training, create your account, log in and begin your journey.