Student Spotlight on Megan Hemmerle

Training is the only way I improve.

Megan is my senior female student. Her amiable attitude and pleasant presence over the years has impressed me. She’s always smiling or about to smile! Because of her grasp of WingChun technique, I like to demonstrate Lat Sao (Casting Arms) patterns and Puen Sao (Coiling Arms) flows with her.

I look forward to supporting Megan’s consistent progress as she prepares for her First Technician Grade. She sets a positive and practical example for us all to admire. You get a good sense of her experience from the straightforward perspectives she expresses below:

Megan and Tyler training at Spring Camp.

Name: Megan Hemmerle
Started: February 2006
Graduation: Pre-Primary Level
Academy: HQ Berkeley
Instructor: Sihing Paul Wang
Occupation: Marketing
Hometown: Cincinnati, Ohio

How did you find WingChun?
I wanted to learn a form of Self-Defense but didn’t know where to start. I came to the Berkeley academy with a friend who suggested WingChun. I had no idea what to expect.

What made you decide to join?
Curiosity brought me to a trial class. I was frustrated that I didn’t understand everything right away, but we learned simple, practical techniques early on which motivated me to keep practicing. Years later I still look forward to the next training opportunity!

What are the benefits of WingChun?
The benefits keep changing the longer I do it. Not only do I feel physically stronger, more well-coordinated and energized, but I have an increased sense of awareness and space (mine as well as others) and a greater ability to trust my judgment in what might typically be uncomfortable situations.

What makes WingChun unique?
It’s unique because it can work for anyone. I love that each class is different and that no two training partners are the same, yet we’re all gaining similar benefits from it. For me, it requires a unique “intent”, one that I don’t often express in my daily life (and is different from dance, pilates or other physical activities I enjoy). It reminds me that life is short and there’s so much to learn by stepping outside of your comfort zone.

Describe your favorite WingChun idea.
I like the idea of connecting your whole body. That simple, efficient movements and structural alignment can be so powerful. During a punch, for example. Or even in Chi Sao (Adhering Arms). Using what appears to be only one part of your body, but feeling the connection in your arms, shoulders, hips, legs, feet and ground. Feeling the strength that comes from this connection is exciting.

What hooked you to WingChun?
I like the way I feel after training and the ideas that start to click in my head when movements I’ve tried 50, 100 times finally make sense. I was also hooked after learning to use different parts of my body (elbows for example) and giving them a new job or function. Very efficient and sustainable!

Why is training important to you?
Training is the only way I improve. It reinforces movements, helps commit them to memory, and makes it easier to progress.

How do you apply WingChun to your life?
Whether I’m travelling, walking alone, or maneuvering through a crowd I’m applying WingChun. Unpredictable situations happen every day which require awareness, self-confidence, strength and perseverance all of which I’ve gained from training. Health and fitness are also very important to me. If I have my health, I can handle any situation and WingChun has been a healthy addition to my life.

How is WingChun relevant to your occupation?
I work in a fast-paced, sometimes stressful environment with lots of competing deadlines. Practicing WingChun reinforces the need to stay calm under pressure and the ability to diffuse difficult situations.

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