What a WingChun Tour de France!
On Friday, I had the pleasure of reuniting with my IAW-UK counterparts Sifu Ed Pettit and Sifu Tony Hollander. I hadn’t seen them since my 2009 trip to England, where they initiated me in my first glass of genuine Guinness. But even without the easy cheer of beer, I always enjoy their unpretentious company.
Later that evening, I was happy to see Sihing Ralph Dahl who, along with his assistant Sihing Simon Doberanske, drove 11 hours from Frankfurt to join us. Such dedication proven as action taken and obstacles overcome always impresses me. It was invigorating to train with him. As two of Sifu’s senior students, we acknowledged the pleasure of toasting each other as old friends, having first met in 1998 in California.
Our host, the local instructor of WingChun Bordeaux, Vincent Mercier was gracious and generous. I enjoyed spending time with him and his wonderful wife, who was a great overall support. And photographer! I’m glad that they are taking such careful care of our development here. It bodes well for a sustainable growth.
On Saturday, energized by months of anticipation, a motivated group of students gathered for our WingChun Seminar. It was Sifu’s first IAW event in France. As usual, but always anew, the teachings poured out were full of biting wit and bitter truth. Afterwards, we were all intoxicated with information, drunk as Vikings after battles won.
I enjoyed connecting with many of these spirited WingChun warriors. They were not just passionate but well prepared. I was impressed by their standard of movement and comprehension, despite occasionally rough translations. WingChun body language is universal. It’s encouraging to observe such consistent quality in different countries I’ve visited.
On Sunday, we reconvened for a Special Class which focused on basic applications. I never tire of fun fundamentals! Sifu illustrated the powerful flexibility of our technical system. We remixed the elements of Tsong Kuen (Thrusting Punch), Gwan Kuen (Rotating Punch), Bong Sau (Winging Arm), Lap Sau (Pulling Arm) and Gwat Sau (Scraping Arm) with Dap Bo (Striding Step), Yi Ma (Shifting Stance) or Soeng Bo (Advancing Step). The combinations were elegant and solid, like some of the old local architecture.
On Monday, we took a trip to the Lacanau coast and got a chance to unwind over some fresh seafood and Bordeaux wine. I guess a tipsy theme is emerging. But what can I expect in the company of Germans, English and French? Of course I represented the USA to down a drink now and then. How very international we are, so unique and alike.
This is my last post in Europe. On my trip I had many ideas I’d like to share in upcoming articles. Meanwhile, merci for following my adventures. Prost! Cheers! Santé!
What quenches your thirst? Knowledge learned? Passion pursued? Goals set and met? Traveling here and there? Do tell: