“It matters if you just don’t give up.”
— Stephen Hawking
How was your first quarter? Just over a week ago, we passed the vernal equinox to enter another cycle of springtime, which reminds me what WingChun 詠春 means — Praising Spring. This is reason to reflect on a renewed season of growth.
88 days of 2015 have already gone by, leaving us just 75% of the year. Let’s pause a moment to notice where we are right now. How deep are you breathing? Is there peace in your heart? What is your state of health? What is your sense of self? Do you feel purpose in life? Who are you close to?
These are essential questions and, as an ambivert, I often fail to express my answers enough. However, more than anything lately, I hold dear important relationships. These are not always the easy, happy and positive ones. But they help me see new things, challenge my beliefs and force needed change.
Similarly, for all its beauty we can rejoice in, the way of WingChun relates us to pain, loss and discomfort. Besides the occasional aches, bumps and bruises, we also have to face our boredom, doubt and frustration. These inevitably surface if we stay with something long enough.
And then we start wondering:
“Do I really have to train this exercise again? I already did it a million times.”
“I have so much stuff to get done. I’ll just skip class again tonight.”
“I can’t afford the 90 bucks a month. I’m going to cancel my membership.”
“The people in class are getting on my nerves. I don’t want to deal with them.”
“The instructors don’t care about me. Actually I think they like hitting me!”
If such thoughts have never flooded your mind, that’s great! But I admit I have entertained them. In fact, sooner or later, it is normal for excuses to arise. Yet whether you accept them or not is up to you.
Will they tip you over the edge to quitting? Or will they test your resolve to keep going?
Believe me, I understand legitimate reasons to stop something you love. I bid farewell to four of my original training partners (not to mention countless students) who started WingChun with me in the mid-nineties. We even achieved the First Technician Grade together. Then they all departed one by one for various reasons.
Yours could be external variables like illness, finances, marriage, children and career or internal ones like fear, anger, procrastination, depression and anxiety.
But among the tens of thousands of daily impressions that ebb and flow in our heads, who controls your tide? Sit back and ask yourself, When will I dedicate to evolving myself? Because nothing changes until I do. Stand up and tell yourself, I must claim time to upgrade myself. Because no one can do that for me.
Occasionally on my Twitter, I craft aphorisms, the latest of which read:
Defend the time you need to train your self. That is an inner meaning of Self-Defense: to not lose who you are. #TrainThyself
You can go at this process alone. But best to have strong allies. That is why our Academy exists.
It is sometimes hard to see what is possible and to envision your success. When you join a motivated group, you can interact with living examples of individuals who embody different phases of WingChun mastery. We identify those stages as Student, Technician, Master and Grandmaster.
Speaking of, Sifu Klaus Brand — the IAW Founder, our WingChun Grandmaster and my personal mentor since 1997 — is coming next month for our 2015 Spring Event Series. You have 3 more days to get the maximum discount rate to our 8th Annual Spring Camp.
We will immerse ourselves in the art for a weekend along the breathtaking coastline of the Marin Headlands. Although we tried to keep costs as affordable as possible, it is an investment to attend. But I promise you one of the most deeply satisfying and soul-enriching experiences that your cash can buy.
Click here to register today.
Finally, please accept my gratitude for putting your precious time, energy and money in our WIngChun community. Without your vote of confidence, I could not facilitate a powerful space for us to train, grow and laugh together. Even after nearly two decades, I do not take your support for granted. I will continue to give my all towards helping you. No excuses!
Sifu Paul Wang