I am pleased to share a guest post by one of my students. Evan has been training for about a year and is currently preparing to test for the 5th Student Grade. I admire him for the consistency, attitude and intelligence he brings to our class. Read about his experience so far integrating the lessons of WingChun to his life in the new year.
— Sifu Paul Wang
On Becoming WingChun
by Evan Muzzall
As a WingChun practitioner entering intermediate levels of study, I have had moderate time to reflect on the significance of my training. I have started down the long, winding path to personal growth through “becoming” WingChun. There is no end to this road, no material rewards, and no easy answers. What it offers instead is the opportunity to “learn how to learn”, so to speak.
While the hundreds of thousands of arm and leg collisions have improved my capabilities for physical self-defense and altered the constitutions of my bones and muscles, they have also taught me an emotional intelligence that I would not have acquired anywhere else.
Specifically, WingChun challenges me to react to a given situation in increasingly intelligent ways. Like familiarity with any language, WingChun requires at least a basic familiarity with the phonemes, morphemes, grammar, and syntax until it becomes second nature.
Such parallels with life in general are great. The external world is chaotic and internal struggles seek to tear oneself in two. Our successes and failures depend on countless factors, many of which are beyond our control. However, improving our preparation habits and the ways that we react are two that have no prerequisites except for someone to teach you how to develop the necessary mental fortitude.
Like many people, I also sometimes find it difficult to manage life situations and I react impulsively. We accumulate stress and judge others when we should in fact be focusing on self-improvement. How do we cope when we feel like we do not know how?
Cultivation of emotional intelligence is one way. More acute understandings of our roles and responsibilities can supplement broader definitions of self and the quest to lead a more purpose-driven life – this in turn can promote more substantial social interactions. The many people who enter and exit our lives are impossible to ignore once our paths have crossexd, no matter for how brief of a time.
Training WingChun has solidified this purpose and I ask: “what have I done today to uplift my peers and help others?” This has helped me develop more primal understandings of humanity and its existence in a variety of different contexts. Because the mind and body are inextricably connected, I continue to find and remember the ways in which training WingChun with a partner or the Siu Nim Tau and Tsum Kiu solo forms can be used to bring to the world intelligence based on a decisiveness founded in kindness, empathy, and patience for the people around us. The mental combat is every bit as important as the physical.
In 2016, how will you become more WingChun?