The system of nature, of which man is a part, tends to be self-balancing, self-adjusting, self-cleansing. Not so with technology.
— E. F. Schumacher
Occasionally I get emails from all over this Earth asking me about WingChun technique. These inquiries hail from India, Jamaica, the Philippines, Canada, Australia, Taiwan, Germany, and many more countries, let alone numerous cities throughout the United States.
That is the beauty of the so-called World Wide Web. I enjoy hearing from my readers and fans wherever on the planet they are. In appreciation for them reaching out, I always do my best to answer their questions.
Increasingly, I receive requests for online training. Unfortunately, I have to decline them. Perhaps I am conservative but I don’t feel like it is possible to responsibly pass on our teachings without being in the presence of my students.
I agree that some knowledge may be transmitted via the internet. But there is so much that cannot be absorbed. First and foremost is the utter lack of tactile feedback. You must feel, rather than just see, or hear how WingChun works.
That is an easily forgotten side effect of online communication. We fall into the seductive illusion that it is a suitable or sufficient substitute for direct relationship. But it is far from it.
Thus, I am so grateful that my teacher, Grandmaster of the IAW, Sifu Klaus Brand holds the same view. Since 1997, he has made the effort to travel from Germany at least twice a year.
There is no way I would have gotten as far as I have without his powerful support. It means the world to me that someone like him would continuously do that for me and my students.
The true interactions we share among our community makes our lives real and meaningful.
In contrast, the amount of abstract data and raw information we can access is staggering. We can barely skim the surface. Every hour, there are many hours worth of footage uploaded to YouTube. And that is just one social media website.
We also have Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, not to mention audiobooks, podcasts, blogs, etc. With the convenience of our smartphones, we can tap into an perpetual stream of simulation and stimulation twenty four hours a day.
However, what we gain in quantity, we often lose in quality. It is overwhelming to filter through the incessant noise to find valuable, relevant and practical tidbits that can actually improve our lives.
What I observe and believe to be most missing in our modern lifestyle is connection to ourselves, others and Nature. Our focus drowns in distraction. Digital replaces flow, virtual displaces real.
This is how things are now. We need not quit technology. However, once in a while at least, it is necessary for our physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual health to return to the primal basics.
We can hike in the wilderness. We can sign up for a survival skills class. We can fish, hunt, or garden. We can go climbing. We can walk in a park. We can sit in the sun.
Besides escaping to the outdoors, we can even simply take a deep breath as a small step back towards ourselves. Or you can choose a formal path like dance, yoga, or the martial arts. Nothing replaces the experience of a technological timeout to inhabit your body, embody your mind, and move your emotions.
That is exactly what we do several times a week at our WingChun Groups and Academies. A major reason all our members keep consistently attending classes is to release daily stresses, to enjoy face time with one another, to literally make positive contact, to shift their attention to naturally upgrading themselves.
The beauty of WingChun is that we require no props and little space. All we need to unplug, stand up and practice. The only technology your need is your technique.