IAW Headquarters Trip – Day Five

Last night I enjoyed a dusk walk, and even a ripe snack of dark wild cherries, in the smiling countryside. This verdant landscape painted with flowering accents and framed by citrus skies seeped into my sleep.

My morning was mostly free. The only day off this trip. I used it to digest the copious information presented so far. Taking notes is a useful exercise to replay body patterns in mind, even if you can’t read them later on due to illegibilty or unintelligibility.

It wasn’t until evening that I reconvened with Sihing Tobias for one of the regular classes at the HQ. He introduced me as the US National Instructor and asked that I help teach his students. I was more than glad to oblige. Even while vowing once again to learn more German.

The fortunate fact is that WingChun is a universal language. Self-Defense is a basic human concern. Continue reading

IAW Headquarters Trip – Day One

After a tolerable flight, I landed in Frankfurt today at high noon. It was a balmy 30° C, which Sifu promptly calculated as 86° F using a conversion heuristic. Incidentally and otherwise, I always learn a lot from him. We enjoyed catching up a bit while heading back to Bruchsal.

A few hours later, despite some lingering jetlag, I was fortunately able to maintain decent focus and adequate energy through a Technician Class and Master Class at the IAW Headquarters. In each, we covered the Biu Jee (Darting Fingers) form and Mok Yan Jang (Wooden Person Pile) function, respectively. I discovered enlightening links between these advanced programs and the fundamental levels.

It was an exciting commencement of my trip to spend a dynamic three hours with my WingChun colleagues, diligent exemplaries like Sifu Alex, Sihing Igor, Sihing Alex, Sihing Marc and Sihing Tobias. Tomorrow we meet again with Degree and Technician aspirants for five more hours of fun.

True Weekend Warriors

Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Four days straight of Special Events is a special holiday gift for us WingChun Warriors.

It started on Friday with a double header. The Master Class and Technician Class are always inspiring opportunities to interact with the best practitioners in the IAW. Saturday was a Small Group mostly attended by those who wanted additional training to prepare for their upcoming Testing. On Sunday we had the longest session yet. It was the first day of evaluations for those pursuing the Pre-Primary Level and Technician Grades. We ended up going for almost five hours.

Finally, on Monday evening everyone converged at Sifu Alex’s main Academy in Stuttgart for the year-ending Christmas Seminar. Preceding the adults, it was a treat to watch Sifu work with the WingChun Tigers. For those who doubt that children can perform and excel in our Self-Defense movements, it’s for want of seeing them in action. They are every bit as passionate as our older members.

At the end of this last WingChun Seminar of 2009, many new graduates were certified. Of special note were Sihing Igor Peic and Sihing Alex Decker whose dedication and diligence to attain the 4th Technician Grade was fully evident. It was also pleasing to be present as Sihing Tobias and his training partner, Sihing Chris Barnisky, were awarded their 3rd Technician Grade. Look out for these two HQ Instructors who might be visiting us during the summer of 2010.

My stay is not quite over yet. Some more learning and reflection to go. Not to mention a trip to France. But all in all this is shaping up to be a perfect concluding chapter for the year. One that sends a strong momentum into the next.

More and Better

Day three was another full day that kicked off with a Private Lesson in the morning. It never fails to impress me how fail-safe and fool-proof our WingChun system is. And increasingly so with additional details to fill in seeming gaps. Education via experiencing errors is effective. Of course, only if they are soon followed by corrections and, thus, progression.

I mentally exercised sequence patterns as we drove to cosmopolitan Karlsruhe for a tasty traditional meal. Pausing to digest lunch and stroll among  booths of the Weihnachtsmarkt (Christmas market), I resumed reviewing on the way back. Luckily, I wasn’t behind the wheel. And that’s not because of Glühwein (mulled wine).

Later in the evening I joined Sihing Chris Barnisky, IAW-HQ Instructor, in another Private Lesson to prepare for his 3rd Technician Grade exam this weekend. The Biu Jee Sections (8-12) contain combat coordination which are such brutal beauty to behold. Self-Defense is sometimes a perfect paradox.

There’s more. The Thursday night Regular Class was attended by about 15 students working hard in their Programs. This time, I enjoyed running through the First Section, what IAW Middle Level trainees appreciate as the eight-fold foundation of Puen Sao, with the Pre-Primary Level (PPL) aspirants. You can never repeat these basic exercises quite enough.

Somehow, in art, nothing gets old. Even after the umpteenth time, the artist renews.

WingChun Winter Wonderland

First time to Germany in the middle of winter. And it shows. Luckily, I dug the scarf and gloves out of California storage last minute.

But training warms up the WingChun fire quickly. Just a few hours after arriving at the International Academy of WingChun (IAW) Headquarters, the blood began to burn through both the jetlag and cold. First, it was a comprehensive Double Lesson with Sifu Klaus Brand, together with Sihing Tobias Ries. Then another hour and a half Regular Class during which I had the pleasure of checking students in preparation for their upcoming graduation Testings. Rounded off the first satisfying evening with a midnight stroll through the now familiar, depsite the snow, streets and scenes of Bruchsal. Nothing beats dosing the system with fresh air before bedtime.

Day two was marked by more expert instruction from Sifu, this time along with Sihing Igor Peic. Both the keen logic and utter beauty of the Mok Yan Jang (Wooden Dummy) movements continue to reveal itself. I look forward to another Private Lesson this evening as well as plans to capture additional footage for future IAW videos. After seeing the encouraging success of and enthusiastic support for the short clips we’ve recently shared with the world, be sure to stay tuned for upcoming productions in 2010. There is much more we want to express.

Meanwhile, a quick bite at the local cafe. Earlier, I noticed the seasonal pumpkin soup and house-made vegetable quiche. Sounds like a hearty warrior meal doesn’t it?