Sunday Siu Nim Tau: A Little Idea

January 13, 2019

Every Sunday a little something for you to keep in mind.

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LET GO OF MASTERY

Mastery of an art

Whether martial or writing

Is not what I seek.

I seek nothing.

There is just practice

Daily

Unending

….this is the  Way.

     – Shinzen (David Nelson)

 

The above speaks to the importance of routine and letting go of the idea that we will attain some elusive goal as if it were an end point. We must let go of the idea that we will attain mastery. Instead, it is the dedication to steady work, the love of the steady work, that is the path on a day by day basis.

WHAT WOULD THIS LOOK LIKE?

Simply, routine.

Routine effort is key. Without it we wander, aimlessly wander through our day. Having a routine keeps us on track, centered, and moving ahead. Seeking nothing other than to stay on the path we have chosen for ourselves. This is how we progress. This is how we get better at what we do. Be it writing or martial arts, drawing or painting, photography or music making. Whatever it is, practice is the way. Practice is the path and the destination. We aim to get better but release the idea that there is a final goal, a day, a moment when we say I’m a master now. I can stop working so hard.

In fact if we are lucky, we may be like the famous Okinawan karate master, Gichin Funakoshi, who, the story goes, was very old, yet still teaching, sitting on his bed doing a simple block over and over with deep concentration. He shouted, I think I finally understand this block!  He loved the hard work, practiced every day with discipline until his final days.

We must make an everyday routine. Something we show up for no matter what. No excuses. This is the discipline.

Want to get better at something?

Show up. Do the work. Do the same thing at the same time, day in and day out. This process of intentional practice is the Way.

You don’t have to practice for hours on end. If you have that kind of time, great, but if you don’t and an hour is what you have, use that hour well. If thirty minutes is what you have, use those 30 minutes like the precious minutes they are. That’s enough time when you do it every day.

Every day.  That’s the challenge.

I’m fortunate. I’ve made kung fu training, ving tsun, the center of my life. I have the time to devote to it. I’ve made it my job. I must practice every day to keep my skills up and so I can do what I tell my students they need to do. Anything less would be hypocritical.

And yet… sometimes even I fail at sticking fully to my routine. And when this happens, it shows. Maybe others don’t notice but I do. The sharpness I want in my ving tsun isn’t there.

But because I’ve made a routine of daily practice, this doesn’t happen often. Sometimes, I realize I actually need to take a day off. I listen to the body and give it the rest it needs and this becomes part of the Way. Because I have this daily discipline, this routine, when I fall of the path, I feel it acutely and my dedication, my habitual energy of practice pulls me back into routine. As a result, I feel happier, more content knowing I am being true to my Way.

You can do this too. If you struggle with creating and sticking to a routine, ask yourself what do I need to do to shift this? Do you need to put it into your calendar? Do it. Do you need to tell a friend or a training partner your plans so you can help keep each other on the path? Then do that.

When you choose a Way for yourself you are making a powerful statement about the kind of person you want to be. Dedicated. Disciplined. Ready to do the hard work for its own sake. This is the Way.

When the Way is Open, Charge Ahead

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We are very excited to have our YouTube channel up and running again.

Here’s a short video to start things off.

 

Believe that You Can. Decide that You Will.

Believe that You Can. Decide that You Will

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I hear a couple of phrases from students on a regular basis:

 

I can’t.

And –

I’ll try.

 

What they don’t realize is that when the say these kinds of things they’re only defeating themselves. What we think becomes reality.

 

When we think we can’t do something, no matter what other stories we may tell ourselves, we make failure become reality. It’s a vicious spiral of frustration.

 

There are variations on this sad theme:

 

I can’t find the time to practice; I’m just too busy; I’ll try to get into class; I can’t make it in to class, etc.

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On the flip side, if we tell ourselves that  we can, and we will, that becomes our reality and we make real progress in our ving tsun.

 

It’s a fact that kung fu takes a lot of deep practice. That’s what kung fu means – hard work over  a long stretch of time, like a lifetime. It takes daily practice. In order to have good skill, a practitioner must change this mindset around their practice.

 

If you think with a negative, I can’t  mindset you’ll just keep finding things to fill your time, and you won’t practice. You can’t, “FIND” the time, you must “MAKE” the time. Change the I can’t into I can and I will.

 

I will make the time for my daily practice.

I will make it to class today.

 

If you are always waiting to find the time to practice, you never will. You have to MAKE the time to practice. Set your intention in your mind. You might ask yourself, how you’ll feel if you don’t do your practice. Because it’s all a matter of priorities. If it matters to you, you will MAKE the time to do it. All kinds of things come up that you don’t have time for, and yet you do them. Think about it. How do you want to spend your time? What kind of person do you want to be? Ving tsun has the capacity to transform every aspect of your life for the better but you have to do the work, wishing won’t make it so.

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Practice of ving tsun must be a daily thing you do, like brushing your teeth. Finding the time is self defeating. Make the time. Make that commitment to yourself.

 

I also hear phrases like this during practice:

 

I can’t do the technique.

I’ll try to do my form better.

 

Again, if you believe you can’t, you will never try harder.

 

Kung fu practice is hard. It does take a lot of time and effort. Don’t make it harder on yourself with these self defeating phrases.

 

My students hear me say this all the time:

 

“ If you want to have good ving tsun, you must take the I can’t and I’ll try out of your vocabulary.”

 

It’s true. See for yourself.

 

Remember Yoda’s famous line, “ Do or do not. There is no try.”

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THIS WEEK IN VING TSUN

Lots pf great training at the school last week. Here are a few snap shots of what folks were up to. Notice, the notebook! Taking notes is a really good idea.

 

Also note the long pole, which is very advanced practice.

 

Photos by Hillary Johnson

October Ving Tsun Challenge

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We are launching a new series of intensive training programming for our students in 2019; a series of seasonal, intensive weekend long training camps to take your ving tsun to a whole new deeper place.

Each camp will be unique and will have a specific focus including not only the physical aspects of Ving Tsun but also the ethics and morals, the Mo Duk as well as the place of meditation in your kung fu practice and much more. The first full weekend camp will be in February 2019.

As a lead up to all this, we are offering our students a mini-version in December which includes the following challenge.

The idea is to take the challenge for the months of October and November, then come to the training camp with your discoveries and questions. And I guarantee you will make discoveries AND have questions.

At the camp we can all discuss and learn and take our knowledge to the next level.

So, here is the challenge for October:

Train your Siu Nim Tau each and every day.

Only once, but EVERY DAY.

Each hand in the first section for one minute.

That’s it! Do it every day and see where it takes you.

Like I said, I guarantee you will be amazed at what you learn.

Take notes, write things down In your notebooks and bring it in December to the training camp.

Want to get to the next level in your Ving Tsun practice? Here is the way.

Take the challenge!

At the first of the month in November I will let you know what the challenge will be for next month.

Keep the fire burning.

Why to Start Your Kung Fu Training Now

A Few Questions for you.

Did you make New Years resolutions that included fitness this year?

Would you like to be in better physical condition than you are right now?

Do you think that it would be good to be able to defend yourself or your loved ones, just in case, you ever had to?

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Benefits of Ving Tsun Kung Fu Training

  1. Improves cardio vascular fitness and over all health
  2. Improves whole body physical condition
  3. Teaches you to effectively use Ving Tsun for self defense purposes
  4. Helps calm your heart and mind to reduce stress

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Getting started is just as easy as getting started. If you can just begin, you are already on your way to a healthier, more fit and confident you.

Which means you are already on your way to making big changes, step by step, because in a gradual healthy way, when you attend your first class, you are making those resolutions real.

It’s that simple!

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Call Sifu Matt and schedule your trial class. Start feeling great right now.

Because you have strength and beauty inside you.

Call 773-301-6257.

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Just Enough

The other morning at breakfast, my wife said this little throw away comment.

She said, “You know I find that when you eat slowly whatever you have is plenty.”

I didn’t think much of it at the moment. But it came to my mind again while I walked to the gym to train.

“When you eat slowly whatever you have is plenty.”

Is this not true for our whole lives?

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When we slow down and live more mindfully, putting an end to all the ceaseless craving, wanting and chasing, we can realize that whatever we have, right here, right now, is plenty. And in keeping our lives simple and straightforward we can be happier and more free.

When we make our lives more complicated, with all the doing, with all the many possessions, life becomes more burdensome. We spend all our time working and chasing the dollar to keep it all going. Life feels less simple and we find ourselves more stressed and live less mindfully.

I look at it like I look at the art of Ving Tsun. It’s a simple art and should be kept that way. You do only what’s necessary in terms of offense and defense. You economize everything. Your motion, your energy, your time, your footwork, everything. You do just enough to get the job done. No more, no less.

As the years pass in your training, you should be trying to make your Ving Tsun more and more simple. Not more and more complex. If you are making it more complex you are doing it wrong.

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This is true in our lives as well. As we get older we should be making it more and more simple. Not filling it up with things that make it more and more complex. Things that make us have to run around and keep the juggling act going. We should have and do just what’s necessary. Have and do just enough. Realize that whatever you have is plenty.

When you put this simple Ving Tsun philosophy into your daily life you will be able to get down to what really matters to you. Whatever that might be for you.

In Ving Tsun we have a very simple formula that tells us how to use the system. A formula that teaches us simplicity.

Try to bring this formula into your daily life and see that what you have already is plenty.

Three simple rules:

  1. Accept what comes
  2. Follow what goes
  3. When the way is open always go forward.

 

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