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.

Chi Sau Seminar Success and Events!

We really want to thank all of you who came from near and far for our January Chi Sau Seminar. It was a great way to kick off 2016. A lot of Aaron Heath’s students came from our Champaign school which was super cool.

We had a lot of fun and everyone learned a lot. So stay tuned because there’s much more to come!

We’re thinking the next seminar may be a combination of Wooden Dummy material, Mo Duk (proper code of conduct for martial arts practitioners) and kung fu culture.

And as always, we appreciate you sharing our news, events, Intro classes and so on. Don’t forget to tell your friends that they can come in and visit us anytime. Just call Sifu Matt Johnson at  773-301-6257 and we’ll get you set up.

You can follow us on Facebook too! This is a great way to hear about our monthly events like pot luck suppers, movie outings, (we went to see Ip Man 3)

or this Saturday’s celebration of Chinese New Year. (Year of the monkey!)

Or our Jan. 29th Haiku Writing Workshop
 led by William Seiyo Sheehan and reading by Gerry Stribling author of Buddhism for Dudes. (and please note, you don’t actually have to be a dude to totally love this book.)

The school is located in the heart of the Chicago Arts District at:
1839 S Halsted St. Chicago, IL 60608
Phone us at: 773/301-6257
Please note the CTA bus Route 8 stops right in front of the building.
There’s also plenty of free street parking all within short walking distance.

 

Introduction to Ving Tsun Kung Fu

We are super excited to announce a new class at the Academy.

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Introduction to kung fu!

This is a four-class series beginning on the FIRST Tuesday or FIRST Saturday of each month. You will be introduced to basic elements of ving tsun kung fu (stance, hand techniques), theory (principles of ving tsun), meditation, and kung fu philosophy (Mo Duk). Elements of the kung fu are explained in easy to understand pieces — with emphasis on developing correct fundamentals, posture, and mindful execution of techniques. If you have any physical limitations, special conditions, or injuries, please advise us, so that we can help you learn to practice effectively and safely. This series is appropriate for those who have never been to a martial arts or kung fu class before, those who have completed the series and would like to continue their education, or those who desire a refresher on the fundamentals.

The tuition cost for the Intro class is $50 per month. Select either a Tuesday series 6pm-7pm, or a Saturday series  12pm-1pm

Sign up for the Tuesday series

Sign up for the Saturday series

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Saturday Training at the VSTDA

We had a great night….

…during the Chicago Arts District 2nd Friday last night. It was super busy and lots of people came by to check out Ving Tsun student, Rok Teasley’s new art work and to see what ving tsun is.

We followed it up with some mighty fine training. (Especially with some visiting members of our far-flung ving tsun family in town. Dr. Josh is in from Boston and Aaron, (who has a new school in the Champaign area) drove in so the kung fu brothers could have some time together training the ving tsun.

Here’s what some of the action looked like.

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We also had some really nice new guys stop by to check the school out. Always nice to make new friends.

Sifu Matt Featured in 2City News

Sifu Matt Johnson and the Ving Tsun Self Defense Academy is in the news!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recently, the local news group 2City News conducted a three-part interview with Sifu Matt Johnson. Here is part one, in which Sifu gives the audience a basic grounding in what ving tsun is and why it’s so effective for self defense.

The article focuses as well on the problem of understaffed, under-served urban areas in which residents often feel they must fend for themselves:

Check out the rest of the article and the first video segment. And of course, stay tuned for part two, tomorrow!
Thanks to Zack Isaacs and the whole 2City crew for focusing on the academy and such an urgent set of security and self defense issues. As one of the very few U.S. schools with direct links to the Ip Man lineage of Ving Tsun/Wing Chun, we are dedicated to teaching ving tsun in it’s purest form to those who wish to defend themselves and their loved ones. We extend an invitation to anyone who may be interested to come in for an interview, watch a class and if interested, attend up to a week of classes free of charge, to make sure the school is a good fit for you and your self defense goals.

New Student Begins Ving Tsun Journey

It’s always fun and exciting when a new student begins their study of Ving Tsun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This was especially true this evening when Donald got started this evening. Donald’s uncle is the owner of the  Chi Cafe in Chinatown, one of our very favorite spots to eat. They have terrific Hong Kong style food and are open till all hours. That means you can get late night congee any time you want!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donald said he’s wanted to study for a while but between work and school, he had to wait until today.

Here’s what his first lesson looked like. (Pretty relaxed and friendly atmosphere, just like at the VTAA in Hong Kong.

First Sifu Matt taught him the opening to Siu Lim Tau…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step by step, making little adjustments along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Donald was focused all night and worked really hard.
It was easy to see how much he was enjoying learning at last.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other students were glad to help of course. Humberto worked on punching with him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally! Time to relax before heading out. Welcome to Ving Tsun, Donald! Glad to have you in the Matt Johnson Ving Tsun family.

Maybe you might want to try Ving Tsun too?

Matt Johnson Ving Tsun: Forms and Chi Sau

Tonight at the VTSDA, we were a little all over the place. We started with forms and went to chi sau.

Had a visitor, who’d heard about us from this month’s 2nd Friday events.

Here’s what it looked like.

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Like what you see, get in touch with us to come for an interview and see if this might be the school for you. Still just dipping your toe in the water, join other nice folks and subscribe to stay current with self defense at the VTSDA.