“Fifty percent of your Kung fu comes from me, fifty percent come from your own hard work.”
Sifu Matt Johnson
It’s not unreasonable to say that martial arts movies have been one of the driving forces behind the arrival and spread of martial arts and kung fu in the United States. On one hand this has been great because it’s helped introduce generations of new people to many wonderful martial arts styles and families of kung fu.
On the downside, some movie martial arts may sometimes give some people misconceptions and misunderstandings about the realities of kung fu. This is problematic because when people are looking to study a martial art, all they may know is based on what they’ve seen in the movies.
Here’s three things people believe with enough frequency, that they walk into martial arts schools and ask about them:
1. You can fight 10 guys (or more) at once and win. Admittedly, this scene from the Ip Man movie is spectacular to watch but as the saying goes, “don’t try this at home.”
2. Flashy moves and fancy techniques are effective in a fight. Everyone loves Bruce Lee movies. They’ve started more than one martial arts career, mine included but they’re a veritable catalog of flashy and fancy.
3. You are unbeatable. The Matrix is an awesome movie. Love it. But Neo, sorry, no one is unbeatable.
This leads to unrealistic expectations on numerous levels. There are better ways to approach figuring out what style might be right for you and then for finding a qualified school with a teacher and atmosphere that feels right for you too. But no matter the style you choose, three things will always be true:
1. No one will ever fight ten guys at the same time and win. We should all try to be smart and avoid situations that could lead to something like that. One thing any real martial art, any genuine Sifu should teach you is humility and good sense. Humble sensible folks don’t go around starting fights and avoid places where they’re likely to erupt.
2. Simple, direct, straightforward techniques will get the job done. Ving tsun (pronounced wing chun) kung fu is famous for it’s center line theory. While the other guy gets fancy you can just hit him. Or in life, find simple direct solutions for every day challenges.
3. No one is unbeatable. There’s always someone bigger or tougher; or someone who’s just trained more. Or someone who got more sleep that day. And anyway, the real winner is the person who avoids the fight in the first place. Being a peaceful person, now that’s really unbeatable.
If you’re looking for a martial art to learn, we’re happy to talk to you about what we do here. And we promise, nothing flashy, just real, traditional kung fu in a friendly, informal environment. Call us. We’re happy to answer your questions. 1-773-301-6257 Thanks so much for stopping by.
Sifu Matt believes that to just train external Kung Fu is only half of the training. The other half is meditation and Chi Gung practice. At the academy we don’t just train Kung Fu, we also train the mind with meditation and the internal state of the body with the practice of Chi Gung or energy/breath work. Sifu Matt teaches sitting meditation help to relieve stress and helps us to live in mindfulness everyday. We must learn to keep our mind balanced and calm. Not only is this important for Kung Fu practice, it is important for everyday life outside of the academy.
Chi Gung is the practice of gentle movement combined with breathing in order to exercise our internal energy, or “Chi”. It seeks to work the internal, whereas Kung Fu Training works the external. There are many different kinds of Chi Gung exercise, some are slower, more like Tai Chi Chuan, some are faster and use more power to strenghten the muscles and tendons. Contact the academy to learn more about learning these two practices.
Every week, we spend time making sure the more advanced students get the chance to dig into their training and really see where the rubber meets the road. How do they apply techniques under increasing levels of pressure. Before anyone dons protective gear, they try things out slow and gradually build up speed. Everything is analyzed and examined. What works? Why does it work? What didn’t work and why not? Take it apart. Break it down. Make your ving tsun your own.
Sifu means business. You can see it in his face.
Robert and Chris