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Thanks for watching!
If you like these videos please feel free to share them.
We are very excited to have our YouTube channel up and running again.
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.
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?
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!
Because you have strength and beauty inside you.
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?
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.
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:
Almost inevitably, as time passes and kung fu training continues, day after day, hour after hour, after endless sweating and working of sore muscles, a practitioner may feel they’ve run into a brick wall or a plateau in terms of building and improving their skills. This is likely to manifest differently for each of us. We might experience a feeling of staleness, of boredom, or sense of lack of excitement which we associate with progress.
These plateaus are crucial times. When we don’t progress, we may have a tendency to worry. Many a kung fu player simply throws in the towel and quits. I’ve seen it time and again. During the last 27 years I’ve spent immersing myself in the art of Ving Tsun, I’ve definitely experienced some of those moments myself.
So what did I do? Well, in the years before opening up my academy and teaching students, it was sheer determination that kept me going. But in the years I’ve been teaching when it’s happened I find that just teaching to the best of my ability, breaks me through any barrier. Partly, it’s a matter of inspiration. Teaching inspires me because it always sends me and the student back to the basics. Revisiting them makes our kung fu better. Every. Time.
The Chinese have a saying, “to teach is to learn twice.” By going back and teaching beginners a practitioner teaches themselves as well. This is one of the keys to constant forward progress. Help teach. I know it works. I’ve seen it in myself and I’ve seen it in many students. So my advice to mid-level and advanced practitioners when they come to me with this problem is this: come into the class and help teach the junior students. Sometimes when I offer this advice the students don’t understand. They may wonder how teaching a student more junior to themselves will help them get better. But I tell them to just trust me, to trust the process.
Helping beginners helps us find where our own understanding of a technique or form may fall short. That leads us to ask our Sifus questions that gives us the missing concept or understanding and fills in that gap. And this can start a whole new growth spurt for you. So if you are an advanced student don’t be selfish with your knowledge. Help teach the junior students and watch your own kung fu take off again!
Good morning kung fu brothers and sisters,
It has come to our attention that there’s been some kind of issue with the capacity of the WordPress site when you all use a contact form to let us know you’re interested in coming for a visit. That’s a real bummer and we’re sorry.
Please know we are working on getting it fixed. We think that all the forms now include a mandatory email entry box. But please, do us and yourself a favor. When you use the form add your email inside the text box at the end where you can tell us about yourself a little, your interest in ving tsun kung fu or martial arts generally. That way, no mater what, we will be able to respond to your kind inquiry.
Thanks so much and train on!
No matter what style or family of kung fu training you follow, the path can be a long and hard one. In our school, we’re on a ving tsun (wing chun) kung fu path. As the days go by and our training continues, injuries and setbacks, possibly arising from training or from conditions outside of school, are inevitable. However, they don’t need to keep you from learning from your Sifu. I always tell my students, even if you’re injured or sore, or just tired, you should still attend class.
Why? Sitting, listening and watching we can still learn a great deal.
A lot of what we learn from our teacher in kung fu, has nothing to do with martial art technique. Students need to learn to live the kung fu life; to learn about kung fu culture; to learn to apply the art of Ving Tsun in daily life. Students need to learn how to live according to the Ving Tsun Jo Fen, or the rules laid down by our ancestors in the Ving Tsun system. These rules show us that kung fu is mostly about how to live a good life and use kung fu to make ourselves better people and for the benefit of society; Not to create more trouble.
These ideas involve subtlety and detail, which can only be passed on in close relationship with your Sifu. Spending a lot of time around him or her, is essential to your learning and absorbing these ideas. Of course, there’s all the physical techniques a student needs to learn as well.
You’d be surprised what you pick up by just sitting by and watching the way your Sifu teaches. You can pick up subtle things that maybe you overlooked before, or forgot about or maybe didn’t catch the first time it was taught to you.
There have been several times in my years traveling to Hong Kong that I was injured or sore from the long hours spent training, or maybe I was just plain too tired from jet lag or whatever. ( it seems every time I go it gets harder and harder to get over the jet lag and time difference.) At these times, I always still go to my Sifu’s classes at the Ving Tsun Athletic Association. I’d just sit and talk with my other kung fu brothers, or I would talk with Sifu Ip Ching at his desk. Many times the conversation would not be about kung fu at all. We talk as friends about life in general. Sometimes he would tell a story about Ip Man, or something from his years spent closely with him. I would ask about Simo. He would inquire about my wife and life back in the United States, how my school was going etc. he’d offer tips on teaching gleaned from his own years of experience.
Sometimes we’d talk about kung fu. If he got up to teach or show something, I’d be close by to watch the way he’d teach. I’d Listen closely to his explanations. Every time this deepened my own understanding, or spark a question for me to ask him when we sat back down.
Times like these are invaluable. I’m always glad I went to those classes because of the things I learned.
Whenever I’m in Hong Kong I spend as much time around Sifu as possible. Sometimes going for dim sum after training in the morning. Sometimes going to his home to sit and have tea and talk. And when we traveled to Fatsan to visit the Ip Man Tong and other places, we had three meals a day together. Plus spending all the rest of the time together for two or three days. It was good times and I wouldn’t change any of it.
I know that I’m a better teacher because of the time spent closely with him.
So to get down to the real Kung fu and Kung fu life you must learn to cultivate your relationship with your Sifu. Try to attend class at every opportunity. Try to be around your Sifu whenever you have the chance. You never know when he or she will come out with a bit of wisdom that changes everything for you.
This way you learn that to be good at Kung fu means the training and learning never stops. Even after you’ve learned all the forms of the system, etc. that’s just the start; you’ve just begun to walk the path. There is so much more to learn from your Sifu, not to mention all the hard work you will be doing to master what you’ve been taught. It’s a never ending journey. Your Sifu is your guide in that journey, and building a close relationship with him is very important. This is why year after year, even though I’ve learned the entire ving Tsun system, I still go back to Hong Kong to be with my Sifu.
So next time your sore or tired or not feeling like going to class, remember these words. Go spend time with your Sifu. You never know what you’ll learn.
Yes, yes, polar vortex. Whatever. We know. In Chicago, it’s wicked cold. That’s winter for you!
But here at the Ving Tsun Self Defense Academy, the training goes on, no matter what. Class is still under way right now and despite the freezing temperatures outside, the wing chun kung fu training is going on like crazy!
We thought you might like a few photos of class. We’re extra excited because we have a number of brand new people in the school today as well as many veteran students. The senior students help the new ones learn the basics which is part of how we create such a supportive, friendly, family-like atmosphere.
So, here’s the pics. Enjoy!
“You must practice more!”
(Truth be told, Sifu Matt first heard this in Hong Kong from his good friend and older Ving Tsun brother, his “Sihing,” Sifu Albert Chan.)
And it’s true. The solution to nearly any problem in kung fu is more practice. When you come visit the school, you’re sure to hear that a lot!