Famous entrepreneur, Jim Rohn once said, “Success is something you attract by the person you become.” That statement , which is typically heard in the business world, has never been more true than in the realm of martial arts. When it comes to training, significant focus is devoted to the development of technique, skill, speed, but the development of who the person is cannot be overlooked. Going from the Wing Chun white sash to black sash (the equivalent of a black belt in other forms) takes time, commitment, and a lot of self-control.
THE Wing Chun White Sash to Black Sash Journey
The journey from the Wing Chun white sash to black sash is typically a long one. At Sifu Och Wing Chun, a practitioner training diligently every week may take anywhere from 8-10 years to finish the system in its entirety. But for those who do finish the system, the transformation from the beginner to master is beautiful. The title of “Sifu” (literally “teacher”), when attained, carries with it the essence of not only instructor, but of mentor, discipler, and leader. The evolution into a Sifu comes only through perseverance in the face of opposition, frustration, and pain.
Where, however, does the struggle originate? Is there opposition within a school? There can be. Is there frustration with an instructor’s method? Potentially. Is there pain at the end of a sparring partner’s strike? Without a doubt. The inward struggle, however, is much more vital to the success of a martial artist. To reach the next level in Wing Chun classes, one must face his or her own flaws and take them head-on. You face opposition with your own work ethic—to train or not to train. Someone dealing with self-doubt will struggle to have the confidence that new abilities can be learned resulting in frustration. And pain, pain from failure, can lead to great personal disappointment. All of these adversities are examples of things which direct each person to one of two ends: failure or success.
From White to Black
To succeed in moving from the Wing Chun white sash to black sash, one must actively work on him or herself. And that, is the exact moment where the title of “Sifu” comes full circle. The Master has overcome those very same struggles in his or her walk. He can now guide and teach the student in the journey before them. And that is the key to Sifu Och’s success, reaching into each individual’s lives and pulling out the very best in his students. That is how success is attained. That is how the Black sash is earned. This is the journey from the Wing Chun white sash to slack sash.
A lot of experienced and inexperience students come from various backgrounds, but should you fear Wing Chun training? We don’t think so at all…unless you’re an opponent ad you’re trained in another martial art that is! Fear comes in two forms: Fear generated by practiced Wing Chun, and fear of starting or engaging in a Wing Chun regimen. These are two very different things.
You Should Fear Wing Chun
Cause fear in your opponent, and they will lose their intention to harm. Striking an opponent hard, fast and effectively injuring them will cause fear. When your opponent learns to fear Wing Chun then you may gain a sizable advantage—or even win by default if your attacker runs away). Your goal is to unbalance your opponent’s foundation and ability to react against you effectively. Fear will have your opponent’s mind and body in a constant state of unbalance. They will fall back when you attack and second guess their strikes, thus cutting power to them (lack of confidence in a fight = lack of power and intent). Fear is a tool, use it when necessary and know that your opponent may attempt to use this tactic as well. When the mind is distracted it loses power. Whether through fear or distraction the mind is fragile and will fold under a greater pressure. This is the essence of the fight or flight mentality. Fear in Wing Chun or any system of martial arts is natural and the more confident you become in your application the more this fear will melt away.
Remember that Wing Chun is a combative kung fu style based off of muscular/skeletal structure. It draws its power from the intent of controlled full body system muscular skeletal structures recruitment. Allowing the impact of the muscles, body structure and impact points with resisting pressures reinforced by the muscular/skeletal connection with the rest of the body in relation to the ground. This must be attained while directing your strikes at specifically trained areas of the body. Such as the throat, eyes, temple, collar bone, lower floating rib and multiple points around the neck and jaw to name a few. Training these fast twitch muscle fibers (fibers in your muscles responsible for muscle speed and strength) and not tensing those muscles that will hold back or give resistance to those striking structures, means relaxation and explosive power at the end of each strike.
You Should Not Fear Wing Chun Training
Learning and getting good at Wing Chun also means training consistently in drills and isolating specific muscle groups. Later training will include using the entire body as a weapon. We do not train for just any type of strike or hit wherever we can. We train for specific places and to achieve specific results. The good news, however, is that student at any level can progress—and students at any level can be effectively trained to eventually become adept at Wing Chun Kung Fu.