Every day, we face opportunity in this life: the opportunity to succeed, fail, or stand by idly observing as our life flickers away. Many of us, too afraid to manifest destiny by our own will, fall into the role of an existential bystander. We wait for the universe to illuminate the path to our own ultimate fulfillment. For several years, I struggled with debilitating depression and anxiety accumulated through a painful romantic relationship. I often contemplated “when my life would finally start.” I was waiting to live, but then a dawning realization struck me: This is my life. My life is now, within every fleeting moment escaping my grasp as I wait. Coincidentally, within the same period of my life that I had achieved this revelation, I discovered Sifu Och Wing Chun. This was the beginning of a Wing Chun lifestyle change that altered my perspective forever.
Before the Wing Chun Lifestyle Change
I still remember my first day of training as if it were yesterday. The whole school was testing that week. Ms. Cathy took me aside to teach me gan saus, biu saus, and tan saus. Needless to say, I’d never felt so physically incapable within my entire life. For once, however, my shortcomings didn’t produce discouragement. I took this as a challenge to be better. That’s exactly what my journey through training in this school has taught me.
Because of this school, I achieved a newfound understanding of my capabilities. Every day I toiled, struggling to progress. I pushed myself to the brink in boot camp and came to learn something. There is never “good enough”. There is only “better”. Since then, I’ve applied this philosophy to my life in its totality, and my successes have flourished.
Wing Chun as Self Expression
Wing chun is without a doubt, the single most positive venue of expression ever introduced into my life. With it, I have been blessed with a second family—people who want nothing more than for everyone around them to succeed. I have a place that imparts me with deeper solace than even my own home. Participating in an ever-evolving tradition has grown cooperatively with me for the rest of my days. I also have Sifu Justin Och, a teacher whose wisdom and prowess instills ambition within my heart every day.
Within my short journey of a little over a year, my anxiety has withered to dust, I have minimalized my detrimental habits (smoking, etc.), I have regained my lost confidence, and established a solid foundation of techniques for which I can defend myself and my loved ones with. My training has not only become a channel for my aggression, but it has become the most beneficial tool in my self-progression. Wing chun has allowed me to take back my life.
After the Wing Chun Lifestyle Change
The plethora of blessings I have received as a consequence of practicing the Wing Chun lifestyle are numerous. I’ve achieved a radically profound, transformed perception of martial arts as a collective. I’ve come to understand Wing Chun as a living, organic philosophy. Wing Chun presents itself as more than a system of self-defense, or a conceptual or intellectual ideology. I emphasize on the intrinsic “aliveness” of our system, because it is something that one comes to feel first hand through direct interaction.
Anyone can speak of the combative ideals regarding simultaneous offense and defense, redirection of energy, and utilizing the body as a holistic weapon to achieve maximum affectivity, but until you’ve felt it first hand, you’ve attained no experiential reality of these ideals. Our training is truly alive, manifesting itself within each practitioner, metamorphosing our approach day by day. Its essence harmonizes the union of masculine and feminine energies, it teaches that often the greatest strength lies within the least resistance, and it shows that even with what may appear at first to be a mountain before you can be surmounted with the proper application of direction and patience. These principles have permeated every aspect of my daily operation, and because of this, I will say, I don’t just train in kung fu; I train in a way of life.
Of all that which for I am grateful, wing chun certainly rests near the top of the list. It has changed my life for the utmost better, and it will continue to every day. So for this, I will follow it for the rest of my life. Thank you, Sifu.