I continue to be passionate about Wing Chun and Gung Fu. Passion is derived from the latin root; pati, whose etymology means to suffer or to endure, which also incidentally gives ‘Passion of the Christ’ its classic meaning. Learning Wing Chun under Leung sifu, was filled with adversity. The English poet, Lord Byron wrote “adversity is the first path to truth” and for me at least it was a trial by fire. Practice would consist of calisthenics, form work and application. And the private lessons would often overlap with other students’ to enable us to do the partner work consisting of chi sao and sparring.
By pitting my fighting skill against higher skilled seniors, sifu forced me to overcome my fears and insecurities. Sifu’s method was to designed for a student to develop skill quickly. My choice was either to get good or to find myself being victimized by my peers. The lessons were a constant and oppressive uphill struggle, forcing me to improve or get hurt. I learnt the harder you work, the better your skills, the fewer your scars.
The inherent lesson was that the more difficult the situation, the more potential there was for improvement. As a student, I was forced to draw on inner strength and resolve, to push past the point of fatigue and override the pain thresholds. It was this method of learning that helped develop a mindset and attitude to endure through suffering. It was through this very process that I acquired the most important attribute that a Gung Fu man can attain; the will to survive.