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WING CHUN WEDNESDAY: IF YOU’RE NOT TRAINING REGULARLY IS DOING THE FORM ENOUGH ?


 

The real reason there are so few Masters in the world is less to with the difficulty in becoming a Master and far more to do with the difficulty of keeping up the training.

The drop off rate in the Martial Arts is something all Instructors are aware of, from my perspective there are three significant reasons, there are many more than these for sure but these I think are paramount.

Early on people do not consider the length of the journey, expect too much too quickly or are not willing to put in the work to get measurable results, this group leave within the first 3 to 12 months.

At the other end of the scale are the people that really did give it a go, trained diligently for years and then for some reasons, especially with Wing Chun, they decide that it doesn’t work, it doesn’t do what it says on the box and they change styles.

But for me the most unfortunate of all are the students that cared, worked hard at the training, loved it, made good progress then life got in the way, it can seem like mission impossible to prioritise training over working to pay the mortgage and raising a family, especially if there is travel involved to get to training.

The real reason there are so few Masters in the world is less to with the difficulty in becoming a Master and far more to do with the difficulty of keeping up the training.

It is this middle group that I try to reach out to by asking their friends that still train to get them to this Blog, by sending Emails and even by offering some catch up private lessons at a greatly reduced price, because I know that deep down they still want to be training.

Often when I am in contact with a member of this group of people they will say something along the lines of  “I have not completely abandoned Wing Chun I still do the Form most days” the implication being that somehow this is all it takes.

On the few occasions that I do tempt them to come back it very quickly becomes obvious that what they thought they were maintaining by doing the Form has long since packed its bags and headed for the coast, frequently this is the final nail in the lid of a well forgotten coffin.

So long it’s been good to know you.

Can there even be such a thing as “Maintenance Training?

All Martial Arts are complex systems that require involvement in a variety of different areas to stay current, if we focus too strongly on any single aspect then some other aspect is being ignored and decomposing, this is my main concern about Schools that base their training on doing Forms or “Internal” aspects.

All training even non Martial Art training is task specific, we can only learn what we are doing, we will only ever be able to do what we have learned. 

In fairness to the “Internal Camp” if we spend all of our time just hitting stuff we would experience a similar drop off in all around skill.

There must be balance, but most importantly there must be forward movement, just like a shark if we stop swimming we start sinking, if our training is always doing the same thing every time we train we are not moving forward.

One of the great weakness in Wing Chun training is that far too often there is no connection to context.

What is this thing I am doing really teaching me?

If we are only ever training one or even all of the Forms are we learning Wing Chun or are we simply learning Forms? And of course this applies if we are only training to hit things.

Each of us individually and as a School collectively need to establish the context that our training relates to, if we do not know where we are coming from how can we know where we are, if we do not know where we are how can we tell if we are headed in the right direction.

If you where to ask your Instructor “what is the context that you teach from” how do you think they would answer?

Would their answer be that they are trying to provide the conservative same old, same old or a progressive step forward, would they be passing on someone else’s ideas or their own updated understanding, would they be facilitating maintenance or progress?

Whichever way we look at it can only doing the Form provide either?

If this sounds like you get back to supervised training before it is too late.

If this sounds like someone you know send them a link to this post.

 

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