The fact that someone else’s lived experience is different perhaps even the opposite of my own lived experience does not make that person wrong.

Hi Tribe.

You should all know by now that I have decided not to go ahead with my spinal reconstruction, in the end, the trade-off was just not acceptable, less pain at the cost of less flexibility and less mobility is a poor choice that I think would have negative long-term consequences for me.

However, this does mean that going forwards I cannot take part in the normal, for us, rough and tumble.

You are all still free to knock each other about but I cannot go down that path anymore, this will mostly only affect those of you that have private, one-on-one tuition or when the numbers are odd.

This change may well alter the appearance of our training but it will have zero effect on the outcome of our training.

It could possibly speed things up, with less playing and more thinking.

Thinking about the training is more important than all physical training.

Thinking leads to understanding.

Understanding leads to confidence.

You guys have often asked me “Have you ever used your Wing Chun to get out of a violent situation”?

In truth, I am not so sure, but what I do know is that understanding what Wing Chun is supposed to do gave me the confidence to step up and smack a couple of guys that meant me no good.

With regard to more thinking…

…something that you guys hear me say often is that we cannot be wrong if we form our opinions from our own ‘lived experiences’ and relate them only to our own lives.

This of course is broadly what I mean when I say that the most important attribute for a martial artist to develop is honesty.

Seeking honesty = seeking truth.

In short, our position can only ever be that we know from lived experience or we do not know at all.

There is only personal truth.

However, this position is not infallible.

The fact that someone else’s lived experience is different perhaps even the opposite of my own lived experience does not make that person wrong.

But… and it is a BIG but, someone that argues against any person’s ‘lived experience’ by quoting someone else’s ‘lived experience’ instead of referring to their own is always wrong.

We all begin from a place of ‘not knowing’ and have no other choice than to begin the work from another’s position, but it is never our position and can never be blindly accepted as truth.

The ultimate goal of training is to abandon other peoples thinking and to establish our own.

In the later years of my association with my teacher, Jim Fung, he would preface any answer with.. “this is how I see it”.

As much as I respected and admired my Sifu his truth was never my truth, just as my truth can never be your truth.

This may sound as if I never accepted what my Sifu said and tried to prove him wrong, which at its heart is one of the biggest problems with Wing Chun’s partisanship, so many students adopt the position of “my sifu is right, therefore, your sifu must be wrong”, but this was not the case at all I worked diligently to prove his information right and relevant to my own lived experiences.

I accepted his teaching without question and tried to absorb it into my own understanding, this is why I look at all training and training-related thinking through the lens of Sports Participation and Sports Science.

Having played sports for most of my life, I can easily relate information to lived, albeit sports-related experiences.

Perspective is always critical to understanding.

What can be correct for one person can be incorrect for another.

Over the three decades that I have been training in Wing Chun I have had many, many conversations with my peers, when I agreed with them I was a ‘good old boy’, but when I disagreed I was a heretic.

I have even been accused of going out of my way to prove someone wrong.

This is ridiculous, what can I hope to gain in my own training by proving one of my respected mentors wrong?

When I have questioned any given information, and I question everything, I then set about trying to prove it right, not wrong, to validate that thinking, on most occasions, this is exactly what happened.

Everything is a baseless opinion unless it comes from our own lived experience.

Something to accept as a norm is that there are no differentiating levels of “lived experience”, every experience is of equal value, and we can and should learn from everything.

We all discover valuable lessons from real experiences, be they minor or major, that can never be bettered by any theories or anyone else’s history.

I boxed for just over 7 years as a youth, even though I was never what you would call naturally gifted there are things you learn in the ring, even as a youth, that you cannot learn anywhere else.

Namely, that ‘will’ conquers ‘skill’.

The ability to take a punch is a better metric for future success than the ability to pack a punch.

The ability to evade a punch is a better metric for future success than the ability to take a punch.



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s