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March 2024's Newsletter

Apologies for the delay in this month's newsletter!


For this month, Kid's classes will be focused on the next Fu Xing Quan Form while the Advanced Class will be learning San Cai Jian - a 2-person sword form. We also have a nice selection of students who will be testing this month and our first Red Sash testing for the school.


Advanced students - there will be 2-swords available on Wing Lam Enterprises store for this sword, the Ching Qing Emperor Sword or the Two Tone Dragon Face Straight Sword. As of now, Wing Lam is still offering its 30% off code to save up to $35 on either sword. Other than the names and designs, Ching Qing sword is lighter, while the Two Tone is more robust and mentions combative in its description. While the description doesn't mention combat for the Ching Qing sword, it has the same metal as the Two Tone Dragon... we're just unsure of the quality of either. The last sword we purchased for the 2-person sword was described as just a "Tai Chi Sword" yet managed to be the best at hitting another sword; however, we're unable to purchase it for now. Please be patient as the current in-house sword we've used for 2-person forms before is no longer sold, so it's a bit of testing.


If you're looking to be safe, you can get the Two Tone Dragon Sword under the assumption it will be heavier on your wrists. Remember, it's just a form - not Mortal Kombat. We're not looking for heavy swings or constant combat with it. Wing Lam also has a decent Refund Policy, worse case scenario. Please select the size based on your height. Once students finish learning this form, we'll have a better idea of which sword all students should select permanently moving forward.

 

“WHO IS THE MASTER??”



When you think of a “Master” what comes to mind? If you’re a fan of old-school kung fu cinema like many of us, you may think of a white-bearded master who lives on the top of a secluded mountain, who’s trained his whole life and has perfected his gongfu, his knowledge is unchallenged, can kill any man in a few movements, he speaks in poetry, knows all of life's secrets and he is undefeated and unshakeable. Please know, that is all fantasy... another pep-talk for later. Many students often romanticize gongfu culture, and no - a five-finger death touch does not exist. I made the same mistake in China, arriving there to train under incredible teachers, to find out they were very much human & more down to earth than I thought they would be.


I myself personally shy away from the term Master. Granted, many times it’s used as a sign of respecting one’s experience, but it also gives a false concept to students. There is no “Mastering” of gong fu - it is a life-long journey, a way of life. There is no peak of the mountain, nor should any one want that, because then there is no growth after that. That just sounds like the end of an amazing journey when I have plenty to learn, whether it's learning more skills, working on my Mandarin or taking on new forms. I take pride for being forever a student.


Instead, I prefer the traditional term “Shīfù”, 师父, and while it generally means “Master,” in the sense of someone with experience and skills, it has a deeper meaning. 师 (Shī) means “Teacher”, while 父 (Fù) means “Father.” Combined, it’s a traditional term to show respect to the teacher as equally as a parent, someone who will help them grow. It’s a direct relationship I have with my students. As a parent, and I’m sure many parents will agree with themselves, I’m also not perfect nor have I mastered the art of parenting. Both roles have a basic responsibility of just training people how to survive. However, both sides expect and demand me to lead people to become better people. Philosophically it’s been an interesting crossing of paths for myself not just as a martial artist but as a parent as well.


Calling someone a Master puts them on a pillar/pedestal. You’re assuming they’ve reached a peak, which isn’t just limited to martial arts but many other roles in life as well, such as being a parent, partner or teacher in school. However, what happens when that person ‘falls’ by making a mistake? It might change your perception now. Is this person now flawed to you? Did it just feel safe following someone who you viewed as perfect with the title of a Master? Do you need to find another instructor now, hopping from one school to another until you’ve found perfection? You might place yourself on an never-ending quest to find your Pai Mei.


It’s happened before, and I’ve seen students leave the school to search for their flawless Master, a safe eternal 'truth', only to become mediocre and not establishing a foundation to build from. While our style of martial arts isn’t for everyone, and every student will have different goals, from learning to fight to competing in forms, it’s important to know that our goal in our school isn’t to make you the next Bruce Lee, another cultural figure often put on an unreachable pedestal. We’re here to build up YOU and establish your foundation and roots in Chinese martial arts. Once you have that foundation, you'll be able to focus on what you'd like to specialize in, whether learning a new style, competitive forms or high level sparring.


Another issue with idolizing anyone at that level is you’re always looking up. While it may be flattering and give a sense of ego to that one idol, you’re giving in to the idea that you always need to look up. It will feel unreachable if you cling to that idea. A good instructor wouldn’t want that - instead, they’d want you to eventually become better than them, which is what every Shīfù and parent would want from their students and kids as well.


If you want a better comparison, instead of a pillar where you look up, think of that person as a coach who’s on a trail leading to where you want to go. There are many trails that will lead to your destination, but you've decided to go with us - people who knows the tricks of the trade, walked that trail many times, know what shoes to wear, what to avoid, how to overcome the hardest parts of the trail and will walk alongside you until you’re ready for the next part of your journey, with or without us. Once you've established a foundation, future trails will open up.


You will see mistakes from all of our instructors, who are just as human as you, and when it comes to gong fu, it’s only failure if we choose to not get back up. This applies to all aspects in life. In order to learn and grow, you will make mistakes, and no one is protected from this, not even your Shīfù. However, as your 师父, and not as a Master, my job will always be to help you get back up, learn from your mistakes, I myself will learn what I need to change to further your growth, and not only will you become stronger from it but stronger than myself as well.


Let’s walk the path together.

 

HOUSEKEEPING ITEMS


  • Did you know you can rent out our studio for your own events or birthday parties? Our upstairs VIP lounge is now complete. For more information, check out our page for details: LINK

  • Want to ensure you're maximizing your potential? Show up on-time! This is your time - don't make excuses to not show up to class, rather make excuses to have it be a priority.

  • Remember Shifu/Shimu/Disciples authority in the guǎn. While we'll be at times fun & joking, we're ultimately not your friends to play with - we're here to train you. You must show respect at all times, i.e. following orders, saluting/bows, not challenging authority, not playfully attacking us, etc. Any signs of disrespect is automatic grounds for getting expelled. We must maintain authority out of tradition and to keep discipline in check.

  • New Year of the Dragon/Chinese New Year swag and training gym bag is available on our store! Check out our store HERE.

 

THIS MONTH'S SCHEDULE




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