When to Start Training
“The best time to plant a tree is twenty years ago. The second best time is now.” Ancient Chinese Proverb
This is a true story: I once had a potential student come into my class. I usually get people to join in, but he just wanted to watch. He had a minor injury, and didn’t want to reinjure it. I broke my usual rule, and allowed him to just watch. This annoyed some of the new starters, who I had forced to join in. He chatted with me, and said, his dream was to become a VTK teacher. I said, well, start today, first lesson is free. He said, later, he was too busy, he was hurt, and he wanted to get fit first. Excuses, excuses.
A year later he came in and it was the same thing – Later, gotta get fit first, still busy. And again, about another year or so. The fourth time I said, “Look, see that guy there teaching the class?”
He said “Yes, he’s pretty good.” I said, “Yes, he is. He has been going overseas, defeating masters, and representing the school.”
“Wow. How long as he been training?”
I said “He started 3 years ago. He had that first free lesson, on that very first day you first came in. He remembers, because he also just wanted to watch but I made him join in. Back then it annoyed him that I let you just watch when he had to join in, so he remembers you. Now, though, he remembers it fondly. You see, he did join in and trained, and stayed. You didn’t. That could have been you. So, why don’t you start now?”
He said he would return and join in next week. But he didn’t join in then, or ever. I never saw him again.
So, do it now. Don’t wait. Start today.
A Few Questions to Consider
Before you begin, first take a deep breath. Pause a moment to reflect. Breathe out. Relax.
Now read on.
Before you begin any journey or enterprise, you should consider a few questions.
Questions like these –
Where are you going?
How will you get there?
How long will it take?
How much will it cost?
Why do you want to go at all?
Why us, why here, why now?
I am sure you can think of others.
Take a piece of paper, and write down the questions. There could be other questions that you can think of, that apply to you, and perhaps only you.
The answers are likewise yours, and perhaps only yours.
Write out your answers. It is important to clearly articulate what you want, and what the answers are, for you. Think carefully and be honest with yourself. It matters.
Where you are going is answered in the blogs, if you follow our way. It gives a clear indication of where this particular journey is going and what each task to accomplish each stage has to be. How long it takes depends more upon the student than the task itself, but it is sufficient to say it is not a fast journey, but a slow methodical one. We go as fast as we can, but there is a lot to do. However, if where you want to go is not the same as what is indicated in these blogs, then you should reconsider and go a different way.
How will you get there? Through these blogs? Why are you using our way, and not some other way? The reason this question needs answering is that your motivation is essential, and if this way is just because of convenience, then you will not succeed. You need to WANT to do it this way, rather than some other way.
Finally, why are you doing a martial art at all? Why this one, and not another art instead? Why learn it from us at the VTK centre, instead of some other teacher, some other way, some other place?
I do not need to know the answers to these questions, but you do. Keep the written answers on the piece of paper somewhere handy, and take it out and look at it from time to time. Are they still the same reasons? Have they changed? Change the answers, or rewrite as needed. Change is part of learning.
A few words of caution:
Ving Tsun needs patience and practice to learn. There is no quick fix. This is already the quickest fix there is, but you will not be able to defeat your opponents until you do the hard yards. This takes time, sweat and a little blood and pain. It is the number of hours you train, not the number of years over which you have trained. It is serious, not a dance, not a folk art. It is about fighting and surviving, not about winning trophies, having coloured belts, fancy certificates, or looking good in front of your friends. None of these are any use if your enemy is standing in front of you with murder in his eyes. He couldn’t care less. You are just “Next”.
What we do is a martial art, and although all possible care is taken, injuries may occur.
Please inform your instructor of any conditions you have that may affect your training here before you start warm-up. If you do not have an instructor, then ensure you are healthy. If there are any doubts, any at all, you should consult a doctor.
Now: EMPTY YOUR CUP
Nearly everything that people think they know is not true. This is especially true in kung fu, and the true nature of conflict.
Take a deep breath and let go of all preconceptions.
If you come from another Ving Tsun (Wing Chun, etc,) school, we ask that you start again from the beginning for several reasons. One is that differences that may seem minor may be vital (just as apparent major differences are sometimes unimportant). Another is that not all schools teach in the same order, so we need to approach it systematically from the start. You could easily miss something we teach earlier in the system than where you originally trained, especially if you were an advanced student. Be patient, and realize that if you really did train hard in the other system, then that will transfer across as a faster learning curve, enabling you to pick up certain things much quicker, skip the parts you really know, and you can simply focus on the parts that are missing. Usually, though, a lot of the previous training is quite faulty.