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ralph haenel, hänelwingtsun, wing tsun kung fu instructor, author, publisher, self-defense expert Sifu Ralph Haenel, learning and teaching Wing Tsun Kung Fu since 1984
Changing lives, one punch at a time.
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Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver Blog
Thursday, 5 April 2007
What's the connection between Fred Astaire and Wing Tsun Kung Fu?
I have often been asked as to who is a role model for me, or how I motivate myself, even after decades of training. For me it's one and the same. We all need at one point or another a outside influence to boost our motivation, to re-evaluate our goals, and to make necessary corrections.

Another question I receive fits in here as well: "How do I get better?" After all, finding out what or who influences us and our decisions, how we maintain a well motivated and positive attitude and how we reach our goals, doesn't this in part make us who we are, how we are being perceived by others around us?

So, what now about role models? In my personal opinion this is an issue, which has to be carefully approached. Marcus Tullius Cicero said already "The authority of those who teach is often an obstacle to those who want to learn."

Fred Astaire was one of the greatest dancers of all time. He spent seven decades with dozens of different dance partners on the stage, screen, and television. He has been characterized as music in motion. Long before I read this quote by Rudolf Nureyev, I had started to describe Wing Tsun Kung Fu as CorePower in Motion™.

Which other quotes characterize his work? Here only two:
"His technical control and sense of rhythm were astonishing."
"Astaire's execution of a dance routine was prized for its elegance, grace, originality and precision."

Translation? Possible martial ARTS translation.
"During fight scenarios, his technical control and sense of rhythm were astonishing."
"The martial artists execution of a fight routine was prized for its elegance, grace, originality and precision."

As I sometimes tell my students, bring some life into your performance. Show enthusiasm and dedication!

Many people, among them Michael Jackson, have admired Fred Astaire's total discipline, his absolute dedication to every aspect of his art. He rehearsed, rehearsed, and rehearsed until he got it right.
He was already a established professional dancer, singer and actor, yet for his 1936 movie Swing Time with Ginger Rogers, dance scenes were recorded as if gravity doesn't exist; after 350 hours of rehearsing!
Threehundredandfifty hours for a few timeless dance scenes? Watch the movie and ask me again "How do I get better?"

"It is not a secret, but then neither is it widely known, that Astaire's dancing was anything but an act of improvisation. Every step was carefully, fastidiously, mercilessly rehearsed. All that joy represented crushing hours of work, self-discipline, the artist's insistence on perfection."
Fred Astaire, RIP - COPYRIGHT 1987 National Review, Inc.

Join me on Saturday, April 7th for a few words on when correction by your training partner is a hindering factor.


Posted by ralph haenel at 1:57 PM PDT
Updated: Thursday, 26 November 2009 5:52 PM PST

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