Much has been written about motivation. There is almost no book store, no magazine stand, no TV show, Internet e-zine you can walk past or scan through, that doesn't give some advice on motivation, positive thinking, re-evaluating one's goals, and the list goes on. Yet sometimes we all fall into the trap, that there appears to be nothing that gets you going. You might be waiting for this "something" that pulls you out of the hole.
In Kung Fu we can find all kinds of motivational sayings, or at least words, explanations to show you the way. Kung Fu is "hard work", ... right? But who wants to work hard all the time? Where is the fun?
Come on, for most people, training a martial art is a hobby, one of the many activities in increasingly busy lives. You cannot expect anyone, to constantly find new sources of encouragement, new ways of motivation. This is largely one of the jobs of the instructor.
Several months ago, in mid April, I followed an invitation to give a seminar at a, actually THE Wing Tsun school in Calgary. I've met the instructor, German Ferrer, once before. A very friendly and patient man, with many decades of learning and teaching experience in various martial arts, and a busload of enthusiasm for Wing Tsun.
During private lessons, a group class, and the seminar I taught “my” Wing Tsun version, a culmination, or better the result of the teachings I received from my WT instructors. Some of my most influential instructors have been masters like Leo Czech, Peter Vilimek, Keith Kernspecht, Emin Boztepe, Salih Avci, also Heinrich “the cat” Pfaff, as well as many others.
Regardless of the exercise, we worked during the Calgary Wing Tsun seminar on body structure, the connection of muscle groups throughout the body to produce eventually whiplash-like punches, short range power. By showing how to include movements of the hip, the spine, relating for example to the Cham-Kiu and Biu-Tze form, we began to work on a (almost) rhythm on how to move constantly, to bring dynamic energy to “the table”.
When training how to use the shoulder, one student exclaimed very excited: “Wow this reminds me of boxing!” Well, what is Wing Tsun? Chinese boxing! Referring to some teaching versions I have unfortunately seen over the years students being exposed to, … If a instructor forces his students into a inflexible training stance, doesn't let them use their legs, hips, shoulders and more to strike, doesn't allow his students to actually hit, well than even a great system like Wing Tsun turns into a lethargic gymnastic.
We also worked on a version of the first form, based on the original Health or ChiKung Siu-Nim-Tau form by Grandmaster Leung Ting. Over time now, many very strong students, experienced martial artists, even Wing Chun/Ving Tsun practitioners, fitness trainers, had to admit that this particular Siu-Nim-Tau version is one of the nastiest workouts they had encountered.
The seminar was based on core concepts of performance, how to include fluidity of motion, flexibility throughout while observing proper positions, distance, timing, balance, the ability to deliver power, … and much more.
Working on fluidity, dynamic, the ability to remain flexible and loose under stress, the how-to of training the forms, we started talking about methods of motivation. There is something very simple. Everyone likes to listen to music. Music to accompany a fitness routine, listening to your I-Pod while running, that’s old news.
There is nothing wrong with putting on your favourite music while practising your Siu-Nim-Tau, Cham-Kiu or other forms. Time flies when you go through hours of otherwise possibly :-) agonizing Chi-Sau practise. If somebody sees that as a sacrilege in regard to old Kung Fu traditions, well, go with the times. Life is too short. You can be responsible, pay attention to details of your workout, and train hard, while there is some music in the background.
I had a great time in Calgary, experienced a wonderful class of enthusiastic instructors and students (you guys rocked ;-), and very much enjoyed the hospitality of German and his wife Wanda, his brother Carlos, who came all the way from Texas. I most definitely look forward to the next seminar on September 12th and 13th 2008. If you are in the Calgary area, contact German Ferrer for more details. It's a great team.
So, to get your next workout going, please find below a few tunes to choose from. Motivation starts sometimes with little steps. Listen to some music. Let yourself get "infected" by the enthusiasm of your fellow training partners, other students, instructors. Give a little, take a little. Have fun and work hard!
Check out the following four videoclips at Veoh.com. Download the music videoclips to your computer, I-Pod, or watch them on VeohTV, a small downloadable application that lets you watch the full-length video.
1. Stuck in the 80's? Why not listening to one hour of 1980's hits?
2. More up-to-date? How about a Dancemix, 39 hits of 2007?
3. Are you the classic type? Here is a wonderful version of Antonio Vivaldi, The Four Seasons, by the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra under Herbert von Karajan.
4. Need a steady rythm? Get going with the Modern Talking Space Mix, 10 hits in 20 minutes.
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