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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
Monday, 27 September 2010

Breaks, motivation and different goals. Martial arts are no different than life.

1990 in Berlin, I am about to be taken down by my instructor, WingTsun Sifu Peter VilimekRecently we had several of our members return to classes after years of absence due to family commitments, night school, working out of town and other reasons. It’s always great, to see familiar faces back in training. It gives every instructor who is proud of teaching a wonderful motivation.

Others just started their training with us a year or two after having been to one of our open house events. Having followed our activities by reading the occasional news e-mail, following us on Facebook, even YouTube or Twitter, kept them up-to-date.
But so far, nobody came even close to breaking the record. At one point, one person came to class and said: “I am ready now. I have been to your open house and want to sign up for your Wing Tsun classes!” Eventually we figured out, that about six years were in between the trial classes and the start of his Wing Tsun Kung Fu training.

Last week I met someone, who has been to our open house, but decided to join another school. That’s great! Why? Because in his case, it showed the commitment of the person and that he was seriously looking for the martial arts school that was right for his needs.
It reminded me of several occasions over the years, when I recommended different martial arts or even specific other schools to interested visitors. Some look for “only” a tough workout with lots of sweating, others strive for competing in tournaments, some are fascinated with high kicks in Taekwon-Do, just to name a few examples. Your martial art should never be like a corner store, which is trying to be everything to everyone.
I am always happy to hear when someone has found his place, his school. Or, as I tell everyone; whatever you do in your spare time, after work, you have to enjoy it, like the atmosphere and get along with the instructor/s and class mates. Just imagine everybody would like the same ... the competition would be unbearable and it would also be boring.

Over the past weeks, I was talking to a few of our (Wing Tsun) seniors. Everyone gets caught in a motivational low, needs a break from even the most exciting hobby. That’s normal, that’s human. Of great importance is to repeatedly redefine your own motivation. One asked me how I can possibly show, explain and demonstrate the Siu-Nim-Tau form again and again, this now for over 26 years. Well, I enjoy it, I work on finding new ways of breaking down exercises into details. I find better or different ways of explaining them. I continue to improve my own performance; ... and take pride in it. For every explanation, I use analogies: The difference between a martial ARTIST and a martial artist is the same as between a one-hit wonder and a band that produces solid hit records even after decades of making music.

So, find your niche, define your motivation, do something that’s fun and enjoy it!

For me, since 1977 is has been martial arts and for 26 years of it: Wing Tsun Kung Fu! Off to class ...

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Posted by ralph haenel at 4:43 PM PDT
Updated: Tuesday, 12 October 2010 8:45 PM PDT

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