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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
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Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver Blog
Monday, 28 February 2011

Are you a “dream ranger”? Or do you at times submit to the dark side?

My thoughts for this post came from very different experiences in the virtual and the real world.  Within a short period of time, I came across completely different ends of the spectrum, the positive and negative, the yin and yang of human expression.

Recently I ended up giving way to some gossip, meaning I read comments on YouTube. In my personal opinion, YouTube clips have portrayed great people looking not so good, and seriously flawed performances looking pretty good due, for example, to the video frame rate. However, the comments typically steal the show. I have always said that there is unfortunately more politics in martial arts than in politics. But, there is also increasingly more blind fanaticism in all martial arts, just as in other areas of life. With the anonymity of the Internet, it has become so easy for “keyboard warriors” to express their often strange opinions. One gets the distinct impression that professional jealousy, pure hatred and complete inability to respect other people’s work would be an endless source of income for psychiatrists. Real or assumed martial arts skills and boundless ego is not a lethal but rather dumb combination, a fountain of personality disorders.

It all leads me to another observation. Many people don’t seem to get, that the studying of martial arts is the careful building of skills and knowledge, not the collection of data, techniques, or number of more or less instructional videos watched. Many seem to mix up quality and quantity of information. There is more knowledge than ever accessible, yet it doesn’t necessarily lead to more creativity, dynamic learning and innovation. Information is more ‘scanned’ than acquired. Clicking replaces thinking.

So, when now does this post lead into a positive direction? Let’s go from the virtual world into the real world. Any instructor and student is capable of forming and influencing their environment, making encouraging contributions that motivate everyone.

Recently I noticed how many students have returned to classes, after having been away for only several weeks or even after a break of a number of years due to work and family commitments.

That’s what it is all about. Studying and training in a supportive class setting. Not giving up on your dreams. Showing persistence and patience. It doesn’t matter if you start something new, or if you get back to follow your Kung Fu journey. Dream and do something about it!

Before I conclude today’s post with the link to a videoclip that in part motivated these thoughts, I want you to read a few lines from our students. More is coming up during the next days ...

Helen, Natalia, Sifu Ralph Haenel, Melissa at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver, the first Canadian Wing Tsun branch, www.wingtsunkungfu.com

Starting something new is always hard, especially when there are people in the class at different experience levels. I felt at my first class that no one would want to partner the "new person". After my first few training partners however and my first few lessons, everyone was so friendly and patient I no longer had this feeling. One of my training partners said "we work together as a class here, we help each other get better" and a few others said that helping teach a newer person actually helped them fine tune their own skills. All the students and Sifu Ralph Haenel have created a very supportive and fun learning environment for me.

Rob G., Sia, Sifu Ralph Haenel, Nilo, Gary H., Mike at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver, the first Canadian Wing Tsun branch, www.wingtsunkungfu.com

Sometimes even dedicated students must (reluctantly) take a break from Wing Tsun group classes.  Life throws ‘curve balls’ at us when we least expect it.  A new addition to the family, the loss of a loved one or close friend, or maybe a serious illness in the family.  I have experienced my share.  How about demanding new job, or a job layoff?  That’s often the predicament, isn’t it?  We either have time but no money, or we have money but no time.

With all of life’s challenges, how can we continue with a hobby that brings us fullfillment?  The answer is that these interruptions do not matter over a long period of time.  The key is to resume class attendance as soon as it becomes possible.  "But it's been many months or even years", you say.  "I won't know the students in class, it just won't be the same anymore".  Take a look at this photo.  Recognize anyone?  Every student you see in the photo has returned to class after being away for extended periods, sometimes years.  The old-timers are making a comeback and having fun together again.  Come and join us!

Reading the first two postings also reveals how a instructor is being motivated!

Now, the video. First, I saw the following videoclip posted by Alex Richter, a talented Wing Tsun instructor from New York. I showed it to a few people and all of them said: “Gosh damn it, this makes you (almost) cry!” And yes, it is a bank commercial.

So, how about that video, are you a “dream ranger”?

Click here to read the second part of this series of two posts. Read what Todd and Adrian, Jan, George and Rob have to say about starting your martial arts training and about returning to classes after a break.

The title of part 2 of 2 is:
Setting foot for the first time into a martial arts school?
Tough time, trying to make it back to classes after a break?
Tips and lessons learned from Grumpy George and others!

Posted by ralph haenel at 11:02 AM PST
Updated: Monday, 21 March 2011 4:59 PM PDT

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