Time for a New Year's Tradition - Have some fun!
I know, some would expect me, to now talk about how to start the new year with some serious training, or to finish on this last day of 2008 with 5.000 non-stop chain punches, so that even the last one is as strong as the first. Sure, you can do that. Knock yourself out!
But sometimes it's good, just to have some fun, to be silly. Many people in Germany, whole families, circles of friends have a new year's tradition. It's all about a old TV Show recorded in July of 1963. It's best known, also in many other European countries as Dinner for One. People have Dinner for One parties, either just watching this funny almost 18 minute long show, or even to reenact it, have a whole theme party around it. Some have been watching this show for decades, every single New Year's Eve.
You should try it out. But don't you dare, to pause it, to answer the phone. Sit back, have a good drink and simply have a good time. Feel for the butler! :-)
Dinner for One, starring British comedian Freddie Frinton is a cult classic in Germany and across various European countries, shown every New Year's Eve. Yet still remains almost completely unknown to North American audiences. A lonely upper-class Englishwoman, Miss Sophie (May Warden), hosts a dinner every New Year's Eve for her long-dead admirers: Mr Pommeroy, Mr Winterbottom, Sir Toby and Admiral von Schneider. Her butler, James (Freddie Frinton), makes his way around the table playing each of the guests in turn. As he does so, he drinks each guest's share of the wine, becoming more inebriated and familiar and repeatedly trips over a tiger skin on the floor.
The vital exchange is: "The same procedure as last year, Miss Sophie?" "The same procedure as every year, James!"
Simple & Effective Kettlebell Training for Wing Tsun Kung Fu - 45 minute video presentation
During this year's Fall Seminar at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver in British Columbia, Steve McMinn gave two presentations under the exciting topic "Simple & Effective Kettlebell Training for Wing Tsun Kung Fu." The first one was held on October 8th 2008. A 45 minute long video has been posted on VeohTV. Feel free to download the videoclip even as iPod quality video. During the evening of October 20th 2008, Steve presented a condensed version. Please find the 10 minute long videoclip on YouTube. Learn about the benefits of kettlebell training for self-defense and martial arts. Listen to the explanations and watch exercises like the kettlebell swing, floor press, Turkish getup, the snatch and the kettlebell pistols, that let you work leg-strength, one leg at a time.
Kung Fu for Manager - Lunch & Learn Seminar at TELUS Vancouver
The motivation, the goal for many when signing up for self-defense courses, is in the beginning about the ability to stand up for themselves, to take care of dodgy situations, to defend themselves. Over time it evolves into developing a healthy level of self-confidence. Eventually it becomes a way of living, part of striking that balance we all yearn for. To recognize, that defending yourself is not necessarily limited to an actual physical situation, can sharpen your senses for your surroundings. Problems can start with insecurity while dealing with other team mates in the office, all the way to the horrible experience of becoming the victim of office mugging.
Who are you? How are you perceived by your co-workers? What approach do you take when delivering your part of a team project? How do you communicate with others?
It can be an incredible eye opener, to solve problems in simple physical self defence exercises. Learn through the application of Wing Tsun fighting principles, to realize roadblocks in interacting with others. Hey, even a fight is in the end a form of interaction.
A fight is about dealing with stress. Ever encountered stress at work? The Wing Tsun strength principles teach you how to better organize your resources. The same principles which can make or break your success in a brawl can help you stay clear of obstacles in private as well as business life. Learn how to stay sharp under stress. Identify solutions of how to respond instantly and on various levels, while being exposed to changing circumstances.
An ingenious self-defense system like Wing Tsun Kung Fu delivers helpful guidelines for: - increased stress resistance - awareness and interpretation of body language - reliable fear management - successful dealing with high-pressure physical and psychological situations.
On Wednesday, November 12th 2008, Ralph followed the invitation by Bill Reny, National Director - Marketing, Partners and Sourcing at TELUS Business Solutions. Bill is a experienced fellow martial artist and highly skilled Wing Chun instructor.
Thank you for your talk and demonstration to my team meeting on Wednesday. I was particularly impressed by how you explained the core principles of Wing Tsun and illustrated how the concepts could be used to improve interpersonal relationships at work or at home. As I looked around the room, I noticed my team members were very engaged with lots of nods and smiles. I was moved when you talked about how we go through life projecting an aura or presence that can either project confidence and security or unfortunately, attract exploitation - I see this in a business setting all the time and it really struck home. The hands on drill was a nice touch and a great change of pace for an all day business meeting. After you and Steve left, the team was energized and could not stop talking about how impressive you were and what a good sport Steve was. I think any business would be lucky to have you conduct a seminar as a team building event. It was truly unique, inspiring and a lot of fun. I hope you will be able to make the time for us again then next time we have a team meeting in Vancouver.
Bill Reny National Director - Marketing, Partners and Sourcing TELUS Business Solutions
A big Thanks to Bill Reny for his invitation, to all members of the TELUS management team for their enthusiastic participation and to Vancouver based personal trainer and Wing Tsun instructor Steve McMinn for once again being part of a lunch & learn seminar, making it an event which equally motivates us as well. Thanks Gina for taking photos and videoclips!
Contact me at SifuRalphHaenel at aol.com to arrange a lunch & learn seminar for your company. Discover the extended application of ancient Kung Fu techniques in a corporate environment. Enjoy an exciting and fun workout resulting in a positive motivation for your team.
Benefit your employees! Lunch break self-defense seminars, a great motivational tool. Past clients include Futureshop, Envision Financial and many others.
Simple & Effective Kettlebell Training for Wing Tsun Kung Fu
Posted at www.KungFutheWorkout.com, watch above the 10 minute long condensed fitness presentation by Steve McMinn under the topic "Simple And Effective Kettlebell Training for Wing Tsun Kung Fu!"
Steve McMinn www.fit4real.ca is a personal trainer located in Vancouver, beautiful British Columbia. He held the kettlebell presentation at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver, the first Canadian Wing Tsun branch, est. in 1994. There are many benefits when combining kettlebells and martial arts training.
Fitness trainer, kettlebell expert and now Wing Tsun Kung Fu Instructor
Steve McMinn is a personal trainer in Vancouver, beautiful British Columbia. In his capacity as fitness instructor and kettlebell expert you can reach him via fit4real.ca
Congratulations from all of us at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver to your successful exam and the well-deserved promotion to first Technician Grade, the "black belt" of Wing Tsun. Watch above video in high quality at YouTube! Click here.
As one of the senior members of the trainer team, Steve has set a great example for all the others, who will follow within the next year.
Is Wing Tsun only Wing Tsun and nothing but Wing Tsun? - part 1 of 2
I had the pleasure to learn from many excellent WT instructors. It exposed me to a wide range of martial arts backgrounds, personalities, various methods of teaching, even different approach to the system itself.
My very first teacher was a tough one. As a former boxer, from the camp of Gustav "Bubi" Scholz, Leo Czech visited the Wing Tsun castle and basically challenged Sifu Keith R. Kernspecht. It all came down to one point, if Kernspecht can take him, than Leo will sign up for the WingTsun job education. Well, at the time being 40 years old, ten years older than Kernspecht, and about two knockouts later, he wrote Sifu Kernspecht a cheque over DM10.000 and became a WT teacher.
My Sihing Leo told me once that my Wu-Sau it too low, told me a second time, the third time my nose was bleeding and my Wu-Sau resumed from then on at the right position. :-)
After my test for only the first and second student grade, I could barely walk, my whole upper body was green, blue, black and a few other colours I can't remember ;-) But hey, it was the mid-80's and I was only 20 years old.
Introducing a boxer's mentality, this kind of hardcore training formed the ability to train beyond what you think you can do.
photo, left to right: February of 1985 in Rostock; Dirk Rosenow, Ralph Haenel, Holger Prohl, WingTsun Sifu Leo Czech. Dirk and Holger were two of my very first WT students in the GDR.
My second teacher, Sifu Peter Vilimek, was/is a exceptional teacher. His patience and dedication, but even more so his ability to teach has formed me partially into who I am today. He always had a knack for creating examples, which I still remember today. Nobody is helped by "This is how some superhuman great super duper grandmaster has designed the technique" or "Think about the crane descending from the sky". No, Sifu Vilimek could relate to everybody and depending on their background, job, education, he came up with relevant examples which the person could understand. After all, the most important factor of a teacher is, can he make you good? Not, who he can beat up, or how many fights he had. photo: 1986 in East-Berlin, Ralph Haenel with his second WT instructor, WingTsun Master Peter Vilimek
The third notable instructor was Heinrich "The Cat" Pfaff at the Langencell Castle. I still remember my very first class. He didn't care much about protocol. It started for me right away with a bloody nose, then one lip started to bleed. I had to excuse myself, to go to the washroom, to "fix things". Only minutes later, when I came back with tissue up my nose, he asked if there is any problem with his teaching, I replied "No, I am here to learn!" and from this moment on he started non-stop explaining and showing Wing Tsun, right from the beginning in comparison to others never shy to use examples from more advanced forms or exercises. He showed almost too much, yet could bring across (t)his unique idea how Wing Tsun should adapt itself to you over the years. He could show you what fluidity and mobility truly means, hence his nickname "The Cat".
Although I learned from him only during seminars, I consider him my fourth teacher. Sifu Salih Avci, a rough but enormously friendly Turkish born fighter, taught me that a instructor can, well should get really involved with his students. You should never step back from pushing yourself as an instructor further and further. Only if you allow your students to (at one point) "throw" everything they have learned against you, if you allow them to attack you with full force, only then you can give them the confidence, that they learn to survive reality. The better you got, the more he turned up the heat on you. This means, it always felt as if it's your very first WingTsun training.
Here it is, the new downloadable 2008/2009 brochure delivering information about Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver, the first Canadian Wing Tsun branch, established in 1994. Click here to download the PDF file (1.4 MB, 24 pages).
Wing Tsun at the beach in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia
Steve McMinn and Brian Yam enjoy it every time to pose for some great photos. On Saturday, August 16th 2008 we got together for the eighth annual open air class at Kitsilano beach in beautiful Vancouver, British Columbia. All members of Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver, who could make it, were working with enthusiasm on the special topic of this event. What more can you ask for: great weather, beach, water, a constant breeze of fresh air, great views of the mountains ... and the two hours just flew by. Thanks to all who brought food and drinks for our potluck picnic, which resumed hours later in a nearby coffee shop. See you at the next event! Find some photos on facebook.
Steve McMinn posted on Wednesday, August 20th 2008 a blog entry about our beach class. Please click here!
Motivation, Music & Kung Fu? And a great Wing Tsun school in Calgary! 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.