At the end of March after a bonus class for the trainer team of Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver I transferred all photos taken during the class from the memory stick of my wife’s camera (which I had used instead of mine) to the computer and uploaded the better shots to FaceBook. I deleted most of the photos, but for some reason left six photos from our Chi-Sau bonus class on the memory stick.
Well, we kept taking family pictures. Easter Monday came. The family went out for a trip to Iona beach near the Vancouver airport, took the camera and took many good shots.
I planned an extra evening class for all members of Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver. The evening came, we searched all backpacks, the car, the kids’ stuff, the entire house. The camera was gone. Days went by. We checked craigslist. Nothing! It looked like we were going to have to come to terms with the fact that the camera was gone, more importantly hundreds of family photos and also personal videoclips the kids had recorded for Grandma’s birthday. This was the most upsetting part.
About two weeks had gone by since Easter Monday. A Facebook message is waiting for me. Hmm, I don’t know the person. So, he writes: “A camera came flying out of a car that was in front of me as I was driving home during Easter Monday. ... there were also some Wing Tsun photos on there and they are the exact same pictures as the last 6 photos that are in your "2009 Chi-Sau bonus classes" photo album on your Facebook. ... I am wondering if you can assist me in identifying the driver so that I may return the camera.”
Yes, we have to admit, we have no idea how the camera could be flying out of the car window. This might forever remain a mystery. But, what are the odds, someone in traffic at a busy intersection notices a camera flying out of a car? What are the odds that the person actually stops and picks up that camera? What are the odds, that that person is interested in Kung Fu and has seen my photo albums on Facebook? Why did I leave the six photos of the last Bonus Chi-Sau class on the memory stick and not delete them as I did with all the other pictures? Few only would make an effort now to track down the person, whom the camera might belong to. Furthermore, I saw that the finder is on Facebook connected with one of my wife’s co-workers, another lifeguard. What are the odds?
Everybody, who I have told the story, commented more less, that if they would read this kind of story in a book, they would respond” Yeah right, this doesn’t happen in real life!”
Not being “into it” as I am, my wife always said: “Facebook sucks.” It doesn’t anymore. (she never understood how people could spend so much time telling other people every little thing during their day, she really doesn’t want to know when anyone else needs to go to the bathroom or if they have decided to brush their teeth for the 10th time).
A big Thanks to the honest and helpful finder of our camera. Maybe this will be an inspiration to others.
Is experience overrated? What does a Wing Tsun trainer do?
I must admit, that I borrowed the headline "Is Experience Overrated?" from Mike Mahler's latest online magazine issue of "Aggressive Strength". One of the many interesting resources you can find via Twitter! At one point he writes: "You might think it impossible to not get better at something after accumulating years of experience, yet proof of the opposite is abundant."
Let's look at the trainer team at Wing Tsun Kung Fu Vancouver. Everyone is living busy lives, often struggling to make the right choices of dividing time between family, the job or business, other hobbies and activities, and going to group classes as well as taking private lessons. Now between classes, lessons and attending seminars, you could think enough is enough, right?!
But many find it excitingly challenging, even or especially after many years of training, to explore the art within the martial ART of Wing Tsun Kung Fu. A great chemistry within a group, having lots of fun sweating and training hard, can produce its own driving force. Some members of our trainer team are still very young while others see already the silver lining of the big 60 on the horizon. It's never too late or too early to find passion in your hobby.
It can be a great motivator for your life in general, to experience the exhilarating success of mastering new levels of skill. For some it's very rewarding, to discover and preserve a century old Kung Fu system, once made famous by the late Bruce Lee, and just recently "re-discovered" by many through the Yip Man movie.
So, over the past months we scheduled three bonus classes for all trainers, reviewing some of the instructor level programs. We first got together on Saturday, February 28th, followed by March 14th and March 28th.
Each instructor level (Technician Grade or TG) can be seen as the "black belts" of Wing Tsun Kung Fu. Chi-Sau sections are in the beginning kind of "two-men forms" of the tactile response exercises in Wing Tsun. These sections are designed to help cultivate reflex-like reactions. Each Chi-Sau section combines several scenarios of attacks, defenses, counter-attacks and counter-defenses. Among many other benefits the (in our opinion right) Chi-Sau training creates a sound structure, feel for the right timing, maintenance of balance while being pushed, pulled, attacked; a good coordination of food and hand work, punching power at the right opportunity and more.
Yet another effect is often overlooked. While you teach, you are not just helping others. When you have to answer questions, you may have never asked yourself, you improve your ability to explain, to generate visual examples. Each time you improve your own performance. You find better ways to articulate your teachings, thus improving your confidence. Facing a multitude of attacks you also sharpen your technical skills. How could there ever be a final experience?
Over the years you slowly become an expert, you begin to master your martial art.
"An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field" - Niels Bohr
Kung Fu Power: Kettlebell Workshop with discount for Wing Tsun Vancouver members
WT instructor and personal trainer Steve McMinn is having an Intro to Kettlebells Workshop on Saturday, March the 14th at 1.30pm @ Fitness World Kitsilano (Vancouver), 2150 W Broadway at Arbutus - 2nd Floor.
Steve would like to extend an invitation to all members of Wing Tsun Vancouver and offer a 1.5hr workshop.
This would be a good way for those interested in Steve's recent seminar demo, to get some hands-on experience. Missed the two seminar demos? Go to our two media channels at YouTube (10 min) and Veoh (45 min).
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).