What in the world would possess a woman to take on martial arts?! It is such a ‘guy-thing’, right?! It’s such a violent and aggressive activity to be involved in, blood and bruises included, isn’t it?! And when you say ‘martial arts’, it most certainly does not make one think of feminine attributes at all, right?!
What if all of that is wrong?…
What if it’s no more than some ideas that somehow got into our heads, most likely put there by exposure to some else’s notion of martial arts and artists (see blockbuster Hollywood movies to get an idea about how you got ‘the idea’)?…
I am a Wing Chun student for 2 years now, and my Sifu has graciously invited me to share with you what this journey has been and continues to be for me.
Yes, I am a woman. And yes, I am a dedicated Wing Chun student who, every day and with each training, falls more in love with the wisdom and the power of this art.
Did you notice that word? ART? As in Martial ART?
Do you find that you might just have overlooked it until now?
I remember the day I decided to attend the open seminar Sifu was hosting like it was yesterday. Somehow I came across an article he had posted online, much like this one. It was about the wisdom that stems for practicing martial arts and the artist that was quoted was Bruce Lee.
Yeah, I know… cliché, right?! So what?! I admit I had read quite a few articles addressing this subject before, quoting the all-hailed Bruce Lee. And maybe somewhere inside I almost felt like “I already know these things’.
You know that feeling, when you watch a movie and you really admire the character and by the end of the movie you almost convince yourself that you have their abilities just because you watched the movie?!
Yeah, that was me too 🙂
But that day, something was different.
That thing inside me that ‘knew’ finally cracked open and wondered: “What is it, actually, to go beyond knowing? I think I ‘know’ many things, but when push comes to shove, many of these clever things ‘I know’ somehow vanish and I found myself not being able to apply them or act accordingly. It was like they were gone when I needed them most.“
So I wondered with excitement and a bit of anxiety: “What if ‘knowing’ is not all there is? What is it like to actually BE it? To embody it?”
It was Sunday afternoon, early February. And it was raining. A voice inside my head kept coming up with all the reasons I should just ditch the seminar and stay home.
But that curious spark inside had been already lit and it was too late to believe any of my excuses to not show up.
Without realizing it, Wing Chun had already inserted itself into my very core and was working on me from the inside.
And that was the first sign: in spite of my clever excuses, custom-designed to push all my right-buttons, I felt pulled out of the house, through the rain, on a Sunday when most people are happy to just chill out… pulled all the way to the seminar that was to change my life.
All of it happened on a Sunday afternoon, just like any other Sunday afternoon. And yet, totally unique and unlike any other!
That was another big insight that slowly sipped into my reality and into my being: that no moment is an ordinary moment. That no punch I throw is like another punch. That all it takes to really change is to be present in this very moment and be so full with it that there is no way of even thinking about comparing it to any other moment.
Have you ever had an experience that impacted you in such a way that it became a threshold – a kind of ‘before it’ and ‘after it’ moment?!
I am sure you have. We all had at least one.
This is one of mine.
That day, unknowingly, I stopped being who I was and started becoming who I am.
Looking back, I cannot say I know ‘why’ I started practicing Wing Chun. Sure, I can make up logical reasons in an attempt to justify it.
Truth is I don’t know. The best attempt at being authentic about it is to say it was a feeling, a sensation inside. Something deep inside me was pulling me towards it, like a magnet, and there was no way I could resist.
Now I know I was reminding myself what it feels like to be pulled by what you love instead of chased by what you dread. What it is like to do & act out of inspiration instead of react to circumstance out of fear.
I don’t mean to sound philosophical or like I am handing out advice nobody asked for.
Nor do I mean to start talking about the techniques, or the yin-yang energy play, or how to recycle the energy and use it against your opponent, or about the moves in the Siu Nim Tao (first form) and what they mean and how to properly do them, not even about the Wooden Dummy and how working with it can accelerate your progress.
I will leave that up to you to discover, cause I don’t like spoiler alerts and cause that discovery is part of YOUR journey 🙂
I do mean to stay true to what becoming a Wing Chun student under my Sifu Bogdan Rosu means to me.
There are so many experiences that I have gone through or better said, that I have allowed to pass through me, during these 2 years of practice!
Some of them brought tears of joy to my eyes as they have been more beautiful than I could ever imagine! Others brought tears of frustration or anger or helplessness that were locked up inside all along and finally found the permission to be let out in safety and in knowing I do not need to repeat them anymore, as I have offered myself new choices now.
Wing Chun has, over time, shape-shifted to be Wing Frustration, Wing Joy, Wing Anger, Wing Peace, Wing Silly, Wing Growth, Wing Fun and so much more! 🙂
To put it in a nutshell, Wing Chun is not just some fancy postures we do with the body. It is not just learning how to be powerful physically. It is not just learning how to create damage or protect yourself. It is not a way of getting attention and praises and validation from others.
Wing Chun is a journey back to who you really are.
It is putting in the effort to get to the effortless.
It is knowing with your body, not just your head.
It is finding and embodying the power and strength of being soft.
It is learning how fragile and precious life is and learning to cherish and protect it.
It is holding your boundaries so you may live in integrity and authenticity and at the same time, in vulnerability and genuine connection.
It is a way of coming home to your truth, no longer needing or seeking others to praise or validate you.
It is a powerful tool of healing, as practicing Wing Chun makes one sensitive to their internal world, better equipped to actually listen to the guidance within and pay attention to one’s real needs. Which in turn makes one more accurately attuned to the outer world.
It is a journey into true self-confidence that comes from the inside out, from the core of you and cannot be taken, shaken, or forsaken.
It is recognizing one’s strengths and one’s so-called weaknesses and embracing them both equally.
It is the power of togetherness. It is journeying side by side with one’s Kung Fu sisters & brothers and enjoying seeing them grow and flourish and flow.
Wing Chun is a paradox. An embodied paradox. That is the art that completes the martial. Like the two wings that make a bird able and joyous to fly!
Ultimately, Wing Chun is a journey of trust. Deep trust.
Trust in your Sifu to guide & shape you, as well as call you out on your bullshit. Trust in your Kung Fu sisters and brothers to do and be the best, truest version of themselves, and keep expanding what that is. Trust in the wisdom of the body to inform, guide, and protect you while also allowing you to feel open and deeply connected to yourself and others. Trust in life to unfold according to your highest growth, without needing to control it or force it, yet well-knowing that you are equipped to enjoy it to the most. Trust in yourself, madly, truly, deeply.
And all of it was inside you all along.
Wing Chun is that reminder.
That who you are is not just enough. It is absolutely and undoubtedly wonderful and unique and worthy of joy and celebration and love!
That who you truly are is who we’ve all been waiting for! Come out! Shine on! Wing Chun!
In deep love and gratitude to the artist inside the art inside the artist,