"Brotherhood and Friendship Not Egos and Politics"
As I take a few moments to reflect on this past weekend's events I thought I would write them down to share. I can remember months back when Jim proposed the idea and we talked about it and how I thought it would be a great idea. Turns out it was an overwhelming success. As many are aware the VT/WC world is fraught with politics, inflated egos and lineage battles. Instead of bringing us closer together it often becomes the means to divide us. This was not the case here. We had members from Leung Jan Wing Chun, Leung Ting Wing Tsun, Hawkins Cheung Wing Chun, Augustine Fong Wing Chun, Wong Shun Leung Wing Chun, Moy Yat Ving Tsun and even some JKD. That's quite an array of VT/WC flavors. The best part was that everyone came with open arms and minds. It wasn't about trying to prove one system or lineage was the best. The focus was about sharing knowledge and experience for all to benefit from. It was a special experience to be able to look at something and learn about it from three different perspectives. Even when going over a subject you are already familiar with, hearing another person put it into their language and teaching style often sheds new light on it. I know I have a different take on several things covered.
The weekend started for me when I arrived at Sifu Jim's house and after getting something to eat we headed to his club to train. It was great to touch hands with Jim again and review my PSWC studies as well as move on to some new material. There is no substitute for a good teacher and hands on training. Learning the next stage of the PSWC Chi Sao was challenging but very fun. It was also great to work with Sifu Phil again. Both he and Jim are a wealth of knowledge and experience and more than happy to share this. I relish the opportunity to empty my cup and go from being the teacher to a humble student. My head is still spinning with all I learned.
One of the day's highlights was Phil's trip to meet Yannie! I'll never forget it. I still can't stop laughing when I think about it. Then it was time for more amazing food. The pizza was delicious and this is coming from a Philly guy. As you know we are pizza snobs, but I had to give this a thumbs up. After that, more PSWC training and watching rare video footage of the Fung and Cho family.
The day of the seminar started off with sharing more interesting stories over breakfast. Then off to the BMAC to prepare for people to arrive. As everyone came in it was great to meet and greet them. Everyone was polite and excited to be there. It was great to see the diversity of the crowd. The seminar got under way with Sifu Alex Richter starting things off. Although I had heard of him I'd never met him before. It was great getting to know him and his student Jim. Alex is a really cool guy with a great method of articulating and presenting material and has a cool sense of humor as well. Second was Jim, who presented the PSWC system. It was a very different experience for many there which I understood from my training with Jim. Jim is a detailed and patient teacher and everyone left there with a great understanding and appreciation for PSWC which is still unknown of by many. Phil brought things home. Phil took things in a different direction by challenging everyone to expand their minds and ways of thinking. He demonstrated methods of attacking the upper and lower gates, close body attacks and methods to control an opponent without using physical strength. This was a very eye opening experience for many. I spent my time taking pictures and shooting video as well as helping out where I could. I really enjoyed touching hands and speaking to those I was able to.
After the event was over we went back to Jim's house and you would think we'd had enough VT/WC for the day but not the case. We watched more videos and talked more Kung Fu. Then off to the Chili Garden for dinner. Great food and conversation ensued. It was great that Danny Horgan was able to meet up with us. Great guy! We also had the privilege to see a preview clip from Alex's new video project on Yip Man. Really cool stuff!
Sunday morning was a special treat. We meet Sifu Moy for Dim Sum. He is a real treasure. We listened to him as he told us stories from the old days back in Hong Kong as well as his thoughts on training. Moments like this are priceless. Afterwards, we went to the Chinese market where I bought my clay pot so that I can begin my training on how to make Die Da Jiao. I'm extremely excited about this new endeavor and can't thank Jim enough for teaching me. Then back to Jim's house for a few more hours of PSWC training and review. It was soon time to say farewell to Jim as Phil and I headed to the airport. We grabbed some lunch and shared out thoughts of the weekend. We look forward to next year's event and I hope to have one at my school in the future as well.