After I do my morning practice, I approach the world dead on. After my mobilizations, meditation, Siu Nim Tao, air Chi Sau and punching exercises, I am on my centerline. My posture is erect, my muscles are calm yet at attention. I have worked out the kinks- or at least worked at —that I develop in my otherwise sloppy habits.
I notice after practice I stance up to everything I’m doing, firmly centered and focuses on my task. Just simply adopting this stance brings awareness to my present activity. I have worked as a chef for almost 15 years, a career that requires physical endurance and mental fortitude. To get the job done we multitask to the point of hilarity. While managing 6 different cooking methods, all my staff and the demands of the customers, rarely am I square to the task at hand. It becomes a race against myself to perform at maximum speed and efficiency. I finish the day feeling like I was the Tasmanian devil, whirling around in a blur. I have to move that fast, I tell myself.
Wing Chun in Life
But now, after starting Wing Chun, I am able to slow it down. And it all starts with the stance and the posture. I take an extra step to approach what I am doing with equal footing, ensuring that my posture is correct and using both sides of my body. What had been very aggravating and right-handed tasks are slowly being accomplished with either both hands or the full balance of my mass. Not only does this reduce fatigue and injury, it brings a certain mindfulness to my work. This mindfulness rejuvenates my passion for my craft, and the food takes on the subtle yet unmistakable quality of love and care. I am calmer toward my staff, more patient to the customer, and generally more positive about the entire working experience. Whereas everything was heavy, Wing Chun has brought lightness to my working life.
I believe that the emphasis on correct posture and mindful relaxation sets the benchmark for mental and physical balance. As I focus on maintaining correct posture and establishing my normal force (see Physics 101), I can see physically that the rest just falls around me. I am here, standing, not fighting the undeniable pull of gravity.
They say 2 things in life are certain—death and taxes–but gravity is the third. I find that by first working with gravity in an upright position, I am not only relaxing my body, but relaxing my mind, When I start my day with Wing Chun, I am aligning myself with gravity, and thus reducing one less force of conflict and tension in my life. Somehow, this intention and practice has lead to a general sense of surrender and acceptance in my life. The older I get, the more I believe that life is not lived in discreet packets. True, there are moments, but everything bleeds into everything. Standing tall, letting the rest fall by the way side.
PAUL MATHEWS – RUNNER UP
Thank you Paul for taking the time to write and hand in this blog post. I am sure many will connect with how Wing Chun spills over into your everyday life. Your last paragraph seems to sum up the practice nicely since gravity has such a big impact on our lives, the silent and invisiable force we often forget about or neglect. With some little understanding it can become our best friend, supporting us wherever we go, or our worst enemy trying to drag us down relentlessly.
For your efforts we will be inviting you for a complimentary 2 month access pass to the Mindful Wing Chun Online School so you can pick up where you left off! Well done again!