The 5 Virtues of Wing Chun
The Plum Blossom symbol as well as being a cultural symbol, is also known for many whom have an interest in martial arts, with Ying and Yang opposing but interchangeable forces (positive/negative) at its centre. Worn on the front of our uniform, possibly you may never have wondered why it is there and what it represents. Students come to train and become accomplished, develop a skill and learn to defend themselves, these goals would quite possibly be at the top of students reasons for training. There is also a social aspect, interacting with other students who may have different reasons to you, who may simply feel joy from training.
The things we engage in during our life should change us, we become more from our outlook. You may notice a more positive attitude or outlook, aspects of life that once frustrated you may seem diminished, even how you see yourself, see others and your place in society may change. This is part of a process, we aim to forge our character and the Plum Blossom emblem symbolises desirable attributes in the International Academy of Wing Chun. Each of the five petals represents a Virtue: Will, Diligence, Honour, Perseverance and Courage, The Five Virtues of Wing Chun.
The intention to learn and achieve even if the process challenges us; seeing something through when things are going well is one thing. As a beginner progress can be reasonably paced, easy to see from one level to another but later it slows. Small percentages, longer periods between levels, this is when you must not lose sight of your goals or your desire to reach for what you want. Most of us will face external obstacles, work, family, sickness, injury or any number of unexpected factors. Will you make the most of your training time? Intensive focus, Wing Chun is a long term study, we have a complete system which takes many years to complete and few actually do, we never said it was going to be easy but everything is achievable.
Do you have the courage to do what is right in your life, to follow your convictions? Pain is part of life whether physical or emotional. If you shy away from it you will never learn how to deal with it. If we are afraid we must face our fears, it is never easy but his is part of the process. We do not lack courage because we are afraid it is because we face our fears that we learn to control it and demonstrate our true courage.
Practice, practice, makes perfect. Will you perfect your forms, work techniques over and over to become good at them? Are you good at what you have learnt or do you think learning the next thing will make you good? By practicing what you have done before or striving forward without having sound foundations to build upon? This is your journey, this is your progress, not for the sake of praise or admiration. Become the best you can with as much attention and effort that you can muster.
Beginner or senior, whatever stage you are on your journey, perseverance will see you through. However hard we find things, it can be frustrating, especially if others seem to sail through whilst we may make smaller gains. We will face moments of doubt or impatience, this is when we must strive to move forward and improve. There will be people around you to help but in the end it is up to you it is your way and your goal.
Be true to yourself, treat other the way you would like to be treated. We learn to deal with unpleasant situations but do not encourage senseless brutality, ego, the pretence of superiority. As I have already said, as part of your training or as a side effect, you should change as a person, better in all ways as you push yourself physically and emotionally. Become calmer, more confident in your dealings wit others. Without respect and personal standards, what are you? We must use our bodies, but with engaging our minds we are only fighting half the battle.
Sihing Julian WestonIAW Bromley