If you have been following my writings since Just Being v.1 (Multiply) and Just Being v.2 (Blogspot), you would know that I have had several hobbies – photography, dog training, football, bodybuilding, tarantula keeping, comics collecting, car modding, and running to name a few. (not to mention continuously opening the minds of readers and pestering corrupt and unjust systems).
All these hobbies were all self-taught, and of course Google and online forums were there to lend a hand. Except from photography and running, I don’t think I really earned any long term benefits from those endeavors. One reason why all these lost their appeal probably because of the lack of a teacher. An actual person who’s a guide. (and probably a constant buddy who shares the same passion)
I have always wanted to commit myself to a martial art discipline. There were just too many excuses and obstacles that prevented me not to. After trying Aikido way back in college, I decided not to pursue any art that would take years to master and would require youth and great flexibility.
I wanted a simple yet practical art. No fancy stuff, no dogma, scientific yet is tested by tradition and time. You all know how much of a Bruce Lee fan I am, so Jeet Kune Do was the most obvious choice. But upon further research, I discovered Wing Chun, Bruce Lee’s first martial art. That was in 2005. And there were no credible Wing Chun school here in the Philippines as far as I knew back then.
And then I met Yuri Timg last December online. After a series of emails, and my many excuses, questions and doubts, his simple answer- “if there’s a will, there’s a way”, got me to consider attending a trial session.
Wing Chun is not easy, but it is very practical. It relies on science, physics and the economy of motion. Of all the Chinese martial arts, Wing Chun is the most scientific in approach, and a complete, compact system if done right. A year studying Wing Chun would already equip one to defend himself in regular, everyday mishaps. Three years with Wing Chun, you could very well hold your own against other martial arts. They say that a person trained ten years in Northern Shaolin, Karate or Taekwondo can have some difficulty fighting a person with just three years dedicated Wing Chun training.
Bruce Lee saw that special thing in Wing Chun that made him use it as his basis for his own martial art, Jeet Kune Do.
I am now in my first month learning the art, twice a week, 3-4 hours per session (I try to make it 3x a week if time permits). Yes my arms ache, my fists and knuckles are sore, and my thighs have cramps, but I never felt more stronger and faster. (I am working on my footwork and pak sao as of the moment)
One thing that differentiates this new endeavor I am committing to is that there is a teacher, an instructor, a master, a guide.
My Sifu is Yuri Timg, trained under Sifu Duncan Leung, who himself was a private student and disciple of the the great grandmaster Ip Man. Duncan Leung’s approach is called Applied Wing Chun, wherein conditioning plays a huge part in training, and the art is not just taken as an art, but is “applied” and meant for combat.
Aside from the health benefits of a great full body workout, the application of the art in actual combat, the confidence boost, it is the camaraderie that one gets to experience in Sifu Yuri’s school that can be treasured (Sifu Yuri prefers not to be addressed as Sifu since he believes he will always be a student, who’s further developing and learning).
There is no place for arrogance or showing off in the school, each student helps each other. There is no seniority, everyone trains and tries to do what is being taught. There is no level, no belts, whatsoever as you train at your own pace, at your own body conditioning.
This type of discipline and approach attracts me to continue learning and committing to Wing Chun. Yes, self motivation is important (as proven by my running experience), but that extra push, that challenge that you can do better matched with the guidance of a master is something else. When you train alone or learn something by yourself, you lose that humility that you could be doing something wrong. A teacher is there to show you your mistakes and you correct them on your own.
They say that you are your own teacher, and that is true; We learn depending on our own approach and understanding.
But with all art, all those who mastered something were all taught by another master or teacher.
Everyone considers the ancient sage and teacher Confucius to be the great master, even Lao Tzu bows down to him, but even Confucius acknowledges that he himself was taught by a master.
You may visit Applied Wing Chun at:
Trainings are during Mondays-Thurs 8:30pm – 10:30opm and Saturdays 4:30pm – 8:30pm,