Finding Meaning, Finding What Works, and Finding Truth
They say truth is subjective. Truth is in the eye of the beholder. For the positivists back in the era where science is confined, truth is what is real. Real is something that can be seen, heard, felt, tasted and experimented on. But as revolutionary ideas and worldwide tolerance on belief systems emerged, truth became more of an individual’s perspective rather than a collective agreement. And as post-positivists usually argue, “what’s wrong with subjectivity”?
I wouldn’t go into writing man’s quest for truth (and meaning). I already lost countless hours of sleep way back in college doing that. Pondering dead men’s thoughts, epistemology, phenomenology, dialectics, ontology and other deep discussions commonly heard in today’s drinking sessions of the youth.
But the quest for truth and meaning is applicable in my passion for the combat arts and self-defense. You already know of my recent interest in martial arts. It took me almost a year researching, reading and watching demo videos, scientific explanations and talking to actual teachers and practitioners to come to a conclusion and deciding that among the best systems out there, Wing Chun (WC) is best suited for me.
A martial art system shouldn’t be ranked on what is superior to another. It should be gauged as what works for you. What you intend to use it for. How fit are you to practice it. How much time would you commit to studying it before real world application?
I already discussed Wing Chun’s merit on a separate article. With all respect and utmost humility, I thank Sifu Yuri (“Coach Yuri”, he prefers) for the patience and guidance. I hope my Wing Chun brothers understand this new path I am embarking upon. Again there is nothing wrong with WC, and among the systems out there, WC is the most scientific and its effectiveness in combat is unquestionable. It is not a “sport” meant for caged fighting, but a complete weapon if applied systematically and properly.
But like the great Bruce Lee, I intend to find my own truth, at my own pace and my own understanding. WC taught me a lot, but I find my progress slow. Maybe I am impatient. Maybe I lack discipline and commitment. I haven’t even touched the “fighting part” of WC yet, and Coach Yuri explained to me that the actual fighting and readiness for fighting comes much, much later in WC.
I have read as well that most WC students tend to be frustrated during the first few months of training, since WC’s approach is traditional and the actual “exciting” application and sparring comes much later when the body is conditioned and actions are automatic. I haven’t yet felt that way and my training is far from even what I would call “basic”.
In the meantime, I am getting my feet wet with Jeet Kune Do (JKD, as taught by Ted Wong, not JKD-Concepts) to which my basic WC background is very much applicable, since WC was the basis for JKD. Although my Coach, Joel Ramos, clarifies that JKD is not WC and far from it.
I am not writing to discredit any art, any lineage or any system. I am not saying JKD is superior to WC. I am not even promoting a specific JKD interpretation as well. At least not yet.
But as Coach Yuri pointed out, JKD from the start, already has the “fighting” pre-conditioned to the student, it is already setting you up to fight, unlike WC where it “conditions” your reflexes, body and mind first, and fighting comes much later. And with this, I intend to try JKD. I like Sir Joel’s personalized approach and our training is one-on-one.
I am discovering new “truths” out there and with each truth, I take it with a grain of salt. I do hope my WC brothers understand this, and rest assured, I will come back to train with you once in a while in the future. I am not abandoning WC, I plan to finish the whole WC system from Duncan Leung’s lineage. But allow me to open my mind to JKD’s truth and effectiveness as well. Hopefully, in my quest for eliminating what doesn’t work for me, and mastering what is essential, I find my own truth.