About two weeks ago, while we were in our Wing Chun camp in the mountains, my phone started buzzing in the dead of night, at about 3AM.
Being an unlisted number calling at such an ungodly hour I supposed they must have had a *really* good reason for it, like an emergency of sorts, so I answered.
It took me a while to recognize the voice at the other end, it sounded strange and familiar at the same time, the odd sensation of hearing the voice of a former lover you haven’t heard in three years’ time.
“Heeeey there cutie, how are you girl?!?? Am I disturbing you? ”
“(gosh, no, *not at all*, there’s hardly anything disturbing about being called at 3AM in the fucking morning after 3 years of not talking…it’s only just fucking preposterous) Hi….well, uhm… would *love* to catch up with you (oh yea,there’s literally nothing I’d like to do better than this right now, jackass) but I’m at this kung fu retreat in the mountains and I’m kinda in need of my rest.”
“Gee girl, kung fu, reeaaally?!? You, of all people?!? Who would have thought?!?”
“Yeah, yours truly. We can meet when I get back in town to show you what I’ve learnt in the past 3 years, but for now bye and nighty night.”
Some #slowmotion with Iulia#wingtsun #wingchun #wingchung #vingtsun #chisao #martialart #martialarts #brucelee #ipman
Posted by addicted2wingchun.com on 28 Aprilie 2017
Who would have thought, indeed.
God knows, especially not me.
I was perhaps one of the least likely people to ever get involved with martial arts. For one, I abhorred physical movement and exercising. But rewind three years back, I was between a rock and a hard place, left cold turkey with my emotional loss.
I had just been dumped by the said guy, in what now I realize had been a pretty considerate, grown up and respectful way for which I am grateful, but then, then, man, I was *heartbroken*, yet again.
I was a shy, bookish introvert of 25, sensitive and idealistic, seeing the absolute best in people, dedicated body and soul to others’ wellbeing and happiness.
Asking in return just to be accepted, just being allowed to stand by and offer.
I believed that if I understood and loved people for who they were, warts and all, at one point they would start noticing it and noticing me.
I felt so disappointed with myself when that didn’t happen.
I thought if only I could have figured out at the right time what I can do to change and please, if only I would have tried better and harder, if only I would have been given another chance of fitting into another person’s expectations and ideals, then, miraculously, I would become seen and accepted and needed and loved.
It was like constantly trying to date and live with Procrustes.
In Greek mythology, Procrustes was a thug, a bandit roaming the roads of ancient Attica, who promised the people he captured that he would set them free if they fit into his iron bed.
It was designed in such a way nobody could fit – if they were too tall, he would cut their head off and if too short he would stretch them to death.
Now, how many of you have ever experienced the struggle of trying to fit in?
The fear of being either too much or too little for a situation or a person or even for yourself?
How many of you have equated being needed with being loved and loving with needing?
Took the addiction and craving of one’s own wounded ego as genuine love and mutual respect for each other’s individualities?
How many of you have felt or feel stuck in relationships of any sort where you feel you need to stretch or to shrink to make it work and blame yourself and think you are a failure when it doesn’t?
Now, I believe any relationship is a complex organism that has highs and lows and it’s crucial to be responsible and accountable, but I think what proves to be self-defeating is guilt and shame for what one feels and experiences and the need to ‘fix’ things and tie your self-worth to it.
You might as well fill your pockets with stones and go for a swim and then get mad that you’re barely capable of keeping your head above the water.
Luckily for me, I started doing Wing Chun and I became a brassy, ballsy bad bitch who doesn’t give a shit and would pak sao you first, ask questions later. The end. Good bye. Start Wing Chun now and show dem SOBs who’s boss.
Nah, just kidding.
It didn’t work that way.
It doesn’t work that way. It wasn’t a miraculous over-night transformation that ‘fixed’ what was ‘wrong’ with me and changed my personality completely.
I am still a shy, nerdy introvert, sensitive and idealistic and see the best in people and I am as naive as ever in this respect.
And the takers gonna take, take, take, take, and the haters gonna hate, hate, hate, hate. Boo-fucking-hoo.
What Wing Chun offered me was a process of discovering the Structure and Center of my personality and the confidence to rely on it, cherish it and act from it. It offered me the courage to own it, honor it, not feel sorry for it. And toned arms and legs and killer abs.
For me discovering Wing Chun has been, right from the start, discovering a tool for emotional healing and slowly learning how to step out of my own pattern of fears and dare to live more wholeheartedly.
I can distinctly recall that moment when pain opened up in me an insight that lead me to Wing Chun.
It was one of those moments of creativity that I believe all of us are capable of.
I was walking back home from work in that suffocating, disempowering grasp of heartbreak and suddenly I took a step back and noticed just how powerful the pain was and marveled at the sheer force of its energy.
And I started to wonder if I could harness that and turn it around and discover my true power through it.
Human beings are wonderful at devising ways to withstand adversity creatively – as we have been able to discover how to harness the power of crashing waves and turn it into electricity, among others.
So I had a vision of transferring my inner struggle to my body and teaching it how to actually fight, in a sort of a symbolic relief from the powerlessness I was experiencing.
Now, whenever I feel like being a Procrustes to myself and torturing myself with whatifs and whatnots I Siu Nim Tao.
The body will follow the mind and vice-versa.
In Siu Nim Tao you learn first how to be upright and rely on your spine, then, that you don’t have to be tense to be able to sustain yourself.
You discover how good it feels to be relaxed and stand with your head held up high and breathe.
You learn how to define your own personal space, and that you don’t have to stretch too far or shrink in too close to find what distance defines your space the best, the spot where you can be the most effortlessly and powerfully yourself.
I like the directness and simplicity of Wing Chun, that relies on subtlety and shrewdness to realize its goals.
I like how it integrates and uses contraries, how it teaches one to change and shift while staying true to one’s course.
I believe it is a thinking person’s martial art and if you are prone to overthinking, like I am, it can help you instill simplicity and directness in your mind and weed out unnecessary struggle and tension.
Will I ever have to use it on the street?
That I do not know, what I do know and experience is how I can use it in the fierce, daily street-fight that anxiety can be.
Sometimes our minds feel like gritty, dirty bar-brawls and you can’t take it outside.
Why not take it inside then?
Have the guts to get to know yourself, don’t shy off from your pain and anger and sadness, as they can be great motivators and open up whole new worlds for you.
Learn how to pick your fights and go all in the fight if fight you must.
In the past years since I’ve taken up this Wing Chun life I have learned to become more at peace with lack of control, loss, pain, trauma, with the fact that situations and people are hardly ever favorable or as good and fair as we would like and expect them to be.
We rarely get what we think we deserve but if you keep expecting that life has to award you little shiny golden stars for being such a good girl or boy and eating all your vegetables you only give away your power and sense of worth to something that is pretty unpredictable and out of whack.
How situations and people treat you cease to be as meaningful as what your own responses to them are, and how you choose to act.
It’s like becoming more confident in your own inner compass that shows your true North and allows you to get creative and flexible in your actions and thoughts.
For me Wing Chun has taught me to get comfortable with feeling uncomfortable and with things falling apart, as just as sure they are bound to fall back in, into a different pattern that you can discover and enjoy more.
And who knows, even become something you never dared imagine yourself to be.