Sifu Rebecca Knapp, Waterloo Kung-Fu Academy

By Sifu Rebecca Knapp

Adult Student’s Corner

I’m a bit like a bear once November hits—I slow down a little, am less-inclined to go out; I get tired earlier, don’t want to get up in the morning, and I get ornery on occasion because there’s a chill in the air and I can’t warm up. This time of year, I find many excuses to skip class:

It’s cold; It’s dark; Slippery roads; Snowstorm; I’m tired; I’m getting sick; I have too much to do; I have Christmas shopping/baking to do; I need to decorate; The neighbours are having a holiday gathering; The fire is going and I can open a bottle of wine; And so on….

Remember, it’s challenging to form a good habit, but pretty easy to form a bad one. It would be EASY to stay home, but even if I trained at home, that’s not what I signed up for!

I almost always feel better when I decide to attend class—I feel better about myself for making the decision to train, and I feel physically, emotionally and spiritually better for the exertion, and for the time practicing my art.

Also, class is one full glorious hour when I don’t have to think about ANYTHING ELSE…and miraculously, I don’t. I arrive with a full, busy brain, quite certain I’ll be unable to focus, and yet, within moments, the distractions dissipate and I find myself in the glorious Kung Fu zone. Beautiful.

Plus, if I didn’t come to class, I would miss your smiling faces, the unmistakable smell of hard work I’ve grown accustomed to over the years, and the sound of any given Sifu hollering commands on the floor. I wouldn’t have the added motivation of trying to keep up with the younger, faster warrior beside me; I wouldn’t do my pushups (or probably anything that I didn’t really LIKE doing, or feel like doing at the time). When I’m in class, I get to learn from my classmates, as well as an impressive line-up of skilled and experienced instructors, who invariably offer insights and perspectives different from my own, thereby helping me grow as a martial artist AND a person. I work harder and feel better than when I train alone, and I get the added bonus of the awesome camaraderie and friendships I’ve found.

Whenever I don’t feel like coming to class I remind myself why I chose Kung Fu in the first place, and that I love the hard work, the art, and my Kung Fu family.

So, when you are tired, come to class. When it’s cold and you could stay warm in front of the fire, come to class. When the weather says, “I might snow”, come to class. When you are stressed, and have too much to do, when it’s almost Christmas and you still have to shop, or when the neighbours invite you for some festive cheer, say, “I’ll be over later—right now, I’m going to class”.

You’ll be happy you did.

“Age wrinkles the body.
Quitting wrinkles the soul.”
Douglas MacArthur