Sifu Mark JolleyAdult Student’s Corner

by Sifu Mark Jolley

I had previously planned this topic for the newsletter later in the year. I wanted to go over all the great things training at Waterloo Kung Fu provides. Then wham Covid 19 kicks in and Kung Fu classes are shutdown. I honestly was lost without the classes. What could I do? I realized I needed to stay active, so I started training at home and realized my love for the martial arts was still there. Then a miracle happened. Virtual Kung Fu to the rescue!!

As I write this column during the Covid19 lockdown, I believe the relevance of the topic is more important than ever. We have been unable to attend physical classes for nearly 3 months. Most of our daily routines have been affected, turning us into binge watching couch potatoes. Fortunately, Sigung has put together outstanding virtual classes to keep us motivated and engaged. As the numbers for the virtual classes have proven, there is a definite need for and love of Kung Fu, even in lockdown.

Thinking back to when you started, what was the spark that drove you to train in Kung Fu. Was it a movie/show or a demonstration? For your first grading, an essay is required on why you decided to train in Kung Fu and why did you choose WKFA? As years go by and ranks achieved, have you ever re-evaluated why you are still training? Is it the same as when you started, or as the years have gone by, have your reasons changed?

Some train for the physical aspect, while others enjoy the martial art aspect. The great thing about Kung fu is it takes concentration to fully grasp the theme being taught. There are many other sporting activities that will keep you active, but Kung Fu requires your full attention. You can come into the class stressed about work or family. Kung Fu can distract you from your daily stress and provide a positive outlet. Even our virtual classes provide a great diversion from our lock down. Unfortunately, self-defense and sparring are a major casualty of virtual training.

However, as a couple of classes have proven, training without a partner is still a viable exercise. As in shadow boxing, “shadow self-defense” allows you to practice the technique with added force that you would otherwise not exert with an actual partner. Forms can be practiced, although most of us will have to do it in a confined space. Use this opportunity to work sections of the form. This provides a great opportunity to understand the techniques, but also the area the form takes up. If it is a weapon form, you can either substitute with a smaller item, or practice the form open handed. Without practice, it doesn’t take long to lose co-ordination or remember your forms. Practice creates muscle memory.

Use this unique opportunity we have been presented with to re-ignite your spark for Kung Fu.