As I write this article, we are in the midst of the second most impactful event in the history of WKFA. Who could have imagined how all our lives would change so dramatically over such a short period of time. I recall expressing similar sentiments in the July newsletter of 2006, just after we had tragically, and suddenly lost Sigung Bob. Writing this article brought back a flood of memories and emotions, as well as hope for the future.
At the Black Sash meeting of June 1, 2006 Sigung had just announced the dates for his upcoming vacation and we were coordinating class coverage. He also hesitantly held up his new Blackberry smart phone. This was significant because Sigung Bob was very resistant to technological change. He also spent a considerable length of time at that meeting discussing the expectations and responsibilities of Black Sash instructors. Things that still resonate throughout WKFA.
By late June of 2006, we were in a state of complete shock and uncertainty. How will we continue to train? Who will manage the school? Will students stay? Will instructors stay? Will students/instructors unite, or divide? Would WKFA even survive? It was a summer full of turmoil and anticipation. Everyone played their part, but a few individuals grabbed the reins and held on until we found an accountant who really wanted to be a Kung Fu instructor; the rest is history.
I can’t believe that 14 years later we face the same questions, as we are once again assailed by external forces beyond our control. And again, things will emerge quite different from what they were before we were shut down. What we teach may change; the way we teach may change; and our physical protocols will definitely change; at least for the foreseeable future.
If this pandemic had hit in 2006, I doubt that WKFA would have survived. We did not have the technology that we have today and things like virtual classes would not have been possible. Even though we had a more reasonable landlord at that time, we did not have nearly as many students, especially youth, junior, and LN, so financial obligations would have been difficult to meet for more than a few weeks. Certainly not for 3 months.
However, things are much different in 2020, and after a few weeks of reflection, technology, combined with Sigung Dave’s commitment to WKFA, allowed us to continue classes in an almost seamless manner. The in-person class dynamic cannot be replaced, but you are still learning Kung Fu, you are still training Kung Fu, and you are still able to interact with your Kung Fu family. And, again a few students and instructors grabbed the reins and showed great determination in finding creative ways to keep our spirits up. I won’t name names for fear of missing someone, but you all know who they are. Your efforts are noticed and won’t be forgotten.
We have no firm date for the death of Sigung Bob, but it was close to the time of the summer solstice; each year we pause to remember our founder. But, do not take for granted the hard work and dedication of Sigung Dave; ensuring that we will weather the current storm.