Margarita expert? That's me. Gin and tonic aficionado? Absolutely. A modern day Bruce Lee, however, I am not. Admittedly, until about two weeks ago I didn't even know what Wing Chun was. So I had absolutely no idea what was in store as I trotted off to the Mindful Wing Chun studio for an hour-long session. On the plus side, however, I knew exactly where it was without any assistance from Google Maps, because it's opposite the Central Christian Louboutin store, and window shopping there is one of my favourite past times.
Feeling slightly blue due to my Louboutin-less status, I hopped in the lift up to the 8/F studio, and was warmly welcomed by the team. I learnt a lot more than expected during the class - things I think are important to pass on. So without further ado, let's get to lesson number one, which came to the fore approximately ten seconds after I walked through the door:
1. Don't pack your gym bag in a hurry
The morning was a bit of a rush, so I grabbed a t-shirt out of my drawer without a second glance. All set I thought - until I stepped into the studio and realised I had 'I LOVE BJ's' emblazoned across my chest. Just to be clear, it's a long story and definitely not what you're thinking (no I didn't visit Beijing either), but still not the first impression I had hoped to make.
2. Bruce Lee didn't invent it
I tried to salvage things with a casual name drop, but it turns out that the poster boy of Wing Chun in my mind - Mr Bruce Lee - wasn't
in fact the creator. Great-grandmaster Ng Mui created this system of Kung Fu in China during the early Qing Dynasty. Grandmaster Yip Man carried on her work, and drove the global spread of Wing Chun. I wasn't totally wrong, however, as Bruce Lee was one of Yip Man's students.
3. It has nothing to do with 80s pop sensation Wang Chun
Still trying to distract from my unfortunate t-shirt choice and lack of Wing Chun knowledge, I powered ahead with a discussion of British pop group Wang Chun. It turns out the similarity of the names is just a coincidence, and the new wave musicians weren't influential in the development of the Chinese martial art - a real shock, I know.
4. Relaxing is difficult
Okay, enough messing around - now for the real stuff. We kicked off the session with a series of arm movements to help quieten our minds. Relaxing is a difficult thing to master, which is ridiculous when you think about it. Anyway, after five minutes or so, I could feel my muscles soften and was able to shift my awareness to different parts of my body as instructed.
Read more! Unwind with these 6 Tried and Tested Relaxation Techniques
5. Balance comes from your spine
So I'm relaxed and aware of my body. Next, we were guided through the process of bringing our awareness to our spine - the core of your balance. The centrality of the spine was a central component throughout the class, and as it became more natural to maintain this state of consciousness, I was amazed how strong and centred I felt - even with one leg off the floor. Quite an accomplishment for someone who falls over her own feet.
6. Tensing is categorically unhelpful
Now for a little experiment. Ask your friend/ colleague/ fellow commuter to grab your arm and see what your reaction is. You're all tensed up right? All the power is in the hands of your partner who can move your arm pretty much anyway they want to. This is because tensing locks up your joints. However, if you relax and keep your joints soft, you'll find it's almost impossible for your partner to keep hold of you. A great self-defense tip to remember!
7. You're stronger than you think
A feeble puncher I may be, but with the wisdom of Wing Chun behind me, I discovered a whole new source of strength. You see, the weight of your limb is a powerful thing - something that you hinder when your reflexes take over in conflict, and you lock your joints and tense your muscles. Armed with a punchbag and a partner, we focused on not trying
to kick the target, and rather relaxing and allowing the natural weight of our limbs do the work. As a result, all of the force behind my kick was channeled towards my opponent, while I remained completely balanced. At this point, I must apologise to my partner, who I sent flying across the room on multiple occasions (I'm a natural, what can I say).
8. You'll leave feeling charged up
After a mind-numbing session on the treadmill, I both look and feel about 20 years older. After an hour of Wing Chun however, I felt positive and charged. Within twenty minutes I was whipping through the supermarket aisles and smiling at strangers as I browsed the kiwis. I think it's pretty clear by this point that Wing Chun was a hit.
Keen to know more?
If you're looking to give Wing Chun a go, then there's no better place to dip your toe in the pool than Mindful Wing Chun. With a team of professional trainers ready and waiting to pass on their wisdom, you might even learn more than eight things. There's only one way to find out ...
Mindful Wing Chun, 8/F, On Lan Centre, 11 - 15 On Lan Street, Central, (+852) 6620 7050
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