My Wing Chun Story So Far, by Minh SG12
Earlier in the year Minh completed the Student Grades of our Wing Chun syllabus so we asked him to write a few words about his journey to give other people an insight about what it’s like.
"I started Wing Chun in London University at a club that a friend of mine recommended in 2012. My experience of Wing Chun was positive, I enjoyed it so much I attended classes twice a week, almost every week for 8 months. There was a sense of community and belonging in the club and I was willing to train hard to get to a decent level. However, being as I was close to graduating, I had to move to new pastures back in Peterborough where I started my career as a pharmacist. It had been 1 year since I last trained Wing Chun. I wanted to say work, time and money were excuses for not getting back into Wing Chun but the reality was that I slowly forgot about it and got tied up into other thoughts. Then, there was a job offer in Cambridge and suddenly things started to change.
I settled in Cambridge and didn’t really know anyone. For almost a year living in Cambridge I started thinking about clubs I could join as a new hobby and for meeting new people. It was then that Wing Chun crept back into my mind. The first thing that came up when I was searching for Wing Chun was “Cambridge Kung Fu”. Since it seemed so obvious what it was, I emailed the club about an interest in joining, got a quick reply and I just went for it.`
There was a friendly and welcoming atmosphere in my first lesson at Cambridge Kung Fu. Steve was the first person to teach me the basics of this style of Wing Chun. He had the sense of someone who would make anyone feel comfortable around him, which made for a very enjoyable training experience. Across the next week, I eventually met Ross and Col. The way they taught Wing Chun sparked my interest. Although I loved Wing Chun in university, what I preferred about Cambridge Kung Fu was their broad and changing thoughts about Wing Chun. Like a science, constantly experimenting, constantly thinking and adapting to make a better version of their Wing Chun. This is when Cambridge Kung Fu grew on me and I just wanted to do as many classes as often as I could. The assistants in the classes inspired me as well. Their passion for the art resonated towards me and I had so much support from different people. Cambridge Kung Fu had put me back into a place where I could genuinely learn and develop as a person again rather than stagnating and being lost in my goals. Over time, I met many fellow students with varying personalities and quirks. A lot that I consider very good friends of mine who have struggled together with me during grading.
I looked up to the assistants who helped me through Wing Chun and grading. When I passed grade 4, I was eager to be like one of them and accepted the opportunity to assist the beginner classes. My teaching journey was a difficult one. It was far easier to train than to teach. Finding the right things to say or correcting someone’s technique (even though I have trained a lot in said technique) is a skill in its own right. It required a lot of focus and resilience to get it at a decent level but when it happened, it was the most fulfilling sensation I had in a long while. This sense of achievement of something that I didn’t think was possible for myself and my confidence exponentially grew. As I kept working hard, more opportunities were put on my table. Once I reached senior level, I was assigned as a regular assistant in the beginner class and by the end of grade 12 (the last CKF student grade), I had the opportunity of leading my own Monday class. It put upon me a lot of responsibility for the students I teach and it gave me a sense of purpose in my life.
I am very grateful for what Cambridge Kung Fu has provided for me. It has provided me with a community of like-minded thoughts and a circle of very close friends. There are people in the club that have become important pieces of my life. I have gained confidence in my ability to speak to large crowds and to teach and train in my own field of work in pharmacy. It has allowed me to integrate my resilience, my focus and awareness in everyday life and has made me a better version of myself than it was before.
I would like to thank my training buddies, assistants and of course the instructors who not just supported my Wing Chun journey but my life journey too. Special mention to Kieran, my partner in crime, who I have trained in every grade with for several years. We have been through hardships, laughs and triumphs that I’ll never forget. My journey is not over, there is still room for more. To be even greater than I currently am and I am excited for the future."
Photo: Successfully completing Student Grade 12. From left: John, Sifu Ross, Kieran, Minh, Sifu Col.