Sunday, January 11, 2009


There are times when you just get a gift, an absolute breath of fresh air or invigoration on a day or at a moment when you didn't even know you needed it.

This morning, my students at KBLA gave me just that sort of lift. Combined with a bright sky, crisp breeze, and outstanding enthusiasm and attention from my students, I went from dragging my arse out of bed to ready to rock & roll.

I got a great compliment this morning from a visitor who drove a little more than an hour to get down to class this morning at 7am. He said that while other instructors provide a great workout, nobody gives the kind of detail and attention that I do. While I'd qualify that by saying that he's never trained with Pavel, I'm honored and glad to receive his compliment.

On a separate note of inspiration, the buzz here in the USA has been growing lately for the new Yip Man movie. While I'm not primarily a Wing Chun kung-fu man myself, I've had some tutelage in the art from Prof. Daniel K. Lee (student of the late Bruce Lee) and Sifu Randy Williams (who studied with Ho Kam-Ming student, Augustine Fong, and with George Yau). Those two were my main teachers, and I've also had a chance to take WC seminars with instructors like Sifus Francis Fong and Robert Chu. Through Sifu Dan Inosanto, I've had a chance to study Wing Chun's most famous offshoot - Jun Fan Gung Fu / Jeet Kune Do.

So while I qualify myself as a Wing Chun outsider, I have a bit of affinity for it.

And while I'm proud to be American born and raised, the blood that flows through my veins is pure Chinese. Call it nationalism or ethnic pride or whatever you want, when I saw the trailer for Yip Man and some sneak clips that are out on Youtube right now, every hair on my head and neck stood up with goosebumps.

There are certain stimuli that inspire the best from us, that inspire strength, courage, and determination from us. The clip above is one of those things for me, so hopefully you'll get a bit of the same buzz that I got from it, whether or not you're Chinese or a Chinese martial arts afficionado. It might not hurt to be a Donnie Yen fan either. :-)

And if you're looking for a world class intro to Wing Chun, Sifu Francis Fong will be teaching 2 days back-to-back at the Inosanto Academy on Jan 17-18 from 12noon - 4pm. Go there to check it out if you've ever had a remote curiousity about Wing Chun, JKD, Bruce Lee, or martial arts. Fong's own master, Jiu Wan, was (according to some) supposedly the BEST of Yip Man's students in the baat jaam do or Wing Chun butterfly swords.

Back to the dummy to practice my sets. It's been a while....


Anonymous said...

that old video is cool. i always have great admiration for those who have high technical control in their movements. patterns are also a factor, and sequences. is that you in the video, Dr Cheng?

Unknown said...

The old video is footage of the late Grandmaster Yip Man, the man on which the movie in the first clip is based.

I wish that was me in the first video. Donnie Yen is one of my favorite martial arts actors to watch. He's got a great on-screen presence, and you may have seen him in a number of outstanding Chinese martial arts flicks.

Anonymous said...

I have heard of Yip Man before. Through some association to Bruce Lee. Perhaps it is appropriate to update my appreciation of martial arts movies, as I'm still stuck in the early 80's efforts. (Jackie Chan, Van Damme, and of couse the timeless Bruce Lee movies of the previous decade). Maybe watching some movies will provide the motivation I've been looking for to actually practice some ma myself : )