The Importance of Daily Practice
We, at West Coast Wing Chun, have had the great fortune to learn genuine Kung fu and Qi Gong from our wonderful teachers . Each class we attend gives us more momentum towards reaching our goals, whatever they may be. Some of us seek greater levels of health and fitness, some of us seek the ability to defend our loved ones, or the courage and righteousness that kung fu can generate within us, or perhaps all of the above and more. Our goals can give us the motivation to continue practicing even if we are not feeling up for the challenge of such hard work. During my Kung Fu journey I have been taught how to set goals and train by them for excellent results. However, many students, myself included, have had issues in the past or present with maintaining a regular training schedule outside of the kwoon.
Kung fu training is 10 percent learning and 90 percent practice.
There is an old saying that Kung fu training is 10 percent learning and 90 percent practice. If our time spent learning from our instructors in class counts as that 10 percent learning, what of the other 90 percent? This of course comes in the form of our own personal training at home, without this training how can we hope to make the progress that will allow us to reach our goals?
Kung fu can be defined as Hard Work, or Achievement from Accumulated Effort. It is this concept which all students of Wing Chun live by, as a matter of course.
To achieve a high level in the martial arts we must develop ourselves in specific ways, as taught to us by our teachers, through daily training. One of the most profound ways to both enhance and motivate ones daily training is to set specific and systematic goals. Goal setting will give you the drive to achieve Kung fu in your daily practice.
Goals can be broken down into two categories: Aims and Objectives. Aims are long term goals, and Objectives are short term goals. These two aspects go hand in hand. To meet long term Aims, we must achieve specific Objectives along the path to ensure we are keeping ourselves on track.
Here are some examples of Aims:
- Combat Ability
- Good health, and a high level of fitness
- Development of strong morals and ethics
- Attaining a strong mind
- Experiencing spiritual cultivation
To achieve these aims, for example, our objectives must be precise and systematic. Combat efficiency alone covers all the many aspects of our Wing Chun system, targeting a single aspect at a time is one key to success, less we spread ourselves to thin.Here are some examples of Objectives that lead to Combat Ability:
- Agile footwork by practicing Sam Gohk Ma triangle stepping daily
- Developing Internal Power, Fa Jing, and Correct Positioning by practicing Siu Lim Tau daily
- 1000 Chain Punches a day for endurance, power, and manifestation of the soft-hard-soft or water-metal-water principle.
- Practicing any Qi Gong patterns for 5-10 minutes a day, every day.
- Practicing standing meditation such as the Three Circle Stance, or Abdominal Breathing in stance daily.
- Focusing on the Slow section of Siu Lim Tau every day.
By creating a practice schedule around our goals we save time and enhance our development through greater efficiency by giving ourselves direction and purpose in our training.
15 minutes x 2 Schedule
My minimum practice every day outside of the kwoon is two 15 minute sessions. One in the morning, and one before bed. I almost always do much more, but this is my bare minimum which covers the three aspects of training that I value most. Combat Application, Qi Gong, and Meditation.
Here is an example of a bare minimum practice session that aligns with my current goal of enhancing my power and agility.Morning:
- 5 Minutes Siu Lim Tao
- 5 Minutes Sam Gohk Ma with striking and defense patterns
- 5 Minutes of Qi Gong and standing meditation.
- 3 Minutes on each footwork
- Biu/Sip/Seung 1000 Lin Wan Kuen
- 5 Minutes of Qi Gong and standing meditation.
Remember, this is just an example and may not align perfectly with your own personal aims and objectives. Your Sifu is there for you, if you have any questions go to him/her, as they are there to guide you in your training, to ensure that you make the best progress possible.
By setting such goals we are setting up ourselves for success. When we give ourselves objectives to meet, we can examine our progress systematically to stay on track.
When I ask myself “What is the main reason why I can get up every day and practice my Kung fu and Qi Gong?” the immediate internal response is that I enjoy it! Training in Kung fu is undoubtedly hard work, however that doesn’t mean it cannot be fun as well. When designing a practice schedule for yourself do not make the common mistake of loading yourself up with hours and hours of practice, perhaps not even yet one hour! Start slow, and then build up your practice gradually. If you end your practice session thinking “I can still easily do more, there is much to work on.” This motivation will always carry over to your next session.
Through the setting of goals in our daily practice, not only can we get more done in a shorter period of time, but we also have the opportunity of enhancing our lives, and the lives of all those around us. We should examine our skill in terms of not just our physical progression, but in terms of how well we have transferred our martial principles and concepts to our life outside of the arts. Are we more Relaxed in stressful situations? Are we more Economical with motion, energy, and time in our work? This embraces the Taoist way of living in harmony with nature and is the landscape of traditional martial arts.