I share with you a portion of an interview Steve Dickerson did of me, Jason Yost, in this blog. Now, I want to share more of that interview. Here’s Part 2:
SD: Do you ever miss anything about your time working with Grandmaster Swift and Master Roberts?
JY: Yes, and no. I mean, there’s a lot I’ve learned just applying what they’ve taught me to my life, my Kung Fu, without them. That type of understanding is more valuable than you know. But, I do miss the chance to work with such Masters of Wing Chun. It’s hard to explain what it’s like when you don’t live around such Masters…. You get to feeling misunderstood, often; because, no one else understands Wing Chun, or cannot challenge your Wing Chun with greater understanding. Your level is so far above their preconceptions and knowledge. I’m not saying I’m a better person than them; I’m, simply, talking about Wing Chun. This is why a good Kung Fu man is usually quiet; and, why many advanced Wing Chun men are preconceived incapable by those around them.
JY: Yes. There is a misunderstanding, today, about what fighting is. People think one way because of a movie they saw, or a sporting event they like, or a feel-good program they want. They don’t think properly about what fighting is. Also, with Wing Chun, many think it is only good for fighting, while others think it is only good for killing, and others think its good for wellness. Some say Wing Chun is a “hard style”, while others say it is a “soft style”. These people judge without understanding Wing Chun; and in the process, they judge the Wing Chun man. It’s like Grandmaster Moy Yat said:
You hardly notice who knows pure Wing Chun Kung-Fu. Only those guys who know a little Wing Chun Kung-Fu are so off. The good Kung-Fu guys, you can hardly tell they know Wing Chun. The first year someone learns Wing Chun you can tell he knows Kung-Fu. During the second year, you can tell he knows a little bit. After the third year, you hardly notice they know Wing Chun. After 30 years, you won’t believe they know Kung-Fu.
SD: Why is that?
JY: First, they don’t understand real Kung-Fu. Second, the master of Wing Chun doesn’t allow other’s misunderstandings to become a moving force. It reminds me, too, of something Abraham Lincoln said:
What kills the skunk is the publicity it gives itself.
A master of Wing Chun understands this; more so, a master of Wing Chun knows how to live without the skunk’s negative publicity. You see: Young men think if someone “calls them out”, so to speak, they must respond with force. Forceful language or actions. A master of Wing Chun understands the truth, and responds in truth. This type of wise-action never compromises the master’s integrity or his Kung Fu.
This kind of Kung Fu takes time to learn. Some get impatient, and leave. Consequently, they will never come to this understanding. Those who stay understand the old saying, “Rome was not built in a day.” And, they provide themselves the opportunity to develop their Kung Fu.
SD: Can you give me an example of something an early student may misunderstand about Wing Chun?
JY: Chi Sau. They think fighting is chi sau (or sticking hands). I’ve seen guys who were great at sticking hands, who couldn’t connect the bridge, when sparring, to use their chi sau. Others learn movements without internalizing the movements, so they never develop their Nim Lik (mind force). Then, when confronted in a street situation, they lose composure or don’t know how to respond with what they learned. Others learn drills and exercises, believing if they can learn those drills and exercises they can fight. Then, when confronted in a street situation, they look for those drills instead of relating to their opponent and fight-environment.
Stay tuned for more of this interview at another time. In the meantime, if you want to learn Wing Chun, come see us at the Yost Wing Chun Kung Fu Academy in Terre Haute, Indiana. We can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (812) 229-4097.
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