“Cooking should never be a chore. The more you cook, the more confident you become. That way, you actually start to enjoy it and that’s the key to good cooking – having a bit of fun along the way.” Master Chef Gordon Ramsay, Restaurateur & Owner/Operator of Multiple Three Star Michelin Restaurants
With few exceptions, the better you become at some skill, the more you tend to enjoy it. One major thing that separates our kung fu school from many other forms of physical activity is that unlike going to the gym to crank out reps, run some laps, or sit on an exercise bike, there is much to enjoy at our school. There is a purpose behind the repetitions. The challenge of learning an incredible amount of ancient knowledge with your kung fu brothers and sisters, developing and improving skills, and the joy that comes from finally mastering something that’s taken years of effort is quite compelling. In fact, it’s for this reason that kung fu should be thought of as a lifestyle – a part of who you are – where training is no different from brushing your teeth, eating lunch, or retrieving mail. Your training evolves as you evolve as a person and hopefully it’s there for the rest of your life to keep you safe, vibrant, and strong. This way, you will continue to develop, improve and enjoy the vast benefits the art offers.
As your ability to spar, utilize various levels of power and control, apply technique(s), and maintain energy during class improves – training gradually becomes more and more fun. Your confidence increases. Things that were once seemingly impossible become almost effortless. Your training partners who were once mere acquaintances are now truly kung fu “brothers” and “sisters” as together you’ve endured countless grueling classes as well as taken each other’s lives in your hands during sparring and weapons training. Your body has adapted to better handle the rigors of class by strengthening and loosening muscles and joints. Lungs and resolve were tested and the body’s of fighters were built. A complicated puzzle is finally coming together. A piece of art that resembled nothing is taking form. All because you made the school’s training a part of your daily routine.
It’s for this reason that stopping after receiving your black sash should be out of the question. Some have unfortunately considered the attainment of their black sash as the pinnacle of their training. It is very much the opposite – it’s the beginning of their “real” training. The black sash shows they had what it takes to grind through and develop solid core skills. Continuing on and pushing their training further is when fluidity and real kung fu skills shine thru. Of course, kung fu is not an escalator with a smooth and consistent ride up to mastery. It has many tests of the student’s resolve, humility, and patience and possesses no finish line as there is no such thing as perfection. Interestingly, it’s also at around black sash when the fun and the challenge of mastering this art begins.