Piers took me to Wing Chun class on Thursday. It was so fun seeing a room full of caucasians doing an Asian martial art.
They looked really good.
When Piers announced in Plurk last year that he was going to take up Wing Chun, everyone was so excited for him and many jokes were made at his expense.
To be honest, I never expected him to last so long (eight months now) but he did, going for classes two to three times a week.
I think he’s really good, from the moves he showed me in class. (But he’s one of the more junior students, so he can get a whole lot better. Most of the others have been doing Wing Chun for years, some over a decade.)
This was at the Lun Kuen Academy of Wing Chun in Poole (which is next to Bournemouth). The founder, Stephen Lyons, is a descendent disciple of Ip Man. The lineage goes like this:
Ip Man > Ip Chun (Ip Man’s oldest son) > Samuel Kwok > Stephen Lyons
Here’s Steve demonstrating some basic moves on Piers.
Apparently, he’s very, very good, having trained in martial arts since the early 1970s, and he’s personally recognised by Grandmaster Ip Chun as a Wing Chun Master.
But what’s more impressive is that he runs the school not for profit but for passion. He only charges £5 per two-hour class and holds them three times a week. So very nice!
I was lost in class half the time. Steve would show a short, sparring sequence with one of his instructors, then the class would get into pairs and practise on each other.
Piers said he was also lost in the beginning but, after a while, maybe a month or two, it started to click and then he got it.
I can’t imagine that happening for me.
It was really fun, though. In just half an hour, I learnt the basics of how to effectively defend myself while at the same time strike at my opponent to incapacitate him.
Of course, it takes a lot of practise to get good at it so you can apply your knowledge and not get killed when someone comes charging at you for real. In class, your opponent will pause mid punch and let you respond slow-mo if you’re a bit retarded, like me.
I think I shall take up Wing Chun when I get back to Singapore. I quite enjoyed my first class and look forward to learning more.
I will probably go for more classes before returning to Singapore, but I’ll feel better when I’m in a class where no one knows me and won’t laugh at my clumsiness and incoordination.
While sparring with Piers, I laughed in embarrassment every time I did something that looked stupid, so that was very unimpressive. But he was very kind and let me chop his throat (one of the moves I learnt) over and over again.
Well, I suppose there are some benefits to having a friend in class.