When I heard that I was being allowed to write the editorial, I was staying at Hotel Giessbach by Lake Brienz in the Bearnese highlands. This is where I take a few days rest each year (after all the travelling I do for WingTsun), firstly to restore the work/life balance and secondly to come up with new ideas.
It is in this wonderful place that the Giessbach Falls cascade down to the lake, constantly changing their appearance depending on the weather. Every morning I practice my WingTsun forms in this area of waterfalls. I tank up with lots of energy in the process, my body in tune with the water as I see it pass.
The foaming, roaring and thundering waterfall
Again and again I watch the water as it thunders down the cascades. It is while watching this natural spectacle that many ideas have occurred to me for my WingTsun teaching. For example I might imagine myself doing ChiSao with a partner. We are moving, the ChiSao partner stiffens up or blocks and I simply slide across his arms like water. I am not concerned with what my movement looks like, it just happens …
The waterfall is Yang
The waterfall approaches the lake – which calmly waits – with enormous speed.
Every drop wants to reach the lake as quickly as possible, jumping from step to step. You can recognise the individual drops when you look carefully, yet the water forms a unit that can be seen and felt as the ground vibrates. The water adapts to everything it encounters, finding its own way past stones and rocks. It literally flies over them, jumping, hopping and flowing around the obstacles. It seems to do it without any effort, but nobody would be able to withstand its enormous pressure. The water would simply tear you along with it.
The water has hardly crashed and churned its way down the mountainside than it reaches the lake with enormous force and speed.
The lake is Yin
The lake calmly absorbs this turbulence. The waves subside, no matter how powerful and high they were.
The lake is Yin: it merely absorbs, does nothing, it is simply there. It is the epitome of calm and peace. The water from the falls calms down too, and becomes one with the lake.
For me this is no different from our WingTsun or Inner WingTsun. When somebody attacks me I become one with him, and he becomes a part of me until he calms down.
The water has taught me that I can move just as I need to for the specific moment. I can be active or (seemingly) passive to absorb everything that comes. Without effort, but full of energy. I adapt to the obstacle, no matter what it looks like, feels like or how it is obstructing me. Water takes the easiest path when finding its way, and for me this means that I must also make things as simple as possible to be as efficient as water.
The water appears to be adapting all the time, but in fact I believe that it takes what it wants.
I always find it intriguing to observe nature. I learn a great deal from nature, and am able to draw many parallels with WingTsun.
Why not try it for yourselves, taking the time to look closely when you are next out in the countryside. Perhaps you will also see parallels with our WingTsun?
As you observe you will also calm your mind and spirit. Stress melts away because you are in the here and now, you are mindful. At least that is my experience.
What I want to say with this editorial is this: take care of yourselves! Treat yourselves to some downtime so that new things can be created.
“Be water, my friend!” – Bruce Lee
Editorial by SiFu Giuseppe Schembri