Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Wing Chun and The Butterfly Effect

No, I didn't do exceedingly well on my testing. I passed, but not with the high marks I would have liked. But that was three weeks ago. And something's changed.

The Butterfly Effect states, in essence, that if a butterfly flaps its wings in the rain forest, the movement of air in that one spot affects all of the other molecules of air around it. This creates a cascading series of events that can ultimately effect the course of a larger event--that movement of air becomes the seed from which a hurricane develops.

In a similar sort of internal butterfly effect, I've often found that a shift in one life circumstance leads to shifts in other parts of my life. Each change supports the next until what once seemed unimportant suddenly becomes life-altering. In Wing Chun, something as simple as a shift of one's balance or a movement of the hips can realign your center, lead to new openings, and change the course of a confrontation.

Si-Fu Shoellhammer's class in Millbrae has realigned my center in ways I never imagined.

Up to now, I've only been able to drive or fly down to L.A. every other weekend, leaving huge gaps in my training. Now I'm able to stay focused, reinforce the neural connections I'd built, and I'm internalizing more of what I'm learning. In the Millbrae class, I have the chance to ask questions, I'm getting more personal attention (I love attention), and the slower pace has helped me to work on my structure and breathing. Funny, you don't think about breathing much when you're doing it. And yet, it's become one of the most important parts of my training.

Add to this the fact that my husband agreed to join me in the class. At first, he was nervous and somewhat unsure of himself. But he was diligent about practicing at home (even more so than I was, to tell you the truth), which encouraged me. We practice together the basic movements, allowing me to focus on my own structure as my husband slowly builds his. We often discuss basic principles and strategies of Wing Chun over breakfast. And I finally have someone with whom I can share what I've learned during my visits to the Academy in L.A.

We've both started shaping up. I can feel my hips again (after two kids, I'd almost forgotten I had them) and my clothes fit better. I've saved a lot of my pre-baby clothes (what woman doesn't save at least one pair of pants, just to remember?), and might even fit into some of them again soon. And my husband? God bless 'im, the man-boobs are finally starting to shrink.

I've gotta say, it's helped (ahem) other areas of our marriage, as well. Heck, just having time alone on the way to and from class has turned it into a date night. I know, sad but true. Welcome to the modern world of parenting.

When I was in L.A. last weekend, the senior students started feeding me real punches because they could see how much my focus had changed. I'm no masochist, but the energy of a real punch felt good!

Between Si-Fu Oram's seminars and Si-Fu Shoellhammer's regular classes, I'm starting to feel like more than just a lowly white sash. I'm starting to feel like I belong...right where I am.