INTERVIEW: How Wing Chun Helps Succeed at Work and in Life

What is Wing Chun and how does it compare to other martial arts?

Wing Chun’s origin story is unique in that it attributes the creation of a martial art to a woman. This Chinese cultural legend tells a story of a Buddhist Nun, Ng Moi (5 Plums), who developed this style after watching a fight between a snake and a crane. Despite the origin story, it’s a martial art that is holistically based on human science and kinesiology, rather than older kung fu styles that mimic animals. Its mantra is to take the most efficient way to achieve any goal. It is ultimately based on ‘working smarter, not harder’; using intelligence to overcome a situation. Applying this flexible mindset, women and men can utilize their potential strategically to be effective against bigger opponents.

What are Wing Chun’s benefits?

Being a martial art that is built on universal principles and human concepts, rather than fixed techniques, it enables an agile mind, body and heart-set to adapt to continuous changes. It relies and trains the 2 strongest senses; the sense of balance and the sense of touch. That is the ability to maintain mental, physical and emotional balance in order to remain in-control and to be able to respond effectively through active listening by assertive ‘sticking to’ or mindfully connecting with an opponent to be able to control and disrupt an attack. The focus is on manipulating the spine before the intention has a chance to translate into the body.

How can we apply these to our daily lives?

We all subconsciously connect our experiences naturally, the key is to mindfully utilize those connections in everyday life. For example, a key concept in Wing Chun advises to maintain a straight spine, that is; to not lean too much either forwards or backwards. Pragmatically in a fight scenario, maintaining this principle means that you always hold a position of balance whereby you can respond quickly, neither can your opponent pull or push you off balance through your own mistakes. Applying this in a work or relationship situation means that you will not lose your emotional balance by over reacting and acting out incorrectly, resulting in inappropriate or incorrect behaviour that doesn’t reflect the real you. In this way, you learn to remain unaffected or unattached to the situation but truly connected to your intelligent self.

What will I be like in 1 year when I start to learn tomorrow?

Definitely you will achieve a more connected mind, body and heart. Kung Fu translates to ‘dedicated practice’. Basically putting in the energy and time to attain a skill. The first year focuses on you rather than your opponent. To quote Sun Tzu, The Art of War: 

“If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”

So by focusing on yourself and discovering ways to make yourself stronger, instinctively you will realize the weaknesses that you need to avoid. The plus-side is that, it is those exact same weaknesses that you can take advantage of in your opponent.

Tell us your story. What inspired you to start practicing Wing Chun?

Ultimately for me, it’s always been about a curiosity in seeking the truth in all things. Martial arts attracted me through its holistic nature of combined movements and concepts which empower, connect, mind, body and intention and enable me to express and apply my ideas in a physical world. The differentiating factor of martial arts is that it is interactive; the truth is experienced not only within yourself but through other people. Becoming obsessed with various martial arts; Karate, Muay Thai, Japanese and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, inspired my journey of self mastery to the source; a principle based martial art with the depth and knowledge of an ancient culture steeped in the art of war and peace.

How has the practice of martial arts changed you?

Diamonds are only created through pressure. Constant curiosity and constant changes enable self cultivation. Effectively martial arts is my chosen vehicle of transformation towards self mastery. It has also given me self awareness, strength of character, ethics, body knowledge, health, an open mind and brotherhood that I wouldn’t experience otherwise.

Through your own observation, in what ways has it changed your Wing Chun students?

Wing Chun translates as; The Poem of Springtime also Perpetual Springtime. What I enjoy observing in my students is the same for myself; ‘the realization or eureka moment’. Springtime is a time of rebirth, of opening and awakening. My students grow through applied learning, that is questioning and challenging everything. They become confident with mastering changes; realising that they must adapt, creates instinctual intelligence because life isn’t fixed. Ultimately they learn to maintain control in chaos. This confidence builds character and morality, understanding that power must be given to be received and the natural balance in all things. Pragmatically; opening up to strike also means being open to a strike. Realising this enables a more creative self realised approach to problem solving.

Who was your Grandmaster and what wisdom did he pass on to you?

My Master was Sifu Joseph Man. April 2.1953 – Nov 30. 2016. In Chinese culture the word Sifu translates to ‘Kung Fu Father’ and the dedicated relationship is more akin to family. His aims and objectives were to promote the martial art of Wing Chun across the UK as written and approved by Grandmaster Yip Chun, Chairman of the Ving Tsun Athletic Association. This duty was bestowed by his master, Sigiung Lee Shing, the Official representative of Great Grandmaster Yip Man in the U.K and Europe. This meant that besides training we would be demonstrating the art of WIng Chun to the general public, Prime Ministers and the Royal Family in an effort to educate about Wing Chun through charitable and cross-cultural efforts. The wisdom I received which still continues to flourish in spirit enables me access to a limitless mindset, the ability to open up and connect martial arts with refined curriculums for the development of the art. Knowing the way as a teacher in society so as to uphold the Wing Chun martial art ethically and cultivating ability with integrity and benevolence.

***

About Alex

Alex Alexandrou
Sifu at Nga Mo Wing Chun
Creative Director at Partners
IG: @ngamowingchun
FB: ngamowingchun

Self Mastery and Self Defence Workshop

An experiential workshop exclusively for women, open to all fitness levels and introduces self-empowerment concepts that can be used and connected to all aspects of life. 

Learn mindset strategy tactics to stay centred in work, relationships and changing environments. 

Mind, Body and Breathwork strategies are applied throughout the interactive workshop with the focus on enabling self mastery. The principles are combined into a foundation from Wing Chun (trans. Song of Springtime / Ποίημα της Άνοιξης) a unique and scientific form of martial art designed by women for women, so can also be applied in self defence scenarios.

Workshop available dates: February-March DM NgaMoWingChun for details.

There are also mixed regular classes running 3 times per week in Lakatamia, Tuesday & Thursday 7:30-9pm, Saturday 10:30am-12pm 

 

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