Opportunities and Challenges - It Doesn't Alway Have to be Easy

Opportunities and Challenges - It Doesn't Alway Have to be Easy

It happens several times per month.  I get a call from a potential student who is interested in learning Ving Tsun exclusivly.  They often tell me about how they have looked far and wide and suddently the stumbled upon my school (which has been operating and open to the public for 13 years now) and there is only one problem.  We are too far away.  What consistutes "too far" is different for many.  For some people its an hour and half by car.  For others its anything over a 10 minute drive.  

Part of me wants to laugh.  The other part wants to just hang up.  I want to laugh because if there is one thing we know about finding a quality martial art and qualified teacher to teach it, the student should be ready for some sort of sacrifice on their side to get it.  Often, as it was for me, part of the sacrifice is the travel.   The other part of me wants to just hang up because they are wasting my time.  Why are they calling when they already know it's too far for them.  Why are they calling if they know the sacrifice but are unwilling to make it?  Perhaps they think I can offer them an easier way to learn.

The truth is that many of us have had to endure long car rides and even uproot and move to a new area to pursue learning the martial art of our choice.  This stedfast drive and will to accomplish the goal is part of what makes many martial arts teachers special - they were willing to do what was necessary to get what they wanted. 

For me my sacrifice wasn't too great.  In order to complete my training I had to move from one side of the Pennsylvania to the other.  Literally, I moved from the Greater Pittsburgh Area to Philadelphia to pursue my passion - Ving Tsun.  As a result of my little "scacrifice" I have had to opportunity to meet and train with and under some of the absolute best Ving Tsun teachers in the world.  I got to train with Senior Master Jay Hitchman, and Grandmaster Pete Pajil.  I got to learn from Grandmaster Miguel Hernandez and Grandmaster Leo Imumura, and that is to name just a few.  I also had the opportunity to meet and make friends with other well known masters direct students of Great Grand Master Ip Man. 

Beyond that I had the chance to learn the entire Ip Man/ Moy Yat Ving Tsun formal curriculum, become an indoor disciple of both Sr. Master Jay Hitchmand and Grandmaster Pete Pajil through  bai si tradition and become the one of the first of my generation to be an internationally recognized master of the Ving Tsun System.  

I also learned that almost eveyrone of the other great teachers and masters that I have met have some story of how they had to make some significant sacrifice to learn the kung fu.  Some had to travel from Philadelphia to NYC several 3-5 times per week.  Others had to travel from Brazil to NYC.  Some even sold their homes to move to an area to be closer to study with one of the great masters. 

I simply had to move to Philadelphia - about 350 miles from home in order to get the kung fu.  I feel very fortunate and blessed that I only had to move 350 miles, especially when I consider that Great Grandmaste Moy Yat had to relocate to New York City, some 8055 miles from his home in Hong Kong to make the entire Ving Tsun curriculum as taught by Ip Man available in the US.  

Some sacrifices will have to be made by many to seek the education of great teacher.  In the end the sacrifice is somewhat of a "badge of honor" and somehow adds to what we gained through what we gave up.  When asking the question if I would take back my sacrifices and give back my knoweldge, skill and realtionships, the answer is a resounding, "NO!"  I got far more from what I earned as a result of the actions that I had to take than I ever "sacrificed."  So in the end I have learned that if you really want the knoweldge, skill and realtionships, the easy way is usually not the right way.  Opportunity is often hidden in a field of challenges, and you don't need your journey to be easy to be the best experience of your life.  



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