THE COMPETITION WAS THE MOST FUNDAMENTALLY IMPORTANT EVENT IN MY TRAINING
I am writing to express to you my sincere thanks and gratitude for coming to the UK and teaching the Baguazhang set and for continuing to share your experience, skills and knowledge so freely and with such compassion and patience. I just noticed today that you have posted some of my reflections on my experiences in the full contact San Shou competition on your website and I feel honoured that you have chosen my words to share. Thank you.
The competition was the most fundamentally important event in my training so far since my first day when I was shown how to relax into Golden Bridge, some seven years ago. I had a huge 'ahaaaa' moment after the competition event when I realised from experience what I had been missing all this time. I had not been ready for this lesson before, but now I have taken a first step.
You were talking about it during the Baguazhang week and I heard you speak of this before: "if you cannot defend yourself you are not practicing kung fu correctly or possibly not practising kung fu at all".
It was not until I tried to defend myself under full pressure and struggled to do so, that I realised the extent of my lack of experience and with this came a broad smile of realisation and joy :-). After the competition I have found new depths of respect for the past masters and for you Sitaigung and for my Wahnam family who have taken this step in full contact fighting. Suddenly there is so much more to learn!
And I already thought there was a lifetime's worth -- maybe now I have several lifetimes worth! The competition has changed everything (and also, everything is the same!)
Thank you again for the opportunities you have created for learning and the safe and trusting environment which you nurture within your school and which allows us to develop in so many positive ways.
Student of Sifu Tim Franklin, Shaolin Wahnam UK
1st July 2012.
Grandmaster Wong's Reply
I have just returned home from Portugal after the rewarding England courses and competition, and it is great to receive your e-mail.
I am very glad of your progress. You have done well in both the Baguazhang course and the san shou competition. As you have rightly said, the competition opens a whole new world to you. You will not face life confidently and be sure of success.
The sentiments you have expressed in your e-mail manifest both the thoughts of many kungfu students in ou school as well as the direction I wish them to take. Making winning free sparring competitions as a theme of our school is both an objective as well as a tool to help many students.