Counter against Kick

Is it Tango? No, Sifu Matt Fenton is demonstrating a sophisticated counter against a kick

Sifu Matt Fenton

Certified Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam USA

13th Janaury 2011

Having spent many years in the martial arts before learning from Sifu, I can understand why a student might be concerned about learning too much material. In my former school, I had learned nearly 100 empty hand sets, and over 30 weapon sets . I was expected to remember them all, be able to perform any of them upon request, and know them all well enough to teach the movements and applications to students. Needless to say, I began to feel like an encyclopedia of sets.

This was, in fact, the reason I ended up first learning from Sifu. After many years, and many sets, I felt as though I needed a core of information that I could practice every day. My plan was to take from my list of sets certain techniques to practice. I began to realize this wasn't going to be easy. After some time, I realized it was impossible. Outwardly, many of the sets were similiar, but there were no real connections between them. There were no common tactics, power generation methods (all external at the time), etc. This was when I started to realized that something (something vitally important) was missing.

This is NOT the case when learning from Sifu. While the techniques, strategies, etc may be different from one set to another, what Sifu teaches is the essence! The importance of this may be glossed over by students that have only ever learned from Shaolin Wahnam. However, this is HUGE beyond explanation.

Every single course I have taken with Sifu has given me new or greater skills. From my experience, courses with Sifu remove months and sometimes years (maybe even decades) of practice. I have never felt an immediate jump in skill level when learning from any other teacher.

While the techniques, sets, and strategies are all excellent, I feel they are secondary to the skills Sifu passes on during the courses. With these skills, Sifu also gives us the ability (due to the Wahnam training) to use these skills with any of our kungfu that we have previously learned.

As a side note, I have revisited some of my older kungfu sets for fun. All of them are better with the skills that Sifu has passed on to me. I have discovered chi kung that I never knew was there. Force where there was no force. Techniques that seemed silly, that come alive when backed with internal force .

To be quite honest, the skills learned from Sifu in one course only, are enough for a lifetime of kungfu success. This is amazing. However, additional courses do not subtract from this, they add. Imagine, having 2, 3, or 4 lifetimes worth of skill. How about 10, 15, or 20?


Against Knee Jabs

Sifu Matt Fenton at an Intensive Shaolin Kungfu course in Penang

The above discussion is reproduced from the thread The Future of Special Intensive Kungfu Courses in the Shaolin Wahnam Discussion Forum.


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