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Lessons I’ve learned from Wong Shun Leung

I’m honoured to get this chance to speak to my fellow Ving Tsun brothers and sisters. I personally don’t consider myself as the first generation student of our beloved Si Fu Wong Shun Leung.
I rather consider myself as the last generation of students of Si Fu because before me there have been a few generations of Si Hings that had so much harder and better training then me so they are in my opinion the first generation of students.
I’ve been asked to share something for the WSL VTMAA so I thought I might as well share something that might be of use for our next generation of VT practitioners
I’d like to share with you 3 personal lessons I’ve learned as a student and translator of Si Fu.

Don’t be led by dogma.
Prior to meeting my Si Fu Wong Shun Leung I’ve trained many years in the Wing Chun lineage of Wang Kui believing that this besides being the one and only form was also the most economical way of fighting.
This believe lasted until I met a grand student of Leung Ting and his Wing Tsun became the new religion that held the holy grail of martial arts.
Once I was accustomed to my new WT religion I was hired to translate for Si Fu Wong Shun Leung who showed me that the only way is your own way. That Ving Tsun isn’t a set of fixed rules between right or wrong but was a way of thinking that could bring you from good to great.
With the emphasis on thinking not on believing but by putting theory to the test and never let dogma limit the potential of growth.

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Hard work always beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard.
Something that was hard to grasp for me as a young boy. On many occasions the question has arrised who would be the predecessor of Si Fu and or who was his best student? Si Fu hardly ever answered this question and from time to time he would mention only one guy that had his level of skills but became a Buddhist monk and distinguished himself from all forms of violence.
According to Si Fu talent only counts when you are second runner up and wish to defeat the world champion of that time before you get to that stage never mind talent for it’s overrated.
This mindset only existed in my mind until I had the luck to train under the guidance of Barry Lee “The Machine” who gave me the physical understanding of this philosophy. Coming to the conclusion that what your head understands your body might not know. So keep training for training is the goal, and success is the result.

Impossible is nothing, I’m possible is everything
A quote from Muhammed Ali a fighter that Si Fu admired the most, when a boxing match was on the big colour TV that was placed in the school, you could see Si Fu would be totally immerged into the fight and actually experiencing the whole fight as he was fighting the match himself including the punching and appropriate cursing.
After training we would gather up with a group of Si Hing Dai’s to have supper at the nearby fish restaurant till late at night, one time I left the table for the bathroom and Si Fu said to the others; “this little dude will become great”, on which one of the Si Hings asked and thought that Si Fu meant great in the sense of Ving Tsun and maybe the “talent” that could replace Si Fu one day ( “Sai Lei” fonetic translation in Cantonese ) on which Si Fu replied, that I don’t know it will all depend on how hard he’s willing to train, but he’s going to be great (sai lei) because he uses his brains and is willing to take a risk.
This positive encouragement maybe small words of little significance to Si Fu but they meant the world to my selfesteem. This gave me confidence to dictate my own future and not what others told me what was right or wrong, it gave me strength to realize my own dreams no matter how crazy they may seem to the status quo. Success depends on the amount of Kung Fu (eng. translation hard work) you’re willing to put in, and when you work hard that’s when you meet luck.
Since luck only dances with those who are already on the dance floor, I hope we as a family will dance together as one and work hard to let Si Fu’s name and legend live on not only in theory and words but in great deeds that moves the human kind forward.
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May you inspire the next generation to become the abundant light source that Si Fu once was for us all.
With respectful regards,

Kwok Fei Wan

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