Step By Step

Last week was test week. After my driving test I had a kung fu test on Friday. I was supposed to go for level 6 and 7. I tested the last time in January. I was way overdue.

There is nothing bad about having a lower student grade if there would not be the white t-shirt rule. For the first eight levels you have to wear a white shirt but at student grade 9 you get a black one. I look so much better in black. That is my main motivation behind testing.

When I got to kung fu school it was almost 8 PM. About eight students got ready to be tested. Sifu (kung fu father/teacher) Alex sat down and we started to practice our forms while he made notes about what we were doing well or not so well. First the Siu Nim Tau (Little Idea) the first form you learn and then Chum-Kiu “seeking the bridge arms of the opponent” the second form. That went well and we moved on to Lat Sau. Lat Sau is fighting application. The trainer is the bad guy, the trainee the Wing Tsun guy obviously the good guy. The goal is to stop the attacker within a few seconds.

This part used to scare me so much but is a lot of fun now because I am not afraid any more. I step forward and take care of business.

The next part of the test was the first attack in double arm Chi Sau (sticking hands). There are certain movements you perform with a partner while you stick to his or her hands.

I totally bombed that part. I did not get to practice much in the last couple of months and remembering movements is extremely difficult for me to begin with. I tried but at the end had to tell Sifu that I just couldn’t do it. It was pretty embarrassing especially in front of the new students.

My mind did what it always does. Judging, hating and quitting. “That was it, there is no more kung fu for me. That was my last class. I can’t do it, I have no talent and I am wasting my time with this…..

Thankfully this lasted only a few seconds though then I interveined. I realized that I did not feel bad at all. I decided not allow to be judged for anything I do. Even if I would be lousy at kung fu, or a terrible photographer or yogi I am still a great person. Whatever happens outside of me will not effect who I really am.

I don’t think I was born with a lot of talent but I am tremendously persistent. I was not very gifted when I started to do photography but whatever happened I continued working on it. I did not give up and this is why I am able to shoot the images I shoot today. The first two years of doing yoga I was not even able to touch my toes but did I stop trying?

Yes I was probably the first student at my kung fu school who failed to pass a test but will that hold me back to keep on practicing? Absolutely not!

Just a few days ago my Sifu said: “My most talented students always have been my biggest disappointments! Because they are lazy, they don’t have to try hard.

Maybe the lack of talent is a blessing after all. I will keep on going step by step, I will keep on taking pictures, keep on stretching and keep on practicing kung fu no matter what!




“Step By Step” Willimsburg/Brooklyn/my staircase 12/21/08 at 03:40 PM


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