I recently started studying Wing Chun. I had previously taken martial arts — about 12 years ago. I studied juijitsu and a little arnis; in juijitsu, I obtained my blue belt, but since then, I haven’t done any martial arts. I am very excited to be studying Wing Chun and feel honored to be connected to the Wing Chun lineage of Bruce Lee.
My sifu is Carlos Colorado and his sifu is Master Ron Heimberger. Master Heimberger studied under Grandmaster Ip Ching the son of Grandmaster Ip Man, who taught Bruce Lee — I’m honored to be part of a rich martial arts lineage.
Last night, I became more aware of some timely principles that Wing Chun teaches, but apply to work, life and, yes, Lean. Here are the situations, followed by the principles they teach:
- While practicing on the wooden dummy, my instructor taught me that, at my level, I need to worry more about flow and motion than on perfect form.
- While practicing with my Kung Fu brothers and sisters, I received an introduction to Chi Sao, or sticky hands. Chi Sao is drill that teaches motion, sensitivity, and trains the mind and muscles for unpredictibility.
- On the topic of unpredictibility, my instructor taught me last night that “We don’t want you to become set in a pattern. You always need to be ready for anything. In Wing Chun, we always surprise you so that the surprise is not a surprise.”
- The shortest distance between two points is always a straight line.
- “Pete, you are using more energy than you need to. Relax, have forward energy but not tension; do not use more energy than you need to.”
- Practice a little everyday is better than practice many on one day.
Last night was a great night in my Wing Chun journey. Some principles that I learned were:
- Work on flow; once my body has “muscle memory”, movements that impede flow will be easier to see.
- Stay on the front-lines: this builds sensitivity and helps me to remain humble, have empathy, and better connected to the customers — both internal and external.
- Change is good — encourage change; expect it; seek it.
- In a Lean context, start with the customer and work backwards — from a geographic and material & service perspective also. Can we eliminate steps? Can we eliminate motion? Waste? What can we do to get the product or service with both higher velocity and proximity to the customer?
- Economy of motion — use only enough energy as the situation requires. Using more than is needed is muda.
- One-piece flow is always better than Batch processing: practicing a little everyday is better than practicing one day a week for several hours. I will build muscle memory faster if I do a little with more frequency.
As part of my discipleship in Wing Chun under Sifu Carlos Colorado, I will be reading the Chinese classics, beginning with The Great Learning, by Confucius.
From time-to-time, I will chronicle my learnings and journey in Wing Chun and applications to Lean and in Life.