Commentary - Michael Pynum (San Francisco Kwoon)

 

“Wondering, awareness, and focus” were the first three words I learned when I stepped into Sifu Garret Gee’s Hung Fa Yi Kwoon.  At first, they just seemed like part of another martial art philosophy.  Little did I know however, that those three simple words would change my life forever.

            I have always been interested in learning martial arts.  As a result, I have a background in Taekwondo, Aikido, Yang-style Tai Chi, Muay Thai, Shaolin Kenpo, and Doce Pares Eskrima.  In each of those arts, I eventually lost interest or felt that they were lacking in some way personally.  For me, martial arts should mean more than just how to punch, kick, grab, throw, or swing a weapon.  I believe that martial arts should affect the way you live your life as well.  They should help improve your mind, body, and soul.

            As I grew older and somewhat wiser, flashy martial arts did not appeal to me anymore.  I wanted to find something that was practical and street-effective, yet spiritual.  Many people talk about how good martial arts are for your self-esteem, discipline, and coordination.  But, I always wondered if they honestly believe and practice what they preach?

            I had heard of Wing Chun from books, videos, Internet sites, and friends.  It seemed to offer what I was looking for, however, finding a good Wing Chun school took me over five years.  Due to all the different schools of Wing Chun found today, I was very selective in seeking out an instructor.

            After much research and visiting a few Wing Chun schools I was fortunate enough to find Sifu Gee.  At first, I have to admit, I was a little apprehensive about Sifu’s teachings and philosophy.  While watching his students perform Siu Lim Tao it looked very different from what I knew about Wing Chun up to that point.  However, when Sifu would explain a certain movement or concept, he would explain it in such a way that left no doubt as to why you should follow.  Never before has someone been able to explain the why in martial arts to me.  Most of my martial arts instructors were able to explain the who, what, where, when, and how of a technique, but not the why.  Those who have studied martial arts for an extended period of time may better understand what I am trying to convey.  Yet, despite all this, it still took me a few weeks to decide that I wanted to learn Hung Fa Yi.  Over and over again, I analyzed what I had seen and what Sifu had told me about the Hung Fa Yi lineage.  When I finally decided to learn from Sifu it was probably one of the best decisions I have ever made in my entire life.

            To this day, I am very grateful to Sifu Gee for opening up the doors of his school to me.  Each class is a learning experience that I can take beyond just martial technique.  No longer is a punch just a punch or kick just a kick.  And, no longer am I searching for another martial art because I am bored or find Hung Fa Yi lacking in some way.  For at last, I have found a martial art that can help develop my mind, body, and soul and for that I am truly grateful.  Thank you Sifu!

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