Overcoming Life’s Challenges and Leading From the Front, Kung Fu gave Him a Place to Be
I was never the sporty type and had a lot of fear as a kid as I was bullied a fair bit and later while my mates and brothers all played footy etc I couldn’t as I was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis in my early teens. Back in them days this was basically seen as an old person’s disease so I kept it to myself for many years and became pretty messed up: overweight, unhealthy and caught up in drugs and alcohol etc.
It took half a lifetime to break that cycle not to mention the whole family breakup thingy. Although later in life I began attending a gym for a year or two but had no goal or anything to measure my progress. I was attending the gym and eating what I liked when I liked and had no one to really coach or train me in that sense and was coasting along like a roller coaster with my weight and health up and down.
I did a few months of karate and boxing many years ago in my twenty’s but due to my very unhealthy lifestyle at the time, dropped out and since then always had that regret hanging over my head and weighing me down for many years as I thought of myself pretty much as a failure.
I met John who is a few years older than me through work and he began talking to me about martial arts and how he did it for many years but then stopped and began Wing Chun again years later at an older age. He also talked about how it helped him to pick his health up. John kept on my back for about six months asking me to give it a go but my answer was always something like I am 48yrs of age way too old to try something like this for the first time.
I also had it in my head that my arthritis would one day prevent me from going on and then I would have the regret of giving up and failing once again and have that mental torture to deal with so in my head it was best not to start and that way I would not be a failure. Talk about mental torture and madness!Well one day John got the best of me so I agreed to go and have a look at a lunch time class and remember watching in amazement at the type of kicking and punching students were doing and also remember the guys there being very welcoming and friendly and asked me if I wanted to come and try a class out, but me being me said I will think about it and let them know later.
Well later came that afternoon! because I was buzzing after watching that class. So after a gym session at about 5.00pm I called the school and asked if I could come do that free class so with a bundle of nerves I rocked up and that was my first class.
I can honestly say I am not the same man I was when I went up to watch the class that day. Wing Chun has not only helped my flexibility and arthritis, it has given me much more than I had ever dreamed of such as confidence, fitness and nutritional information which I struggled with most all my life and not to mention the other students who openly share their vast range of skills and knowledge.
I basically try and train five days week at the school when I can and also do weights on three days when I can, so to even do all of this at this age I know my fitness has had to increase ten fold. I have had the opportunity to be part of the Spartan course (a nutrition and fitness course run within the school) which is basically turning my life around with the advice on diet and training.
I have grown confidence in many areas where I know I had fear, as I have learned from teachers and students ways to channel that fear to fight rather than flight when needed, not only in martial arts but in many other mental and physical challenges I face.
I guess the main aspect of what all this means to me is that of my children and grand children, where I feel I have an obligation not only to talk about what they should or should not do in life but to try and lead by example where I can in all I say and do.
I can say it is pretty special when you have Sifu Rick Spain as the trainer and coach leading by example along the way. Also the trainers and leaders who help make your journey pretty special by always making themselves available for advice. All in all, I found the school to be open, friendly and supportive.
I also think its special how additional workshops are offered to students in specialty areas to include in ones arsenal and portfolio.
Soon after joining you will discover that we are all much like one big diverse family.