Monday, 19 January 2009

Kwoon reunion

Saturday afternoon was spent eating Dim-Sum in Chinatown at a reunion of the old boys from our Wing Chun school. It's now 25 years since our teacher opened up a ‘backyard kwoon’ in the basement of a builder’s yard in North London. Looking around the table at the twenty or so other guys who were amongst his earliest students I felt very much the baby of the group with a mere 18 years with my sifu.

Inevitably we've now scattered to many parts of the world, but just about everyone was still training: Some of us have stuck with the successor-school in London that has kept the original idea going, and others have opened their own schools, but all in the same backyard tradition - word of mouth, invitation only, no uniforms, no rituals, no fancy premises just blood, sweat … and laughter and friendship.

Of course a lot of reminiscences were swapped. One of my own memories sums up the ethos of the place that has kept me coming back for more:

The first time I visited the school was for a Sunday afternoon chi-sau session. I was na├»ve enough to tell my teacher that I had previously trained somewhere else – under a teacher I later found out he had a pretty poor opinion of. He got me to chi-sau with another new guy who had also recently joined from the same school. For ten minutes we stood toe-to-toe and whacked the crap out of each other. In retrospect it was horrible – ugly and unskilled - and I’m sure from what I now know our teacher would have been cringing at the sight – but we were pretty proud of ourselves.

Once we had got our breath back our teacher told me:
You’re obviously keen and you’re welcome to train here but I have to warn you that if any of these other guys tells me that you’re an arsehole, then as far as I’m concerned you’re an arsehole because these guys are my friends…

1 comment:

KwoONZz said...
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