Read the book Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams ). I think that some of you HAVE read this interesting book. In any case, the best chapter in my estimation is the one starting on page 17, “Empty Your Cup.” It has some excellent insights into the process of finding and learning from somebody new. New students must always “empty their cup” first. Unless they do, they can never learn anything new.

This book chapter describes the author’s first lesson with the legendary Bruce Lee. Mr. Hyams had studied several martial arts prior to his training with Bruce Lee. Each art of course had its merits but why was he still searching? He said he had come to Bruce Lee because “he had heard that Bruce Lee was the best.” It was necessary, even with this eager student, that Bruce force him to “empty his cup” before he could start training.

Somebody that has, indeed, moved up in skill and rank in a martial art system of some repute will have some mental investment in their own degree of skill as well as an investment of time and energy. They will, of course, also be very predisposed to believe in the effectiveness of the techniques they learned. They may be very reluctant to forget those lessons. To leave the concepts and techniques of the other art behind, the art he or she has practiced for so many years AND leave those instructors behind as well… let’s just say that I have done that!

The reason I did is that I was introduced to the new art slowly by a friend who gradually convinced me that my training in the art I practiced before would not work against a trained wing chun expert. He was right.

After a few years of training in wing chun, I became convinced that although this art and its instructor were the most impressive my young eyes had ever seen, there must be something somewhere better! After all, if I found an art that was more effective once, why not a second time? The second time was more difficult. I was truly convinced that my wing chun was the best and had worked on it hard for about five years. In my humble opinion, it was not. Grandmaster Leung Ting convinced me that his WingTsun™ system was more effective. The overriding factor in my mind was my hunger to learn more and find the “truth” I was seeking. One may be a truth seeker but that does not mean that any one person or art has a corner on the truth. Tell your friend to try WingTsun for just 6 months or a year and find out how close WingTsun comes to the truth about fighting technique. Since my beginnings with the Leung Ting WingTsun® system I have examined others and even studied some very good Escrima but I have never looked back.

©Copyright 2012, Keith Sonnenberg, all rights reserved. No reproduction without permission.

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Sifu Keith Sonnenberg can be reached at  (please leave a message) or 480-668-9220.

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