Club Meal – Chinese New Year

After our training session on Saturday 28th February 2015 students of CWCK will travel to the White Horse Chinese Restaurant in Sandhurst Lane, Gloucester (GL2 9NG) for an informal celebration of Chinese New Year.

We will leave the training venue at the Reddings & District Community Centre as near to 12.15pm as possible so that we can get to the restaurant with enough time to order meals before the kitchen closes at 2pm.

The cost for the meal is £13.95 per head but drinks will be charged on top so please arrange payment for your own drinks with the restaurant separately. The meal is buffet format and you can eat all you want but make sure that you clear the plates or you will be asked to pay for what you did not eat.

We suggest that you have a look at the menu over the coming week to save time at the restaurant:

http://www.thewhitehorsechineserestaurant.co.uk/restaurant

Lai See (Red Packet)

With Chinese New Year approaching on the 19th February 2015, you may see small red packets being passed from one person to another, or see them hanging over shop doors in Chinese quarters of major cities, and wonder what they are.

The red packets are called Lai See and are traditionally passed from elder to junior and contain a new single note, no coins. The new note signifies that the giver was thinking of the receiver but a used note is believed to signify that the person was forgotten. The actual value of the note will depend on who is giving and who is receiving but the total should always be an even number, not an odd one, as odd numbers are for funerals. Another consideration is that the Cantonese word for four is similar to the word for death, so it is a good idea to steer clear of values that have a four in them e.g. 40, 44, 400, etc. !   The giving and receiving of the red and gold packets is to bring good luck and prosperity to both giver and receiver.

Lai See hanging over the entrance of a shop during the Chinese New Year street celebrations are positioned to be in the path of the Lion who dance’s in the street, symbolically devouring the money filled red packets bringing good luck and prosperity to the business in the coming year.

The same Lai See have been used to submit honour payments for other services, such as for Wing Chun training. The desire for a person to learn Wing Chun usually came from a need rather than a want and it was normally those who needed it more that had less money to pay for training. This being the case using Lai See meant that each could pay an anonymous amount that was relative to what they could afford. This meant that Wing Chun was available to all and not only restricted to those who could afford it.  It also removed any stigma from payment as one student did not know what the other was paying.

At Cheltenham Wing Chun Kuen charges are standard no matter what your background or wealth, however you may still see Lai See being used when training privately with your Sifu.  When arriving for a private session pick up an empty Lai See and replace it with one containing the private session fee. This removes any ambiguity related to how or when you pay for the session.

Read more about our charges >>

Proprioception – The Sixth Sense

Most people are familiar with the 5 senses: Hearing, Sight, Smell, Taste and Touch and their importance to us on a daily basis. It is not impossible to live without one or two of these but it does make life a little more difficult.

During the middle of the last Century Neurophysiologists added a ‘Sixth Sense’ to the list called Proprioception, which is the sense of balance, position and movement in space. Proprioception means ‘to feel within’ and is sometimes referred to as the ‘eyes of the body’.

The sense is reliant upon receptors in the joints, muscles and the organs of balance in the inner ear. Using these you are able to judge your position and mass in space and be aware of the amount of muscular tension that you use in order to keep you there.

Most of the movements that you execute throughout the day are automatic and are not, under normal circumstances, dependant upon great thought by yourself. Reaching this state, ordinarily, is good and it allows you to deal with, and respond to, everyday tasks that life throws up. However, this situation can also lead to the suppression of feedback that you are getting from your body telling you when you are over contracting your muscles. As a result of this you will learn to disregard the messages that are telling you that your muscles are getting tight and fatigued. The inherent danger here is that if it is not checked your tensions and erroneous positions will start to feel normal and become embedded within the programming of your body.

Tuning in to this sixth sense is a good way to awaken the feelings and become more aware of your balance, position and movement in space. As practitioners of Wing Chun we have a lot to gain by using our 6th sense to enhance the control and precision with which we use our bodies.

In 1890 a Tasmanian called Frederick Matthias Alexander devised a technique to help himself overcome vocal difficulties that doctors were unable to diagnose. With the use of mirrors and a personal study he concluded that his problems were due to misuse of the postural mechanism and that this was probably the culprit of many of mans ills.

Frederick progressed his technique and in 1932 described, in ‘The use of the Self’, his process of self-discovery and the technique that he had devised. Today the ‘Alexander Technique’ is widely recognised in many circles as a reliable and effective form of self-help, which achieves success by enabling you to ‘tune in’ to your sixth sense.

Conclusion

Wing Chun is renowned for its accomplishment of effective, REAL self-defence but it also runs a bit deeper than that. The mechanical and physical principles that are taught also use proprioception and as you ‘tune in’ to your sixth sense you will gain other advantages from your Wing Chun and not just the obvious ones. Integrating these principles in your daily life will mean that there is every chance you will greatly increase your quality and length of life. You only have to look at Master Ip Chun to see proof of that.