There are many people who love the idea of learning a martial art, I have come across a lot of people who say, “Oh I would love to do something like that.” However, the plain truth is not many of them actually go out and do it. It is a pity that fewer and fewer people seemed prepared to follow their dreams. Why is that?
I remember my Sigong, Grandmaster Ip Chun, saying on a number of occasions that the standard of Wing Chun and martial arts in general in the UK was good. He said this was because the average British student was more dedicated to training than some others around the world. That was a long time ago when he said that, and I wonder if he would say the same now. It seems today that everyone has so many distractions that they do not spend enough time on one thing so they can become good at it. In the past, and I am not talking about that long ago, life was much simpler. There were no mobile phones, no computers (never mind laptops) and no internet. In the UK we only had four TV channels so channel hopping only took a few seconds. You only did one thing at a time not five or six and if you were not at home or at work and you did not tell anyone where you were no one could find you so you were left alone to get on with whatever you were doing. Likewise you could not catch up on phone calls while you were on the train (or dare I say it in the car). You really had free time. All this distraction and interruption means that everyone has got in the habit of being distracted and interrupted. The result of all this is people are just not as dedicated as before and this is a pity.
Having said that, people still admire others who have achieved something good, be they sports men or women, actors, authors, business men and or course martial artists. What marks these successful people out is their dedication to reaching their chosen goal. It takes time and effort, in Chinese we say “Gong Fu” of Kung Fu. Gong Fu is not the Chinese for martial arts. It is a term that describes some skill that has taken a long time and a lot of effort to develop. Perhaps this is the problem, today more and more people think that fame equals success, but the fact is nowadays you do not have to be successful or even good at anything to be famous. Fame has taken over as the objective rather than being very good at something.
The fact that people still admire and respect people with Gong Fu is very important and offers a glimmer of hope for future generations. It means there is still a chance for people to change and rise up. As long as you can still dream you can achieve something special. All you need to do is put in the time and dedication to develop and prepare yourself.