Einstein said “The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge, but imagination.”
Perhaps we should “Imagine” more in our Wing Chun. The human brain is what neurologists call a “level 3” of Conscienceness , it has the ability to imagine scenarios and play them out, unlike any other animal. In fact it is for this reason that we have the ability to remember. The brain uses past experiences to help play-out future scenarios.
Can this help with our Wing Chun?
Perhaps the ability to play-out a future scenario, is a primary tool for learning Wing Chun.
To go to the edge of our learning, and then imagining something more, to follow and play out an idea, to project beyond your current abilities.
When we play out a scenario in the brain, some parts of the brain think that the scenario is real. Then when it comes to memory storage another part of the brain determines if its valid for storage or not, whether its real or not.
At “Mindful Wing Chun”, instructors sometimes get us to stand still and “imagine” you are doing a perfect Si Nim Tao. As I slowly go through the form in my mind, the weakest parts of the form are highlighted. I then practice those parts, breaking them down and doing them slowly physically, then again try to do the form standing still in my mind. The two practices go hand in hand and are a great tool to advance.
One must maintaining a feeling of presence and balance, but to also have an exploratory feel, not particularly looking for a result, but just feeling. By “exploratory feel” I mean like your walking through a room blindfolded. Your experiencing the room, searching and feeling, observing your feelings and thoughts, with an open mind.
On one hand we are observing intrusive thoughts and accepting them and then going back to searching for that deeper feeling.
The feeling of being blindfolded standing in the centre of the room and having the confidence of knowing exactly where everything is is a metaphor of what we want.
I want to stand with confidence knowing I can do a perfect Si Nim Tao in my mind, and then apply it with movement, still doing it as I did in my mind. I want to hold the confidence, the feeling of doing it in my mind, not worrying about if the arms are not following exactly. As long as my “mind shape’s” are perfect and clear, my body will fall into place.
We use imagination for advancement in our everyday lives, like at work, if one is approaching a promotion. We start imagining the job role before we actually get it. It can be the same at Wing Chun. Imagine you are an instructor or even that one day you will be one of the best in the world. These seeds are taken by the mind and nurtured.
Explore these ideas with your instructor as well, test them out, discuss them, as your instructor has been down this road and can give some good extra guidance.
Imagination gives our sub-conscience mind an arrow like direction.
- Keven Tate (Student at Mindful Wing Chun Hong Kong)