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Wing Chun News #011 Martial Art Dads
December 08, 2011

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target="_blank" rel="nofollow"Holiday Discounts on Wing Chun swords, dummys, poles, pads, DVDs, books, and more
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WING CHUN LIFE NEWS #011
December 8, 2011

A Secret Fountain of New Wing Chun Students: Dads

5 Pointers to Convince Them to Join

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How to make your martial arts school more profit without adding more students...
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Hi there fellow Wing Chun fanatic --

It’s Rob here at WingChunLife.com and a thought occurred to me that could help your school, or your sifu’s school pick up a few extra Kung Fu disciples...

The other night I took the kids to their Wing Chun kids class. Sadly, I wasn’t able to stay after for the adult weapon’s class since I had work to finish and the kids had homework to get done.

Kung Fu is “my” responsibility so I taxi the kids to and from class. Normally, I’m a hermit and keep to myself. I even sit in the car to do a bit of work while the kids are inside causing a ruckus.

I do this strange anti-social behavior for a few reasons.

  1. I enjoy my work and have enough to keep me busy.
  2. I have a secret deal with myself that if I get some work done while the kids are in class, I reward myself by taking the weapon’s class after (butterfly knives, escrima sticks, dragon pole, and sometimes nunchuks).
  3. I don’t want to watch my kids at class because I have the urge to blurt out and correct them when they do something “wrong.” I don’t want to be THAT parent, you know what I mean?

So I happily sit in my car.

Lately, the nights get dark early around here, so I have no light to work with. This has kept me out of the car. The past few weeks I’ve hung out with the other parents and had a few conversations with them...

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... Interesting people Wing Chun parents are.

I was the only parent who took classes. Yet two of the dads, and I suspect more, are very interested in what their kids (and I) are doing.

They both talk about “when I was younger...” And, I totally get it because I used to sound just like them. I took five years off from training Wing Chun before I returned, and my health and mental outlook went down the drain during that break.

Here are 5 pointers to try out in your kwoon (or suggest to your sifu)

  1. Ask all parents (the moms too) to take a class. Heck, you could even have a special parent/child intro Kung Fu class where the kids bring dad and look after him.

    I bet there are more parents than you think itching to live out their Bruce Lee fantasies. I know because one of the dads told me so the other day. And a family discount wouldn’t hurt either.

    The good news is one dad went ahead and signed up after taking a free intro class. He says that after a few weeks he’s already lost 15 pounds -- just because he’s actually doing something physical. He’s a former Judokka, so striking is new to him and he totally loves it. Now, we got this dad and his young son learning Wing Chun. Could they become the next Leung Jan and Leung Bik?

  2. It might be a good idea for the Wing Chun school to have an approachable sifu, or someone else who can act as the face or spokesperson for the kwoon. It could be a senior student, sifu’s spouse, or someone else articulate and pleasant with people.

    The other dad (he still hasn't pulled the trigger) was a competitive Taekwondo fighter “when he was younger.” Each time we meet he asks me a few more questions about Wing Chun, and I answer them as best I can.

    He’s itching to try it out. He likes to recount his Taekwondo days and how brutal they were. Then he’ll ask me how we’d handle a similar situation in Wing Chun. i.e. “do you guys do spinning high kicks?”

    For the moment, I think he feels more comfortable speaking with me than with sifu directly. And this is a common situation in general. My sifu is not an intimidating person, nor does he try to be. But, just holding rank makes new folks more self-conscious than they normally are.

  3. Give dads ammunition to use with moms. I think a couple of other dads would like to try Wing Chun out, but mom won’t let them. Sometimes, it could be budget or schedule. Other times, though, I think some moms feel Martial Arts is for kids; like playing T-ball.

    So you should have some reasonable responses ready to help dad out.

    The first area to talk about is health. Dads, especially those who say things like, “when I was younger...” are not in good shape. These are not the dads running marathons and drinking green juice.

    Their health is at risk. And poor health almost always leads to financial strain. This is a legitimate reason to study Wing Chun, it can help keep the family budget stable and secure by minimizing doctor’s bills.

    Of course if dad has an accident there will be a bill, but those are much cheaper than a bill for stroke, heart attack, cancer, or diabetes. All of these serious health threats can be minimized with good health, diet, and exercise.

  4. Dad will look better. This one may or may not work with mom. So you have to present it right. Most of these “when I was younger...” dads need to lose weight. We already discussed the health reasons, but losing weight is good for vanity, too.

    Hear me out before you start rolling your eyes.

      ** Bigger men look older. Fitter men look younger; all things being equal. This can help with dad’s self-esteem, which can make him more pleasant at home with mom and the kids.

      ** Also, looking healthier and more youthful can help with his career.

      ** Finally, something I’ve noticed with overweight men who lose weight... they begin to care about how they look. Even if they don’t, at the very least they need to buy new cloths that fit them.

    Many moms I know personally prefer not to spend time with a sloppy looking dad. You know, the dads who like to wear old T-shirts with holes, from high school or college, “when they were young...” So Wing Chun could help in the romance department, and make mom proud because she doesn’t have to be ashamed of the shabbily dressed “adult” child.

  5. Violence may not be a winning argument for many moms. Being able to beat people up and take out someone else’s knee with a swift stomp kick isn’t necessarily a benefit to mom. This is the case with a lot of moms and their kids as well as, I suspect, in regards to the dads.

    So keep the bil jee eye gouges and chops to the neck hush-hush. On the other hand, mentioning self-defense would be a benefit to a mom concerned with safety, has experienced violence against herself, appreciates expressing power when appropriate, or believes in the end of civilization; like Sarah Conner in Terminator.

At the next kids class make it a point to invite the dads to take a lesson like their kids, and keep the benefits of Wing Chun above handy.

Rob
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P.P.S. Grappling and ground fighting isn't my, or many Wing Chun artist's strong suit. But I know many want to get better at it, or at least understand what you're up against when you face a bjj or MMA fighter.

I think this grappling resource is first class. Bob, the creator, told me he spent many years in Kung Fu (ed. note: before he went to the dark side) and he's managed to incorporate "muscle memory" training for grapplers. His training methods are sound, so much so I'm looking for ways to mimic his process into my personal Wing Chun training. It really is that good.

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