Wing Chun Is Not Difficult
Liu Ying left with her child and father to Australia, cutting ties with everything to do with Nice Moves Sports Equipment.
Xia Lei had done a lot of things to obtain the purchase order from Nice Moves Sports Equipment and it now seemed like he had been chasing a dream of riches and had been rudely awakened. However, Xia Lei had still received a most precious thing and it was not the five million but the friendship between himself and Liu Ying. He had no regrets.
Over the next few days, Lin Bo-Wen and Lin Ya-Ru did not come to make trouble for Xia Lei. Perhaps it was because they could not do anything about Xia Lei, or perhaps it was the calm before the storm. Whatever it was, Xia Lei did not care.
Thunder Horse Workshop did not receive any big orders recently and the work they did get was normal stuff and not high-volume. This was not good for business as he only made a pitiable amount after deducting expenses such as salaries and materials. Xia Lei, however, did not care about his own profit so long as he could pay his employees.
The work was simple and low-volume so there was no need at all for a ‘Great Master’ like Xia Lei to use his skills. This meant that he had a lot of time to do what he liked, like reading and learning more about business. Xia Lei also went shopping for practical items for the employees of Thunder Horse Workshop. He bought a bottle of shampoo for Chen A-Jiao, a pair of high-heels for Zhou Xiao-Hong, two packets of cigarettes or a bottle of the better alcohol for the male employees. He would occasionally drive Jiang Ru-Yi’s ratty-tatty Polo to the suburbs to look for pieces of land with a good price and dream about setting up his company.
When he was not doing any of that, Xia Lei was going to a Wing Chun school to learn Wing Chun martial arts.
He had never even imagined that he would go to any martial arts school to learn martial arts before and there wasn’t a need to but it was different now. He had offended Gu Ke-Wen and some Hai-Zhu City big-name underlord He Lao-Qi because of Gu Ke-Wen. He’d thought about it and it was no problem for him to handle two low-level thugs with his current skills but if a stronger opponent appeared he would just become a punching bag.
Xia Lei was never one to respond only after the threat happened so he took the first step and picked up martial arts.
Early in the morning, Xia Lei made a round of Thunder Horse Workshop and slipped off. He drove to the Wing Chun school to learn Wing Chun.
This Wing Chun school was named ‘Hai-Zhu Wing Chun School’ and the owner of the school was Master Liang Zheng-Chun from Foshan. He was said to be the descendant of the man who started Wing Chun itself and the style of Wing Chun he taught was the most authentic.
The school had many students but Xia Lei had come early and the school was empty except for Master Liang Zheng-Chun, who was standing alone and striking the wooden dummy.
Bam bam bam, bam bam bam…
Liang Zheng-Chun was in his early fifties but his limbs were still very agile and powerful. His age did not slow him at all.
XIa Lei walked over and greeted him, “Good morning, Master Liang.”
Liang Zheng-Chun stopped his strikes and looked at Xia Lei, and a smile appeared on his face, “Ah, it’s Xia Lei. You’re here early.” Xia Lei had only been coming for three days but he had made a strong impression on him.
Xia Lei smiled, “I had nothing to do in my shop so I came early to practice.”
“Okay. Practice ‘Little Idea’ first and let me see,” said Liang Zheng-Chun.*
The first form of Wing Chun is Little Idea - it is the foundation for the body’s form and footwork as well as many others. Only when ‘The Little Idea’ is mastered can one go on to the higher levels such as ‘Seeking Bridge’, ‘Sticking Hands’, ‘Sticking Foot’, ‘Swinging Hand’, ‘Thrusting Fingers’, wooden dummy techniques, ‘Three Star Dummy’ and so on.
For the three days that Xia Lei practiced Wing Chun, he had practiced ‘Little Idea’ every day.
Xia Lei got into the beginning stance, then begun practicing his footwork and form. His hands were also moved from attack to defence interchangeably. His movements had some semblance of being standard.
Liang Zheng-Chun was quietly surprised by Xia Lei as he watched him. Other people would need a few months to master Little Idea but Xia Lei was able to grasp the core of it in three days. Liang Zheng-Chun did not show his surprise and watched quietly, occasionally pointing out things which Xia Lei should pay attention to. Xia Lei was a serious student and that, in turn, made him teach seriously.
A few minutes later, Liang Zheng-Chun said, “Stop. Let’s stop here. Rest for a while and you can practice something else.”
Xia Lei relaxed and returned to his normal stance and asked, “How did I do, Master Liang?”
“Not bad. I’ve taught many students and you’re the fastest. My own grandfather said that I was quick too but I feel that you’re even faster than I was back then,” said Liang Zheng-Chun.
Xia Lei laughed but said nothing. His left eye never forgot what it saw. He had memorised all of the learning materials Liang Zheng-Chun had given him and he also never forgot the methods he taught; of course he learnt quickly. Surpassing Liang Zheng-Chun’s speed from years ago was normal.
At that moment, some students walked in. Liang Zheng-Chun went to greet them and arrange practices for them to do.
In the past, disciples had to kowtow and offer tea when they met their martial arts Master and show him a lot of respect. Times have changed now; the martial arts Master was just a Master and the disciples have become students. The Master had to take care of his students and have a good attitude. Why? If his service attitude was bad, students would just go for other martial arts like Judo or Taekwondo. Who would still come to learn Wing Chun?
The students were all long-time students and all of them had at least a year of practice. The leader of the group was Lu Sheng and he was retired Special Forces. He already knew mixed martial arts and had been learning Wing Chun for three years; he was stronger than strong. He was the most advanced student in the school and he got along well with the others. Young students would call him Big Brother Sheng in respect when they saw him.
“Sheng, you’re early today,” Liang Zheng-Chun said in welcome and smiled as he greeted him.
Lu Sheng was polite too, “Good morning, Master Liang. My boss went overseas today and I couldn’t go because I didn’t have the necessary visa so I came for practice since I had nothing to do at home.”
He was a professional bodyguard.
The other students greeted Liang Zheng-Chun as well and they were respectful.
The students began practicing. They paired up and practiced Sticking Hand and Sticking Foot while some simply sparred. The practice ground was quite lively.
Xia Lei watched with heated eyes. It was too bad that he had not got to Sticking Hands and Sticking Foot. He watched them for a while, then walked to the wooden dummy and struck at it with the movements he had seen Liang Zheng-Chun make.
Striking the wooden dummy was one of the high-level courses in Wing Chun. One had to have at least a year’s practice in order to attempt it but this was the case for others - this sort of limit did not apply to Xia Lei. He just needed to recall it and Liang Zheng-Chun’s movements appeared one by one in his mind - the timing, the direction, which place to attack and so on. He could remember everything and the only thing he had to do was copy it.
Bam bam bam, bam bam bam…
Compared to Liang Zheng-Chun’s well-practiced movements, Xia Lei’s movements were much stiffer and it seemed like his reaction was always just half a beat off but the accuracy of his movements were passable and his strikes were methodical, seemingly like one who had been practicing on the wooden dummy for months.
Liang Zheng-Chun looked at Xia Lei strike the wooden dummy in surprise. He did not say it but in his head, he was thinking ‘This young man is strange. This is just his fourth day here and he dares to try the wooden dummy? I myself practiced for a year before I dared to attempt striking the wooden dummy. Are there still martial arts prodigies in this day and age?’
At that moment, Lu Sheng concluded his Sticking Hands practice with another student and walked towards Xia Lei.
Xia Lei did not notice Lu Sheng coming towards him at all; he was absorbed in copying Liang Zheng-Chun’s movements. When he had begun, his movements were half a beat slow but he started to get a feel for it as he struck at the wooden dummy and the delay in his movements lessened and was approaching Liang Zheng-Chun’s speed.
Bam bam bam, bam bam bam…
His strikes on the hard wooden dummy made his own flesh and bones hurt but Xia Lei ignored the pain. He thought of Liu Ying’s crying face and what had happened to her. He thought of Gu Ke-Wen, Lin Bo-Wen and Lin Ya-Ru and a flame of anger flared in his heart. The pain was nothing compared to his anger.
‘I’d like to beat Gu Ke-Wen up like this wooden dummy one day!’ this thought came to Xia Lei’s mind and he struck with more force.
“Hey, little guy, move aside,” frowned Lu Sheng.
Other than Liang Zheng-Chun, everyone else in the school respectfully called him Big Brother Sheng when they saw him. Others would also give way to him right away if he wanted to practice on any equipment. Xia Lei, however, did not even spare him a glance and this made him feel uncomfortable.
Xia Lei’s mind was preoccupied with Liang Zheng-Chun’s movements and did not even notice that Lu Sheng was already standing behind him and speaking to him. His strikes landed swiftly and fluidly on the wooden dummy and his movements now looked like they would not lose to those of a senior student who had practiced Wing Chun for two years.
“Are you deaf, little guy?” Lu Sheng suddenly reached out, grabbed Xia Lei’s shoulder and tore him forcefully from before the wooden dummy. Xia Lei was thrown aside.
Xia Lei’s feet had left the ground before he could react.
Bang! Xia Lei hit the floor hard. It was then that he discovered that it was Lu Sheng who had knocked him down.
“What are you doing?” Xia Lei was in a bit of a daze and didn’t know what was going on.
Lu Sheng grinned, “You dared hit the wooden dummy after a few days so I wanted to see how good you were. I wanted to test your skills and my hand just moved on its own. You’re not bad. I thought I could throw you to the door but you only flew three metres.”
Xia Lei understood immediately. This Lu Sheng didn’t like him and came to find fault with him.
“What? Unhappy? We can spar if you’re not happy. I’ll give you a handicap of three moves.” Lu Sheng looked at Xia Lei with a challenge in his eyes, “Do you dare accept?”
Young men were unyielding; if he did not fight back when hit, would he still be a man?
Xia Lei got to his feet, “Let’s spar then!”
Lu Sheng was stunned for a bit, “You actually dare to spar with me?”
“It’s true that I won’t be able to win but this is not the same as whether I dare to or not. I may not be able to beat you but I am not afraid of you. I’ll spar with you,” said Xia Lei.
Lu Sheng laughed and strangely gave Xia Lei a thumbs-up. “You’re a real man. I’ll go easy on you.”
Xia Lei said nothing. He got into a fighting stance.
Liang Zheng-Chun hurried over and yelled, “What are you doing? Did I teach you Wing Chun so that you can use it in fights? Take it outside if you want to fight. Don’t fight in my school.”
“Master Liang, I was just joking with my junior. I won’t seriously fight. Besides, could I bully a novice?” said Lu Sheng.
Xia Lei relaxed his stance and said, “That’s right. We were joking. It wasn’t serious.”
Just then, a woman’s voice suddenly came from the doorway of the training hall. “From what I see, you’re bullying the newbie, monk.”
Xia Lei’s eyes followed the voice and saw the woman walk through the door.
* The first, and most important form in Wing Chun, which can be translated into "The little idea for beginning" is not only for beginners but to be practiced throughout the practitioner’s lifetime.
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