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Monday, August 27, 2012

How Sifu got started in Kung Fu

[Dictated by Sifu Lawrence Hill]

“Well, my whole journey into the martial arts began with a bet.

“I was in high school at the time; it must have been 9th grade, so I guess I was 14 or 15 years old. My friend Greg and I used to cut classes a lot in the middle of the day. We used to be pretty far away from school when we cut, and then had to run back in time for the next class so the teachers didn't know we left for the entire period. Greg was taller and had longer legs than me, but we were running side by side for most of the way. Once the school came into view, I said "So long Greg!" and took off past him. He was so mad.

“Later I found out that Greg ran track and had all these medals for being a fast runner. I've never been competitive, but after I outran my friend he challenged me to everything physical, like wrestling and that kind of thing, he just wanted to beat me at something. One day, he made a bet that if we join a martial arts school at the same time under the same teacher, he was going to kick my butt.

“At first I really didn't want to do it. Going bare foot in a gym and whatever I thought the martial arts was at the time did not appeal to me, but he kept nagging and annoying me until I eventually agreed. I still remember, I was in this big gym with windows when I agreed to the bet.

“We ended up taking Wing Chung lessons at the YMCA. When we walked in, the teacher took one look at us and we both knew he hated us. I had long, frizzy hair past my shoulders, wearing boots and leather biker jacket; the teacher did NOT want us there.

“During our first class we had to do something like 150 push ups and maybe 500 sit ups, but it didn't bother me. Stuff like that never bothered me, and Greg was in good shape so he wasn't bothered either. It must have been my second class when the teacher called me out to fight. I had to fight this green belt with a few years of training over me. I got out there and I humbled myself by saying "Alright, I'm here to learn, so I"ll try to learn".

“But the green belt fighter was coming at me hard, and I was getting hit for about 1 or 2 minutes before I got angry and aggressive and just went after him. I punched him in the face and stomach before knocking him to the ground. At that point the teacher stopped the fight and told me I had some natural abilities with the martial arts.

“From then on, his attitude towards me changed and he started to really like me. My friend and I continued to train there for a while, but he eventually dropped out after he injured himself. I just stayed with it. Instead of just stopping when the bet ended, I was driven to train because I wanted to find out if it was real.  I continue to seek what is real to this day.”

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