TCMA: Would You Wait Twenty Years?


Would you wait twenty years to get good at a skill?

It took me just over twenty years to finally be able to say that I was competent at Wing Chun Kung-Fu. It took me just over twenty years for conditioning, skill, experience and mentorship to come together. I truly believe if any one of those pieces are missing it will take a person a very long time to get good at anything.

Lack of mentorship, or I could even say proper instruction, was my downfall. I had experienced hard-working martial arts instructors, but the material just didn’t jive with the real-world pressures of Chi Sau and sparring. And when I ran into an issue nobody could help me. In fact, some of my teachers went so far as to tell me that the martial art that I had chosen to dedicate all my free time to was unable to function in a pressure-testing environment. Instead of jumping ship I continued to search for answers.

Mentorship can be the thing that brings it all together. I know that now. I know that because I was mentored properly right out of Chinese medicine college for 1.5 years and immediately succeeded in healing my patients and running a business. In my martial arts experience, I had had my share of bad teachers and cornermen, so when I had finally worked with a proper instructor all that hard work I had put forth in the past twenty years came flooding to the forefront.

It took me eight months of running the drills and concepts that were given to me to solidify my journey. I was calm. I was able to concentrate on other areas of my life that I felt were lacking - other areas in my martial arts that were lacking, too.

What is the most interesting thing that occurred to me is that after proper instruction and mentorship had happened, there was nothing but implementation and hard work staring me plain in the face. There was nothing left to teach.

Would you wait twenty years? I did. And I would do it again because the lessons I learned while walking my own path were very valuable. Lastly, I wonder if I would be so grateful if I had not spilled blood, sweat and tears to get to where I am today.

Kenton Sefcik