I always value exclusivity; it makes a person feel special. Being privy to that extra something that others don’t have. This is a very English trait, not so much having something that others covet, but having something they don’t know is even on the table. This could be alluded to with a tie or blazer, coded letters following a name, or a chic mode of dress that is utterly baffling to the uninitiated.
It was with great excitement then that I was invited to join Wing Chun: After Hours. Nobody calls it that of course; at least nobody except me, I just felt that the class needed a title that reflected it. It’s basically the same as a regular Wing Chun class, except that it’s a little later, a little edgier, and with occasional curse word thrown in; kind of like a late edition of Hollyoaks.
The class was over, the novices had headed home, and only six of us remained. A short Italian man who takes it all a little too seriously; an ill-kempt six and a half foot ogre in his mid fifties; a Chinese graphics student; a stocky Cornish businessman in his early forties; and a stooped enthusiastic young Asian man, whom has to wipe his glasses in between sparring. We were the crème de la crème, and we all knew it.
Much like the Fast and the Furious, we were an unlikely bunch thrust together by our own prowess to form la familia: at least I imagine that’s how the films go, I’ve never actually seen them. Our Sifu was obviously the leader, perhaps the Vin Diesel of the group – as I say, I’ve not seen the franchise.
After Hours started. It was intense. Vin Diesel wanted us to learn practical techniques. This wasn’t flowery; it was about physically manoeuvring your opponent into a compromised position. Manoeuvring a sixteen stone plus ogre is much harder than the said ogre manoeuvring you, but, needless to say, we probably leaned more than he did: maybe he was the, having heavily let himself go, Dwayne ‘the rock’ Johnson of the group.
It was about creating a brief window in which to exploit your Wing Chun technique. Vin Diesel believes strongly in authenticity. It was in After Hours that we could fully explore the reality of our technique and drill it down to the essential.
Vin Diesel’s feedback was both fast and fierce. He sparred with us directly, judging each in turn. I’d reached the inter core and it felt good. On my way out Vin Diesel approached me. He, The Rock and some of the other lesser know stars were heading out for food. Clearly, I was la familia’s latest addition, possibly a young Jason Statham type, but with hair. It was all I needed…and with that I politely turned the invitation down and headed home.