Thursday, October 24, 2013
My mentor and dear friend is coming to Michigan to help me celebrate a momentous milestone in my life professional and personally. He does this even though his back is not 100 percent and the trip will be arduous one for someone in his condition. He honors me. I feel so grateful that he has chosen to make the trip here. I am celebrating 25 years in business and as a certified instructor in Wing Chun Do.
Liz and I wanted to celebrate our anniversary and show our thanks to all our students, family, friends that supported us throughout the years. We planned events throughout the month of November as part of the celebrations. We asked Sijo for a letter or video that we could play for our students. Instead of a letter or video, Sijo decided to come in person. The fact that Sijo is coming to celebrate this event makes it so much more special and an exciting turn of events. I cannot express my gratitude to him enough, knowing that his last visit to Michigan was supposed to be his last.
He also will honor us by conducting two seminars, although the seminars will be shorten to accommodate his back condition and that he is in Michigan for such a short time. (flying in Friday, flying out Sunday).
Developmental Meditation on Friday night - start time will be 6:30 or 7:00 pm (not yet finalize the start time - stay tuned.) Cost $30.
Saturday Seminar - Wing Chun Do start time 11:30 am to 2:00 pm. Cost $60.
The first ten pre-paid registrations to both seminars are invited to the Potluck Anniversary celebration Saturday evening. More information call 734-422-4420 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I truly believe this will be the last time he will travel to Michigan. If we ever want to train with him again it will be on his home turf. So here is an opportunity to say hello to a good friend and mentor, a person that has played a pivotal role in so many lives, for present and former Ambrose Academy students or Wing Chun Do students to train with him in person one last time, for Bruce Lee enthusiasts to meet one of the originals from the Seattle period while he is here in the Midwest.
Thursday, August 22, 2013
Interestingly, though this person has been a student for a while, he is only just now beginning to develop a working bi jong and still struggles to develop a reflexive sense of the powerline. He has not yet come to appreciate the importance of the closed bi jong in developing real skill in Wing Chun Do. Further, development of the powerline punch is another essential skill if one is to become effective in self-defense. Reading drills are necessary to develop intuitive speed and reactions, as well as desensitizing the student to the str
ess of having punches thrown at them.
This, clearly, is an instance where Sijo DeMile's oft-used phrase is appropriate. "Logic should tell you..." that your instructor's regular repetition of a drill or exercise is an indication of its importance. And in my case, vigilant of the student's progress, when I observe that he/she has reached the necessary level of proficiency in a certain drill or exercise, then a new drill or variant is assigned. Rest assured that, after teaching Wing Chun Do for over twenty-five years, you can trust my plan to help you develop genuine skill in the shortest time possible.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Recently I've had the pleasure of welcoming back to the school a few individuals who had studied at Ambrose Academy in the past. Returning after seven years are a father, daughter and son – now with the addition of the youngest son. One student trained as a child over twenty year ago and now has three children of his own. At that time, both he and his father attended classes. Another trained as an adult about nine years ago but, due to the demands of a busy life, had to take a hiatus. Yet another trained in the kid’s class during grammar school and informed me, during a recent visit, that she will join the adult class this summer after graduating high school. This is an uplifting phenomenon and it has happened many times in the past. It is gratifying to realize that Wing Chun Do, and more specifically Ambrose Academy, has made such an impression on them that they, as one put it, “always knew that, when I had the time, I would come back and train again.” Time and time again returning students remark, “Where else would I go?”
We also have many families who have been with us for eight, ten, fifteen, and even twenty years. When queried, the reasons given are many. Some mention the scientific nature of Wing Chun Do. Others are impressed with the well structured curriculum. All tend to credit the high quality of instruction characteristic of our school. But above all, I am told that it is the camaraderie – the warm family atmosphere – that touched them so deeply. Many students assert that Ambrose Academy is their escape; an oasis of positive energy in their hectic lives. Our school is a place where all can come to escape the stressful effects of their busy lives; a place where they can relax and regroup. In a way, this is what Sijo DeMile terms “indirect meditation” – a relaxing and therapeutic activity. When you walk in our door, you engage in activities that demand your complete attention, allowing you to detach from the worries, stress and distractions of the outside world. You are free to be yourself without being judged. Here you experience a feeling of personal growth and evolution. The only ego you have to contend with is your own and it is being nurtured to become strong, independent, confident and uniquely you. At Ambrose Academy we have four separate age-specific curricula, formulated to draw out and develop the best in each individual, regardless of age.
Over our twenty-five years of operation we have developed the ability to recognize the unique qualities and attributes in each student and help bring them to fruition. This is our mission and, what makes Ambrose Academy, as Ms. Liz puts it, a true “community” center.
Monday, March 18, 2013
This FAQ is difficult to answer. It first requires a clear definition of the term "to spar".
My Webster's Collegiate Dictionary copyright 1941 says: 1. "To fight or strike with the feet or spurs as cocks do. 2. To box with the fists, esp. scientifically - n. An offensive or defensive movement in sparring; a boxing match." My Random House Dictionary copyright 1967 adds: 1. "To make the motions of attack and defense with the arms or fists, esp. as part of training. 1. To box, esp. with light blows."
Under these general interpretations, I guess we do spar. However, my perception of the term has always been one in which the combatants move about, feeling each other out - experimenting with techniques and concepts. This implies the training of blows and allowing interplay. Under this interpretation, we do not spar. After all, in the reality of the street one cannot afford to "trade blows", as a well-landed blow from a larger individual might result in serious injury or even death. This is why I have removed from the curriculum all references to sparring. I have replaced them with the term "applied self-defense". This term more accurately describes the Wing Chun Do approach to practical application of technique. It reflects our concepts of "total attack theory" (from lin sil die dar), as well as "full attack mode" (third rule of the closed bi jong). In Wing Chun Do, our method is to shut the opponent down completely, controlling his offensive and defensive capabilities and to strike - non-stop - until the threat is neutralized. If this is your definition of sparring, then I guess the answer is, "Yes, we spar."
Tuesday, March 5, 2013
|Check out the smile on my face, when realization hits.|
Sometimes the most profound learning experiences can come without a warning or a word.
It was July of 2009, Rogue River, Oregon. I was attending a week-long camp for new instructor candidates, taking place at Sijo’s beautiful thirteen acre spread. It was late morning and already the sun was baking the training room in Sijo DeMile’s workshop. The large garage door was wide open and the sunlight was streaming in. The video camera was running, recording the day’s training.
Sijo was demonstrating the fundamentals of slap-sparring to the eager newbies. He called upon me to aid in the demonstration, which is always gratifying (though even more so this day). During the demonstration, which I detected a variation in hand position which differed from my previous understanding of the technique. Following this portion of the demo, as the students were practicing the assigned elements, I queried Sijo about the change. I formed the new hand position, saying "I noticed that you're doing this now." "Yeah," he replied. I then posed the old position, asking, "What happened to this?" His reply - "I don't do that so much anymore." That was all! I was momentarily confused. (Little did I know what a significant revelation this would prove to be in the development of my understanding of slap-sparring.) He immediately went on to demonstrate the next element, again using me as his demo partner. As he employed the technique, I intently studied his hand position. Then, I felt something happen that I had not before experienced in this context. During a simple hand transition, he had completely undermined my base. I looked up from our hands to his face and found him looking me in the eye, with a subtle but knowing smile on his face that said, "Now do you get it?" And I did!
When I returned home and began reviewing the videos of the week's events, I witnessed that precious moment of understanding, preserved for posterity. I've watched it often and each viewing reminds me how lucky I am to have had such a masterful teacher. Thanks Sijo!
Thursday, February 21, 2013
This is a diversion from my usual subject matter but it’s timely. You know.
How would you feel if you had someone who always has your back? Imagine knowing that when circumstances seem insurmountable there is always someone who cares enough to encourage you to keep going. If someone were to speak negatively about you, you have a true advocate. If someone were to act against you, you have a defender. When you are sick or injured, someone is there to comfort and care for you, with compassion and without reservation. When you are feeling down, someone is there to empathize and bolster you. When you are wronged and angry, there is someone who will take up arms in the fight and never leave your side. When you are joyful and exuberant there is someone who can truly share it with you on the deepest level – someone with whom you can share your most intimate thoughts and feelings. Imagine having someone working, tirelessly, shoulder to shoulder with you, to build a rich and meaningful life. Imagine having a life-mate who has shared in building a rich relationship with your child, and helped to build rewarding relationships with those closest to you. All of these manifest in one beloved person – a soul-mate, if you will. Best of all, imagine knowing that all of this will be yours as long as you both shall live. That’s what marriage means to me.
Happy Anniversary my love!
Sunday, January 6, 2013
With the recent passing of Jesse Glover, I wanted to convey the story on how I first met
this fine man. It felt like I was witnessing an historic moment.
|Jesse Glover, Rocco Ambrose, James DeMile at |
a Jujitsu America Convention
I Was There
It was 1993 – Seattle Washington. I was in town, training with Sijo DeMile updating my skills as an instructor. At breakfast I asked Sijo what was on the agenda for the day. He told me that we had to go down to the auction house to pick up some audio/video equipment for the school. It turns out that he had previously bid on a movie projection unit and sound system and won the bidding. He planned to start hosting ‘movie nights’ at the Shoreline Wing Chun Do club. When we arrived at the auction house, we made our way to the pick-up area. While surveying the area for the proper lot number there was a man ahead of us standing with his back to us. He was an African-American gentleman – fiftyish, graying beard, wearing a dark p-coat and a black skull cap. He too, was there to make a pick up and was distracted, looking for his lot number. When Sijo noticed the man, he nudged me with his elbow and said, “Watch this!” I watched with curiosity as he walked up behind the man without calling attention to himself. My heart jumped as I saw him lean in toward the man’s ear and say in a rough, clear tone, “God you’re ugly!” The man wheeled around with a perturbed look on his face which instantly turned to amusement. “Jim!” he said. The two men had not spoken in over twenty years. Sijo introduced us and that’s how I first met Jesse Glover.