Forward Intent – The Way of the Warrior

I am one of those Wing Tsun nerds who spends every waking moment, and even sometimes in my dreams, dedicated to the progress of my Kung Fu. When I was approached about writing this article, I was very honored and excited. Pretty much all I do is talk about Wing Tsun, be it to complete strangers, family and friends, or my students.

I spend hours researching in books and videos, or having very passionate discussions on social media forums. But regarding this article, I drew a blank… What do I have to offer? I didn’t want to regurgitate the same old things, and I wanted a topic that everyone could relate to, regardless of their lineage or skill level. So I decided to take it all the way back to Wing Tsun 101 and offer a different perspective on one of the very basic fundamental concepts that drives this art: Forward Intent.

 My Si-Hing once made the statement that “if a technique isn’t working properly for me, it’s usually because I failed to have forward intent”. That was a very profound statement and I’d like to address it here, although I’m not talking about my Taan Da or my Bong Saoz.

As I look back over the last few years, I can remember when I first began my training. My goal at the time was to just become a skilled fighter and to be able to protect myself and my loved ones. That hasn’t changed. I have, however, achieved so much more. 

There’s so much in Wing Tsun that I didn’t expect and wasn’t really interested in at the time. Yet those areas have made the biggest impact in my life.

I constantly refer to these things as “secondary benefits” People say they do Wing Tsun for the health benefits, as a hobby, to relax, or whatever the case may be. That’s all fine and dandy if that’s what they choose, but all that is secondary because the primary function of Wing Tsun is combat.

We understand from the very beginning that Wing Tsun, being a set of concepts and principles instead of a style per se, is there to take away the restrictions that bind us.

The only limitations that it has are the ones imposed by our level of understanding and our ability to apply it. The part that we don’t fully grasp from the beginning is that these concepts and principles are not only applicable to combat, but to all aspects of our lives.

The more we embrace our Wing Tsun, the more it becomes a part of us, and the more it changes the way we think. As our Kung Fu becomes our own, it reprograms us, becomes one with us, and we grow and evolve together in symbiotic harmony. It rebuilds you into a better version of yourself. 

The more skilled I become at combat, the less I feel I have to use it. However, the more my Wing Tsun becomes a part of me, the more I use it in every other facet of my life. Forward Intent, Sticking, Yielding, Pursuing, these concepts are what has helped me to survive emotionally and psychologically these past couple of years, and to become a better man.

It has allowed me to maintain my center, recover and control, keep moving forward against unthinkable adversity and overwhelming odds. And through all of my trails and tribulations, my Wing Tsun has not failed me even once. It has always been there to protect me, to comfort me, to better me, to keep me moving forward even when I felt like I couldn’t. 

Sometimes we feel like the world is on our shoulders and life is trying to pull the rug out from under us. We just want to give up. I have had my Wing Tsun to push me like a metaphorical flashback of Mickey yelling at Rocky “get up you son of a bitch, ‘cause Wing Tsun loves ya!’”.

I firmly believe that without this forward intent that has been so deeply ingrained into my being, I would have caved in under the pressure of some of the more stressful situations in my life, thrown in the towel on many occasions and given up because that seemed much easier than continuing to plow forward.

Yet, I have continued to advance even in times that I felt that I just couldn’t.

I have learned to yield and find another angle to continue forward. I face my problems head on and attack them instead of avoiding them or letting things get the best of me. I have run every gauntlet that life threw at me, making it out the other side stronger than ever. I have become a virtual steamroller.   

I feel that this forward intent is one of the most important things that I have gained from my Wing Tsun. It has made me a better and stronger person, and I have claimed incredible victories that I never would have thought possible.

I stand here as a testament to the strength and beauty of this system not because of how many people I can beat up, but because it has given me the unbreakable spirit of a warrior.

If there is anything that I can instill upon the readers, I hope it’s the sense empowerment that Wing Tsun has given me. When the going gets tough, the tough keep moving forward.    

By Jason Malik


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