“Every good athlete can find the flow but it’s what you do with it that makes you great. If you consistently use that state to do the impossible, you get confident in your ability to do the impossible.”
This website is basically devoted to exploring the mental aspects of Wing Chun. This is really what we can accomplish on a website. Most of Wing Chun teaching requires in-person contact. The instructor shows you. They watch you try it. They correct over time. Then there is the feel of drills like Chi Sau. But Wing Chun, perhaps more than most fighting technologies, requires a firm grasp of the mental game to achieve competence, let alone excellence. While it is crucial to put in the hours doing the forms and drills, it is just as important to consistently use such mental tools as visualization and to organize and plan your training. All of these tactics taken together can bring us closer and closer to our goal, which to have a combat skill hardwired into our body. At its best, this skill expresses itself as doing the right thing at the right time in combat.
Over the years I’ve been training the significance of the mental game in sports has been gaining in appreciation. Sports psychology has gained respect and so have various other methods to study physical excellence. And it shows, on the fields and courts of our sports, and in the Olympics. Records are broken regularly.
Doing the right thing at the right time effortlessly and with the sort of lightening genius that the body can sometimes manifest (when we get out of the way with our slow, day to day mind) is described as flow, a term coined by Hungarian psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Flow, according to him, is when you are so “involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved, and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”
If you’re lucky, you’ve experienced this state in your Wing Chun training. I have here and there, if only all-too briefly. Your skills are suddenly heightened and everything seems easy. Your body seems to do everything “of itself.” Your timing is perfect and effortless. Your body feels relaxed and you have endless reservoirs of energy. But the next time you train, it’s gone!
How do we learn to enter this state and stay there, at will? This is the subject of The Rise of Superman: Decoding the Science of Ultimate Human Performance by Steven Kotler