This is a recent photo of Sifu Hepple with Jenny Thomas, one of the senior students of YHGInverness. Jenny has been training for almost 3 years now and is currently at Yee Cup Senior Level. Jenny occasionally helps teach some of the classes at the school and will also teach some Qigong classes in the new year. (Find out more details here: NEW CLASSES)
Here Jenny describes, in her own words, how she found out about the school and her training so far:
About 8 years ago, maybe more, I watched a documentary about a disillusioned priest…
On his journey through life he had lost his vision,lost his passion for life, lost his reason to be alive,even lost his faith and finally lost his family.
He had given up his secure,safe ,well paid yet now meaningless job in the clergy and was seeking. Seeking a refuge, seeking to fill the endless void, seeking a new life, seeking to end that dull painful ache inside, seeking a reason, seeking to find the answers to the questions he didn’t even know…
And all this he found in Martial Arts. He travelled extensively , visiting monastery’s, retreats, Martial establishments, government Martial groups and displays in the far east .He spent time in mist enshrouded mountains and beautiful lands…yet it was one day when he was sweeping a dirty floor that it suddenly clicked into place and his peace flowed from within. I can’t tell you how he found this peace, he didn’t know himself….but he found it inside himself through lengthy practice and meditation.
A true story and exactly what brought me to Yee’s Hung Ga! I felt exactly the same as that priest and I wanted exactly what he had found. And if he could do it so could I!
And so my journey began…I had done a bit of karate in my younger years but had moved away and never took it up again. I tried a few different styles which worked for a while but then I grew restless again. The self defence was good but the fitness was lacking…or the style was good but the egos were too big…or the fighting was great but the spirit was dead….I finally feel I have “come home”…in Hung Ga I am continually learning; it is a constant in my life amongst the ups and downs of every day life; I am strong, physically, mentally and spiritually ;I have met wonderful people and have lovely training brothers and sisters…the list goes on. I can truly say that walking up those stairs to meet my Sifu for the first time was the best thing I’ve done!
Speaking of those stairs…after my first lesson I could hardly get down them! My legs were shaking so much from using muscles I had never used before. But I knew straight away I had found what I was looking for …Lazy legs however soon learn the stances and you’d be surprised how soon your muscles get stronger and you can do things you never thought possible. Practice, perseverance and patience is what you need. And if you don’t have them you can learn them too! Anything is possible if you go for it. We train our minds with horse stance…you’ll just have to come to a class to find out how! We do patterns, techniques, applications and drills, sparring,body conditioning….and just when you think you’ve sussed it, then you develop on what you’ve already learned and it suddenly makes sense as to why you had to twist that hand in that direction in the first place!
And Qi gong, Hung Ga’ s gentle twin…or rather the yin of the two: the internal, the subtle, the gentle, the dark …Compared to yang: the external, the extrovert, the vivacious, the fire…..Hung Ga is a hard and soft style, without one you cannot balance the other and both should be trained. Qi gong trains the use of the internal energy, the bodies Qi. It also nourishes the spirit , trains the breathing, balances the bodies organs and helps the body remain in a healthful state. Regular practice can help increase your spiritual awareness, develop perception; you learn to use and lengthen that gap between stimulus and response, to act but not react…. It is slow, gentle and relaxing yet still powerful. (Qi Gong is trained during Hung Ga classes and as its own class. It is suitable for all ages, we currently have age 10 to age 75!)
Of course we also learn to fight, to defend ourselves and our families if the need arose, and to spar amongst ourselves and also in competitions. But if you only know how to fight then you are a fighter, not a Martial artist. Our Grandmaster Yee Chi Wai says: “To be a martial artist you must learn Martial virtue, Martial knowledge, Chinese medicine and Chinese philosophy.
And that you shall! All of this and more at Yee’s Hung Ga …like the priest, I too have found my peace, I don’t really know how either. It just happens!
Come and find out for yourselves! Enrich your life!