The Experience of a life time, Time with the Grand Master
A truly amazing experience it was to have been visited by Grand Master Fernandez. Phenomenal demonstrations and applications display his great knowledge in and of the system. Straight forward and direct with a smooth sense of feeling which throws you off to where you are not expecting the strikes that follow, with more pressure then I have never felt before in Chi Sao. The pressure is there but then again it isn’t. It was like Chi Sao’ing with Sifu Hill on Steroids. Never failing to follow when I released my pressure, but it felt as though it is maintained and charged from the use of my energy and then BAM it shoots to strike at every opening; before I even knew it, I had been Biu Jee’d, Fak Sao’d, Gaun Sao struck chopped to the neck, arrow punched, hooked, uppercut, pushed, pulled, you name it. I figured I’d flinch but my eyes were so wide open with a huge smile on my face like a child in a candy store ready to embrace the damage it would cause to my teeth.
I had often watched the Leung Ting lineage on YouTube many times before and found myself practicing some of the techniques in hopes of obtaining and furthering knowledge and skill in Wing Chun. There is absolutely nothing better than to feel it firsthand. To be corrected firsthand is what I humbly embrace so that I know for sure that what I am to apply is applied correctly and the science that enforces it is mind boggling and completely amazes me at how simple angles and wedges can open so much with minimal energy. Grand Master Fernandez explained it in such a fashion where it was easily understood and absorbed. We ran drills so we could apply them properly and with correct feel. My opinion was that for the lack of a better word, all I have is “Awesome”. I wish there was a better word to describe this one week with Grand Master Fernandez. It was beyond anything I had expected.
Lop Sau felt like a whole different technique now with redirecting through the use of a stronger muscle other than just the arms. Also cutting the opponent’s arm away and at the very end is the actual lop itself. Some of the other lessons were on weight distribution, shifting, and numerous things to mention that I am still absorbing and still drawing from. Arrow stepping was jaw dropping in the Grand Master’s explanation as he demonstrates and proved how and why it works. Charging the Spine for more power in strikes while keeping your eyes on the prize so to speak, effective applications in combining all techniques into one motion and stepping right through the opponent brings so much to mind and again I am stuck with that huge smile on my face and wide eyed like a kid in the candy store like it was all the candy you can eat for free. I no longer feel confined in the structural movement but was freed and advised to move freely with the knowledge of the structure that can be applied to overcome the obstacles that present themselves, from my own observation, applying the structure into natural movement and natural movement into structural movement so to speak. My first training in the Lat Sao made so much sense in understanding the energy dispersed with proper mechanics as one arm takes out the defense without dissipating the energy for the other arm as it comes in for the strike. All that with the footwork that swings the weight around and incorporates body weight into the technique while again cutting down the defense as if your arm was a sword slicing the limb away to clear the lane for the strike and then BANG! Here comes the rain that follows from the initial strike dictated by the obstacles that closes one door and opens another door and yet it is your preference and freedom of choice to apply techniques to keep a door open by closing another. Fluidity, control, discipline, mind, body, spirit, arms, legs, motion, weight, angle, soft, hard, hips, chest, timing, feeling, pressure, release, breathing, cutting, cupping, grabbing, torque, shift, balance, spine, center, distance, response, reaction, redirect, energy, economy of motion, leverage, wedging, and many other items to factor into the harmony to bring out the essence of what Wing Tchun Do has to offer which was so richly displayed and demonstrated by Grand Master Fernandez.
I had watched the Grand Master on YouTube many times long before I even had the opportunity to meet him. Through YouTube I’ve always known the Grand Master as his YouTube name “fightermanizdebest”. Back then I never thought that this recent meeting would ever take place. I remember Sifu Hill had been training under Grand Master Fernandez through Skype for quite some time. All Sifu Hill kept speaking about was Grand Master Fernandez (Fighterman), a Grand Master that actually been training and discussing Wing Tchun Do to Sifu Hill although on video chat but was still face to face. When Grand Master Fernandez spoke to me and referred to me by name when Sifu Hill had introduced us through Skype, I was proud but humble at the same time with this one question in my mind, “who am I, for a Grand Master of this system would even speak to or even referred to by first name?” We started getting deeper into the study of Wing Tchun Do lessons, while in the process of preparing myself for an MMA Cage match I was watching and studying the lesson modules that the Grand Master had provided on a Saturday and I was thinking to myself that it would be great to have Grand Master Fernandez here in the U.S and a few minutes later Sifu Hill texts me a message saying that Grand Master Fernandez will be here on the week of my fight. Wow, what an honor. It is what it is and as the Grand Master would say from time to time in his own words and accent “No bullshit mate”. That is what I can proudly say we got 100% of “No bullshit Mate!” Grand Master Fernandez uses his Wing Tchun Do and like my Sifu (Sifu Hill) has the scars to prove the use of his Wing Chun, and with that alone signifies effectiveness to me at which I choose to place my trust in. I trust in the experience my Masters have in that they have applied what they teach in actual combat. No bullshit mate!
I bow in humility and proud to be a student representing Wing Tchun Do in the USA. As time narrowed down to Grand Master Fernandez’s last days here in the U.S he had said something like “I am getting used to this hugging stuff”, I apologize but I am the one to blame for the hugging stuff. Ever since my Wing Tchun Do school became family to me, I started to embrace it as such. Family is there when you need them the most and when family needs you the most; you will be there no matter what. Grand Master Fernandez came to expand his Wing Tchun Do and treated us like students in need of guidance. Discipline hurts but effective for guidance. Anyone who can hurt me for my own good is considered family to me. Over the weekend I had a discussion with my friend Mike Madison where he had jokingly said to me, “let’s throw on some gloves and fight in the cage” since my match ups for the MMA fight had backed out. He was willing to become my opponent since I had been training too long and hard to end up with no opponent and he saw that I was disappointed, that is brotherhhood, family. Sifu Hill introduced the ground game to me by placing me under Master Larson of Pinnacle Martial Arts, and my family grew. Master Larson, Bobby, Phil (Iron sharpens iron), Danny, Dillon, Tony, Matt, Derek, and many others that were there to assist in administering the pain that molds. I can still remember Sifu Hill’s voice in the background cheering on my sparring partner Danny saying “make him pay”, to make me pay here so that I won’t in the actual fight. I would collapse out of breath and fatigued, Danny would be there picking me back up to push through to the end of the round encouraging me while punching at the same time. And then they turn around and say “it’s good for you”. For a certain period of time I would feel abnormal if I wasn’t feeling any pain. Anyone who can make me feel that much pain and I accept it as it being good for me is considered family to me. Sifu Hill was there every step of the way and made sure that I was feeling all this pain because it was good for me. Discipline is painful but effective for learning. Proverbs 12:1 To learn; you must love discipline. Hence the hugging to show love and appreciation for hurting me because it helps me and as Grand Master Fernandez says “No bullshit Mate!” As he palm strikes me several times across the room.
The Experiences that I have experienced here were made possible by my Wing Tchun Do family. Thank you my Sifu – Sifu Jody Hill most of all for making it all possible by opening the doors to his school and sharing his knowledge and skill so freely. We come a long way but we still have quite a journey ahead of us but I am proud to know that I am in the right place along with my brothers Kevin Mote, Steve Tilka, EJ Malave, Phil Chang, Jeremy Whitehouse, Mike Funke, Paki, Lefefe, Jack, Dave, and Ben. Refiner’s fire is the experience. Everybody goes through the refiner’s fire in their own unique way, but what really matters is how you come out. Some of us may have to go through it a few more times to come out better, but in life everyone goes through it. Thank you Grand Master Fernandez for spending your time with us here in Tacoma Washington. It has been an amazing impact in my lifetime through such a short period of time. I look forward to more of it. Thank you all again.