Seth Piszczuk interview
1. Hi Seth, How are you?
A: Great! Enjoying a bit of relaxation now the kids are in bed.
2. When did your journey in wing chun begin? A: I signed up at IWCA Adelaide in March 2003
3. I ask this question to everyone as it is the seed behind our training, tells us what brought you to wing chun?
A: I had always had a vague interest in Kung Fu, I guess primarily from Hong Kong cinema, and I had a couple friends who trained other forms of Kung Fu interstate and I liked the way they lit up when talking about their training. Other peoples love of Kung Fu was infectious and planted the seed of interest. I then just looked up what Kung Fu was within my walking range and wandered over on a day off to sign up. I came in with cash prepared to sign up straight away but they made me come back and attend an orientation session first, which always struck me as an odd thing to do… But I still ended up joining that week.
4. Please tell us what has been the biggest catalyst for you in your training, What was it that helped you stay focused and decided to embark on the journey to develop its skill training?
A: I started Wing Chun at an odd stage of my life, where a long term relationship had just ended. I basically had a whole lot of emotional energy that I needed to do something with, and it was either stay depressed, or do something. I chose to focus all of my time and energy into my new hobby. When I got home to my empty house, I just kept on practicing what I’d been working on in class. I quickly went from three classes a week to as many as I could possibly fit in around work. All my energy, my passion, my love, became focused on Wing Chun. I think this is what enabled me to take it on quite quickly. As it wasn’t a hobby anymore, it was my life. I was lucky enough to be able to rearrange my work hours a little so within a year I could take on the full time course at IWCA, giving me a genuine excuse to be there every day. Pretty quickly I was helping out in the office and on the floor, before long leading to being my job as well. I’ve deviated a little from the original question now, sorry. The catalyst was that I needed something to put energy into.
5.When was this approximately?
A: From right when I started.
6. Have you practiced any other martial systems in the past?
A: Prior to Wing Chun not really, although I was exposed to a few Martial Arts via friends. Along with Wing Chun I have dabbled a little in Muay Thai and BJJ. I would like to dabble more, but don’t quite have the time at the moment. I certainly will play a bit more when I can.
7. What is it that keeps you on your toes with your training today, what do you mostly work on?
A: Ensuring that I keep contact with people who pressure me. I don’t want to be comfortable, I want to be challenged. Whether that comes from my students, teachers, or by going and playing within another Martial Art. I think the greatest problem most people face is allowing themselves to be surrounded by ‘yes’ people, students who start to hero worship. It’s natural that you gather people who are impressed by what you have to offer, that’s why they join up. But you need to be reminded all the time where you are in the greater system as a whole. So going and doing a class with a friend within another school and seeing things from another perspective, allowing yourself to be put within the constraints or rules of another martial art, these thoughts ground me and make me want to improve and get better.
I always remind myself that I have as yet only touched the tip of the iceberg of what Wing Chun has to offer. I also believe in myself, I believe that if somebody else can have a particular skill, then I can too. It’s pointless to place your seniors on too high a pedestal and think their skills are somehow magical or unattainable, or say I wont be able to do something for x number of years. They are human, the same as me, so I can do it too if I practice it.
I work on Wing Chun. I explore the whole system without constraints or placing barriers upon myself. When I find problems I go back and look at the Siu Nim Tao and find an answer. If I can’t find an answer I ask someone.
8. When combining martial systems and working with two or more systems together in your opinion what would you say would be the ideal minset to do this to gain real benefit from all?
A: Don’t try to defeat one with the other. When I (in the past anyway) train in BJJ, I don’t sit there trying to use my Wing Chun to fight with, I do what I’m told and learn what the coach is telling me. I don’t try to use something I already know and try to prove them wrong. Take everything on it’s own merit and only once you understand it and can do it from both perspectives decide which is better. In free rolling I can put a bit of Wing Chun back into what I’m doing, which makes me a bit harder to submit at least… But when training, train, don’t try to compete art with art.
9. Would you agree that certain martial forms don’t work together? Why?
A:No. Certain people can’t train things together, because they do the opposite of what I was talking about above. But no, I think learning anything keeps your mind active, and having a different perspective keeps you grounded. I think cross training is great. But I am certainly a Wing Chun man in that I believe in what Wing Chun teaches. I enjoy cross training because it is stimulating. I don’t think everyone should do what I do, as we all have a different mental makeup. Being inside my head is probably not where you want to be….
10. Seth, Full Circle Wing Chun, tell us a little bit about your school and your training
A: Full Circle Wing Chun started in the beginning of 2011, as a few small classes and private group sessions. I ran Sunday classes up until last month (July 2014) which have now ended due to a change in career which sees me working every weekend. I now run small group sessions and privates by appointment, with the only regular FCWC class being a childrens class. I also teach my program via the Adelaide Uni Wing Chun Kung Fu Club twice a week.
My focus in on teaching through continuous cross examination of all the forms. I don’t teach just in the linear progression, I might take a movement from one of the weapon forms as a means to understand a thought from the first form. As I think sometimes a larger gross movement better displays a concept which can then be reinterpreted as a small subtle movement within a seemingly unrelated part of a different form. The Huen Do exaggerates the movement of Huen Sau and makes you appreciate it and then take that little action more seriously for example.
I like to keep applications within a role play environment, in that I want to make sure we’re learning how to ‘fight’ against different people and different mind sets, not practicing Wing Chun versus Wing Chun. Even when practicing exercises like Chi Sau, I like to set some constraints of what each person is practicing, so they have a goal for themselves and not try to compete with their partner.
Right now I really enjoy my teaching and training as I’m not under any pressure. I don’t need to make money from Wing Chun so I don’t feel like I need to change my process to appeal to a wider range of students. I’m quite happy to have a small group who I can genuinely invest my time into.
I draw everything back to Siu Nim Tao and hopefully convey that Wing Chun is just a single small thought, expressed through a lot of different actions and applications. There is nothing i’ve found yet which I can’t draw back to the first form, it all goes full circle…
Seth, cheers and thank you for taking the time to chat to me and to share with our community and our readers a little bit about you and your journey in wing chun
11. Just one more question: What is your favourite food?