Kung Fu – More than an art. . .
by Mar Reeve M. Cabilin
What is Kung fu?
It maybe a misconception when people would think about Kung Fu as a martial art that could let you kick birds in the sky or jump from roof to roof. Well, I can’t blame them since this is what is perceived from the Super Human Kung Fu Movies.
Indeed, Kung Fu would develop and improve your physical limits but Kung Fu is not just all about martial arts. Now let me tell you about a different side of Kung Fu. A kind of Kung Fu that lets you develop mental focus, physical health and self-discipline.
A kind of Kung Fu that I learned from Sifu Vince Borromeo.
I am Mar Reeve M. Cabilin and ever since I was a child, I was always been fascinated with Kung Fu. Yes, you’re right. This fascination came from watching all those Super Human Kung Fu Movies that were shown on the Television every week. Nevertheless, this fascination turned into a desire. A desire that I could be like a super hero with some fancy moves, but without super power of course. As a child I imitated the moves that I saw on the movies, jumping up and down, throwing kicks and punches in the air. My imagination was my limit.
Imagination was all Kung Fu was for a child, until the time I met Sifu Vince Borromeo.
I met Sifu Vince when I was at grade four; I was about ten years old at that time. To tell you honestly, I was not that physically fit during my elementary years. I was skinny and I had asthma attacks. My mom was a station manager at an FM Radio at that time and Sifu Vince came over to promote his Music Albums. Yes you heard it right, Music Albums. Sifu Vince might not look much like your average rock band singer, but at that time Sifu looked exactly like that. Well in fact, he looked much more than a musician rather than a Kung Fu practitioner. My mom introduced me to Sifu Vince and told me that I could learn Kung Fu from him. I was hesitant and an unbeliever at that time. Looking at his physical attire, pants, leather shoes and polo shirt. Not to mention that Sifu Vince is not Chinese. I always knew from the movies that Kung Fu practitioners were Chinese. Nevertheless, Sifu Vince asked me if I wanted to learn Kung Fu. I answered Yes. We went to the conference room and there Sifu Vince showed me his very cool Kung Fu moves, the ones that I only saw on the movies. Sifu Vince taught me a few basic stances and told me that I must practice them everyday. He also gave me poems that I should memorize, among them were “The Top To Win” and “Today Is The Day”. He then explained that Kung Fu is not just for physical enhancement, but also for mental and spiritual development incorporating both self-discipline and enlightenment. Sifu told me to practice what he taught since he will go to Manila for his music career and he will be back in Cebu after six months. However, time never really favored such meeting.
It was after five years that I met Sifu Vince again. I was in third year high school when I saw my classmates doing some Kung Fu stances. I asked them who their teacher was and it was Sifu Vince. I quickly joined the Kung Fu Classes and there my determination grew even more, practicing three times a week with 3 hours each session. Sifu Vince then taught us self-discipline. A key and a major component in development, may it be in physical, mental or spiritual. Sifu always incorporated Self-Discipline in our Kung Fu routines, doing stances and meditation postures for a couple of minutes. I also remembered that after learning the first style, Sifu required me to do at least 10,000 repetitions before he would teach me another style. I never really reached 10,000 repetitions. I only reached about 6,000 repetitions but that took me almost two years. Two years of learning only one style and doing it for 6,000 repetitions, and that is self-discipline training. Even until now, Sifu would always practice with his students anytime he visited Cebu.
Sifu may not require us anymore to do 10,000 repetitions, however he always emphasizes the importance of constant training and the development of physical, mental and spiritual aspect. For there is
motion in stillness, and it is in constant practice and meditation that one would develop desire, determination and self-discipline.
This is Kung Fu.
A kind of Kung Fu that promotes self-preservation and development as a whole.
A kind of Kung Fu that I learned from my teacher Sifu Vince Borromeo.
A Priceless Art…
by Reynilee Christine M. Cabilin (Cebu)
After I first met Sifu Vince when I was 6 years old, I was always looking forward to meet him again. I kind of tried to practice the basic stances, but at most I can only do it for 3 minutes. It was then 5 years after when I met Sifu again, and I was really excited to practice kung fu under his tutelage. So I joined together with my elder brother Mar. I didn’t expect that on my first day, we need to do the basic stances while holding an incense stick until it get burned up at least ¾ of its length. I never imagined that it was that tiresome, not to mention we were only doing the “warm up” so to say. But it is kind of weird that the more I get tired, the more that I felt happy. Then, it inspired me even more after seeing a picture of Grandmaster Ty Ngai Ping on an article posted at the gym, if I remembered it right, that he started practicing kung fu at 11 years old. Same age as I was. I always pushed myself to the limits, until when I was in 3rd year high school, I learned a valuable lesson that in everything we do, moderation is an important aspect. It was during that time in which, we had lots of performances to do in different malls and hotels in Cebu due to the upcoming Chinese New Year. Plus, it was so timely that it was our exam week. So I have to divide my time from practicing to studying. There was even a day when we had 3 shows in different places, true as it can be, my body gave in and I had fever on the last performance. The next morning, I had nose bleed, but still I went to class and took the exams, then practiced again after school. Thanks God that He healed me, but it was a lesson learned, since I did not give time for my body to rest. One can only do so much, my mind was saying I can still do it but my body needed a break. So now I try to know my limits but I still continue to surpass them little by little. Practicing kung fu is mainly for health reasons (physically, mentally and spiritually), preservation of the art, and lastly self-defense. It taught me a lot. It made a great impact in my life. Even now that I’m in 4th year Medicine proper, I tried to look at the medical benefits, the pressure points, vital parts, and everything that I can apply in kung fu. I found out that exercise would enhance your short term memory. Maybe it is one of the reasons why I got higher scores when I practiced kung fu. But most especially, kung fu taught me time management, discipline, presence of mind and that, there is always a right time for everything. As the saying goes, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear” And yes! Sifu Vince came to edify us! We were endowed with a priceless art… Kung Fu The Art of Life I am Reynilee Christine Cabilin, and this is my story. . . . .
From lowest to highest
by Raymond De Leon
One story I’d like to share is when I started practicing Choy li fut I’ve learned a lot and I was able to apply all that I’ve learned on to my daily life, I tried using the concepts of Choy li fut in my job and it helped me a lot it boosted my performance because of the focus that I’ve learned and from starting the month as the lowest I ended the month being the highest and for that I thank sifu Vince for teaching me God speed and more power!
Our Journey towards Faith and Martial Truth
by Melvin P. Matabilas
(Butuan City, Philippines)
Like Vince, I too am a martial artist. I came from a family of martial artists. My paternal grandfather, my dad and his two siblings were martial artists. The youngest brother of my mom was also a martial artist. The influence was so strong that I too ended up being one, together with my siblings.
A few years prior to my meeting with Vince, I had a sort of epiphany which changed my life. I had this thirst for God’s word and a hunger to know Jesus. The hunger and thirst for God was welling up inside of me that I had to join a prayer community so I had a venue to let all this energy out. In the early days of my faith walk, I somehow got the conviction that my love for martial arts was distracting me from my focus on Jesus. I decided during that time to prove that God was the center of my life by totally turning my back on martial arts. I burned all my martial art paraphernalia and award. This became a sort of sacrifice which I offered to God.
I actually first saw Vince in our prayer community. The prayer meeting just ended that evening and I was heading for the comfort room when I saw this mestizo looking guy come out of the c.r. and right after the door closed this guy went into a horse stance, tensed and extended his left arm into a tiger-crane fist. I thought, “Wow! this guy surely has a unique way of showing he got relieved after what he did in the c.r.” Joking aside, when I saw Vince do the martial art move that he just did, somehow there was this sense that God was telling me that he was gifting me with a friend–in vince. And that I had set my heart right with God, and can enjoy martial arts again with this new friend, who is also a brother in my faith walk…To be continued
If you’re familiar with the movie Bucket List (2007) starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson, about the two patients wherein they decided to do the things that they wanted before they die according to their Bucket List. A very interesting story and it made me realized that I actually have a similar list which I have written a week before my graduation in 2002 at the back of my Asian Literature notebook. At that moment I felt an awe of reality because of the finality or completion of my education had been fulfilled and I needed to write my goals in order to survive outside the walls of the academe. Those goals were my inspirations aside from the advices that I have received from my family and professors. Hence, finding a decent work/job with regular employment was the only goal that materialized and because of my foolishness it took six years before I actually put it in action. I asked myself “Why?” Here’s my realization: when I was in early 20’s to mid 20’s I thought that night life (gimik) with beer, cigarettes and chit-chats with friends and colleagues would make a person stress free. I was wrong. Well, at first it was fun yet after a routinary schedule including gimik I felt bored and stupid. Anyways, back to my List of Goals so far I have accomplished 5 and the latest would be “to learn at least one self defense / martial arts.” Actually I tried Judo Karate and Tae Kwon Do c/o Milo Clinic when I was in High School during summer however every time I had this event of sparing to get a level-up belt my parents would always have a final decision not to continue the class.
I prayed that there would be no conflict in my work sched and I might find the one that will suit me. My friends encouraged me to try Aikido they said it’s good for women; one of my colleague invited me for copeira he said “para lang syang sayaw.” But one afternoon I’ve watched the Nat Geo channel that feature different kinds of martial arts and I saw Tai Chi. Right there I decided I wanted to learn the slow movement of Tai Chi that will certainly deceived the opponent. I’ve search the internet hoping to find a class nearby our office or home. Alas I found one. I even tried convincing my friends to join me since the teacher said Php 1700 can be divided into four students. Due to conflict of opinions with my friends I decided to enroll with or without them. My first day was a disaster in terms of attire, I couldn’t find my jogging pants and the shoes were dirty. I said to myself “bahala na manonood pa lng naman ako.” I was wearing leggings, t-shirt and a pair of sandals. Sifu Vincent actually gave me slippers because I thought I would be in bare foot like my previous self defense class. Breathing was the first exercise and I have to admit it was hard. Sifu said “Breath like a baby.” Then he thought me patiently of the moves, practical self defense and the reason behind every moves. After the class I was expecting a sore arms and legs hence there was none. I felt very relax.
For now, I looked forward to learn more. Hopefully breathing like a baby would become natural.
My Choy Li Fut Experience
by Shiela Marie C. Burgos
Hi! I’m Shiela Burgos and it’s been almost a year since I began learning Choy Li Fut. I discovered Choy Li Fut during the summer break last year. I was browsing through the internet, trying to look for a martial that I would love. First of all, I didn’t want a martial art that is too brutal or that needs lots of brute force since as a girl, I know that most people would still be stronger than me if I rely on my brute strength. I also wanted a martial art that focuses on technique and one that actually looks like an ART. My first choice was Tai Chi and so I came across the site of Plum Blossom International Federation. I then contacted Sifu Vince only to find out that he already moved in to Manila. However, he gave me the contact number of his former student here in Cebu and that’s when it all began. Although I initially wanted to learn Tai Chi, I actually ended up learning Choy Li Fut and I appreciate the art so much.
I first met Sifu Vince about August or September last year. I was surprised that although we have only recently met, he treated me as though we’ve known each other for quite some time–like family. I was still in the middle of learning my first form and Sifu Vince helped me to correct my mistakes. Sifu’s style of teaching includes some humor and he explains each posture–like how in the first form after the bow, the right hand forms a fist and touches the open left palm at chest level. The reason for having the left palm open was that it was nearer to the heart and in contrast to the fist, an open palm symbolizes non-violence and non-resistance. This means that although we are learning a martial art, which can be deadly, it’s always best to appreciate and promote peace first. Sifu Vince also teaches step-by-step making it easier to learn and making progress much faster.
As I have mentioned, my current teacher is Sifu Vince’s student and both of them are similar in a way that they focus on technique, principles, and practicing safely–no need to rush.
Since I started practicing Choy Li Fut, I have learned so much and it has helped other aspects of my life. I learned to have time management, to have patience and discipline and to listen to my body. If I’m not feeling well, then I should not force myself to practice and I should not rush learning but instead practice safely and slowly but surely. What’s the point of learning fast if you end up with broken bones or bruises frequently, right? Learning Choy Li Fut has also helped improve my coordination and especially my reflexes.
To sum it all up, learning Kung Fu isn’t only about learning to defend oneself or to learn cool moves or to be strong; it’s much more than that. When you learn kung fu, all other areas of your life are influenced for the better. Kung Fu is a WAY OF LIFE and it is NOT for those with selfish motivations only; it is for those who want to make themselves and the world a BETTER PLACE. 🙂
It Was A Life Changing Decision
by Wilson F. Bautista
Hi my name is Wilson F. Bautista I started practicing Choy li fut last November of 2011 and since then a lot has changed in my life, I met Sifu Vincent Borromeo because my cousin Raymond De Leon asked me to join him practice kung fu and so it was a life changing decision which I had no regrets because it made a better person it gave me a new perspective and a new goal in life and I really appreciate all the teachings I learned from sifu Vince and one thing is it changed my personality and it made me a better person on which it affected my scores at school, I excelled and awarded as the most behaved in class and its all because of Choy li fut and specially sifu Vince he showed and guided me to the right path, thanks a lot sifu Vince more power and God bless!
My Experience with Sifu Vince
by Raymond F. De Leon
Hi my name is Raymond F. De Leon, I started practicing Choy li fut last November 2011 and it all started when one of my co-trainee Juancho Victor Moreno introduced me and my cousin to sifu Vincent Borromeo and ever since that moment we learned a lot in life he thought us the principles of Choy li fut and how we differentiate our religion to budhism and to always have a positive thought because with positive thoughts most likely positive things will occur and sifu Vince also said to us one time that one lifetime is not enough for us to learn everything around us that made me think of studying again since I only studied at college for 2 years, I thought that it was already enough for me but what sifu Vince told us gave me a reason to study again and pursue what I really wanted to do, For me kung-fu gave me a new goal in life, it gave me motivation that there’s still a lot to learn and a lot to experience even though I might fail at first but deep down I know that it will make me a lot more stronger and wiser and for that I thank Sifu Vince for leading us to the right path in life and for teaching us the value of having discipline thank you so much, God bless and more power.