My name is Steve Grogan, and yes...I am a geek. However, I am a geek about things that most people are NOT geeky about.
When people hear that word, it usually invokes images of lonely guys who come out of their parents' basement long enough to attend a STAR TREK convention.
You imagine a group of young men gathered around a table, rolling dice while they explore dungeons and encounter dragons.
Or maybe you imagine a bespectacled fellow who is hunched over a computer screen in a dark room while he munches on Cheetos while playing World of Warcraft.
You certainly don't think of someone who knows how to kick butt.
I started Wing Chun in early 1995, after joining but becoming dissatisfied with two other martial arts schools. For the record, one was a Judo school, but they focused more on tournaments than self-defense. The other establishment claimed to teach several styles of Kung Fu. In reality, what they taught would be completely ineffective in a street fight, unless you were seeking to win the altercation by making your assailant laugh.
For a while, I was probably the most devoted student at that school. I'd get to class an hour early, executing my techniques in the air while waiting for the doors to open. I practiced my forms several times a day. According to my college roommate, I even practiced Wing Chun in my sleep!
As I said, I was the most dedicated...for a while. Then, in my sophomore year of college, the workload increased exponentially. I got a job. A girlfriend. My schedule filled up, and I couldn't make it to class as much or practice on my own as often.
As the years went by, lots of other things came up. I graduated college and entered the FULL-TIME workforce. I got into music, and I wasn't sure if I wanted to spend more time on Wing Chun or that, so I flip-flopped. However, the biggest change of all came in 2004, when I became a father. The first pregnancy was twins. By 2008, I had four kids (for the record, two girls and two boys).
One job was no longer enough to sustain my financial needs, so I had to get a second one. Even then, I had to take a cold, hard, honest look at my life and realize that some things had to go. I didn't have enough disposable income to keep doing everything that I had been doing before I became a father.
Sadly, Wing Chun tuition was one of the things that had to go.
On top of this, I didn't know it, but I had some underlying, undiagnosed mental health issues...and yes, depression was one of them. I'd be sitting at a red light on my way to class, and I'd suddenly feel my heart sink. I remember thinking to myself, "It's more like I'm going to work than class!" Then I'd wind up driving back home.
I'm not going to get in-depth about those issues here. However, if you are curious, you can read more about my mental health struggles at the following link.
You might be hesitant about it, but I think it would do more good than harm if you read my story at least once. You might be surprised to find how much you identify it...not that you have mental health issues as well, but at how relatable my story is. You know, from one human being to another.
In my opinion, one of the saddest things about the fitness craze is that no one cares about MENTAL fitness...only physical. It's about time that changed.
Many years later, I was inspired by a supportive girlfriend to get an evaluation. This uncovered some previously undiagnosed issues, which I was finally able to address. On top of this, I also decided that my inability to attend class often shouldn't keep me from getting better at Wing Chun.
I asked my Sifu for activities I could do at home. I researched solo training ideas online. I joined discussion boards and Facebook Wing Chun groups and posed the same question: "How can I keep getting better, even if I can't make it to class?"
Most of the ideas had to do with practicing forms and techniques. None of them addressed issues like how you could get better at Chi Sao if you never made it to class. However, my research was so extensive that I was able to cover that problem as well.
I realized that there were a lot of people who had similar issues. They couldn't make it to class often or, if money was super tight, at all. However, they still had a passion for Wing Chun and wanted to get better at it.
So...why not share my discoveries with them?
And thus the idea for Geek Wing Chun Inc. was born.
Am I a Sifu? No. All I am is a father of four who works a full- AND part-time job, who also does freelance writing, who has a girlfriend, who writes, who likes to watch movies and hang out with friends...and oh yeah, he also wants to get better at Wing Chun.
In other words, I'm just like you. I've been there. I know what it's like to want to practice but be short on time and/or money. However, as you will see from the material I present here for you, I found a way around these things.
I found ways to train even though I have mental health issues.
I found ways to train even though I AM a father of four wonderful kids.
I found a way to train even though I work a full- and part-time job.
And when I realized that my physical fitness had plateaued, and the only way to increase it would be if I engaged in supplemental training ABOVE AND BEYOND my Wing Chun routine, I found a way around that too.
If I can do it, then so can you. I believe in you, and I don't even know who you are! If a guy you never met can have faith in you, then you can have it in yourself.
Here's to happy training!
Founder of Geek Wing Chun Inc.