As a new green belt, it is important that you have an understanding of the intermediate phase of training that you have now entered. Green Belt is not only a time of newfound power and focus, but also a time of returning to basics. Many students end up hitting the “Green Belt wall”- in other words, a major difference in the pace of their training. What creates the major shift in most Green Belts’ training is where you have your “poles reversed”. Green Belts are in a phase of their learning where they must not only learn more, but also refine the movements learned during the Yellow and White Belt phases – a refinement that will never end as long as you train (diligently) in the Martial Arts. After the rapid growth of White and Yellow Belt, Green Belt will seem almost overwhelming. The brand new concepts of sticky hands (Chi Sau), and going back to build on the more subtle aspects of the basics program may seem tedious and boring to some students, however it is extremely important and challenging. Be prepared to spend some quality time at Green Belt – remember – work smart and hard.
The concept of redefining and expanding your roots (basics) and growing forward to explore the new concepts (chi sau; grappling) simultaneously mirrors the image of the grass and trees growing deeper in the places you cannot see, but also growing (albeit more slowly) in the places you can see. This is the essence of the water ranks in the Quantum Style – the growth will not be as noticeable to the student as it used to be. Like the way that water slowly moves rock, slow and steady patience will get you through this phase of your training. Focus on the concepts at hand, not on getting another belt and you will be successful. Chi Sau and grappling training are much more difficult to understand, as you are looking for a feeling, not a particular way to move your body. This takes plenty of time and energy, and frustration often accompanies this phase of your training. Green Belts are encouraged to remember that frustration is present more often when actual learning is happening and not when you are feeling good.
Green Belt also marks new responsibilities in the form of expanded leadership on the floor, running warm – ups and taking a more active approach to assisting on the floor (when requested). Green Belts are also welcome to the Instructor’s training course (permission is required).
Other changes you may notice will be in your sparring. Green Belt sparring begins to include the concept of grappling, as well as other expanded Wing Chun ideas. When fighting with Yellow Belts, you need to see if you can put them at a trapping to a grappling range – they will continue to try to keep you away so they can develop and use their long range kicking skills. When fighting with your peers you will attempt to fight at a trapping hands distance, and possibly look for opportunities for standing submissions, or simple take downs. When fighting with Blue Belts (or above) they will be putting you in standing grappling positions or looking for takedowns. Green Belts should be seeking the outside hands/ trapping range learning to fight by “feel” from the inside. If you find yourself in a position where you are going to the ground, don’t resist – take your ground safely and remember that you are still learning. Every time you go to the ground is an opportunity for you to learn, and it doesn’t mean that you have “lost”. Remember that sparring is not fighting – it is training. As the sparring becomes more detailed, the requirements to purchase sparring gear will become a necessary one. Hand and foot protection are a must, as are mouth guards. Later, head protection may also be needed, as well as forearm and shin pads. A cup supporter is also recommended for male students.
Classroom requirements for maintaining rank actually take effect at the intermediate level as well. Minimum attendance requirements for Green Belts are an average of 2.4 classes a week. High Green must maintain 2.8 times a week, and so on.
The concepts that we learn to employ from Wing Chun are markedly different from the Tae Kwon Do that you have been learning. Where TKD tends to move in rigid straight lines, Wing Chun tends to move in more circular, flowing applications. It becomes even more obvious when you start to notice the difference between the elements of Earth & Water. A successful Green Belt must understand the relationship between these two elements in order to continue to grow towards the next element at Blue Belt, which is Air. Understanding that all trees and grass need Water and Earth to survive – a tricky place to be, as one could end up with mud instead of growth.
In essence, a Green Belt must continue to sink roots to further understand Earth, as well as learning to flow to understand Water, at the same time reaching for the sky for the eventual growth into Blue Belt. Truly this is a different level of challenges than the time of White and Yellow, where one is expected only to work with the concepts of Earth. Green Belt also tends to be the time where many students drop out of the Martial Arts. Be aware and try not to burn out – try to pace your training so that you can make it through. With hard work and patience, Green Belt can be a very rewarding time in the Martial Arts.