I don’t go to a school but I was taught the 3 forms by my step dad before he passed. Sil Lum Tao, Chum Kiu, Biu Jee and a bit of the Wing Chun dummy. My only problem is I have no sparring partner. Well, my grandfather helps me practice most things but I have no one to practice Chi Sao with. What should I do? I don’t have enough money to go to school, I have a child to take care of and a job and bills to pay. Do you have any tips or ideas?

Answer: You’re lucky to have had a family member teach you Wing Chun. That’s traditionally how past Sigongs learned the art. Here are three suggestions to consider.

If you’re on a budget: Work out a deal with sifu. Maybe barter skills. Or save up and attend the condensed (although infrequent) seminars. Here’s a more detailed explanation on studying Wing Chun on a budget.

If you don’t live near a school: Teach. Teach what you know to others. It’s said… when you teach, you learn. In order to teach a skill to anyone, it forces you to understand the material deeper. You could teach your grandfather Chi Sao. Or some of your friends or neighbors who want to learn.

Don’t get hung up with not being a sifu or an expert. Just teach what you know and drill the fundamentals over and over again.

Then polish up and supplement with a few classes at the nearest Wing Chun academy, private lessons with sifu, a seminar, or private get togethers with other students more advanced than you.

Here’s some additional informtaion on how to train if there’s no Wing Chun schools nearby.

If you don’t have time to make it to class: Talk to some students and get their contact info, then invite them over for informal training outside of class. A lot the students in my kwoon like to do that. There just isn’t enough time in the week to make each class, or, there are not enough classes convenient to your work schedule.

Another thing you can do is “plan” your Wing Chun “vacations”. There’s one student in my club who works in an accounting department. When he’s busy, he’s busy.

But about one week a month, after all the accounting books are balanced he has a breather and gets to come to class. In other words, 97% of his Wing Chun training time happens just one week a month. Not ideal for most, but it’s better than nothing. And he’s really good too. (Plus, you can and should supplement your kwoon training with self-study at home anyway, which I believe he does.)

And as mentioned earlier, you can attend special seminars. In my club we always get a bunch of students who attend the seminars, but haven’t been to a class for months. The other option is take private lessons with sifu if it’s more convenient for your schedule.

And if you’re looking to earn extra money, plus have a flexible schedule to train, you can look into starting a side business from home. It’s something I’ve done and many others have done too.