Dawn is a soft-spoken young woman with a calm demeanor. She is also serious about her martial arts training and highly regarded by Calasanz and her classmates. For two years, Dawn has faithfully attended and whole-heartedly participated in the Wing Chun program here at Calasanz. What makes Dawn so interesting is that up until several months ago, she was the only woman in the class. "I am always treated with respect and dignity, not only by my classmates, but also by Calasanz," she says.
Another interesting thing about Dawn is that her motivation for coming to Calasanz was quite different than the usual desire to exercise or learn self-defense. "When I first started," says Dawn, "I wanted to interact with other people on an individual and group basis for the purpose of learning to balance my relationships with others."
Before coming to Calasanz, Dawn would walk as part of her fitness routine and even took 6 months of tai chi. "When Dawn first came to the school, she believed that she could only do tai chi," says Calasanz. "I didn't want to limit her training. I felt that she had the potential to do anything she wanted and to this day, she has not disappointed me."
For Dawn, the school has not only provided her with the opportunity to study of this wonderful art, but is also a haven from the outside world. The Calasanz center offers a serene and peaceful environment. The reason I like Calasanz is because he finds the right form of martial arts training to fit your own personality and goals."
Dawn's perseverance is part of her training philosophy. "There is no way you can advance unless you commit yourself to a practice schedule" she says. "You have to push yourself beyond your points of discomfort."
The art of Wing Chun is not about force meeting force, but was designed for use by smaller persons over larger opponents. One of the objectives of Wing Chun is developing the sensitivity to know when to attack. This is first done through individual practice and then practicing with an opponent. Dawn has found that her Wing Chun practice has given her more self-confidence and a confirmation of her intuitive feelings. "By working with other people in class, it helps me get a sense of how they are feeling," says Dawn. "You also become sensitive to another's personal boundaries and get a sense of how far you can go." Because Wing Chun is a combative art, Dawn has had to learn when to seize the moment and react to an opponent. This has helped her to become more decisive in general and to trust her intuition.
Professionally, Dawn works as an administrative computer teacher and in doing so is exposed to a diverse student population. Studying Wing Chun has put her back in the role of student. "It's good for a teacher to reverse roles once in while," says Dawn. "You remember to be more patient and more compassionate to someone who is struggling to learn."