"Steps To Mastery"

By Si-Fu Scott Baker, Ph.D.



Downside: Humans have a tendency to indulge, and by indulging in fear one quickly becomes consumed and controlled by it. This causes the shrinking of the individual’s life experience and thus the individual personally. His life becomes boring and mundane, never attempting anything risky or new. This in turn produces an individual who is boring and mundane, who’s life is ruled by his fears. He experiences little or no growth and is in a constant state of unhappiness and discontent.

Upside: Fear can be transformed into caution and a deep reverence for life, so long as fear is not indulged in. From this reverence for life grows the desire to grow and enlarge oneself to obtain the fullness of what life has to offer. Guided by caution one will begin to expand one’s experience and gain confidence.


Downside: If one indulges in confidence producing overconfidence one becomes reckless and takes unwarranted risks placing themselves in danger of severe injury or death. Overconfidence often results in the individual extending himself beyond his abilities, placing himself in danger because he has overestimated his skill.

Upside: When not indulged in confidence produces a willingness to take sensible risks. In risk taking the individual is able to broaden his life experience and polish and improve his skills and abilities. Confidence tempered with caution allows the individual to stretch his abilities without over stepping his capacity to deal with the dangers that are ever present in risk taking. The deepening of skills and the gaining of knowledge from the new experiences of risk taking allow confidence to grow into power.


Downside: If an individual indulges in power he will quickly become consumed and controlled by power and the pursuit thereof. This produces an arrogant disposition which looks upon others as less than or inferior. Such an individual consumed by his power soon loses his true sense of himself and his morality, he becomes obsessed with a lust for power and the oppression of others with his power.

Upside: An individual who combines the skills and knowledge obtained through appropriate risk taking without indulging in power becomes an man of knowledge, a man of power, a true warrior. Such an individual lives life to its full, having a bounty of rich, rewarding experience. His abilities extend beyond the understanding of the average man and may appear magical or mysterious. He lives life passionately and can build his personal power by creating value in whatever he is doing. He thus lives a zealous, youthful life even into his old age.


Downside: The downside of old age is that it will inevitably result in death. If the individual indulges in obsessing about his impending death he may fear it and become lost in his quest to avoid the unavoidable.

Upside: The upside of old age is that it culminates in the grand experience of death. A true man of knowledge and power learns that death is the constant companion of all life, and in respecting it he can befriend his death making it an ally rather than an enemy. Such an individual knows that this life’s path finishes with the grand experience of the transition into another path we call death. With him goes his personal power, knowledge, and skill. His capacity to confront the unknown by taking risks will enable him to travel this next path without fear, endowed with the rich experiences and tools obtained by his full rich life here.

About the Author:

Dr. Scott Baker earned his Ph.D. in Psychology from Brigham Young University in 1995. Born and raised in New Zealand, he began his training in Wing Chun there in 1972 under the direction of Master Tam Hung Fun. He is now a member of the Yuen Kay San line under Zopa Gyatso. Si-Fu Baker resides in New Zealand.




Questions or comments. Send them to: snaerskegg@mainewingchunkungfu.com