The year was 1989 and I had been teaching my class for about a year. We were happy to perform and promote our classes to the public whenever the opportunity arose. One request that year was for a Kung Fu demo during a Chinese New Year celebration. Of course we were happy to perform at the celebration. The follow up request was to see if we would be able to include a Snake Form to celebrate the Year of the Snake. Sifu had taught me a Snake Form and there was enough time to fine tune it to an acceptable level for performance so I agreed. The performance went off as planned and I felt very comfortable with the form.
The following weekend there was a tournament that the class decided to attend so I pulled out the Snake Form again because it was the one I was focused on during my most recent training. I did well in the tournament and with a healthy schedule of other tournaments coming up in the following weeks, I just decided to ride it for the stretch. That stretch became a year and the next thing I know it became my form of choice. I did throw in other forms on occasion just for the change but always returned to Snake.
There were a few things that I think caused me to keep using the form:
- It felt like it suited my body type
- It became a bit of a challenge to prove that softer forms can still do well
- A few instructors that saw me at tournaments encouraged me to keep going with it because it was a nice break from seeing the same old forms all the time
- A very nice compliment from a person in one city that told me that the main reason they came to the tournament the second year was to see me perform again
- Biggest reason - when Sifu came for a visit, my brother's students and I thought it would be nice to do a show for him...when I performed Snake Form, Sifu jumped up from his seat and was clapping and yelling that it was Snake Form!! After the performance he told me how happy/surprised he was with the improvement in the form since teaching it to me. With that kind of reaction, how could I not continue?