This man is teaching me about patience

When I told Hugh I needed a photo of him, he gave me this one and called it his "proud" shot.

A few months ago, I met a man in a dark doorway at night. He'd popped out from nowhere and asked if he could give me his card. When men talk to me at night, I usually ignore them and quickly move along. But this man was different. He had an inviting energy. He had a purpose.

The man told me he was a personal trainer and that he had a gym at the back of his store, which was right next to the Lion’s Den. He told me he was trained in martial arts and could teach me self-defense. I asked him how long he had been doing it for and he said 12 years.

I told him I was a writer and was always looking for stories. He said he had lots to share. Then he introduced himself. His name was Hugh.

As we stood there, people got out of fancy cars on their way to the French restaurant next door, and waved at Hugh. I realized that standing in the doorway and handing out cards at night was how he did business. It obviously seemed to work.

We got to talking about how much his life changed with the discipline and patience that was involved in his work, how he used to be on a much different path. He spoke about White Crane martial arts, which focuses on training the mind to be patient.

I told him that was fitting. I'd been thinking about how I could use more patience in many aspects my life -- family, love, work.  Then I asked him to look after my dog while I went to grab a patty.

Afterwards, I went home and posted his card on my bulletin board. I felt like I’d met him for a reason.

A few weeks later, I sent him a note suggesting we do a swap. I come in to learn about White Crane and in return, write about the experience. He wrote back a few days later saying it was a good idea.

We arranged a meeting in his studio. Hugh put me on the treadmill and we got to talking. I asked him where he learned about business. He told me on the streets.

He said he was born in Jamaica and moved to Toronto at a young age. His father wasn’t around so he had a desperate lack of direction. He got in trouble a lot. I asked him what changed his path. With a huge smile, he told me the birth of his son.  His son's birth proved to Hugh that he was inside of someone and that someone could make a difference in this world.

Despite having very little, Hugh moved to Vancouver because he was drawn to the energy. One day when he was looking for work, he saw a red door and walked in. It was a martial arts studio and when he saw a ping pong table in the basement, he knew immediately that he was meant to be there. (He has a passion for ping pong.) This is where he met his Sifu (the Chinese word for teacher) Vincent Chow. Hugh calls him his teacher in business and life.

For months, he spent hours a day doing repetitive motions in front of the mirror, counting in his head. This was the most important part of his practice.

He said the payoff came to him one day while he was waiting in line at the bank. The teller told him she admired his patience. He realized then, that his practice was paying off.

I told Hugh that in order to succeed in business, you have to do something different. I asked Hugh what made him stand out. Without giving it much thought, he said: “My heart.”

While money was important to make a living, he did what he was doing for the love. He wanted to pass that on. I believed him.

He got me off the treadmill and stood me in front of the mirror. There, we did sets of repetitive motions that involved moving my arms out and down and hips back and forth. When that was done, he got me to balance on one foot with my arms out. I had to count to 100 in my head.

It was all very challenging. When I would stumble, Hugh told me my mind had gone somewhere else. I looked straight in the mirror and tried again. Everything around me went white.

I made it to 100. By the end, I felt stronger.

I thanked Hugh and told him I’d be there every week for my lesson. We both agreed this was the start of something good. 


To learn more about Hugh, visit his website.

Elianna Lev’s website is pretty bangin’. Click here to see for yourself.


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