It’s generally the behavior of martial artists to attend a seminar after which declare the seminar teacher as their instructor, as in the event that they’d studied with them for years. That is undoubtedly not the standard option to be taught martial arts.
In the end, the one who suffers essentially the most is the one who attended the seminar and mistakenly believes he has realized sufficient to name himself a pupil of the seminar teacher.
How do you identify a martial artist’s precise instructor?
Right here is one conventional Chinese language methodology. I used to be looking for a Choy Li Fut instructor in Hong Kong within the early Seventies. In the course of the course of my search, after going to a number of Choy Li Fut faculties and talking with high-ranking masters, I discovered Hu Yuen-Chou. I begged him to just accept me as his disciple. He accepted and we went by way of an official discipleship ceremony, full with a banquet to permit different tai chi and Choy Li Fut senior masters to witness the occasion. My further bonus, since my curiosity in tai chi was as sturdy as my want to additional my Choy Li Fut training, was that grandmaster Hu was additionally a Yang Tai Chi skilled, who studied with the good Yang Cheng-Fu.
After I educated in Hong Kong, since I realized from a instructor at a non-commercial college, there was no set tuition charge. In addition to paying for my airplane ticket and working towards onerous I took my instructor out and paid for all his meals. I purchased him presents and spent cash to maintain him completely happy as a gesture of my respect and honor to be his pupil.
Financially he was doing nicely, so eventually I ran out of presents to provide him. I didn’t know tips on how to make him really feel completely happy and once I talked about cash for tuition he was offended. He thought of tuition an excessive amount of like a buying-and-selling deal.
Lastly, after a lot thought, I discovered a option to please him and be certain that I continued to be taught high-level techniques and varieties. I presented him with a crimson envelope, containing as a lot cash as I might afford to let him know that my intentions have been honorable. More often than not I gave him the crimson envelope on the finish of coaching classes. Historically, the recipient by no means opens a crimson envelope in entrance of anyone. He took it dwelling and noticed the big sum of money inside. That method he knew I valued his coaching and was honest about studying.
In addition to learning with grandmaster Hu, he despatched me to Wong Gong and different senior Choy Li Fut instructors for classes of their specialties. This meant my price range tripled, but it surely was value it for the information. In comparison with at present when individuals stroll right into a martial arts college and discount for a less expensive tuition value, I all the time added many occasions to the common value to ensure I earned the best information doable.
After I went to Hong Kong, I stayed at a relative’s home to cut back my bills. The Chinese language custom is to not give a home key to visitors, so many occasions after a protracted, onerous day coaching, as a result of my family have been working I needed to stroll round till 10 p.m. or later earlier than I might go dwelling and sleep. I solely point out this as a result of now we hear complaints that individuals should journey too far to coach. Are they simply searching for consolation or are they actually critical about their martial arts training?
What are academics? In any fashion of martial arts it’s important to have a respectable lineage. You need to attempt to stick with one instructor, following him as your guiding grasp in your martial arts coaching. Stick with that individual till he certifies you or offers you permission to show. That’s your most important instructor. When and if that instructor has nothing extra to supply, then you possibly can transfer on to be taught extra from one other instructor.
In my case, grandmaster Hu despatched me to see his personal colleagues for extra coaching. So, I used to be not seeking to be taught totally different kinds. At the moment, I claimed solely Hu Yuen-Chou as my instructor. My first instructor, Lau Bun, died earlier than I sought out Hu. Later, with Hu’s permission, Wong Gong taught me the superior Choy Li Fut hand and weapon varieties—genuine varieties that have been virtually misplaced to Choy Li Fut. Then Wong Gong accepted me as his disciple.
Now, I’ve been doing seminars world wide with many individuals from totally different martial arts kinds and Choy Li Fut college students who aren’t in my Choy Li Fut lineage. I don’t enable these individuals to make use of my identify as their instructor. Even my college students who traveled to Hong Kong to work with Hu Yuen-Chou didn’t name him their instructor. He was their sigong (instructor’s instructor).
Why do I insist on this conventional option to regard academics? As a result of it’s mirrored within the high quality of the scholars’ training and information. If you understand who your actual instructor is and respect him for his information, you’ll by no means deceive your self about your individual degree of coaching and martial experience. You’ve the potential to know as a lot about your martial artwork as your instructor. And a very good teacher makes certain you will have the chance to achieve that degree.
This text initially appeared within the Could 2000 subject of Inside Kung Fu Journal, “Coaching for Life” by Grandmaster Doc-Fai Wong.