As someone who has studied various forms of Kung-fu, Kenpo, Karate, Jujitsu, and some Boxing and Kickboxing, I enjoy keeping up with the various sporting events (for entertainment). But, I have to tell you that I see a disturbing thing going on in some of the schools around Terre Haute, Indiana. Students see something, in one of these sporting events, and go find someone they want to be. For example, they see a teacher of some martial art, who competes and does well, and they say, “I want to be like him,” instead of saying, “I’d like to learn to use that martial art.” This kind of mentality limits one’s ability to master the martial art for their use. Think about that….
If you’re not using the martial art, that you’re studying, for something of a free, honest and independent express of self, then what good is it doing you? Or, think of it like this….
When you have to defend yourself, chances are the guy you want to be like won’t be there. You’re going to have to live or die by the results of who you are. (And, who you are is what gets expressed in combat, not the exercises you do, or the idea of self you have, or the idea of someone else you have, or the egotistical attachment you have to your style of martial arts, or any other garbage like that.)
So, be honest with yourself while doing what you have to do to become the person you need to be, for now and for tomorrow; otherwise, you will not be who you need to be to defend yourself when it matters most. (And no number of participation awards will prepare you for the real thing. One has to honestly prepare one’s self for the situation.)
“No one looks like me. Many Sifu force their students to do it their way. For instance, there is this guy in Hong Kong who cannot do left hand bong sao (wing hands). So all of his students cannot do left bong sao. It’s a joke because all of his students follow him. I think you are a bad Sifu if you make your students copy you. I believe if you are a good Sifu, you will just guide your students.”
~ Grandmaster Moy Yat
In most of these schools, that teach my way or the highway, the instructor is insecure about his or her ability to operate the school, and seeks to control people rather than empower them. As one person put it:
That annoys me about some schools. You can’t use anything they don’t teach. “That isn’t the way we do it.” Or it’s “We don’t do that at all.” I thought Wing Chun was supposed to be about adapting, using what is useful and throwing out what is useless. So whats wrong with doing it a bit differently especially if it fits your style? Oh wait there isn’t anything wrong with it. Just to many instructors have their heads up their ….
I want to be clear that the school I was talking about above was NOT a Wing Chun kwoon (i.e., school, or learning hall). While Wing Chun as a total system is efficient and effective, it is because it is taught in a way that one may become a competent user of its principles – NOT because they are striving to be someone or something else. It’s like learning the English language. One goes to school for years and years, studying it; then, when you’re done, no one tells you what to write, what to say, or speaks for you. You have to learn to use the principles in an effective and efficient way to communicate with those around you at the time you have to communicate with them. (And that says nothing of body language!)
One seeking to learn any self-defense system should be seeking to understand the principles in their own life. This provides one the practical ability to use the system in defense of anything that seeks to do their self harm. Isn’t that the point? Self Defense?
So, no offense, but if you come to me talking about how many tournaments or fights your teacher won, you’re liable to hear me ask, “So what?” That teacher won’t be there when you’re forced to defend yourself and your loved ones. You are, though. And what you learn to be, who you are, will determine how successful you are. Don’t waste yourself trying to be someone else.
Empower yourself to life!™
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