A Common Question



A common question was once again put to me by one of my students:

‘What makes a good teacher?

A question I have had put to me many times, and there are many answers that come to mind straight away, oh and just for the record, I am not referring to ideas such as,

‘Make sure you know your stuff’


‘Be the best’

And so on…


Grandmaster Ip Chun told me:

“A true Sifu should be humble and mild, and not go around blowing his own trumpet”


In answering, ‘What makes a good teacher?’ I am looking along the lines of, ‘Be honest’.

If you are trying to teach, encourage questions, and if for some reason you do not know the answer, be honest.

Tell them you are not sure but may you have a little time to think of it, and if possible, to discuss it with your teacher.


I would hope that if you are teaching then this should not happen too many times, BUT, if it does, be honest, and if your student is worth keeping then they will thank you for it in the long run.


NEVER sell out and only teach what your students ask for

NEVER hide anything or hold anything back in order to keep an edge

NEVER put anyone down

NEVER bull***t

And most important…


And just in case anyone is thinking, ‘What sort of a teacher is not going to be able to answer questions, I mean, what kind of a teacher is that?’

A bloody good one!


“The man who claims to know all is a fool, for his learning has ceased”


Try to be a student to your students and learn together.

Train alongside your students and show them how it’s done, don’t just tell them.

I would never ask of my students anything I am not willing to do myself.

Not only does this show your students good leadership and trust, but it helps you to keep your own standards up.

And, over time you may learn more from them than they do from you.


Try this exercise:

Look at your class as a training mirror, if you find yourself standing in front of your students, and going through Siu Lim Tau you notice some mistakes.

You see one person needs to lower their stance,

One person needs to raise their chin,

And another needs to tuck in their elbow


BEFORE you give them direction, check yourself…

Is YOUR stance low enough?

Is YOUR chin up?

Is YOUR elbow tucked in?

This is very simple way of actually and physically learning through your students, using them by way of a mirror.


Now and the risk of repeating myself too much, I would like to add a little more to this discussion by directing you to another blog on this same subject, dated January 2018


CLICK BELOW go to to the earlier blog:


Thank you.





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