Love thy neighbour
There have always been politics in Martial Arts, people saying that one Karate association is better than another, or that this Jiu Jitsu discipline is more effective than that and so on and so forth, but non more so (it appears), than in Wing Chun, with students always wanting to show that their lineage is the true line and that others are weak etcetera, and this has always surprised me.
Please do note that I said students, wanting to prove, because rarely would a teacher be saying this kind of thing, a teacher of worth at least.
Now I am sure that that, comment alone, will be turning a few heads and making some Instructors cross, I simply mean that to those who are more experienced (and grown up), tend not to go around wanting to meet after school, behind the bike sheds, to see who is the toughest.
Look at the VTAA in Hong Kong for example, the home of Ip Mans’ class, a venue which was bought, by his students collectively, back in 1968, so that they would have somewhere to train, and he, somewhere to teach.
A venue which is still shared by these different lineages to this day.
Oh and if you’re wondering:
“How are they different lineages if they were all taught in the same room by the same person?”
The reason for this is that each Master has their own take on the system, their own way of passing things across to their students, added to this the idea that 50% of your training is given by your Sifu, and the other 50% by you yourself, therefore this is why we often see slight differences from those who were still trained at the same school.
To suppress these expected differences, only stifles the students full potential.
When I was first invited to go to Hong Kong by my Sifu (Grandmaster Ip Chun), back in 1989, I had no idea that such masters would be in the same room and at the same time, and even more to my surprise was that when I did first enter this mecca of learning, they were all playing cards together!
On entering the VTAA, my first introduction was to the great man himself, Master Wong Shun Leung who handed me a can of San Miguel and invited me to join in the game!
These great men are who I refer to when I used the phrase, ‘A teacher of worth at least’, with not one of them bickering, but being friends and spending time together.
How many Masters can you spot in this photo?
(Oh, and this is before the VTAA had all its windows)
When I was younger, and much less experienced, not just in Wing Chun but in life in general, there were many things that I have done that I am now embarrassed about and even ashamed, and this is a path I never wish to travel again, a path where aggression takes over too quickly and we let our emotions rule, instead of our heads.
I have discovered that you can achieve so much more by simply, being kind.
Just, be kind, what is wrong with that?
If someone is cross with me then I must first ask myself why, and if I have done an injustice, then put it right.
Getting cross back, with someone who is cross with you, can only end in disaster, so try to be nice, especially Instructors out there, surely this is the best lesson we can teach our students isn’t it, to be tolerant and to use your skills for good.
Don’t get me wrong, you must still train hard, but know what you are training for.
“It is better to be a warrior in a garden,
than a gardener in a war”
(The book of five rings)
This is just a thought I wanted to share and therefore may I wish the very best of luck, health and happiness to each and every one of you.
Thank you for reading.