Saddened By Shocking Teacher Behaviour
In the twenty seven + years I have been teaching Wing Chun there have been ups and downs, but 99.9% of the time it has been a joy and a privilege, allowing me to teach and train with some wonderful individuals.
However, recent events have made me aware of certain issues in the Wing Chun world that have left me shocked and quite frankly appalled, and this is all in regards to some peoples teaching methods.
Or maybe that should be the lack of them?
I often have visits from other schools, students from other countries and lineages, and they are always most welcome, returning home with my heartfelt regard to their teachers.
Recent guests however have spoken to me of certain schools where not only is it frowned upon to visit another school or attend events such as seminars or chi sau gatherings, but it is simply not allowed.
In fact, to the point that if a student is known to have done so, they are thrown out of the association / school and having all qualifications removed, and I might add, this includes instructors too!
Now first of all, if a student has completed a level of training, and been certified as such, then this is fact, it’s done and dusted, and (unless out of date) cannot be retracted.
Imagine getting a degree at a University only then to be told where you can and cannot go for employment?
The very situations where the skill and knowledge you have worked so hard for are to be played out, better understood and fully appreciated.
How would you feel if after years of study at said University, the dean then told you that if you go to a place they did not approve of (anywhere), they would take back your degree!
Okay, so a qualification may often only be recognised by the governing body that issued it, but if that body are to then run your life, telling you what you are and are not able to do with it afterward, I am not sure that such a certificate is to be worth the paper it is printed on.
Not only would I never disallow a student to visit another school or roll with a different lineage, I would encourage it! What is there to be afraid of, that the student might learn something?
As a teacher is it their responsibility to encourage the students growth, not restrict it!
Some schools are run almost like a cult, based on fear rather than respect.
This insular and restrictive mentality serves no one any good, only showing an insecurity of the teacher.
I first met Grand Master IP Chun at his first UK seminars in 1985 and in 1989 Sifu invited me to go to Hong Kong to train under him directly, in 1991 he made me senior western student, disciple and world representative.
At that time I made a promise to Sifu that I would help promote and spread Ip Chun Wing Chun throughout the world, unfortunately I see so many instructors these days only focussed on promoting themselves.
And just in case you are reading this and wondering, ‘If he’s been training thirty years why have I never heard of him?’ This is because of Master Ip Chun saying to me, ‘A true Sifu is one who is humble and mild, and does not go blowing his own trumpet’.
My school in Leeds (UK) has been running since February 1991 and in that time we have had over 10,000 classes and taught more than 10,000 students, not one ever signing a contract or being told where they can train or what events they are allowed to attend.
I would never dream of trying to say such a thing.
The majority of my students are adults, with partners, mortgages, children and even their own businesses, NOT people to be talked to like infants.
Our online program has many members, both students and teachers, and from many lineages, all simply wanting a deeper understanding of the system.
We all share, we all learn, simple.
Many teachers enforce that you cannot serve two masters, or, will tell you the proverb;
‘If you chase two rabbits you will not catch either’.
However, I say, ‘Some rabbits you don’t want catch and SOME just need to be thrown in the pot’.