Show Me Your Papers!



No. Not like that!


It’s the strangest thing that people always want to see proof of your abilities through paperwork.


Of course it is such a nice feeling to gain a degree (I imagine), to gain a license, or become certified in a particular field of excellence, but apart from the legal reasons (such as passports, driving license etc.) who is this actually for?


Ok so when you enter a school you would expect to see some form of qualification displayed on the wall, but in martial arts, I believe the proof is more in the pudding, your ability to know what the hell you are talking about and to have the skills to back it up.


The reason for wanting to pass an exam, a grading or an assessment,

Should be because you are saying to your teacher:

“Sifu, I really feel that I have understood all that you have taught me so far and that I can use these skills effectively, so much so that I would like you to test me on them”.


This achievement can then be displayed with pride and confidence, BUT, unless you are planning to roll it up tight and ram it down an attackers throat, it’s not really going to help you in a street fight.


And this is the important part, bridging the gap between what you are displaying and what you actually know.


So by all means grade and be tested, by all means be proud of your certification, but most of all make sure you actually know your sh*t first.


It is always amusing to me to think that if Grandmaster Ip Chun came to the UK and wished to open a class at one of our local leisure centers, he would not be allowed because he does not have a valid instructors certificate connected to the sports councils governing body.


So train first,

Get good,

Then train more,

Get very good,

Ask to be tested,

Pass your tests and be proud to display,



Anyone can buy a black sash, but it takes a lot more to earn one.

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