What’s In A Name?
Is it important to call your teacher Sifu?
Well this depends on several factors, first of all is this requirement forced or offered willingly.
It IS worth noting at this stage that to call your teacher Sifu is a way of showing respect, and therefore by NOT calling your teacher Sifu COULD be deemed as showing disrespect.
And let’s be honest, if you are not willing to show respect to your teacher, then why would you expect your teacher to show respect to you?
It’s your call
It is a strange thing when you make the effort to go to a Wing Chun school (or in fact any Martial Arts school), pay the teacher to train you (therefore putting SOME level of trust in that persons abilities to be able to do so), and then decide to just call them by their first name in a manner that you’re best buddies or something.
You don’t do that when you go to visit the Doctor!
A person you may never have met before, who the moment you walk into their place or work, suddenly decide to approach them by way of their title, a title I might add that they have earned through years and years of dedicated study and hard work (sound familiar Instructors?).
Now I did mention earlier that using this title depends on whether it is forced or offered willingly, but again this is the same for respect.
Forced respect is false respect, and that would be no way to start a relationship with your teacher/trainer.
Ok, well what about when you are out of the school, what then?
Good point, but even then, what has changed, is that person no longer your teacher because the school clock has finished its duration?
A good Sifu is a 24-hour a day Sifu.
As a teacher, how many times outside of class have you spent time with a student, helping them through hard times and being there for them when they needed you, I would guess quite a lot.
I have never had a student approach me after class with a question or an issue, only for me to turn to them and say,
“Woah there lad! Class has finished. Not my problem pal!”
This would NOT be the action of a good teacher.
Sifu means teacher/father, and you may wish to take the stance that…
If I asked you what your fathers name is, and the answer you gave was,
Yes ok but what do you call him?
‘Oh I see, Dad’
Ok but what if you are not at home, what if you are in the pub having a drink together?
And there you go, this can be thought of in a similar way, if you respect someone, then you respect them, regardless of where you are, and this should be a two-way thing.
The Japanese have a saying:‘You should respect your elders but have compassion for younger’s’
Respect should not be a given, it should be earned, but therefore, perhaps we shouldn’t get off on the wrong foot by showing a lack of potential respect right from the start.
Thank you Sifu’s