Updated: Feb 2
Over my 45 years in Kung Fu I have come across people who have asked me if I will ever quit training and teaching Kung Fu since it is such hard work. We all know that hard work is not always fun. HOWEVER, hard work generally yields the most satisfying results. The Chinese call it "eating bitter", practicing (or teaching) even when it is hard and you may not be up for it.
It's strange how quitting something that is good for someone is always a lot easier than quitting something that is not good for them. Hence why many people never quit smoking. Nonetheless, there are many things a teacher does for the student but the gift that he gives the student is the Kung Fu itself (hopefully in it’s purest and most authentic form).
The best way a student can show their teacher appreciation for this gift is to use the gift (work on it diligently and improve to the best of their ability). Only through the process of training can a student truly raise to higher levels of understanding Kung Fu and its intended purpose. Is it hard??? Truly hard!! It requires a strong spirit and consistent work and even then the student may still get discouraged and give up.
Teachers work really hard to give their students the best chance for success. In this country educators (teachers) are not valued as high as in other countries. Take China for instance, they view teachers (any educator for that matter) as very important people in the country. Teachers help the future generation by sharing their lives and hard work to help students in hopes that their teachings will help them grow as better people and human beings.
Does quitting enter my mind after 30 plus years of teaching? Would it be a lot easier for me to just work on my Kung Fu and not worry about sharing it with others? I wouldn’t be human if it didn’t but teaching Kung Fu is a lot bigger than just me. I was one of very few to receive the gift from my teacher, Master Chen. From the few I am the only one actively preserving and sharing the art of Huaquan, therefore, it is my responsibility to carry it on for future generations. To me teaching is a privilege that allows me to share the same understanding and insight that my teacher has passed down to me.
Many people feel that an instructor is the same as a teacher (Sifu). There is a great difference between an instructor and a Sifu. Although an instructor may enjoy sharing his Kung Fu, he is not a Sifu. A Sifu is responsible for the Kung Fu itself and it is their responsibility to find the best way to preserve it and pass it onto future generations. What many people do not understand is that the title "Sifu" is a privilege that is earned and comes with this great responsibility. It is not just a self proclaimed honor but a privilege that comes through tremendous effort and hard times in order to achieve.
The gift is priceless and should be cherished as so. Good times, bad times, fun times, sad times, frustration, aggravation and feeling like giving up are all things we as humans go through on a pretty regular basis but we must find the way to carry on. To keep going and find the inner strength and motivation to excel not only in Kung Fu but in life.