I did NOT like where this conversation was going and was regretting the fact I even bothered to say “hi” and ask him to sit with me...
Don’t you really hate hearing someone say, “my sifu is better than your sifu,” or “my kung fu is better than yours,” or “my martial arts style is better than Wing Chun,” or “my lineage is the original Wing Chun line.”
I especially can’t stand it when the person says it to be cocky or mean.
The other day I was hanging out at a local Starbucks, when by coincidence, an old Wing Chun buddy dropped by to get a cup of coffee, too.
We hadn’t seen each for over seven years.
We instantly recognized each other, chatted for a bit, and the conversation quickly turned to Wing Chun.
He went on to tell me where he’s been studying for the last few years. I recognized his sifu as one of the few prominent sifus in Los Angeles.
“Sure, I know that sifu,” I said. “When I have more time and money I would like to travel around the world and take lessons from different Wing Chun sifus...”
He quickly followed up with a variation of: my sifu is better than your sifu; your sifu can’t teach you everything you need to learn; his sifu knows the secrets of Wing Chun and my sifu does not, etc.
Man! I just wanted to relax and enjoy my coffee and here was this guy, whom I didn’t know very well, basically insulting me and calling me stupid because of where I decide to train Wing Chun.
What a punk.
Here’s what I think about the whole “my sifu is better than your sifu” bit.
Training under the “God of Sifus” is NOT the most important thing for most people.
It is your level of commitment to your own training that matters most. How much do you want it? How much are you willing to sacrifice? How much time are you willing to invest?
This is just as, if not more, important than training under the worlds most powerful, super-human, bullet-proof Wing Chun sifu.
Look at this way, all things being equal, under the same sifu you’ll often find different levels of mastery among the students of equal rank. The reason will almost always be a reflection of each student, not necessarily the sifu.
Yes, you want a competent teacher. Someone who is solid in his or her own skills. And equally important, you want a sifu with the ability to “teach” and impart knowledge.
But, in the end, you have to take responsibility for your own progress. If that means finding a kwoon that better fits your personality, or doing some self-study, or cross-training, so be it. There’s nothing wrong with expanding your horizons. But beware of the “bamboo is always greener on the other side” syndrome.
This will usually lead you down blind alleys and waste your time because you never stick around long enough to actually learn something useful or become competent in one style, lineage, or martial art.
Never belittle or ridicule someone else’s sifu, school, or martial art style. It’s bad taste and bad manners. You might as well call his or her mother ugly. Besides, it does nothing to improve the art of Wing Chun around the world.
A better approach is to focus on improving yourself and your Wing Chun skill. And also, spread the art as accurately as possible, and keep the cycle of increasing perfection going. In this way, the level of Wing Chun rises for everyone.
A great place to find one or more world-class sifus to learn from is right here at WingChunLife Video Mastery…
When the student is ready, the teacher appears -
Seek the straightest path,