Recently, I was contacted by a student who was looking for a kung fu school. He was from Michigan and explained to me that he had been learning from a book and wanted to compete at the CACMA Tournament in 2010. I had a long chat with this gentleman over several emails and determined that he needed to find a Sifu near him and start training in a kwoon to get the proper training. I contacted my good friend Shifu Steve Clark in order to get him involved in the search for a Sifu in his area. Steve, knowing so many people in kung fu, gave the young man several possibilities. He decided on one that was closest, but yet a two hour drive. Below, is the latest exerp from his blog and email. It shows what commitment he has as a practitioner and what he has had to do to learn something that most have in their neighborhood or at least closer than two hours away.
"I came, I saw, I got sore. They pushed me hard. Never worked so long on stances and footwork in my life. I still can not get into proper stances even now. My horse stance was off (I lean back) and can't seem to get the simplest of tasks.
Besides getting a physical whipping, I then got mentally adjusted by support staff. I have learned that I was wrong to use sifu before my name(on my blog -corrected that) or to teach kung fu and compete in a tournament so early in May 2010 is unrealistic.
I realize now sifu is earned not self assigned. My apologies to you both.
I shouldn't teach Kung Fu because I don't know how to do it correctly and do more damage.
The tournament thing...well...I don't mind making a fool of myself when it was just me but now that I belong to a kwon and am under a real sifu willful foolishness will have to wait. They are thinking a year perhaps. I'm thinking I can do it but I will submit. I'll keep you in the loop.
Master Chung of the Praying Mantis is everything and more I expected. He thinks I'm a great martial artist and is impressed with my enthusiasm to learn kung fu from a book if need be. In fact he included me in after hours practice with a select group.
If you guys want I'am posting my adventures on my blog if you want to see whats up.
"The first day November 28th, 2009: It took me nearly two hours to arrive at Sifu Chung's Praying Mantis Kung Fu School. It took me only minutes to realize I found the right one. In my research I had read reports of the Sifu being lively, competent and able but nothing prepared me for his demeanor, temperament and good nature winsome personality. He spoke to me as a friend and acted as one too. He was amazingly more excited I think of me than I was of him if that were possible. The care he and his staff had on my developing art can not be underscored enough. With much pain in my legs and frustration in my soul I struggled to get right the steps being showed. They never gave up but kept at it. When I was tired I had to do 10 more reps. I never worked so hard in my life on stances and footwork. I could not nor still position myself in proper form but it was not because of their lack of effort to assist me I assure you.
Part of my training later was in Wu Tai Chi with an 'experienced sister' who cared enough to enlighten me on many facets including how to use my training and appropriate use of time. She explained that although I want to and have taught Kung Fu that I should wait until my sifu says I can. Afterward,I asserted boldly that I would like to be his Lansing instructor some day. Which He seemed just as eager to launch a Lansing branch as I was. I don't know if I am the one to have the honor to bear his name sake but it would be a pleasure to pass down his art to others. PS. I learned that the author of my book practiced Praying Mantis also."
I hope some of you will get something out of this post. I, and Shifu Steve as well, are excited that we were able to help "One find the Way" Take care till next time.