The cult of Kung Fu
by Michael McIlwrath
February 15, 2017
So you want to study Kung Fu,? and after watching your first Bruce Lee or Jackie Chan Kung Fu movie you found yourself inspired and you like to be the next Van Damme. You've caught the Kung Fu craze and now you just need to find the right school and master to send you on that long journey to acquire the ancient secrets of Kung Fu passed down from master to student in an unbroken chain reaching back to the founder of the style. Well, you might want to rethink about that first before signing on the dotted line. In the world of Kung Fu, all may not seem to appear what it appears. There are politics, scams, and snake oil salesmen at every corner that wants to sell you their secret Kung Fu going back to the mystical sacred mountain of the ancient temple of Kung Fu. Well,master Po may grant you what you want, but are you willing to pay the price?, and that price cost sometimes more than blood,sweat and tears.
As a potential student, looking for the master killer. You need to question everything. You have to use your own judgement to determine to find a legitimate teacher, and one who is willing to teach you what he knows without holding back.
In the world of Kung Fu, Kung Fu families are sometimes very similar to religious cults. Each sect proclaims to have the one true knowledge, and all others have some watered down incomplete version. And unless you follow them you'll never receive the one true secret knowledge passed down from the ancients. Well, this is great marketing and a tool for the salesman to use to get to your money, so is this really any different from the late night preacher on TV asking you “ if you only plant a seed” Jesus well take away your debt,or your pain etc. Well, why does Jesus need my money? Short of cash perhaps?
I mean, if he can take away my pain why can't he print his own money…?
The dark side of Kung Fu is no different. You must pay, and sometimes pay through the nose to get what you’re looking for and even then you’ll be lucky to get it. Years of hard work dedication, loyalty, and sweat won't always get you to the finish line. You see, I’m not trying to stop you from following your dreams of training with a real teacher,but only to warn you and to get you to use your critical thinking before investing in a lot of time and money. For the novice student it can be very difficult to know a legitimate teacher from someone who is just looking to take your money. In general, the bigger the claim the more skeptical you should be. Don't just take the Sifu at his word. Make sure you check out his credentials. Know who he trained with and for how long. What did he learn? Did he complete the system under one teacher or many?,what is his reputation among his peers, and is he certified by his Sifu to teach. If you can't get clear answers to these questions then be weary as it's possible the Sifu may be hiding something and may not be completely honest with you. If what he claims check out,then the next step is to evaluate the Sifu skill,knowledge and quality of his senior students. In general, a good teacher will produce good students,and a poor sifu will produce poor students. Without prior experience it may be difficult to evaluate these quantities by yourself, so if you can bring someone with you with martial art experience to get his opinion.
After all said and done, You will be the one to make your final decision. My advice is don't pick a school based solely on price,how big or small the school is, or how convenient it is to train there. To find a good school is worth the extra money,and travel. You're not likely going to find a great school down the block from your house. Having said all this, if you really want to learn Kung Fu I say go for it! Even if you pick a poor school, that is also part of the learning process and will help you in the future to know the difference between a really good school and a poor one. And that can only come from years of hard training and experience. Which requires an investment in your time and money, but in long run, in my opinion, a well worth education. So,Good luck, and train hard.