Dazed and Confused

Xue Sheng

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Question:

I was returning to training Wing Chun when I discovered that my old Sifu no longer teaches like he use to. He still teaches very well but all he will teach in a general class is now Sil lum Tao.

If you wish to proceed further you need to pay for private lessons. And I was a bit shocked when told this and I am now realizing I forgot to ask if Chi sau was taught in class or if I would need to pay for private lessons for that as well.

My question; I was wondering if this is normal procedure for Wing Chun today?

Back when I first trained with him (about 13 years ago) he taught all but the staff and knives in class and to be honest I am not exactly sure if he taught knives in class back then or not. He had an advanced class that I was far from being in so I am not sure.
 

Flying Crane

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My wing chun sifu teaches at the Community College here in San Francisco. The class is a regular part of the Phys-Ed curriculum (granted, we are sort of the red-headed, bastard step child of the Phys-Ed dept., but we are in the catalog). He teaches everything. Now the class sort of gets split up so that people who have taken several semesters do the 2nd and 3rd forms, chi sao, and wooden dummy (he doesn't teach the pole or butterfly swords). The first semester people pretty much only do sil lum tao and some basic drills designed to work towards chi sao. But the point is, he makes everything available to those who are willing to stick with it for longer than just one or two semesters, and the only fee he collects is what the college pays him for teaching the class, which I am sure is not much.

My chiropractor happens to also be a student of my sifu's teacher. I know he has trained in wing chun for longer than I have, but he doesn't know bil jee and I do. I am not sure exactly why that is. I think my sifu's sifu focuses mostly on sil lum tao, and that is what he drills with those who study directly under him. I've never been to his class, so I don't really know.

anyway, that's my story...
 

bcbernam777

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Under my Sifu he taught me SLT only for about 2 years then he taught me CK then he returned again to SLT. I commend your Sifu for focusing on the SLT only, but what I would be concerned about is that theere is no chisau and the fact that you have to go to a private class to learn more???? mmmmm


The reason why a goood Sifu will focus on the Sui Lum Tao is because it is the foundation behind the whole system..........................



...................Now a lot of peopple will read what I have just written and say "Yeah, Yeah, its the foundation, these are also the same people who will gloss over it because they fail to see the true importance and true power behind the Sui Lum Tao, infact if Wing Chun was to be taught properly in my opinion it would not be unreasonable to spend "at least" a solid 3 years plus just learning the SLT properly. The problem is any teacher will know that it would take an exceptional student to do this, worse still it would take an exceptional teacher to recognise this.


Do not underestimate the Sui Lum Tao, its strength is in its simplicity, its wisdom is in its subtleties.
 

profesormental

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I've spent almost 14 years on Sil Lum Tao.

Always practice it at least one a day. I also am practicing in Figthing stances (where I actually use them), with one foot, etc.

This makes sure that you are aligned properly when executing a technique. Sil Lum Tao is for that. And if you are not aligned properly, the whatever you do will be weak.

I personally feel that you learn better in private classes. Actually my group classes consisted in my Sifu running around from group to group teaching the material to the different subsets of students. This was after general practice and warmups and drills (including doing SLT).

So it was like mini private classes.

Does he charge for the group class? Is the fee for private classes reasonable?

If it is, I see no problem.

The thing is that there are different levels of commitment. Some people are ok and have just what they want in group classes. (chi sao obviously should be included in this!!!)

Others want more. Or much more. Those are willing to pay the price. And the teacher knows that they will not waste his time if he focuses a LOT of extra energy and effort in training them.

This does not mean that the group classes are unimportant.

It's the difference between students and martial "disciples". Disciples become part of your "family".

And they apid the price for it (in more ways than one; loyalty, effort, pain, perseverance, sacrifice [money mostly... before you had to devote years of servitude... I rather give money!], and much more.)

This seems like his way of looking for disciples and makig sure that his martial family survives. (or not... I'm assuming chinese training background intentions and values...)

Anyway, that is my take.

Hope it helps. And asking directly would help even more!!!

Sincerely,

Juan M. Mercado

P.S. To those that are SiFu... what is your relationship with your martial disciples? How is it different from your other students?
 
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Xue Sheng

Xue Sheng

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Thank You.

I have found that Chi sau is still taught in the first class but neither Chum Kiu, or Biu Gee are. However the students that pay for private lessons (@ $40/hour) still go to the first class for Chi Sau and I have been told by a student that does go there and doe spay for private lessons that, as was already said here, Sil Lum Tao is the basic form and it is good to take time to learn it, however if you do not learn at least Chum Kiu the people who have will walk all over you in Chi Sau.

Also I do not want to give the impression that I am saying anything against this teacher, he is very good and very skilled and I understand the need to make money here. And by comparison to the CMA school down the street that basically teaches CMA dance class and the Sifu there charges $60/hour for private lessons and $125/Mo for regular class, I do realize the price is not a bad one. I am just not sure I can give the extra $120/Mo for 4 lessons plus the $70/mo for the regular class.

However since my original post it is possible that this whole issue may be a moot issue do to a recent development. I will not know for a couple of weeks yet but I may have to make a hard choice.

More later, I guess.
 
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