Kung Fu Relationships

Taken from, The Wing Chun Compendium, written by Wayne Belonoha, 2004.

When you start learning kung fu, you pay some money, come to the school, and expect to be taught.

The kung fu school is a family, and when you join you are welcomed into it. The other students are now your older brothers and sister. They are there to help you, protect you, teach you, mentor you, and guide you through your kung fu journey. In return they ask that you learn the most important piece of kung fu—respect for others. This too they will teach you but you must show you are willing to learn.

During and after kung fu classes you will learn many valuable life lessons. You will find that the more respect you offer your brothers and sisters, both older and younger, the more they will respect and teach you, and the faster your kung fu skill will grow. This mutual respect will build relationships and strong friendships.

Your Sifu is the head instructor and the father of the family. If you show disrespect to him, you are showing disrespect to the rest of the family as well. Your Sifu may very well become one of, if not the most important person in your life. He should always be treated as such.

Many people do not know when or how to show respect to their Sifu, brothers and sisters. Here are a few tips.

First, go eat something. In the Chinese culture, food and dining with family is very important. After class ask if anybody would like to go out to a Chinese restaurant. Treat it like a special event (it is). Bring enough money to pay for the meal as your Sifu did for his Sifu. It is your job as the youngest brother to pour the tea, keeping the cup of your Sifu, brothers and sisters full, but not so full that it becomes difficult to drink. This is now the perfect time to ask and learn how to show respect. Ask to hear some kung fu stories. Ask your Sifu about his training days. Find out why the lid is removed from the teapot when it is empty.

Stay at the restaurant as long as your Sifu is willing to stay. When it is time to leave, thank everybody for their time and knowledge. Offer to pay for the dinner if you can. Hold the door for everybody when they leave (like you did when everybody entered the restaurant).

When you arrive for your next class, make it a point to stop and say hello to your Sifu. Ask how his day went. The respect you show to your Sifu and Sihings will be recognized and will be returned to you many times over and in many different ways. The respectful attitude you learn and display at your school is a truly valuable skill. This skill will benefit you for the rest of your life.