The chap who caused an uproar or awakening depending on your point of view by unveiling a fake Tai Chi master gave an interview after the match.
Some readers may find it hard to stomach what he has to say but hey, don’t shoot the messenger, especially if self-improvement is more important to you than “face” if you know what I mean.
After watching the interview I can understand the problems that Coach Xu is facing now from the government and other martial arts masters who do not like what he has to say and are out to get him.
Like the Japanese would say the nail that sticks out gets hammered down. But then if the nail does not stick out and cause some pain no one would know that things are not hunky dory.
Self-delusion is a big problem for Chinese martial arts. Fortunately, there are still good masters around. However, I think the bigger problem is the students blindly worshiping the master, blindly worshiping the senior, blindly worshiping the lineage, the style and leaving their commonsense behind.
Self-delusion is not just a problem suffered by the uneducated. The educated, the literati too are afflicted. At one time one student told me about how good his master was. I know who the master is as I have read his books.
But once I have seen a video of this master I have to tell my student that the master’s skill is ordinary. That the master is a big chap would help a lot. I saw how the video did his fajing. Seriously, I had to wonder – is this really internal skill? Any ordinary person could do it by following certain steps to put in motion the principles of acceleration, momentum and displacement. My student might not like to hear it but if he did not wake up from the self-delusion he will continue to hang on to the past, unable to move forward.
The second thing that was important is the question of why my student did not inherit any great skill from this master given that the master was put on such a high pedestal. My student said that some of the seniors got it. Yes, that is good but what would it matter if my student didn’t get it. To me, a teacher that failed to transmit to you especially if you are a serious student is not a teacher worthy of your adoration.
Of course, if you did not sincerely learn and seriously train, ah well, then you are the problem. Such 5-minute warmth students are typical of many learners. Now you teach them then they immediately forget. If by a miracle you managed to fix them, then the next lesson they show the same mistakes, again as if the previous hard won changes meant nothing. One step forward, ten steps backwards.
I know that traditionalists hate to be exposed by MMA. But if there is a problem, the best way to fix it is to face up to it. What Coach Xu is saying is nothing new. My Ngok Gar Kuen seniors said Pok Khek Kuen is no big deal and explained to me how they can beat the techniques. Now that I know Pok Khek Kuen so much better I would say they are right and wrong depending on the skill level of the Pok Khek practitioner.
Every style has mostly average practitioners who cannot use the techniques. I suppose it depends on the direction of the school whether they want street fighters or tournament fighters. Would Ngok Gar fighters have fared as well in full-contact tournament? That would be an interesting question as I have not heard of any one who has entered tournaments and won, however, quite a number of Pok Khek practitioners have won full-contact tournaments.
The same goes for Wing Chun practitioners who rode high on how many rooftop fights they won. However, when these same practitioners entered a full-contact tournament they got wiped out by Choy Li Fut practitioners. It does not mean Wing Chun is totally useless for tournaments, just that the art has certain areas that need to be worked on if it is to be successful in tournaments. Nowadays, some Wing Chun masters have changed their art and entered their students tournaments with good results.
If you are not seeing results in your training it is time to review your learning critically. If there is a need to move on, just move on. After crossing the river I don’t bring along the canoe. After driving down the highway I don’t bring the Ferrari with me up the mountain.