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Testing of prospective students - Have you heard of or experienced it?

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  • Testing of prospective students - Have you heard of or experienced it?

    I have been racking my brains trying to understand some of the people posting here. The ones that seem more focused on gossip and personal things than on kung fu.

    I have been in many different kung fu classes over the years. There are always a few types of students. One of the types is the kind that stands around and talks about kung fu, but never really does anything about it. They practice, but they never seem to get good. They never pay attention to the instructor and they always look real sloppy.

    After years had gone by, I learned to spot these people as a regular feature of any kind of kung fu class that was a "walk in off the street" type of class. People walked in, paid money, and immediately began training. Once I understood this, I tried to avoid those kinds of classes and those kinds of people.

    If you read up on kung fu, both fiction and real life kung fu stories, you will find many cases where the master refused to take the student. The master told the student no for 6 months straight. Then the master finally relented and accepted the student. When the student asked the master why it took so long, the master says "I was testing how bad you wanted kung fu".

    I thought those were just stories. Then I ran into a guy who told me about a class he wanted to join. He said he went to the class and talked about joining. The instructor asked him to wait outside. The man went outside thinking the instructor wanted to speak privately.

    The man waited outside the class for an hour. The instructor never came out. Finally the instructor came out and they talked. Nothing specific was ever said, but the man told me he thought the instructor was testing him. The instructor wanted to know if he was a walk in off the street person, or if he really wanted to learn. If the man was truly dedicated, waiting an hour would be a small price to pay for the privilege of learning.

    Once you get to the upper levels of kung fu, they don't take just anybody. Kung fu is like anything else. You don't want troublemakers, lazies, abusers, or those not qualified to enter into a high level class where their behavior will slow down the progress of the other truly advanced students.

    I joined a kung fu class once where they interviewed me. Really. First the kung fu instructor interviewed me for an hour. Then I had to interview with a group of 5 students. It was like an interrogation. Not because they were rude, but because it was odd to be questioned by 5 adversarial men to apply to a kung fu class. I had never experienced anything like it.

    Then, a month later, they finally called to say their deliberations were over and I was accepted into the class. A month I spent sweating bullets and wondering if my hair looked good, did I smell bad, and did I impress them enough to be accepted?
    ------------------------------

    I have to wonder if the talkers, the abusers, the people who do not seem interested in kung fu that I see in these threads......I have to wonder if they know about how kung fu works? Do they know that kung fu instructors weed out people like them to protect the other students who want to learn?

    Do these people understand that every word that comes out of their mouth is a piece of evidence of who they are? Some day in the future, when they want to join an advanced kung fu class, someone who is interviewing them will hold out a piece of computer print out with one of their old posts on it and say "This post you made 5 years ago makes you look like an abusive person. Our kung fu class is about cohesion and people working together in a kindly and helpful way. Why should we take you as a student when you have a history, right here in my hand, of abusing people and saying bad things about kung fu? Explain to us why we should not just show you the door now."

  • #2
    Unfortunately, at least in America, interviewing students to weed them out doesn't pay the bills.

    Which may be one reason why the bad schools survive, and the good ones disappear.
    Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

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    • #3
      Originally posted by doc
      Unfortunately, at least in America, interviewing students to weed them out doesn't pay the bills.

      Which may be one reason why the bad schools survive, and the good ones disappear.
      This place is mostly a hangout for you and your friends isn't it? You clique?

      None of them know anything about kung fu or care anything about kung fu do they? They just want to hang around you and be cool.

      I am happy you have a fulfilling social structure. I still think you should change the name of the forums from kung fu forums to something like "The gossip forums" or "The forums of Doc's cool friends".

      That way I would not have wasted so much time trying to talk about kung fu. I only did it because the forums are titled kung fu forums.

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      • #4
        I have heard of it.

        As for my personal experience, I was accepted by my first kung fu teacher after a one-on-one work out session, where, I guess you can say, he tested my will. ( I wrestled in high school and participated on Temple U's tai kwon do team, but was looking for something else, something different.) He was establishing his school at that time. I walked in off the street, talked with him; he trained me for a couple of hours, and then started me “to work:” putting up bags, cleaning, and so forth.

        Unfortunately, I was not content with staying in Philly however. This was not because of him, of course. I just wasn't happy living in Philly then. I also wanted to further explore my interests into Chinese culture and language. He encouraged me to follow my heart. I still visit with him when I can..

        His Shifu (my Shigong,) a Taiwanese man, had always been very tentative about receiving new students. He requested that my Shifu come to train with him, in fact, only after a number of years getting to know him around town while he trained at another school.

        In China, I learned some taiji from a woman for a few months. But, to be honest, I wasn't very impressed with most of what I saw.

        So, I was "on the look out" for another teacher for over two and a half years, often strolling around in the morning or evening hours. It wasn't until I was in Taiwan myself, however, that my other shifu “appeared.” Interestingly, I studied at Cheng Kung U., was always on campus, but didn’t see him for over a year. (He practices near ChengDahu 3 times a week. lol!) Either I was blind or it just wasn’t meant to be. When I saw him, I walked over and spoke with him immediately. He was the first person, first teacher, I had walked over to in a long while. I suppose I was a little depressed with not being able to find a teacher...and thought it best to be patient. Anyhow, I told him my story. He said that he had been considering teaching a foreigner recently, which he had never done before. He didn’t know why... why he had those thoughts and feelings, but said, “好看,我們兩個有緣分。" I'll see him again when I return to Taiwan in december or january.

        I do remember a story of my old shifu's (philly) senior student. He used to bike or run 2 hours a day, each way, in order to train with my old shigong. He ended up being a five time national kuoshu championship first place winner.
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        • #5
          Originally posted by Happeh
          I am happy you have a fulfilling social structure. I still think you should change the name of the forums from kung fu forums to something like "The gossip forums" or "The forums of Doc's cool friends".
          Happeh, I guess you're officially one of "Doc's cool friends" now too.

          Congratulations man. You've made the big time. Glad to have you on board.

          And, while we're at it, just to clarify my above statement since you didn't seem to understand it, you won't find much "interviewing" of prospective students at most martial arts schools in the US. Period. The reason being, most students don't stay long. There's a rotating door marketing strategy that's used, you have to keep more students coming in than are going out if you plan on making a profit. Since most US students leave after a few months, a US school has to continue to enroll new people on a monthly basis. Also, US students don't like to be told that they're not "worthy" to spend their money on some martial arts school. It's not the same culture that you find in China.
          Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

          "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

          (more comments in my User Profile)
          russbo.com


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          • #6
            which means, of course, that these students are all unworthy, and thus will never reach the highest echelons of kungfu.
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            • #7
              Originally posted by onesp1ng
              which means, of course, that these students are all unworthy, and thus will never reach the highest echelons of kungfu.
              Precisely.

              An interview would save the instructor and the students the time and energy they wasted on that person who walked away after a few months.


              onesping - "Either I was blind or it just wasn’t meant to be."

              You do know that one of the high level kung fu abilities is the ability to make yourself "invisible" to others?

              Of course your body does not become invisible. You manipulate the perceptions of the person you want to be invisible to. That is how high level people avoid being bothered by low level people.

              Low level people always bother high level people. The low level people, although they do not know it usually, want to suck the power and energy from the high level people. Of course the high level people want to keep their power and energy. So they have to make themselves invisible to the low level people, or they have to learn to hide their energy.

              Asians.........People will probably get mad, but Asians are real energy suckers. It is part of being Asian I guess. Knowing about Yin and Yang blah blah blah.

              I avoid them as much as I can because they have no problem sucking the life right out of you in front of 50 people. They look at most other people as stupid, you guessed it, animals. You wouldn't feel bad sucking the energy out of an animal would you? You eat animals everyday for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

              I would be pleased to discuss this idea with anyone if you can control your emotional reactions and your responses are not abusive.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Happeh

                Asians.........People will probably get mad, but Asians are real energy suckers. It is part of being Asian I guess. Knowing about Yin and Yang blah blah blah.
                I have to agree with that, though I think it has more to do with their history, their culture, and their self centered survival instincts. And forget trying to do business with them. The American Asian's tend to have more western tendencies; the mainland Chinese for example, can be real nightmares to deal with.
                Experienced Community organizer. Yeah, let's choose him to run the free world. It will be historic. What could possibly go wrong...

                "You're just a jaded cynical mother****er...." Jeffpeg

                (more comments in my User Profile)
                russbo.com


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                • #9
                  An interview would save the instructor and the students the time and energy they wasted on that person who walked away after a few months.
                  Well, honestly, I think this point is debatable because of how it generalizes, but it may hold true, in, say, 75% of all instances.
                  You do know that one of the high level kung fu abilities is the ability to make yourself "invisible" to others?

                  Of course your body does not become invisible. You manipulate the perceptions of the person you want to be invisible to. That is how high level people avoid being bothered by low level people.
                  This makes sense to me. I have seen people literally “feed” off of some of these teachers, which is one of the reasons why I have a problem with the “high level kung fu men are vampires” concept. It may be so that I have walked past a hundred or more high level gongfu men in my life. I wouldn’t know. But, it was the time I spent searching, that, at least to me, proved my determination to learn in my heart. I also suspect this is why my Taiwanese shifu decided I was “teachable”. Those years really changed my perception of what gongfu is and what it means to me. Otherwise, if not for that experience, I would have continued to take what I learned for granted.

                  Asians.........People will probably get mad, but Asians are real energy suckers. It is part of being Asian I guess. Knowing about Yin and Yang blah blah blah.
                  I try to stay away from broad generalizations. I know many Asians. Some are exactly as you have described and will undoubtedly “suck the life right out of you in front of 50 people.” I know my former teacher in my masters program would be very willing to if given the chance. lol! Others, well, they are not like this at all. I have to agree with doc, in that it’s a result of their education, history, etc. If you ask a cab driver in china, for example, what yinyang represents, you will typically find the same answer you get from just about any westerner. (Daoism is not recognized by most Chinese to be a valuable philosophical system for understanding the nature of the universe.) This may be unfortunate, but it’s true. And so I couldn’t say that their ability to “suck the life out of you” has a relationship with yinyang. It might, but, then again, it might not be a conscious inclination whereby they are aware of what they are doing. It may have just become a conditioned response of sorts, over the centuries, rather, that helps them to look and feel in control of their surroundings.
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