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What a Master looks for in a Student


Participants of the Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course practicing combat sequences.
An Intensive Shaolin Kungfu Course in Sabah.

 

Question


I will finish this letter by thanking you most sincerely for introducing me to the Shaolin arts. You have awakened in me a desire to attain a high level of Kungfu and Qigong and eventually to pass them on to others. It is my hope that I shall be able to attend many more of your courses, especially the intensive ones. Until then, I hope that it pleases you to know that I will continue to practice diligently and use whatever skills I acquire for the good of everyone around me.


 

Answer


I am glad and proud of your decision to attain a high level in genuine Shaolin Kungfu and Qigong. You now have vision and direction. What you need to arrive at your destination is effort and perseverance.


A legitimate question many people ask is whether Kungfu and Qigong have any relevance in the modern world. There is no doubt in the case of genuine Qigong; it helps to solve two of the most urgent problems facing the world today, namely degenerative diseases and psychological disorders.


But what about Kungfu? To me, the type of Kungfu where one learns external Kungfu forms but has no internal force and is unable to apply the forms for combat, serves as a hobby. But genuine Kungfu, which is quite rare today, fulfills some important needs. It develops important skills like courage, judgment, quick decision and determination, qualities very useful to modern day professionals and businessmen.


We are more ambitious. We do not just teach Kungfu. We employ Kungfu training as a vehicle to attain the scholar-warrior ideal so that graduates from our school will be successful not only in public but also private lives.


You have the right attitude. You must be a good student first, then a good practitioner before thinking of teaching others. Practicing diligently is a basic requirement. No worthy result is possible without diligent work. But diligent work does not necessarily mean pain and toil. There is a lot of joy in the training itself.


Nevertheless, it is not our policy to teach everyone around us. We insist that our students must be deserving. Among many other things, deserving students are respectful and willing to work hard. We do not want to waste time on those who are skeptical or those who like to argue with their instructors.


We have no problems with others who disagree with our philosophy and methods, or who do not believe that we can accomplish what we claim. That is their right and privilege. But those who want to learn from us, they must follow our way. This is only logical.


To some people, doing what their instructors say is below their dignity; to us, doing what the instructors say is a sure way to get the best benefits from the instructors' teaching. If they are unwilling to do what their instructors say, they are free to go elsewhere, and we do not want to waste time on them. We do not want to accept them in the first place. If we have wrongly accepted them, we would return them their fees and ask them to go elsewhere.

 

The above is taken from Question 7 of June 2003 Part 2 of the Selection of Questions and Answers.

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