View Full Version : Taking extra classes with different Shifu..??

08-16-2004, 01:37 AM
Hi there... just a question re ettiquette... I go to a class every sunday and my shifu is very good... but I also would like to attend a monthing class as well as the various seminars that I can attend... but these are with a different Shifr (in one case a student of GM Chen Zheng Lei and who is apparantly a friend of my Shifu) could anyone foresee a problem with me going to the extra classes or attending these seminars... Is it considered impolite or similar...???

08-16-2004, 08:13 AM
GP- It is universally considered good etiquette to ask permission of a teacher before taking classes with another. Before you do this, consider, "What would I gain from the second Shifu that the first cannot offer?"
The possible problems include that the teaching may be at odds with what you are currently taught; there may be hard feelings between teachers (I've seen this up close recently, and it is UGLY); and you may convey disrespect for what the first teacher is doing. If you ask permission, you need to have a GOOD reason why the second teacher can give something the first cannot.
Some instructors do like their students to broaden their horizons. My principal instructor sends his stronger students to other masters in the hopes they will gain something to allow them to transend his teaching. He also encourages seminars and exploration of arts and weapons he is unfamiliar with. In this way I study Tai Chi with one teacher, Xingyi and Bagua with a second.

Good Luck, Bill

08-16-2004, 08:52 AM
Thanks Bill.. the main reason for me looking into this is to hopefully gain more depth into my form... I feel that learning from more than one source can lead to a better understanding of the thing you are learning... My Shifu is very good... and I really enjoy his classes and very much want to continue with him... I practice taiji daily in conjunction with a book and dvd... I also take classes every week and they are different mainly in how martial the form is... (the book and dvd is more martial and efficient/pragmatic than the class... ie the transitions are not as flowery... ) but are the same in posture... I am hoping the monthly class will compliment these as my weekly classes have complimented my daily lessons/practice... but I will be asking him if its ok and making sure he understands it is in no way due to him or his teaching...

08-16-2004, 12:54 PM

It depends on the teacher an dthe subject being taught. Th emodernists (wushu) may be more agreeable than those who had a more 'traditional' approach to training. The latter are almost extinct so the former may prevail and you could study with whomever.

As long as you follow the training criteria of your teacher(s), you should be fine.

08-16-2004, 05:03 PM
well this isn't 17th century China;most teachers are aware that at some point the student may opt for multiple classes or outside form correction at the hands of other teachers.Even the Chinese ones are hip to this,especially if they are teaching in this country;this is all to your advantage by the way but you may be surprised to find,as i was,that the grass is just as green on your own turf;in the days before modern warfare each school's training methods and martial techniques were guarded secrets in order to avoid whole schools being wiped out by their competitors; in those days defection of a student to another school was punishable by death.
Are the extra classes in the same location?
if not why tell your sifu at all,just plead ignorance
if it comes up.

08-16-2004, 10:32 PM
I like Shark's "the grass elsewhere is just as green as your own turf". The essential principles are all the same.

My teachers or the good teachers in general are travelling all the time and it is hard to catch up with them. Jan Silberstorff teaches essential principles to other styles and forms. Just because my masters are travelling around the world i have to catch up with other teachers sometimes. The modern forms like Chen 36 and 56 are taught in Chen village due to participation in several competitions. My true teacher however will still remain the Grandmaster.

About flowery transitions, it is like a classical music piece , the notes are the same but the individual artistic expression is different by each musician. In the end, it would be just YOUR interpretation.

When the other shifu is not in the same city why bother to tell him at all? I learnt different approaches by different teachers, teaching methodology and psychology. It teaches somebody to separate one's mindset.I am good friends with Paul Lam, learnt much from him, especially teaching methodology and psychology but i found it difficult to accept his instructors to teach me.

08-17-2004, 12:24 AM
Stanton... its Chen style and our Shifu is very good so I will be staying with him... I have noticed several differences in the transitions between movements as compared to what I have learnt in my daily practice but its all good...

Shark the classes are a couple stops up on the underground... its just once a month to get some extra study in... so I think it will be fine but I will approach Shifu first... I like the grass in my current class but the grass could also be just as nutritious in the other one... ;-)

Soraya... I like your classical music analogy... makes sense... the other Shifu is a friend of our Shifu (the other Shifu even has dvds for sale at our class)... so they may chat and I dont want to jeprodise such a good Shifu by being shady...

Thanks for all the replies... it seems the general consensus is that it would be ok... cheers...

08-26-2004, 07:21 AM
The class I attend is quite traditional, so it is considered bad manners to even think about going to another teacher with out first spaking to your teacher, and none of tell our teacher we use forums like this, or read magazines as they are considerd too political!

Personally I think the decision needs to be yours, although teaching methods vary from school to school, and even from teacher to teacher with in the same school. This is good as it is an aid to improvement.