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Frequently Asked Questions

Teacher, When I join your Kwoon I bowed in as a follower of yours. Can you tell me what is expected from a follower?

The bottom line is we are all followers. You follow me, I follow someone else. What is expected from you is no more or no less then what is expected from me. Much of the ethics of our art stems from a family structure. Even the tittle "Sifu" means Teacher/Father.

If you think in those terms of giving your teacher the same loyalty you would give your paternal father, you will find your Shao-lin ethics would be perfect harmony with your family ethics. A kwoon is a home away from home, it is part of you. The people in that kwoon are your brothers and sisters, aunts and uncles. It is a tightly bound unit of people all with the same burning desire, that is the leaning of Shao-lin the right way.

Your paternal father does so much for you, and in your heart you respect him for that. A Sifu is doing much the same thing. He or she is changing your prospectives in life. Your teacher is taking the time to help you see the path. Your teacher is always there even when you are not, trying to show you the way you seek.

A teacher gives fully and completely of himself or herself to you. This is why a teacher will consider very carefully before accepting another student. It then become the teacher's job to help you. Being a teacher is demanding and requires love of the art and the desire to keep it going generation to generation. For this your loyalty is deserved. What the teacher gives you stays with you for life. In short, all your chosen teachers deserve your loyalty for they have been loyal to you.

Loyalty is certainly a two way street. If you want your teacher to favor you, show him or her your loyalty. The heart of a teacher is hard to touch with words; only loyalty shows a teacher you care.

Before my last Master, Ch'ang Tung Sheng, died, I spoke with him on the phone. I was doing all I could to help him at his last hours. This in fact was being done by all those who were loyal to him. His help came far and wide from his devoted students. Before he passed he said to me, "For Ren (Frank) you are a good student, my love was not wasted". I was loyal to Ch'ang as I was to all my teachers.

The Chinese word for loyalty is jungsyin, in the first tone. Jung means loyal, devoted, faithful, honest and patriotic. Syin means heart, your nature, the mind, your affections. You can see the Chinese character for the word loyal, has a deep meaning.

Your loyalty is indeed a serious matter to any teacher following the traditional way. Just follow quietly and others will follow you. Some students want to break away, make changes to their styles, discredit the ones who taught them the way. If they can not be loyal, then they can expect no loyalty, and without loyalty Shao-lin can not remain in tack.

It is only the loyal follows who can return to you what their teachers gave to them.

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