Teaching Traditionally

Don't Teach : Teach How To Learn

Transcribed from an Audio Recording of Calasanz

I just finished with a student, [we will call him R for privacy]. R is a guy who comes and works out over here and has signed up on a 3 month commitment. He comes here to work out several days a week. I go giving him several techniques every other day or so. He already has about 9 techniques on the 20 arm wooden dummy. Today I went to teach him one of the techniques where you go into a front stance and block with the bong shou. He has to get into a front stance and block using the bong shou block, the middle block. In karate middle block is a bong shou. In Chinese Wing Chun bong shou is a middle block.

Bruce Lee called it the intercepting fist. You block the fist then you attack. It's also known in Wing Chun as Lop Sau. As I explain to him for about 2 minutes and repeat the movement for him he is looking directly at my eyes, and I am watching that. When I told him to go ahead and replicate it I watched as he went and did something completely differently. I mean, he went and did something really, very different.

Wing Chun : Bong Shou Karate : Middle Block

I said, “R… How you could have gotten that, because you were watching straight to my eyes.” It's like Bruce Lee said, “Don't concentrate on the finger or you lose all the heavenly glory.” You have to look, visualize, observe and capture the entire person.

Now, I said to him as a joke, “You want to bet? You know what, we're gonna bet. I need 10 dollars, we're gonna bet 10 dollars because I need it for food.” So he laughed and then I said, “All you gonna do is that you're gonna go into a front stance. Look and visualize me. Now, bring the right hand to block the fist. And that is all you're gonna do, in a front stance.” It took about 10 to 15 seconds. He went to perform it again; this time it was perfectly done.

This is a little example about what traditional learning is except as you can see we are speeding up the process. The Chinese Master would teach the student a technique. If the student did it wrong he would not teach the student more and would order so many more iterations of the technique until the student became exhausted, gave up, or became proficient and got it right. The master knowing all-the-while that even just spending that time has improved not only the student's ability to perform the technique & kept the student working out all day; but has also given the student a slew of physical benefits increasing endurance, balance, flexibility and coordination just to name a few. Here we don't want to waste that time. We have the best exercises and movements for these benefits and will teach them to you such that you learn it well enough to take it home with you.

Ancient Techniques with a Modern Approach at:

Calasanz Physical Arts Norwalk, CT 06851 507 Westport Avenue 203-663-6651

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