Wearing gloves and contact work will Destroy your Wing Chun
This is one of the greatest myths and untruths spread by traditional martial arts teachers who do not have confidence in their own skills or test them under pressure regularly or “glove up”. For me it would be one of the key warning signs to not choose a martial arts school. Always ask this question when approaching a new school and the answer will tell you lots about what you will be learning and how useful it will be in a real-life situation.
“Do you offer contacting training using protective equipment or sparring at your school and do you partake in it yourself? “
For me the correct answer should always be that students have the OPTION to partake In contact drills and exercises to test their skills once they have learnt the basics of the system and can hold structure under basic pressure. This should also always be with appropriate protective equipment.
Why should this always be the answer?
Well first off, whether you want to partake in this type of contact work or not (some at my club choose not to) you will be confident that the skills and structure that you are learning in the early days of your training will build into something use-able in a real life situation as you progress.
Secondly there is nothing worse than having spent years leaning at a school or from a ‘Master’ that does not regularly test and update their skills or have never been pressure tested in any way. There are many out there just teaching on the basis that it worked for their teachers, teacher so therefore it must work for you, right? Absolutely not………..
Other indicators to look out for are that there are senior adult students being taught at the school by the Sifu. This will tell you that they have been through the process, tested the skills using contact drills at the school and made the decision to stay and refine those skills over years. That is true commitment to teaching that works, if the contact drills / sparring are missing then the school is likely only teaching no more than choreography.
One last point to make is that this is especially important if you have little or no experience of martial arts yourself and are looking for a martial arts school for your child or yourself. My advice would be to only have your child taught or take instruction from a Sifu or Instructor that teaches adults themselves and meets the above criteria.
Why? Because there are so many large schools out there that turn in to money making franchises! They turn out lots of so called “Sifu’s” that only teach children to bring in the bucks. Some Instructors are even part of franchises that seem legitimate because the head of the school is a proven competitive fighter, however look a little deeper. The qualification for becoming an “instructor” at these schools is to pay to attend a two week intensive training course and then a monthly fee to receive a video in the post to show them what “moves” to teach the following week. A ready made instructor in a couple of weeks! What could be better! Ask yourself who you want teaching your child or passing you on skills that might one day need to be used in a desperate situation to defend yourself or your family.
By asking these questions you will be one step closer to ensuring that your Sifu / Instructor and the skills being taught are legitimate –
1 – Are you part of a much larger school / franchise?
2 - Do you offer contact training using protective equipment or sparring at your school and do you partake in it yourself?
3 – How many Senior Adult students do you have training under you?
If the answers to any of the above questions are not in line with the rest of this article then I would suggest that you look elsewhere for instruction in Martial Arts.
Work hard, train well and be safe.