BaguaKicksAss

How can you tell if you are getting the real deal / indoor teachings?

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I was training with a "student" today (he's had 30 years experience, I'm not entirely sure I'm the teacher lol)... anyways, we started discussing martial arts and qigong teachers. He said how does he know he had gotten the proper closed door teachings from his various teachers? It was more of a rhetorical question, so I didn't have time to answer. It is something interesting to ponder though. Everyone either thinks their teacher is the best and has the most secret indoor teachings of them ALL! :D, or tends to worry that they aren't getting the true transmission and so forth. (well OK and some folks just enjoy training and don't worry about such things).

 

But anyways, so how does one tell? There are most definitely different quality of teachers, and you sometimes wonder if a certain teacher didn't quite get all the teachings (or perhaps they just don't want to teach them in a group class, or to you in particular). Then people wonder how can you tell which teachers are better than others? Difficult when you are brand new. I have had people explain to me how when they were new to the art they gave up a good solid traditional teacher who really new their stuff, for a fancy wushu one who didn't teach nearly as deeply.

 

So how did/do each of you tell? I personally don't feel asking on internet forums to be very reliable unfortunately, as it really is a popularity contest, though sometimes it can work I'm sure. Also when online, advertising does play a role. I think asking around in person, but also trying a few. You can sort of tell which one... well at the very least which one you mesh the best with and get along the best with. Sometimes I wonder if that is more important than perhaps just a bit more skill? Folks tend to learn a LOT faster when there is a connection between teacher and student. Also one can look for commonalities. There are some basic principals that folks all cover, or at least should cover (that are unfortunately left out of group classes a lot). I found asking experienced martial artists isn't necessarily the best idea, they all tell you that their teacher and their martial art is best ;).

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I don't think you ever truly know that a system is valid unless you have done the training yourself and have seen first hand that it is valid and worthwhile.

Edited by KenBrace
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I don't think you ever truly know that a system is valid unless you have done the training yourself and have seen first hand that it is valid and worthwhile.

 

I think with experience you can tell. You start to know what to look for. When new though, not possible really imo.

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I think with experience you can tell. You start to know what to look for. When new though, not possible really imo.

 

I think that along with this, if you experience real benefits that last, then there is something there.

 

Does that mean it is real/ authentic and complete? No. Just that it has substance.

 

Its tough to know how far your system goes....

 

and if you were taught incorrectly so that later on, you have to start over.

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I think with experience you can tell. You start to know what to look for. When new though, not possible really imo.

In my opinion here is how you should go about selecting a teacher/system...

 

(1) Clearly define your goal/s.

(2) Thoroughly research all systems that claim to offer your goal/s.

(3) Discard the ones that are obviously BS.

(4) Sift through the remaining systems slowly discarding the one's that have less evidence to support them or are just less to your liking.

(5) Settle on a particular favorite and go for it. If it turns out that the system is getting you no where them move down the list to the next preferred system.

 

In my case there is really only one publicly know system that will go where I want to go and luckily it has tons of evidence to back up its validity so I'm in good luck. :)

Edited by KenBrace
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I don't think you ever truly know that a system is valid unless you have done the training yourself and have seen first hand that it is valid and worthwhile.

 

One thing I think we can do is look at the students that the system produces. What kind of people are they? How did the system shape them as an individual....do they have good character and display virtue.....etc

 

My 2 cents, Peace

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I used to think a lot about this and felt i boiled down to questions. I think there should be questions about your progress from your teacher as well as questions from you to her/him. I think putting in time working with your teacher to get to know them, see if they seem relaxed and comfortable. For them to share their innermost discoveries i think its important to give back and to really spend time exploring the teachings deeply. That and lots and lots of practice.

The fruits might be individual, but imho fruittrees dont grow unless the soil is right, to do one of those classical mysticological parables :)

 

I think observing the system teachers and their ability to teach different types of people might be good also. Many times people are good students to their master but fail in putting the teachings in a good context for their own students. Maybe the teacher is trying to convey a true transmission but failing to "phrase" it properly.

Imo a teacher should always be ready to tell you where for instance the power in the movement is and where it comes from if youre doing martial stuff, or at least say: i'm going to look into it so i can explain it better next time. If you're not getting explanations maybe you're not ready to apply their meaning yet? Or maybe your teacher doesnt know them? No teacher is perfect right?

 

But hey, if you've been accepted as an inner door student or sworn yourself to your teacher and s/he's accepted you, either your getting the real deal already or s/he is testing you for a response. If you're unsure, ask about it and examine yourself, why do you feel skeptical or why do you feel you're being decieved?

Edited by Rocky Lionmouth
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I was training with a "student" today (he's had 30 years experience, I'm not entirely sure I'm the teacher lol)... anyways, we started discussing martial arts and qigong teachers. He said how does he know he had gotten the proper closed door teachings from his various teachers? It was more of a rhetorical question, so I didn't have time to answer. It is something interesting to ponder though. Everyone either thinks their teacher is the best and has the most secret indoor teachings of them ALL! :D, or tends to worry that they aren't getting the true transmission and so forth. (well OK and some folks just enjoy training and don't worry about such things).

 

But anyways, so how does one tell? There are most definitely different quality of teachers, and you sometimes wonder if a certain teacher didn't quite get all the teachings (or perhaps they just don't want to teach them in a group class, or to you in particular). Then people wonder how can you tell which teachers are better than others? Difficult when you are brand new. I have had people explain to me how when they were new to the art they gave up a good solid traditional teacher who really new their stuff, for a fancy wushu one who didn't teach nearly as deeply.

 

So how did/do each of you tell? I personally don't feel asking on internet forums to be very reliable unfortunately, as it really is a popularity contest, though sometimes it can work I'm sure. Also when online, advertising does play a role. I think asking around in person, but also trying a few. You can sort of tell which one... well at the very least which one you mesh the best with and get along the best with. Sometimes I wonder if that is more important than perhaps just a bit more skill? Folks tend to learn a LOT faster when there is a connection between teacher and student. Also one can look for commonalities. There are some basic principals that folks all cover, or at least should cover (that are unfortunately left out of group classes a lot). I found asking experienced martial artists isn't necessarily the best idea, they all tell you that their teacher and their martial art is best ;).

 

 

Truth is that you really never know unless you become the successor.

 

Sifu can always drop a bit of knowledge that can shatter everything you thought you knew before on something you never even knew existed.

 

This has been my exp.

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Or just practice Bagua and call it good...

 

:D

 

 

Seriously though. This is the answer I´d give. Just practice Bagua (or standing, inner smile, tai chi, kunlun, spring forest, etc). How many of us have really taken any of these as far as they will go?

 

Not that I follow my own advice. There was recently a thread here in which people mentioned a practice given by Max to some and not others--Red Dragon--and I felt I just had to have it. Well, you know, the truth is I didn´t really have to have it. It´s not like I don´t have enough right now to develop myself plenty. If I fail in my cultivation goals it won´t be because I haven´t received the right practices; it will be because I haven´t devoted myself diligently with the practices I already have.

 

It´s so easy to get trapped in a kind of practice anxiety. To nurture a scarcity mindset. Wallow in fear of not getting enough (teachings, money, love).

 

Julie Henderson, the teacher of a great set of practices called Zapchen, says...

 

"Anything is possible; Nothing is necessary.".

 

Liminal

Edited by liminal_luke
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From a martial perspective one thing i have found is that if you really meditate on the postures and the forms….feel into them at deeper and deeper levels….that aspects of the technique will unfold for you all on its own….sometimes these will be things your teacher has said a hundred times and it just then "clicks"…..other times things your teacher never said will unfold for you simply because they were imbedded in the postures and movements of the practice…..but he did not necessarily convey it to you overtly.

 

Its always a lot of fun when you see these little gems pop out of our practice and our understanding deepens as a result. :)

 

My 2 cents, Peace

Edited by OldChi
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I don't know if this will help but here it is

 

Hsuan Hua Vajra Strikes Pt. 1

Q: Which is the best practice out of the 84,000 Dharma doors? Which is the most supreme?
A: The most supreme Dharma door is one that you find most suitable; the weakest Dharma door is the one you find most useless.

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I read that traditionally one of the main problems in China with the Chinese arts was that masters of a school would rarely teach the full teachings until they were very old because if they taught it all then one of their students would rise above the master and then open their own school and take all the students, so the master would lose their livelihood and ability to feed their family etc. Hopefully that isn't the case any more in the modern day so there isn't the need to hold anything back.

 

Spiritually I heard that was the principle reason behind why the Chinese arts were largely destroyed in China, because too many teachings were being held back which should have been openly taught for the benefit of all. Which is similar to Tibet, in that the spiritual traditions in Tibet were destroyed because they were hoarding spiritual knowledge and power when it should be available for the entire world. So I think any master now who is holding back may not have learned from the past and might be inviting some bad consequences for themselves.

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I read that traditionally one of the main problems in China with the Chinese arts was that masters of a school would rarely teach the full teachings until they were very old because if they taught it all then one of their students would rise above the master and then open their own school and take all the students, so the master would lose their livelihood and ability to feed their family etc. Hopefully that isn't the case any more in the modern day so there isn't the need to hold anything back.

 

Spiritually I heard that was the principle reason behind why the Chinese arts were largely destroyed in China, because too many teachings were being held back which should have been openly taught for the benefit of all. Which is similar to Tibet, in that the spiritual traditions in Tibet were destroyed because they were hoarding spiritual knowledge and power when it should be available for the entire world. So I think any master now who is holding back may not have learned from the past and might be inviting some bad consequences for themselves.

 

Hmmm, I personally hold back a lot of teachings (not Chinese), so people won't go around harming innocents, or (more often) themselves. Also I really don't care to have a handed down tradition mass market produced in paperbacks. Some things just aren't meant for the entire population, and are more meant for people that we get to know quite well over several years. People tend to change when they get some power (or perceived power), and can go some very bad directions, as I have found. I see no reason to make certain things public. Even in my martial arts and neigong stuff, it isn't just handed out, it is taught to serious students, after a time. Someone asked me to teach them iron vest during their second class... uhm no. (and not like they couldn't handle it).

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the people that invented the concept of inner teachings think they are not a choice you can make, but a matter of destiny, and they teach and act accordingly, if you have fate with them, they will open up, to what extent, it could only depend of the nature of your 'fate' with that specific teaching

 

my take is you couldn't know

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I still say the best path/system/teacher/method is the one that you actually practice :). Even a crappy art given by a crappy teacher which is practiced most days of the week will (in most cases) do better than the best practiced only one day per week.

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Hmmm, I personally hold back a lot of teachings (not Chinese), so people won't go around harming innocents, or (more often) themselves. Also I really don't care to have a handed down tradition mass market produced in paperbacks. Some things just aren't meant for the entire population, and are more meant for people that we get to know quite well over several years. People tend to change when they get some power (or perceived power), and can go some very bad directions, as I have found. I see no reason to make certain things public. Even in my martial arts and neigong stuff, it isn't just handed out, it is taught to serious students, after a time. Someone asked me to teach them iron vest during their second class... uhm no. (and not like they couldn't handle it).

 

Yeah I mean more when the student is ready there is no need to hold anything back from them, whereas in the past that might not have been the attitude due to the threat of competition and other things. I agree that there are things that should be kept back until someone is ready for the reasons you say and because people may create some sort of mistaken conceptual understanding from then teaching which blocks their progress.

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One thing I think we can do is look at the students that the system produces. What kind of people are they? How did the system shape them as an individual....do they have good character and display virtue.....etc My 2 cents, Peace

 

Hmmmm, that works for some things, depends what you are looking for. Sometimes you will get a martial arts teacher who really has the goods, but their students don't come out so well personality wise (or sometimes even them themselves could use a lot of work on the personal evolution front).... So then one has to look at the fact that you in a way "inherit" the teacher's energy infused Taichi (or whichever martial art), and how important that is to you. Perhaps you just want to be able to physically move amazingly well and defend yourself like no other, and that is of less importance. On the otherhand, perhaps it is of primary importance and you also wish to cultivate something a bit more "refined".

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Sometimes you will get a martial arts teacher who really has the goods, but their students don't come out so well personality wise (or sometimes even them themselves could use a lot of work on the personal evolution front)....

 

When I was in counseling school I asked a professor of mine if it was possible to be a good therapist and a really messed up person at the same time. She answered yes (but she didn´t recommend it.)

 

I think this is true for spiritual teachers too. Some great spiritual teachers are messed up in way or another for the simple reason that, in addition to being masters of their art, they are people. In fact, I´d say pretty much all of my teachers have had qualities I wouldn´t want to emulate. Doesn´t mean I regret my time with them one bit.

 

Liminal

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When I was in counseling school I asked a professor of mine if it was possible to be a good therapist and a really messed up person at the same time. She answered yes (but she didn´t recommend it.)

 

I think this is true for spiritual teachers too. Some great spiritual teachers are messed up in way or another for the simple reason that, in addition to being masters of their art, they are people. In fact, I´d say pretty much all of my teachers have had qualities I wouldn´t want to emulate. Doesn´t mean I regret my time with them one bit.

 

Liminal

 

I'm not sure if there is such a thing as a spiritual or martial arts teacher who doesn't either has a lot to work through, or USED to have a lot to work through, and has. I'll go with the second category personally ;). I think the challenges we face, or have faced is what builds wisdom, etc.

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I was training with a "student" today (he's had 30 years experience, I'm not entirely sure I'm the teacher lol)... anyways, we started discussing martial arts and qigong teachers. He said how does he know he had gotten the proper closed door teachings from his various teachers? It was more of a rhetorical question, so I didn't have time to answer. It is something interesting to ponder though. Everyone either thinks their teacher is the best and has the most secret indoor teachings of them ALL! :D, or tends to worry that they aren't getting the true transmission and so forth. (well OK and some folks just enjoy training and don't worry about such things).

 

But anyways, so how does one tell? There are most definitely different quality of teachers, and you sometimes wonder if a certain teacher didn't quite get all the teachings (or perhaps they just don't want to teach them in a group class, or to you in particular). Then people wonder how can you tell which teachers are better than others? Difficult when you are brand new. I have had people explain to me how when they were new to the art they gave up a good solid traditional teacher who really new their stuff, for a fancy wushu one who didn't teach nearly as deeply.

 

Well this is really a huge big can of worms.

 

I think it all depends on the flavor and type of gungfu that is being lusted after. Which is not a very helpful answer.

 

"How do I tell?"

"It depends!".

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I was training with a "student" today (he's had 30 years experience, I'm not entirely sure I'm the teacher lol)... anyways, we started discussing martial arts and qigong teachers. He said how does he know he had gotten the proper closed door teachings from his various teachers? It was more of a rhetorical question, so I didn't have time to answer. It is something interesting to ponder though. Everyone either thinks their teacher is the best and has the most secret indoor teachings of them ALL! :D, or tends to worry that they aren't getting the true transmission and so forth. (well OK and some folks just enjoy training and don't worry about such things).

 

But anyways, so how does one tell? There are most definitely different quality of teachers, and you sometimes wonder if a certain teacher didn't quite get all the teachings (or perhaps they just don't want to teach them in a group class, or to you in particular). Then people wonder how can you tell which teachers are better than others? Difficult when you are brand new. I have had people explain to me how when they were new to the art they gave up a good solid traditional teacher who really new their stuff, for a fancy wushu one who didn't teach nearly as deeply.

 

So how did/do each of you tell? I personally don't feel asking on internet forums to be very reliable unfortunately, as it really is a popularity contest, though sometimes it can work I'm sure. Also when online, advertising does play a role. I think asking around in person, but also trying a few. You can sort of tell which one... well at the very least which one you mesh the best with and get along the best with. Sometimes I wonder if that is more important than perhaps just a bit more skill? Folks tend to learn a LOT faster when there is a connection between teacher and student. Also one can look for commonalities. There are some basic principals that folks all cover, or at least should cover (that are unfortunately left out of group classes a lot). I found asking experienced martial artists isn't necessarily the best idea, they all tell you that their teacher and their martial art is best ;).

 

Good questions...

And a follow up question - what does it matter, other than to our ego?

 

I've had several good and a few great martial arts teachers.

I was able to find answers to your questions through my own experience with my current teacher.

I've trained with him for about 12 years and began teaching for him after about 3.

As I grew as a student and instructor myself, I began to see the overall picture of his teaching method.

 

I saw that he first taught me the art itself - basics, form, posture, breathing, applications,etc...,

The second stage, that began as we got into the intermediate and advanced stages was that he taught me how to learn.

That was critically important. In doing that, he gave me the tools I need to self correct and continue to grow.

The next stage was teaching me how to teach, which could not have happened without stage 2 - learning how to learn.

And at some point he told me that I had to fly on my own and to stop bothering him with questions...

 

So looking back, I'm quite certain that there are things that he reserves for his successor.

I also know that he does not teach everything to every student but rather thoughtfully selects what he thinks students will benefit from the most and what is most suitable to their strengths and aptitude. And here I am referring to the advanced methods and "pith" type instructions that are only useful to those that are in a position, and have demonstrated the aptitude, to take advantage of them.

 

And at the end of the day, I'll turn it around and ask the person who is concerned with whether or not their teacher is holding back - have you thoroughly understood and mastered everything you have been shown to date?

Because if not, the things that are being withheld only matter to the ego...

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