Q1.How do I know if a Bagua teacher or coach is qualified?
A.This is the most important question, and it is also the most difficult to answer. To say it is the most important, is to say that choosing a teacher is like choosing a profession. If you choose the wrong profession, it can cause you serious harm throughout your life, and this is even more the case when it comes to choosing a teacher. This question is difficult to answer because if one answers clearly they will have to deal with a lot of backlash, but if it is not answered clearly it only confounds the question further. I won’t hide from this question. I want to answer it clearly, but at the same time I don’t want to deal with any backlash.
Be very cautious in choosing a teacher. It is better to not study than it is to learn from an unqualified teacher. To find and follow a wise and knowledgeable teacher can benefit one greatly in all aspects of their life, and this is the reason why teachers have always been treated with such great respect. But there are too many who take on the name of a teacher for their own profit, and without thought for those they take advantage of in the process. These teachers may have a few tricks, or some strengths and skills, or even some insight which can allow beginners to expand their understanding of the world. However, once a teacher-student bond has been formed, the student becomes caught in a trap. While the students intention may have been to learn an art and strengthen their body, they soon find themselves constricted by the principles and morals of a misguided theory, from which it can be hard to break loose.
Masters, well-known teachers, mediocre instructors and opportunists often sound the same, but if you are going to learn from one, you must depend on your own eyes. If you follow an inept teacher, you will waste precious years of your life, your money and your hard work and come away empty-handed. In fact, you may end up worse off than before you began to practice, with bad habits which be difficult to change. But whose fault is it? It is your choice and your decision, and you must take full responsibility for it.
In the past, people didn’t go out and find teachers themselves, but rather were introduced by someone familiar with the discipline that they intended to study. This was a wise way of going about finding a teacher! If you ask my advice, I’ll suggest the Magui Bagua style, and you won’t be disappointed!
When you encounter a teacher, regardless of whether they are good or not, do not be anxious to become their disciple. First stay on the sidelines and learn for a few years, as difficult as that may be. Great teachers all have a certain quality of uprightness and character, and if this is the case with your teacher it will become clear within a few years. However, greedy, hypocritical teachers will also show themselves for what they are within a few years, and once that happens it is important to leave at once and go on one’s way.
To help prevent any of these problems and to ensure the highest standards of instruction in Magui Bagua, we have put in place a well-defined training routine and qualification process for all instructors. If someone, once qualified, wishes to become an instructor they must apply directly to the Magui Baguazhang Promotion Center. Once the application has been reviewed they are rigorously tested on all material they will be qualified to teach. Also, all qualified instructors must recertify once a year. In this way we hope to continue Magui Bagua in the purest, most complete form possible.
Q2.What’s the difference between a shifu, a master and a teacher?
A.Shifu has become a polite form of address for anyone, although in the past it meant someone who had mastered a technical skill of some sort.
Teacher is a technical term for someone who passes on knowledge, but in Chinese the word for teacher, Laoshi, has also become a polite form of address which can be applied to anyone with seniority.
A master, which is also called a shifu in Chinese (same pronunciation as the word above, but with different characters) is the traditional name for a teacher in the master-disciple relationship. It is a term with great significance, and one’s shifu is second only to one’s father. Of course, it is almost impossible to realize such an ideal, and both master and disciple have to be very cautious in entering such a relationship.
If one is not sincere in their intentions toward their teacher, and do not intend to treat him like a father, it is best not to become a disciple. Similarly, if one does not find a teacher who is worth entering into a master-disciple relationship with, it is probably not worth doing so just to learn a little of this or that.