By Heather McLean, Instructor, Southern Crane Kungfu
No matter what style of martial art or martial sport you have chosen, it is important to dedicate yourself to that style. This is not only a matter of commitment in order to progress and do well, but to completely focus yourself on one style is a sign of maturity, and shows respect to your club and to your instructors.
Students that train at a club but constantly compare what they are doing to other styles are highlighting their immature, childish outlook. They behave and talk like a child in a sweetshop with his mouth full of chocolate and his hands in as many other jars as he can grab.
Focus is everything; if you are studying a traditional southern Chinese style of martial arts, it is never going to look like modern Wushu or kickboxing. If you want to bounce around in a class kicking pads all the time, or learn how to leap gymnastically into the air, there are many clubs that are very happy to teach you those skills.
If you want to be an instructor inside of two years with a black belt, and get your fourth Dan grading inside of a decade, go to a club that can give you what you need to attain a sense of satisfaction.
However, if you wish to learn how to fight and do forms in a traditional martial art, and if you do not mind that you will need years and decades of training to attain a black belt, find a club that can help you attain those goals.
Whichever style of martial art or martial sport you chose to study, whether it means you will be a black belt with your own club in two years, or still considered a junior student after three years, you must respect your club, your instructors, and your fellow students.
Respect your style. Respect yourself. Respect others.