By Heather McLean, Instructor, Southern Crane Kungfu
At Southern Crane Kungfu we teach patterns to students at a faster speed than they would be taught by Masters in China, but at a much slower speed than many UK-based martial art clubs.
Some people are impatient to learn more patterns, as they feel that they have learnt the moves of the forms they have been given so far and are ready to move on, or that knowing more patterns in some way makes them bigger and cleverer than other people.
However, for those people, there is always the option of going to a club to study in another Asian or American martial system, where gradings are provided every two to three months and it is possible to become a black belt in two to three years, and to get Dan gradings galore just moments later.
Those clubs do very well for themselves, and the students get the satisfaction of collecting a multitude of patterns and belts, until their pockets are dry and they get to the top.
But what happens then? There is nowhere else left to go. They have ‘learnt’ all that can be learnt. There is nothing left to pay for. The collection is complete. They hang up their uniform in the cupboard, write the fact they are a whatever-club third degree Dan graded martial artist on their CV and their Facebook page, and leave it at that.
What we teach at SCK is not a belt-grabbing sport designed to suck the last pennies from your pockets; it is a vast art, taught as traditionally as the Western mind can handle, to ensure that you have the foundations of a true martial artist, and to preserve the tradition and integrity of the three systems of kungfu we teach.
So be patient. Learn your patterns; train them hard and dissect them. You will get where you want to be, but it will take time. Just remember it is worth it.