A teacher I've never met started dissing me on an online martial arts forum a few days ago. One of the things he criticized was wearing a Tai Chi or Kung-Fu uniform in my videos -- Chinese pajamas I think he put it. That showed him I'm not serious about using Taiji, Hsing-I or Bagua for real self-defense.
That was news to me.
By the way -- I don't always wear a uniform for practice. Sometimes I wear a Bruce Lee t-shirt. Sometimes a "Chillin' With My Peeps" t-shirt. Sometimes I wear a sweatshirt if the weather is cold.
But if I'm doing a video I'll wear a uniform.
For one thing, it looks more "professional." I don't want to appear like all the backyard masters who you see on YouTube.For another thing, I've always thought a uniform is cool, and isn't that why a lot of us got into the martial arts -- to learn self-defense and because it's cool? :) And, of course, to attract chicks.
It's interesting how people run across your website or blog and -- if they have a website -- they see you as competition so they have to run you down. He asked if I had ever used my arts to save my own life?
Well, no, I've managed to avoid those situations since I got out of college, or I've managed to talk angry people down. But I've had students who have used these arts for real, including a cop who took down some violent criminals with Hsing-I, a 15-year old boy whose stepfather got drunk and tried to beat him up, and a student who was attacked at a bar.
They weren't wearing uniforms at the time. :)
In fact, my students are not required to wear uniforms. They aren't even required to own a uniform. They really only need one to perform in a tournament. I usually ask those who have uniforms to wear them for videos, but you'll see some of my DVDs and many online videos that have students in them (and me) without uniforms. It really isn't that big a deal, is it?
This same teacher said that a uniform promotes division and is a symbol of ego. To wear one, he implies, is a sign you're out for status.
See the first pictures at the top of this post? The next time I see Chen Bing or Chen Xiaoxing, I'm going to complain to them that they obviously can't use their arts for self-defense, and they are egotists promoting a division among students.
And then I'm going to tell them my name is Gary Romel. :) Heh heh.
When I buy a DVD from an instructor that I admire -- one of the Chen practitioners, Mike Patterson, or other good internal teachers -- I like it when they wear uniforms, but even if they didn't, their instruction would still be good.
What do you think? If I ever meet the teacher who wrote that stuff, should I wear my "I'm With Stupid" t-shirt instead of my uniform?
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