The Teacher & Student Roles and Relationships:
- More experienced students should always go out of their way to welcome and assist less experienced and newer students.
- However, students should never teach or impart new material to newer students, only instructors and designated assistant instructors may teach (Two reasons: Decreases the likelihood that incorrect material will be passed on, and ensures that newer students will cultivate patience and work on the material at hand.)
- Never ask your teacher to show you new material or “the next move.” Your teacher will determine when it is time to impart new material to you based on the quality you demonstrate of current material, and your demonstrated balance of patience and enthusiasm.
- Every instructor has his or her own style and understanding of forms and techniques. If you were shown something differently from one instructor to another, it would be wrong to automatically assume that one is wrong and one is right and impolite to openly question the instructor. Ask the instructor privately, and if there is doubt agree to clarify with the head instructor. Keep in mind that the head instructor’s style and understanding of forms and techniques evolves and changes over time, too.
- Newer students should demonstrate respect towards more senior students at all times. Examples: Line up behind senior students in class, do more of the daily tasks such as sweeping the floor, serve senior students first, defer to senior students in all matters related to your training.
- Understand the student-teacher relationship. Accept instruction from your teacher with an open heart and open mind, having faith that your teacher always has your best interest at heart. If your teacher asks for your opinion, give it freely and honestly. If not, better to keep quiet about your opinions.
- Be honest and open with your teacher at all times. If you make an error in wu-de or judgment, acknowledge your error, apologize and move forward with matters.
- You should always greet your head instructor when you see him for the first time each day with a courtesy salutation.
Attendance and Practice:
- Practice daily. A martial artist is someone who does martial arts every day—whether physical, mental or spiritual practice.
- Let your instructor(s) know if you won’t be at class for extended periods.
- Never miss your regularly-scheduled classes with poor excuses (Tired, injured, events with friends, etc.—only miss if very sick, family emergencies, must go out of town, etc.)
- Wear your full uniform in class
- Maintain good personal hygiene (shower, use deodorant, clean uniform, trimmed finger nails, hair tied back, etc.)
- Remove jewelry before class to avoid injuries
- Attend lectures, workshops or other special events that your teacher recommends as often as possible
Class Etiquette and Guidelines:
- Make every effort to arrive to class on time. If you must be late, quietly enter and bow to your teacher and when acknowledged join in.
- Bow when entering the training space, and bow to the masters and teachers at the start of each class. This is both a gesture of respect, and a “mental trigger” to remind you to clear your mind in the sacred space for learning, and train as if the masters are observing you.
- Fill in from front row to back based on seniority
- Give your full effort in every class (this usually comes down to focus)
- NEVER leave the class without notifying your teacher or a senior student first (for safety reasons as well as respect)
- Go to the bathroom before or after class, and drink water before or after class.
- Turn off cell phones before class. If you must be on call for your job, ask your instructor for permission to keep your phone on.
- Avoid unnecessary chatter during class. A focused mind is a quiet mind. We learn best when we are quiet and focused.
- Safety is always of paramount importance in your training. Make every effort to protect your classmates and training partners from injury at all times.
- Martial arts training obviously has inherent risk of injury, which we all accept as practitioners. However, you have both the right and obligation to excuse yourself from any specific activities in class that you feel you cannot or should not do due to previous injuries or health conditions. Notify your instructor, and you can practice other activities instead.
Tuition and Payments:
- Make sure your tuition and billing is paid regularly. If you run into financial difficulties or billing problems which many of us do at times, let our staff know: we will never turn away a good student due to money problems. However, make every effort to take personal responsibility for your finances in order to avoid passing your burdens on to the school or to others.
- Acknowledge your teacher and your teachers’ teacher with Heng Bao, or Red Envelopes, at Chinese New Year and on birthdays. (It doesn’t matter how much you give, as long as you give from your heart some amount. More often than not the teacher uses this money to help improve the school).
Promotion of Your School:
- Actively promote and refer your school to others. The strength of your own training and that of your brothers and sisters is dependent upon the strength of your school.
- Within the school and in public, remain positive and complimentary of your teachers and the school. Of course it is impossible to always like all things about your school or teachers, but remember the adage, “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything.” If ever you ever become really unhappy with your school, best to part ways rather than poison the environment for others.
- Take active part in demonstrations, special events, festival, community activities and other events that help promote the arts we teach in general, and The Peaceful Dragon in particular.
These specific guidelines are of course subject to change at any time, but the principles and purpose will remain the same: To reflect good Wu-De, and foster an environment that is safe, ethical, and productive for each and every one of our students.