Atmosphere—We do not run the school like the military. It is our goal to create a family atmosphere where fathers and sons and husbands and wives can train together. We welcome students of all ages and abilities and want training to be an enjoyable experience that people look forward to. At the same time we teach very combative martial arts and want to ensure that in addition to progressing in technique, the student is cultivating self-control, respect for others, self-respect, and humility. As Bruce Lee said, “Play, but play seriously.” Following is a list of the school rules and protocol that will make training productive and your self-cultivation complete.
Attendance—It goes without saying that you cannot learn if you are not in class. People join health clubs sometimes just to feel better about themselves but end up not going in for their workout. This approach simple does not work in martial arts. The program here is structured and academic in nature. You could not disappear from college for two months at a time and expect to succeed. If you will be out for more than a few classes, it is appropriate to let us know. Our school is not so big that we will not miss you if you are gone for weeks at a time.
Punctuality—Our classes begin with a formal bow in and generally have a specific lesson plan. It is disruptive to the class to arrive late, and you will not know what we are doing. Make it your intention always to be on time. Punctuality shows humility, and tardiness shows arrogance. If your work schedule is incompatible with the class you want, you should try one of the other classes. It is not okay to be late on a regular basis. If you are late, you should do ten pushups at the side of the room and then join the class.
Uniforms—We have comfortable uniforms that are loose fitting. We do not use a gi since neither you nor the people you may have to fight will be wearing one. The shirt must be tucked in the pants and the string of the pants must be tucked into the pants. The uniform must be clean and wrinkle free. You are permitted to be out of uniform one time per year. Wing Chun has jackets and sashes that should be worn during class unless otherwise instructed. During the yoga stretching class, you are encouraged not to wear your uniform. This is to make it more comfortable and fun for you and also to allow the Grandmaster to assess the lines of your postures.
Hygiene—Martial arts is up close and personal. Make sure you are relatively fresh when you arrive, do not wear perfume or cologne and refrain from smoking or eating noxious foods prior to entering the school. Bowing—We do not engage in excessive bowing. However, we do require that you bow in before entering the training floor and that you bow out before leaving the training floor. We also have a group bow before and after class at the direction of the instructor. The purpose of the bow in is to remind you that you are entering a place where you are expected to conduct yourself at a higher standard of behavior.
Proscribed—You are not permitted to chew gum in class. All jewelry must be removed. No swearing of any kind is allowed. There is no food or drink permitted in the school except for water or other healthy beverages specifically approved or sold in the school. You may not wear street shoes on the training floor. Martial arts shoes, Kung Fu slippers or bare feet are permitted. Cell phones must be turned off before entering the training floor and are discouraged in the waiting room, which is a place for interacting in a positive way with your fellow students. Use this waiting time to practice reaching out to others and engage in old school fellowship. Do not linger in the reception area. Please keep it clear by proceeding to the waiting room.
Blood, Sweat and Tears—If you sweat a lot, please periodically wipe the sweat from the floor with a towel that you should bring. Professional sports now have strict blood protocols. Do not train with open wounds especially on the knuckles. If a cut opens up, you need to wipe up the floor, clean and cover your wound and wear bag gloves if necessary. Do not punch you knuckles bloody outside of class and then come in to the school thinking it looks cool. It is simply a sign that you do not respect your body. Try to remember that the school is a place where positivity is the goal. Negativity, complaining and other “tears” do not fit with our school spirit.
Protective Gear—We want you to be able to train hard and not get injured. As such, we require mouth guards during all application work and cups during kicking defense, sparring and any grappling. Various equipment options will be offered when you join fight club. You must purchase all notebooks, uniforms, and equipment through the school so that we may keep all our prices low.
Notebooks—You need to buy a ringed notebook in which to keep your requirement sheets. You must purchase all notebooks, uniforms, and equipment through the school so that we may keep all our prices low. At some point around the middle of a semester, you will be sent a requirement sheet for that level. You should print it out, place it in your notebook and bring it to class every night. On testing day, you must bring in your notebook with all your testing sheets in it and present it to the teacher.
You are also encouraged to keep a martial arts journal. This is your personal recollections of the teachings from a given semester and is different than your school notebook. If you continue with the program, you will be thankful that you started a journal right from the beginning.
Etiquette—One of the enjoyable facets of martial arts for many is the high standard of conduct. The world has lost many of its social conventions. Our school provides you and opportunity to experience these traditions. As such, when you are given an instruction by the Grandmaster, an instructor or a school leader, you should respond, “yes sir.” You should refer to the Grandmaster as “Sigong” at all times in and outside of class. You should refer to a full instructor as “Sifu.” You should refer to apprentice instructors, helpers and leaders by their name. If you are in the kids program, you should refer to the instructors by their first name with the title “Mr.” in front of it.
In addition, the leaders, helpers and instructors are volunteers who are sacrificing their own training to teach you. It is completely appropriate to thank them when they take the time to teach you something. On occasion, different instructors may teach you different versions of a technique. You do not need to reconcile the different versions. Just absorb the information. You also do not need to reconcile our art with other arts you have studied. If you were taught something different in a different art, simply endeavor to learn to do it our way. You are encouraged to coach other students at your level but refrain from teaching them. Coaching includes positive comments about their effort and basic feedback on their technique such as “good job” or “keep your hands up.”
Do not sit down or lean during class unless instructed to do so. If you are asked to sit to listen to a presentation, either sit cross legged or Japanese style (kneeling).
From time to time you may be asked to assist the teacher with a demonstration. You should not try to show off by resisting or improvising. On the other hand you should not crumble to the floor like a rag doll. Offer just the right amount of energy to facilitate the teaching. If you succeed, you will be selected again in the future with this honor. When you work with a student who is not as strong as you, please attenuate your striking power as appropriate. If you are a mitt holder or grappling partner, inform your partner of any injuries you have so they can modify. A skilled martial artist can kick very hard or very easy depending on instructions. If you can only strike as hard as you can, you have a self-control problem. The best way to encourage prospective students to join the school is to be welcoming. Try and recall how you felt on your first day at the school. It can be very intimidating. Be the student who introduces yourself to new and prospective students. Finally, remember that martial arts can be difficult. If it were easy, then everyone would be doing it. Do not expect to be great at a technique the first day. Learn to be patient with yourself.
While waiting for classes, students should wait only in the designated waiting area.
If the designated waiting area is full, students have the option of either waiting in their vehicle or waiting outside the front door. The business area should be clear for all business transactions to be handles confidentially.
The Gung Fu Institute has a strict no food policy. Water bottles will be allowed in all designated waiting areas.
Leadership—The school has a leadership program and an instructorship program. If you demonstrate good character and proficiency with martial arts, you may be eligible for our leadership program. Please inquire with Sigong if you think you are ready. If you are setting a good example for other students with your conduct, you are already leading.
Service—Public service is essential for a healthy spirit and good self-esteem. Even if you are not in leadership, find a way to serve the school. This may entail volunteering to help with marketing or website design or painting. Even if you do not have a specific skill set, find out what needs to be done at the school and volunteer to help. This may be as simple as taking out the nightly garbage or putting kicking shields and heavy bags away.
Equipment—You are required to purchase a certain amount of equipment to complete the courses. It is no different than needing to purchase textbooks and lab equipment for college or needing sticks and gloves for hockey. You must purchase all equipment from the school. There are many reasons for this. First, you will know you are buying the correct equipment needed for the program. Second, there will be a uniformity in the equipment being used that will promote harmony and predictability. For example, if you have MMA gloves that are a different weight or thickness than everyone else, it will lead to an unfair result. Third, you will want to support the school by purchasing from us rather than some random company. The school’s prices are competitive with other companies and supporting the school helps to keep tuition lower.
Testing—We have a testing period about every three months. This will give you a chance to show your skills under pressure. It will also give the teachers feedback on how well you are progressing and how well they are teaching. Sign up and pay for testing in a timely fashion. If you have had extended absences, you may not be eligible for testing. If you joined the school in the middle of a semester, you also may not be eligible. There is a yoga/stretching requirement as well. Although the teacher will score your technique on the testing sheet, the overall test will be pass or fail. If there are one or two techniques that you struggle with, you will be given a grace period to correct them and then you will pass your test without paying another fee. Make sure that you are ready for testing, since we do not rubber stamp your promotions; they must be earned. JKD does not have belts. Instead we track how many levels you have passed to date and issue you a certificate. Wing Chun issues sashes from white to black. Please be on your very best behavior during testing. Do not wear your new sash or shirt until you have received your certificate.
Fitness—Bruce Lee’s vision of JKD was turning your body into a weapon. In order to succeed in JKD you need to develop strength, flexibility, stamina and overall health. While you are in the program you should pursue all of these elements. Every time you make a healthy eating choice you are doing Kung Fu. Eating junk food or consuming toxic substances weakens your martial arts. You will gain many aspects of health in our martial arts classes, but it is not enough. You need to work outside of class on your flexibility, your cardio, strength and diet. Our school has many resources to help you with these goal so do not hesitate to ask Sigong and others for help.
"The function and duty of a quality human being is the sincere and honest development of one’s potential."