The Future of Martial Arts By Sifu Dana Wong In Uncategorized on May 9, 2013
Sifu Dana Wong is a Wing Chun practitioner and teacher in Melbourne, Australia.
When Sifu Kelly Knight asked if I would be interested in interviewing Dana Wong, I jumped at the chance! I have always heard 2 things on a pretty consistent basis about Sifu Wong; his martial skill, and his great personality, and I was very interested in his views on the Future of Martial Arts.
Sifu Wong graciously agreed to let me pester him with questions, despite a tough schedule of teaching full time, and traveling for seminars.
True to the rumors of his good nature, Dana was a fountain of information – so much so, that the interview covered everything in just 3 questions!
I would like to thank Dana for his time and insights, and Kelly for setting the interview up.
First off I would like to thank you for taking the time to participate! For our readers out there that may not be familiar with your work, could you tell us a bit about your martial arts background, or what I like to call your “martial history”?
Thank you, Jason, for inviting me to speak with you and your blog readers; it’s an honor to share some of my knowledge with others who follow the martial arts path. Where do I begin?
I suppose for me, the beginning was way, way back, in the 1960’s, seeing an old Black Belt magazine with Anton Geesink, a Dutch judo champion who was the first non-Japanese competitor to win a world championship at the time, on the cover. One of my uncles had it, as well as a couple of books by Bruce Tegner, on karate and kung fu. I read and re-read them, dreaming of doing those techniques I saw within, on kids at school who teased and made fun of me. Being the only Asian family in a middle-class, predominantly white suburb of Boston at the time, we stuck out quite distinctly. Coupled with the fact that I was very skinny back then, the kids would often pick on me and sometimes push me around, because I was “different”. Needless to say, my childhood was one filled with little self-confidence and pretty low self-esteem.
Like so many at the time, I was swept up in the phenomenon that was Bruce Lee, when he debuted in “the Green Hornet” tv series. I watched intently every Friday night, imagining that I was Kato, fearless and taking out any and all comers! It led me to dabble in the seven star praying mantis and tiger crane kung fu styles that were being taught in Boston’s Chinatown back then, and I dabbled in both for short periods of time until a high-school friend introduced me to Mr Gilbert Lam, a man he met while both were working in a restaurant on weekends. Gilbert had come to the US from Hong Kong, and had learned some Wing Chun for a few years there, and my friend coaxed him into teaching a small group of us what he knew. Gilbert told him/us that he was not a full-fledged sifu, but my friend convinced him to teach us what he knew, it being more than what we had, and of course, it was “Bruce’s style”!
Our Wing Chun “club” was exclusive, with existing members having to vote a new one in, much like a college fraternity does pledges. Over the years, we only had about a dozen or so members in total, and Gilbert taught us for a few years before saying that he had no more to teach us. He told my friend, who also originally came from Hong Kong, to go back and he gave him some names of people to look up, to continue our training. One was a man named Pang Gum Fat, who was on the HK Police force at the time, and the other, the late, great Sifu Wong Shun Leung. My friend went back to Hong Kong to live and train with these men, and on his return to Boston, taught us the things he’d learned from them.
I trained in the Wing Chun “club” from 1968, until 1972 when I and many of us graduated from high school. From then through the ‘70’s, many of the guys dropped off, going here and there to college or to jobs from high school, and for a few years thereafter, I’d catch up with this one or that occasionally, to try to retain our Wing Chun skills. It was during this time period that a young Donnie Yen would wander up to the club to hang around, and watch us train. I suppose it was a nice diversion for the wushu wonder who would later grow up to play Wing Chun’s iconic legend, Grandmaster Ip Man! Little did any of us think of such a coincidence happening at the time. Donnie’s mother is the famous wushu and tai chi master, Bow Sim Mark, who opened one of the first wushu schools in America, in Boston’s Chinatown. His father was also a renowned Chinese musician, so I suppose performing certainly was in his blood.
As time passed and my kung fu contemporaries and I “grew up”, and apart; I went onto college and put my time in, graduating with high honors from Boston University. During my college days, I forsook any martial art training to focus on my studies, having gotten many hints to “get serious and do something with my life.” Upon graduation, I went straight into the workforce, hoping to make my millions and to become a success.
After a couple of years of working in graphic design, I started to feel like I was wasting away, sitting at my drafting table. Coming from a background of playing basketball and doing kung fu and martial arts, I suddenly felt “old” and thought, “I’m too young to feel this old.” With that in mind, I started thinking about kung fu again, and how martial arts were such a big part of my earlier life. But my discipline wasn’t always the best, and despite the number of years I’d supposedly spent doing kung fu, I had no black belts to show for any of it, having started and stopped many, many times. But the urge to go back and try to finish what I’d started all those years ago prompted me to write a letter to Master William Cheung of Australia, whom I’d since read about in magazines over the years, as one of the fighting pioneers of Wing Chun’s rise during the 1950’s in Hong Kong.
I wrote him a letter in 1982, saying that I’d trained Wing Chun before and documenting my history with Gilbert and all, and that our club was now defunct. I asked him if he had a student or a friend in the Boston area, with whom I could connect with, to continue and advance my training. I was most surprised when we wrote me back and said that he would come to Boston and teach me himself. I was just another fan letter to him, I’m sure, and why he chose to do so, knocked me off my feet when I read the reply.
So, in 1983, he came to Boston for the first time to meet me and I began my training in his Traditional Wing Chun, which was quite different from what I’d learned previously, and he came to train me periodically from Australia for the next five years, when I decided to leave my career in graphics to pursue my “dream” of being a martial arts instructor, and I left Boston in 1988 to go to Melbourne, Australia to train full-time at his headquarters there.
I planned to train full-time for a year or two, with intentions to return to Boston and open my own school one day. But circumstances changed and I am still living in Australia now. I ended up his chief instructor at the Melbourne world headquarters and taught all the classes there, daily for almost 16 years. Because of differences that we could not mutually resolve, I left him at the end of 2002.
In mid-2003, after almost giving up teaching, I opened my own school, the Qian Li Dao Academy, and am happy to say that we will celebrate our 10th anniversary this year. Since that time, I took it upon myself to travel to Foshan, China, the “home” of Wing Chun, because I had formulated many questions about the system over the years, some of which I still hadn’t resolved to my satisfaction. Wing Chun, being a conceptual martial art, will naturally produce students who will fight in different ways. But we get conditioned to think that everyone who does a certain “style” should all do it the same way. I was curious as to why Wing Chun instructors and practitioners could be SO different, one to the next – even ones who had the same teacher! So I wanted to go the hometown of the art, to see what it was like and if it was similar or different to what I’d already learned; if so, either way, why?
So I did some research and noticed that, with all the fanfare about Wing Chun and Bruce Lee, there were “hundreds” of Wing Chun schools in China and Foshan, in particular, with websites proclaiming “learn this” or “learn that”, with prices, even accommodation and transport to and from, of course, with a certificate to hang on your wall thereafter. Sifting through it all, what really caught my eye was that Master Kwok Fu (who has since died in 2011), at the time one of two remaining first-generation students of late GM Ip Man, before he went to Hong Kong, was nowhere to be seen in cyberspace, and there was very little information available about him.
That really piqued my curiosity… why? Plus the fact that he was so far back in Wing Chun’s history… I wanted to know more about this man, and wanted to meet him.
So I got some friends of mine to arrange an introduction for me, in 2007, and dovetailed a visit to him with a trip when I received an invitation from the Foshan Chin Woo Athletic Association, to attend a world Wing Chun conference they were holding that year. They invited Wing Chun instructors from around the world to attend, with the intention of trying to create a unified front to present the art favorably around the world.
I met Master Kwok, who was very warm and friendly, and was quite open with me with his knowledge of the art. Despite his age (he was 86 at the time), he was still very quick and his reflexes still sharp, but his legs were weak from being beaten years earlier and he didn’t move a lot or stand for very long. Both he, and his son, Sifu Kwok Wai Jarn, treated me with kindness and open arms, and Master Kwok accepted me as his student. I returned again the following year, with some of my Australian students, to train with and visit them again and now represent their lineage of Wing Chun.
Several things led me to this point in my life, I believe. Firstly, the circle of going back to my beginnings, from a Wing Chun point-of-view, has helped me work out many pieces of the art’s puzzle. Those who train this art know of the supposed differences between “modified” and “traditional” Wing Chun, with a very simple explanation that one has footwork, while the other does not. In my opinion, this is not true, and for me and my students, there is a link for it all to have a reason for being. My trips to Foshan have helped me; anyway, see that the root of all the differences people see in today’s Wing Chun is still a common one for them all.
And meeting a man who was so humble, and even shunned the ‘spotlight’ of the internet and the potential to capitalize on his art’s worldwide popularity while so many others clamored for a part of that light was so refreshing, especially in today’s martial arts environment, where people have business consultants and the like running seminars for them to bring in more and more students, to keep their schools viable. Viable maybe, but at what cost, what kind of students is being produced? I was impressed with Master Kwok’s knowledge, openness, humility, and most certainly, his character and have been honored to be a representative of his lineage of this great art called Wing Chun.
As a side note, I have also spent some years training in the Filipino arts, enjoying stick and knife training and have found them to be a complimentary supplement to my Wing Chun – both arts being energy-based and conceptual in nature. I trained some years in the US, prior to leaving for Australia, under the late Professor Remy Presas, and also did a few years of AMOK! Knife combatives with Tom Sotis’ organization in Melbourne. But I have curtailed those activities to focus my students back onto their Wing Chun training.
Currently I have also been training in the internal art of xing yi quan since 2011, something I chose for personal reasons and interest. During my recent foray into this internal art, I have found again, many parallels to my Wing Chun training and it has also helped confirm, at least to me, that Wing Chun is an internal style of kung fu.
Both Xing Yi and Wing Chun emphasize a linear and direct approach to fighting – get in there, get it done and get out! Of the three main internal kung fu styles today (ba gua and tai ji being the others), Xing Yi is known to be the oldest one, and the most aggressive, of the three. I suppose it is why my internal kung fu teacher eventually steered me in this direction. I had approached him originally with the intention to learn Chen style tai ji; something to balance all the “external” training in my life with some “internal” as I got older. After a week of training, he changed me to Xing Yi, not knowing my prior martial arts background, saying that he felt that “this would suit me better.” When I did some research into Xing Yi’s theory, I was taken aback, to say the least; thinking how could this man know to guide me this way?
As I am relatively “new” to Xing Yi and the internal arts, let me just say that I am thoroughly enjoying this different perspective on my training.
-Based on your experiences in the martial arts, what major changes have you seen take place since you first began to train, up until now? Have certain things been more “in” than “out”?
I suppose if I step back and look over all the years that I’ve been involved in martial arts, there might be a couple of things that really stand out as “major changes” to me. The first one is what I call “the downside of the Bruce Lee legacy.”
As I said earlier, I was one of millions of people who have been impacted and influenced by Bruce Lee. He was certainly one in a billion and way ahead of his time; he had extraordinary drive, was gifted athletically and he philosophically as well as physically changed the entire martial arts industry! He questioned the traditional ways of teaching and learning, often challenging long-standing beliefs and customs, much to the consternation of many “masters” of the day. He was instrumental in bringing acceptance to cross-training, something never heard of and even blasphemous back then. And he pushed for more realism in training, with full-contact free sparring at the fore.
Many of those views have since become the norm in martial arts today, thanks to him, and I feel that overall, the arts have benefitted from many of his instigations. But one saying that he coined, “absorb what is useful, reject what is useless”, to me, has caused as much damage to martial arts as it has benefit.
Many took that statement as a liberating force to expand their knowledge and training, leaving the confines of their respective styles and heading off to any number of other schools and clubs, in search of “remedies” to the supposed limitations of their original arts. But in their quest to be like the legend that Bruce was, many took all of what he said and what he did as gospel truth, following blindly in the path of this shining star that he was. In my opinion, this caused as much of a backward step in martial arts as it did a forward one. I say this, because a trend has shown itself over time where we find many, many martial artists who’ve ended up with a mish-mash of training, often with minimal and varying amounts of time (and therefore, effort) put into such “pieces”, looking for what’s “useful” and throwing away what’s “useless”.
A typical example might be someone who’s done a couple of years, maybe, in a karate or kickboxing style, who then goes once a week for six months to a BJJ class, because he wants to well rounded and versed in groundfighting. But he also goes once a week, to a tactical weapons class to be able to handle a knife situation, if he’s attacked by an armed assailant on the street or at the nightclub. That may last a few months, and he gets a few “moves” and then decides to taste this or to sample that – all in search of becoming this well-rounded expert who can handle any and all situations known to man!
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to become the expert’s expert, so to speak, but I’ve often asked a question of many who’ve come to me with a classic example of what I’m talking about. Very often it will be someone who comes from a taekwondo/karate/kickboxing background and says to me, “yeah, I’ve been training now for a couple of years and my kicks are pretty good. But now I want to do Wing Chun for awhile, to get my hands, y’know?” To these people, it’s as simple as going to the supermarket and buying what you need, from making up your shopping list!
I often suggest to these people that the training in Wing Chun couldn’t be any more polar-opposite to a style that emphasizes kicking; therefore, the training in both places might be moving in two different directions. I also ask them if they feel they’ve mastered what they’ve already trained in, when they come to see me, looking for their “hands”. It’s not to say that everyone should spend 20 years learning and perfecting a martial art, but if one’s only put in a couple, three years in something, I’m sure there’s a lot left to still be desired. So instead of putting more time into your chosen art, you start heading off, here and there, looking for things that you feel are deficient or lacking in that art, you start spreading yourself thin; training one day here, two days a week there, and maybe another day yet over there. In the end, I believe the practitioner who chooses to do so, ends up with lots of mediocre to poor skills in all of what he/she sets out to do; proverbial “jacks of all trades, but masters of none.”
I’ll always qualify my statements and opinions about this by saying “I’m only one man, and you could be a better man than me.” But it seems that in today’s rush-rush society, and a generation of people wanting instant gratification, that Bruce inadvertently gave rise to a bunch of spoiled kids who want stuff right away, and aren’t necessarily willing to put in the time and efforts needed to achieve what they want. Instead they go “shopping” for it, here, there and everywhere, and overall, the quality of martial arts gets diluted in the end. Add to that, the availability of knowledge today, via the internet and intellectual piracy; people have access to video clips of anything they want, or torrent sites where they can download this master’s DVD’s and that instructor’s training vids. Copy the material and check it by looking in the mirror to see if looks the same, and Bob’s your uncle!
It’s great that we have such access to more information and different styles, so we can compare and contrast what’s around out there. But too often, these end up ways to just “cut and paste” yourself into this picture of what you envision the ultimate, all-rounder that Bruce said would “free you from the classical mess.” In the end, I think that martial arts have ended up with lots of physically aggressive fighters who can smash people up, but we find that there’s not much skill involved to do it, only violence and aggressive behavior. Steroids and lots of primal stuff, like heavy bag work, weight training and purely physical behavior, to me, is replacing skills and concepts that brought the martial arts to the fore in the first place.
Don’t get me wrong; a stronger muscle is a more efficient muscle, one that’s capable of more speed, better endurance and coordination. I’m all for being fitter and healthier. But if we look deeper, just being physical and aggressive and only looking at it as winning has moved us away from seeking such values as good and proper structures, learning to be soft and blending with the opponent; such skills are sought by so many styles – Wing Chun, aikido, judo, jiujitsu, hapkido and the list could go on and on.
But it’s harder to teach people to learn about themselves, about what they feel on the inside and how to harmonize with one’s attacker, and so it’s far easier to just get more physical, and to look for “pieces” from wherever one can get them to fill in your blanks.
Kung Fu, in Chinese, means, “hard work”, not martial arts; with the implication being that one only got their martial arts skill by putting in serious time and efforts. By misinterpreting (again, in my opinion only) Bruce Lee’s comments, many of today’s martial artists forsook “traditional” or “classical” training and its years of time spent working basics, and “freed” themselves to shop for the skills and abilities they didn’t get because they wouldn’t put in the time and efforts to get them, by “rejecting” this so I could “absorb” something else that struck their fancy.
Basics are boring in all martial arts, and many do not see that “advanced” skills are only basic skills strung together in combinations. And to me, many of today’s martial artists will not put in enough time and effort in their basics in order to see their true worth; rather, they seek an easy way around having to put in that boring time and effort, looking for pieces that will make them complete.
I think also that cultural differences of bringing Asian martial arts into the West has also contributed to this trend and problem too. I was taught a lot of my early years, in the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, by masters who never explained things when they taught; they just showed you and made you repeat it. People today joke about how antiquated it is to make someone do 50 pushups because they asked the instructor a question, or to explain how a technique worked. Even I have changed in that regard, and am known as one who can and will always give you the reasons why I want you to do something. In my 25+ years of full-time teaching, I’ve been as accessible a teacher as one could want, always answering a query or explaining something when a student couldn’t understand a drill or technique. Part of that comes from my easy-going personality, and part of that comes from me, learning the other way and getting no explanations for many years and of wanting my students not to have to take as long as I did, to learn their skills; much like a parent wanting his/her child not to be disadvantaged as he was.
But I’ve sometimes thought that maybe this has also contributed to the watering down of today’s martial arts. In Asian culture, the master was THE master; there was no dispute about the hierarchy of the relationship. He/she was the expert, there to show and teach and the student was the student, there to learn and not to question. In the West, it is not that way; it is seen more as a transaction from one to another. I paid my fees so I want my goods, if you will.
Like most things, balance needs to be maintained. I would agree that more than one too many “Asian master” has taken advantage of his/her “sifu/sensei/guro, etc” status and taken someone for a ride. And such deviants have tainted many in the relationship with the same brush. A lot of people training in the arts today want to ensure themselves of a quality instructor by having that person be able to break it all down for them, to be sure that the instructor is qualified – and that is fair enough.
But in some ways, it has led to practitioners who are unable or cannot figure things out for themselves; whether it be with techniques, strategies, principles or concepts. In the end, the practitioners suffer because they cannot work in a random and spontaneous environment; something that they strove for in their training in the first place.
Since realizing this “flaw” in my own teaching methods, I have tried to guide my students now more with drills and exercises that encourage them to be pro-active for their own results. I have also tried to limit how much I explain in words to them, trying to leave that last bit out, so that my students can nut out the answer for themselves. By doing so, they will now possess the information they need and won’t just be regurgitating what I told them. If they work it out, then it’s now inside of them and a part of who they are, and not just something they were told, or given in class.
I guess what I’m saying here is that I feel a trend back to more traditional methods of teaching, or “classical” ways of training the arts might not be such a bad thing. Bruce was right in erecting that tombstone of the man who died from the “classical mess”, because there were problems in learning in such a rigid environment as it was at the time. But throwing everything away from the “classical mess”, much like throwing the baby out with the bath water, may have been overdoing it. Like everything else in Life, in martial arts, in everything… Yin and Yang exist and they must do so in balance and in harmony. Sometimes I feel with the power and charisma and explosive energy that Bruce Lee brought to us all through his expressions of the martial arts, that we may have followed him and his words too closely, and put him on too high a pedestal, where we could not see some of the cautions and balances those same words may have also left us.
I could go on about many other things, but I think it’s time to stop for now and leave you with these thoughts. Perhaps another time, you’ll allow me to rant again. I thank you and your readers for your considerations and welcome any feedback; I’m always learning and want to continue on this magical journey of martial arts. Let it continue to show me that there’s always something else that I’ll still want to know and explore. I hope I may have given some of you some ideas for you to further your journeys in a positive and constructive way.
So, what do you think the future of martial arts will look like in, say, 20 years’ time?
I have often pondered that question in recent years. I’ve said to my students that I believe I am a dinosaur, a throwback to another age and time. I say that because to me, I don’t see many students today who have a real desire to teach. Too often, senior students become sifu, sensei, guro by default; by that, I mean that they become instructors only because they’ve “completed the curriculum” and achieved their black belt, or whatever the standard is for any particular style or school, and so become future instructors for that school, academy, association, etc.
Many schools push their students through set curriculums, with set gradings, with the dual purposes of making regular money off of their student base and for creating future instructors to keep their school/association going. Of course, I make a general statement here, which may not apply to many a school. But I would wager that a majority of martial art schools today operate like this, purely as a business, which has as its sole purpose, to make money and to keep itself in operation. Again, just look at the proliferation of organizations that run seminars and workshops to teach martial artists how to improve their “bottom-lines”, saying “why be poor because you teach martial arts?” That is a valid statement, but like so much of life today, to me, it’s been taken out of context and used to fit a purpose – one that lines the pockets of the people running these business seminars, and it gets “justified” because the martial arts instructors also make more money. But at what cost? In school after school after school, one can see people getting cranked through their respective systems, getting churned out like any other ‘manufactured’ product on a supermarket shelf. And because of the massive volume of students who get turned out in this fashion, they become the norm, the accepted standard – only because they become the majority. But the majority isn’t always what should be; in particular, in martial arts.
Being products of this “system”, many current instructors (and even their predecessors in some cases) can only have a simplified understanding of their arts, one that is only defined by what is on the curriculum sheets that are dictated by the grading structure. And that same grading structure ensures its own legitimacy as more and more instructors come forth from it; all of them using it as the justification for them to claim authority and legitimacy to hold something over others. Once gained, the qualification of an instructor often leads to stagnation and sometimes even repression, with many instructors only content to walk around, with arms behind their backs, barking orders at rows of submissive students, feeding their own egos and patting themselves on their backs for ‘teaching these neophytes how to improve’.
Few, at least to me, instructors today take an active role in working with their students, one-on-one, trying to encourage that personal development each student requires. This is essentially true in an art like Wing Chun, where the understanding of sensitivity and contact reflexes cannot be determined by group classes. Of course you can teach a group class, but one must still find time and ways to experience each student so that an accurate assessment can be done for them all. But Wing Chun, like so many other arts, has gone along and become such a popular martial art that it too, has suffered from that popularity, and become watered down in order to train the masses that wish to learn it. They will learn it, or some part of it, but how deeply will they get it; how well will they be able to express and interpret it?
I honestly worry about what kind of martial arts we will see in 20 years’ time. If trends continue as I see them, I feel that there will be a severely watered-down version of Wing Chun, and so many other arts, because the instructors coming out today do not have the depth of understanding to pass on many of the art’s nuances and “little things” that make them so effective. Plus I feel that so many are working toward what they feel others are looking for in their art, and so try to make what they do fit the “norm”, instead of doing what they do, regardless of how the public takes it. But if the public does not take it, then how can you survive, how can you make money teaching your art?
If one does not make a stand, then it becomes a vicious circle, and like so much else in life, martial arts becomes only a shadow of its former self, only using that former self as an advertising gimmick to justify the circle, where the instructor gets the money to keep the cycle going and both the instructor and the students ‘pay’ into the justification of the cycle, satisfying egos on all sides.
Many students today are also quite self-centered, only wanting to learn an art and are not necessarily interesting in teaching it to others. Is it a product of today’s “me” generation and of instant gratification? I would venture to say that I believe both of those trends certainly influence the thinking. But if students could be encouraged as they learn and come up through their systems, to teach others occasionally, they might find that by giving of their time and knowledge, they would gain so much more in understanding and development of their art. But that doesn’t necessarily lead to an increase of any monetary gain for them, and in fact, also leads to taking away some of their precious time for their own training and/or other pursuits in their lives.
So in the end, too often, students today only seem interested in learning for themselves. And why not? They paid for their lessons and their gradings; they are entitled to that. And if you cannot make me a good enough offer to teach (meaning if I can’t make a living as an instructor), then why should I teach? And so it comes back to money again, which pushes for a standard curriculum, with a constant grading structure, which runs people through the machine, more to make the numbers than to create solid students. Already schools are judged on how many students, and of course, black belts, they have and on how many branches they have, for their ‘success’. The level of abilities in the average student aren’t usually considered, sometimes even by perspective clients who are looking for a school to train with.
Another issue that has potential to really impact on where martial arts are in 20 years’ time is liability insurance. Today’s environment is so “sue-happy” that a martial arts academy’s highest overhead outside of rent is usually liability insurance. So much of today’s teaching and so much of the content set forth in curriculums is dictated by the fear of getting sued by a student or his/her family. Because of this, much of the “bite” in many martial arts has been taken out and/or distilled such that the training is ‘fail-safe’ so that no one can even remotely get hurt during training. But as Bruce Lee put it so eloquently years ago, “how can one swim if one doesn’t get wet?”
I feel bad for people who will be learning martial arts in 20 years’ time because of these factors. I feel that martial arts will hold less value in the future for them, because the surface will be there, but the substance may be truly lacking. Capitalism and liability will continue to exact their tolls on the true essence of the arts, they already are. And the selfishness of today’s students, I believe, will yield smaller crops of “good” instructors who will be able to interpret and disseminate the arts in a deep and positive way.
I tell my own students today, that my hope is that a few of them might become ‘seeds’ that can/will sprout to grow new crops that can hopefully re-populate the martial arts vegetation of tomorrow. I can only hope that they will seed properly, and so give hope to tomorrow’s martial artists. It is the dream of any martial arts instructor who really cares about his/her art. The money is one thing, but what legacy do you want to leave for those who follow the path that you’ve walked? Only each person, instructor or student, can answer that for him/herself.