STQI Scarborough School

When can I learn that form?

aka “I’ve been learning this form for XXX months, is it time to learn a new form now?” aka “How come this person is learning that form before I can?” aka “How long will it take before I can learn the sword?” aka “Hi, I want to learn the staff now.”

There are thousands of Kung Fu forms/styles, not only hand to hand combat but also various weapons and internal training as well. There are so many forms that no one person can master them all. And that is an important concept–mastery. Our school believes in becoming very good at only a handful of forms, and not trying to make a collection of dozens of forms that you know only at a moderate level.

There is an old saying, “You must walk before you can learn to run” and we subscribe to the belief that you must have the proper foundation and understanding before progressing to another form. Not everyone commits the same amount of training time every week, and also the movements in Kung Fu can be difficult for some people to grasp physically and mentally. So that is why it may take months or even years before some start learning another form.

In fact, there is no set amount of time where you automatically qualify to start learning another form. Just because you have spent XXX months learning something doesn’t mean you are good at it, and that is also why some students may spent a lot of time on one form and see other students start new forms before them. There is an important life lesson to learn here: there are always people who are better than you at something and some people who train more often than you do, so you must develop the humility to accept that fact and have the perseverance to continue your training so that you can grow even if it is harder for you than for someone else.

Another important thing is that certain forms are better suited to certain people than others, because some movements may be difficult or dangerous based on current skill and ability. Your instructor would choose what form you learn next based on what would be best for your development, and you shouldn’t expect to be able to demand to learn a certain form next.

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