Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?

7 Dec

The Chinese martial arts community is often compared to crabs in a barrel; the analogy being that members of the community will attempt to negate or diminish the importance of any member who achieves success beyond the others, out of envy, spite, or competitive feelings, to halt their progress. Having just returned recently from a relevant sermon at my church, I rather like the following quote;

“Snakes! Sons of vipers! How will you escape the judgment of hell?”
– John the Baptist

When it comes to martial arts, we aren’t simply talking about business competition. People come to martial arts instructors to help them, they put a lot of trust in them. A dishonest martial arts instructor can not only steal people’s money, they can ruin their lives, destroy their confidence and teach them things that can physically harm them. Martial arts, like some other similar communities, has its fair share of cults. So I personally have no qualms about calling out frauds and con men. It is an admittedly unpopular position in our community; it’s “rude”, it’s “aggressive”, it’s against “we de” (martial virtue)… No, actually that’s all crap. If someone is a fraud or a con man there is nothing to defend.


My teacher, the late Chan Tai-San, certainly has a number of legitimate representatives. I am friendly with many, perhaps even most. The ones I am not particularly friendly with, I certainly have no problem giving them their proper due. That is never the issue. But if you expect me to not call out someone selling made up crap as the material my teacher taught you have a serious problem.


Make no mistake, I know as much about Chan Tai-San and his method as anyone, and significantly more than most. I spent decades with him, virtually every day, traveled with him, taught his public classes and translated for him. I confess, it amuses when people who were never there are suddenly experts on the subject. There are students or students of students who think they know something, THEY DO NOT.

Chan Tai-San's public class from early 1990's

Chan Tai-San’s public class from early 1990’s

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