after Hong and Xu had a falling out. Hong taught more traditional than most, because he knew he had something good and he was looking to have a lot of people, but he was very judicious in giving out instruction to people. He showed something one time. If you were not paying attention, didn't pick it up the first time, or you turned the other way for a second, you missed it. It wasn't shown again. Hence a lot of people from Hong's school took a long time to pick up anything.
When Xu Hong Ji was at Hong's school, by his nature, he became as sly as a fox. At the end, before the split, he was Hong's most senior student. Learning from Hong through those years he would always take care of the old man. Hong felt that he had a really good student that was always there for him. He'd get him food, he'd clean up, he'd open the door, everything. The reason he did that was that he was always watching Hong. Whatever Hong did, he saw. He knew he had to eat shit in order to learn something because he knew it was the only way Hong would reveal himself. It was through accidents. By virtue of doing that, of always being there, he acquired Hong's knowledge. He used to say that the skill of kung fu was in catching something the first time, without missing a lick. That is what makes your kung fu good. If you don't have that quality, your kung fu will never be complete. There are too many things that only happen once.
Number one, you have to have a teacher who is willing to teach. Number two, you have to be willing to work hard and practice. And the last thing is that you have to be smart, you have to be a fox.
After he got all he thought he would get from Hong, he confronted Hong with the idea of being open and teaching the Japanese and Americans, and Hong said, "No this is strictly Chinese, and that is it." So then they parted. He got a bad rap out of the Hong crowd because he had the courage to do his own thing. He would say, "If a person wants to do something special, they have to get off the beaten path, or make their own path." And that is what he had to do with Hong. Someone had to break the mold and do it their own way.
Xu Hong Ji said that there were three prerequisites before you can learn kung fu. Number one, you have to have a teacher who is willing to teach. Number two, you have to be willing to work hard and practice. There is no magic pill, there are no secrets, you don't read it from a book. That is why there was no literature at the school to trouble your mind with someone else's ideas and verbiage. If you do not practice, you will never get it. And the last thing is that you have to be smart, you have to be a fox.
Xu Hong Ji was truly a teacher. A lot of Chinese teachers get up there and exercise themselves and the students follow them. That ain't teaching shit. Or you got the other guy who sits up there on his thrown and eyeballs everybody and has a couple of assistants out there and they teach. He barks out a few corrections form his throne and everyone brings him money and pays homage and he is taking the money to the bank. He is not truly teaching. Somewhere between those two right and left limits, a true teacher of Chinese martial arts is in the middle. That is where Xu Hong Ji was.
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