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The Humming Bird: This happened in the mid 1980’s when I was learning Derobio Escrima from GGM Braulio Pedoy. At class one night, it was just the GGM and myself at first and then a student showed up that had been absent from class for several months. He said he had been working, but was also mentioned he was studying some other martial arts. After the class was over the student left and the master and I went into his house for dinner, the student declined dinner. As we were sitting and eating Turkey Long Rice, I asked the master how he felt about students showing up for class just once in a while. The GGM stopped eating, looked at me and simply said: “Humming Bird” and then went on to talk about how some people come to take (suck out) the nectar of knowledge and leave nothing behind. Unbeknown to me, the student barely said thank you and did not make a donation to the master for the lesson. The master told me do not to teach for free, your time is worth something and if you teach for free the student will not value the lessons. He went on to talk about how in the Philippines in the old days, the Escrima teachers did not charge money for lessons, but the students would contribute food or came around to do some yard cleaning. This was done in repayment for the master sharing his knowledge with the student. But in America he went on, some students and some instructors did not know the tradition of giving back. I never forgot that night and over the past 35 years in the martial arts I have had that discussion with other school owners and many have made similar comments about the students that come once in a while, but make no contributions to the school. If your instructor teaches with no contracts or up-front obligations please support his or her efforts to keep the cost of your instruction low. I understand the school owners that have rent and insurance responsibilities and must do contracts or agreements to insure they can keep the doors open. However, in this article I am discussing the instructors that do not have those obligations. We all teach because we love the art, your instructor should not keep paying out of their own pocket all the time to keep the art alive. Please support those efforts and do not take advantage of their generosity!

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"The Humming Bird" - a nice way to describe a worthless student - does not train, does not pay, does not recognize the value and most importantly does not respect. It is okay to study other martial arts if one can distinguish each art and its value.

I can verify the old days in the Philippines as my instructor did similar things as bring food or doing chores for his instructors.


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