“I find your lack of faith disturbing!”

In George Lucas’ classic, “Star Wars”, Darth Vader, as he throttles one of his less than confident admirals solely with the power of thought, throatily pronounces, through his famous black face mask breathing device, the classic line: “I find your lack of faith disturbing!” This could be a statement a sifu could be conceived of making to students who demonstrably lack faith in their art. I think it can also represent a student’s lack of faith in the effects of training the mind for a realworld combat mindset. Those few who train with or know me can attest that I very heavily emphasise training the mind as well as the body. My students are expected to be superbly physically fit; technically exact; fully understand the conceptual basis of true martial art; and, to have an unwavering mindset.

Without the latter they would simply be automatons aping me and mouthing my words. They’d be talking monkeys like some others I encounter – unable to think for themselves whilst perhaps even if (rarely) technically quite proficient and like tape recorders in replaying their “sifu said” notions. I never want students like that – they have to be able to think for themselves. They need to think like the founders must have thought, not like blind followers! Certainly I never want any student who is an unthinking devotee to a cult.

Whilst being able to replicate the sifu’s techniques and explain the theory of their art, my students also have to develop their mind fully and properly. Actually, the “mind” is split into several types of mind in traditional thinking. So, they have to develop all of these.

To do this, though, they have to have faith – in the art, the lineage, the gwoon, the sifu, and themselves.