I was honoured, humbled, and very surprised to receive the Instructor of the Year Award for 2017. This honour becomes more difficult to achieve with each passing year, because each year the number of exceptional instructors at WKFA continues to grow. When I got my Black Sash we only had 3 instructors in the school. That number grew to 6 when Sifu Eric, Sifu Michelle, and I graded in 1995. We now have about 30 active instructors.
You will often hear us refer to “active” instructors, but don’t assume that that is common in martial arts circles. Many schools boast a large number of instructors, but the majority of those instructors don’t teach or train on a regular basis, if at all. If we were to include everyone that has attained their black sash at WKFA the number would increase by about 50%. It is quite common to see martial artists simply stop learning and training after they have attained, what they consider to be, the ultimate martial arts prize…the black sash (belt).
Sigung Bob Schneider and Sifu Dave have managed to instill a sense of pride and loyalty within the ranks of WKFA instructors. Our instructors have a hunger to learn and improve. We all realized very early in the game that attaining a black sash was not the pinnacle of a Kung Fu journey, it’s merely the end of your basic training. The real learning begins afterwards.
We offer a large number of classes each week, in fact adults can attend up to 12 classes per week. All those classes are taught by a black sash instructor. Again, this is not normal, especially for children’s programs, where we often have multiple instructors on the floor. Most schools use low ranking adults, or even kids not much older than the ones they are working with, to teach these classes. That is one of the reasons that I can say with full confidence that we have the best children’s programs that you will find anywhere.
Our instructors do not have an elitist attitude and you will regularly see many instructors training right alongside all other students in mixed or advanced classes. I tip my hat to all our dedicated instructors that have chosen to make Kung Fu a way of life and work hard to pass that dedication on to the next generation of WKFA instructors. Never take what we have at WKFA for granted. We have set the bar high and will work hard to keep it there.