Sifu Lloyd Fridenburg at Waterloo Kung-Fu Academy

By Sifu Lloyd Fridenburg


You often hear me harp on grading preparations for students in my seasonal rant. Today I want to turn my focus to instructors and I’ll begin with a statement. Every instructor at WKFA takes personal responsibility and pride in doing their best to give you every opportunity to advance at your next grading.

At Waterloo Kung Fu both our instructors and students are held to very high standards. Instructors are expected to maintain their own level of fitness, keep current with all curriculum requirements, and be able to effectively teach our curriculum to students. As instructors, we expect no more from students than what was, and is, expected of us, but we will accept no less. We share in your success and in your challenges and will do whatever we feel is necessary to help you attain your personal potential. Sometimes that means a pat on the back; sometimes it means a kick in the butt.

We have struggled through injuries; we have been faced with personal choices during our training; we have hit plateaus that seemed insurmountable; and each and every one of us persevered.

empathyWhen grading day finally rolls around you often see several familiar instructor’s faces on the floor. They’re there to support you, to encourage you, and to help you attain your personal best. They give freely of their time to support you. They don’t give up most of a Saturday several times a year just because they like to hang around the school.

But instructors can only do so much; the rest is up to you. Nobody wants to see a student fail; nobody sets a student up for failure; and each and every instructor empathizes with your challenges.

No two gradings are the same and each one takes on its own personality, so never base your training on your last grading or on one that you watched. When grading day finally rolls around instructors take a deep breath knowing that we have done what we can, and now it’s up to you. Over the years instructors have proudly signed grading certificates; some have refused to sign grading certificates; and some have recommended that some students need to spend more time at their current level. All of which we do with a clear conscience knowing that we have done as much as possible, as instructors, to empower you for success.

Perhaps instructors seem to become a bit testier as we draw closer to gradings, but rest assured that we want you to succeed; we want you feel prepared on grading day; and we are just as committed to your success as you are? However, that being said, there is an old saying in martial arts circles: “If you fail to prepare; prepare to fail!”