My son Callan (nearly 11 yrs old) was asked at school the other day who his favourite teacher was. His answer; “My dad.” I can count that as one of the proudest moments in my life, as I really get that all the time, effort, lessons, and just general hanging out is paying off. Callan’s a great down-to-earth boy with a big heart, with the unusual skills of being taught self defence from age 5 and having learnt to spot micro expressions with 80% accuracy at age 7. He’s also learnt how to articulate his thoughts well, and I’ve taught him how to ask better questions. I can also say with hand on heart that Callan has been one of my greatest teachers also.
That had me think, who else have been great teachers in my life? My family of course, and partner. Anyone that has the ability to show you a reflection of yourself without the sugar coating!
Some of my other big influences include: Dr. Paul Ekman for his amazing research into the world of the face, emotions, non verbal behaviour and detecting deception. What I loved most from Dr. Stephen Covey was his description of “the gray”, the space between stimulus (something happening) and reaction (how we choose to react to the stimulus). The gray area counts for “what we make the stimulus mean” – nothing makes us feel a certain way – we decide. What I love about these two great people is that when you put their research together, you really get a good insight as to how we work, what “makes us” angry, sad etc.
Too many other positive influences to mention, other than my Wing Chun Kung Fu teacher, Sifu Dana Wong. I’m constantly amazed at his passion for Wing Chun and for his own continued learning, his ability to effectively communicate complex ideas and concepts within moments, and his non-judgmental attitude and philosophy that allows the space for free thought, open conversation and the exploring of ideas – both inside and outside of martial arts.