PSA: A Response to a Question of My Credibility

BRIEF DISCLAIMER: For those of you are easily offended by foul language, you might want to skip this video. I tried my best to remain professional during my discourse, but what can I say? There were moments when my emotions got the better of me. Also, Master Wong curses up a storm in some of his videos, and he is an undeniable YouTube superstar. If he can get away with it in multiple videos, then I would consider it hypocrisy if anyone held it against me for doing it in ONE.

ABOUT THIS VIDEO: Wing Chun has been the love of my life since 1995. Due to circumstances I could not foresee, I was not able to attend class as frequently as I liked. However, I DID still get permission to teach. Whenever Sifu Russell Cichon went out of town, he would allow me to keep the school open and teach in his absence. Sifu Larry London has also said to me, "You could teach people up to your level." I have definitely honored Sifu London's restriction: I do not try to teach people the Pole or Knife forms when I never learned them.

At any rate, I made a post a few weeks ago about a three-session class I was teaching at Hudson Valley Community College. I got a comment from James Ashley, who I met through Sifu Colin Ward's WingChunOnline site. James asked where I got my certification; I explained I was not certified, but that I had permission to teach.

His reply? "It's funny how you couldn't pass Sifu Ward's Sil Lum Tao assessment, but now you are suddenly a teacher."

Want to know a secret? This guy didn't even meet me until I joined Sifu Ward's site, which was in late 2017 or early 2018. As far as he knew, that was when I STARTED. If he had bothered to talk to me, he would have known I began in 1995. Now let's do some basic math here, and see what we get:

2017 - 1995 = 22 years

Hmmm...I don't know how long one has to be practicing to satisfy Mr. Ashley, but I think 22 years is enough time to know SOMETHING. And if he doesn't think it is, he is always welcome to come for a visit to Troy, NY and find out how much I do or don't know.

Long story short: that was a real jerk move on his part, to challenge me like that in public. He was trying to make me look like a fool because people who didn't know me would think, "Wait a minute...he couldn't even pass a first-level assessment? I better not take his class."

The thing is, I don't even know what motivation James had to do this. I don't think he lives anywhere near me, so it's not like he was teaching a class around the same time. If he had been, then at least I could have understood why he did it. I would imagine his mindset was, "Wow, this guy is teaching a class at Hudson Valley around the same time I'm teaching one at Skidmore College. I better make him look like a fool, so people will take MY class instead of HIS." However, that was not the case. Therefore, his actions seem to be motiveless.

Honestly, that scares me. (Maybe I SHOULDN'T challenge him after all!) If you try to make a train wreck someone else's life for the cool hell of it, with no motivation or personal gain of your own to be made from it, then you should go see a doctor. You may very well be a psychopath.

To do something like that without motivation reminds me of something Alfred (played by Michael Caine) said about the Joker in THE DARK KNIGHT. While talking about how some people have no reason behind doing what they do, he said, "Some men just like to watch the world burn."

There is one comfort I can take away from this excursion:

If James Ashley is the Joker, then that makes me Batman. ;-)

~~~Steve Grogan

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