Let me first say that I don’t think my teachers should be blamed for what I do.
I have been very lucky to have been able to find teachers who were not only masters of the art but also talented and creative teachers. I was even more fortunate to have encountered teachers who could tolerate such an insufferable student as myself.
I am the worst student of some of the best teachers in the world. The list is quite long. I am still amazed at how patient (to a point) my teachers have been. In many cases, we were lucky to have survived each other.
I look back with great dismay at the type of student I was, and now realize that when they encouraged me to teach more, it was with the hope that they would be avenged. “Ian, you should teach more. See how you like it having students who are like you.”
I remember my teachers doing a lot of eye rolling. I remember one teacher stopping class to look at me and say, “I think maybe something is wrong with your brain.” Years later consecutive MRIs proved him right. But I am much better now.
Another teacher stopped a class to mime shooting me in the face with an imaginary shotgun. I don’t remember what I had said just before that. But the image sticks with me.
My point is that my teachers devoted themselves to their students. Their devotion and patience does them credit. But it is no proof of my ability.
Almost all of my training was done in Canada. I started learning in Orillia in 1979, with Baldwin Yang. Later, I took lessons with Terry Farrel for a year. Then I spent a few years in Toronto with Paul McCaughey. I went to Vancouver where I studied with Raymond Y.M. Chung, Tchoung Ta Tchen, Sam Masich, Liang Shouyu, and others.
I have learned from dozens of famous and not-so-famous teachers over the years. But my main influence was Liang Shouyu and Sam Masich during the 14 years that I lived in Vancouver.
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