How Wing Chun inspired me to unlearn old ideas, embrace new ones

December 10, 2018 10:35
Wing Chun kung fu teaches students the importance of getting rid of old thinking and embracing new ideas. Photo: Xinhua

A friend of mine quit his high-paying job as chief operating officer of a company more than a decade ago to help his kung fu master run a martial arts club. He was already a Wing Chun master when we met up again recently.

Inspired by his dedication to martial arts, I took up Wing Chun. In the process of learning this style of kung fu, I found that its philosophy is basically to challenge existing rules.

The learning process has taught me the importance of getting rid of my old thinking and embracing new ideas.

Come to think of it, I have had a similar experience in my career development.

A few years ago, I decided to leave the world of business to pursue a career in the education sector.

I had to start everything from scratch. Projects such as the DreamStarter program, which aims to empower primary school students to fulfill their dreams, the JA Company Programme, which enables secondary school students to develop their entrepreneurial spirit and skills, or the entrepreneurship course that I teach in the university – these are all new things.

From program design to teaching method, I had to build everything from ground zero.

I also realized the same teaching approach does not work for every student. To unlock and unleash the full potential of a student, a good educator should adjust the teaching process according to each individual’s talent, capability and feedback, instead of going by the textbook all the time.

Also, in a world where information can be had from all sorts of channels, it makes better sense than spoon-feeding students to help them develop their own thinking and guide them on the path of actively identifying problems and solving them by themselves.

The world is rapidly changing. Technological innovations are disrupting traditional industries. That’s an inevitable trend. Many jobs will be replaced by artificial intelligence within five to ten years.

Whether their choice of education will fit the needs of future society has been the concern of many parents and students. Instead of worrying about the future, it might be a better idea to get ready to unlearn old ideas and embrace new ones constantly. This is a better way to adapt to the rapidly changing world.

This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Dec 3

Translation by Julie Zhu

[Chinese version 中文版]

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