one more post on this, the Conclusion from the book, Bruce Lee talking about how to select a teacher. It applies 100% not only to a martial arts teacher, but any alleged Zen master, or spiritual guru of any stripe. It would apply to a therapist too!
Notice how he rejects "magical powers" and expects people to PROVE their claims point blank.
Also, I take note of how he notices how western tricksters use the faux oriental humility to hide behind. That is Eckhart Tolle in spades.
"Selecting a Teacher and a Method in Martial Arts - Bruce Lee"
I sincerely give this advice to all readers who are about to take up martial arts --- believe only half of what you see and definitely nothing what you hear. Before you take any lessons from any instructor, find out clearly from him what his method is and request him politely to demonstrate to you how some techniques operate. Use your coomon sense and if he convinces you, then by all means go ahead.
How does one judge if an instructor is good? Rather, this question should be rephrased to "how can on judge if a method or system is good?" After all, one cannot learn the speed or power of an instructor but his skill. Thus, the soundness of the system, and not the instructor, is to be considered; the instructor is merely there to point the way and lead his disciples to an awareness that he himself is the one and only to give true feeling and expression to the system. The system should not be mechanical and complicated but simply simple with no "magical power". The method (which is ultimately no method) is there to remind one when he has done enough. The techniques have no magical power and are nothing special; they are merely the simplicity of profound common sense.
Do not, however, be impressed by instructors who have brick-breaking hands, invincible stomachs, iron forearms, or even speed for that matter. Remember you cannot learn his ability, but his skill. At any rate, ability to break stones, to take a punch in the body, to jump so many feet of the ground, are but stunts in the Chinese art of Gung Fu. Of primary importance are not the techniques. Breaking a brick and punching a human being are two different things: a brick does not give, whereas when being hit, a human being spins, falls, etc.., thus dissolving the power of the blow. What is the use if one has no technique to bring home his so-called "killing stroke"? On top of that, bricks and stones do not move and fight back. Thus, the system should be the thing considered and, as mentioned before, a system should not be mechanical, intricate and fancifull, but simply simple.
What if the "master" does not wish to show you his style? What if he is "too humble" and firmly guards his "deadly" secret? One thing I hope the readers should realize regarding Oriental humility and secrecy is that although it is true that highly qualified teachers do not boast and sometimes do not teach Gung Fu to just any body, the fact remains that they are only human beings and certainly they have not spent 10, 20 or 30 years on an art in order to say nothing about it. Even Lao-Tzu, the author of Tao Te Ching, and the man who wrote "He who knows, does not speak; he who speaks, does not know", wrote 5000 words to explain his doctrine.
In order to pass for more than their ability, the honorable masters, professors and experts (in America, especially) say little. They certainly have mastered the Oriental highest way of humility and secrecy, for it is definitely easier to look wise than to talk wisely (to act wise is, of course, even more difficult). The more one wants to pass at a value above his worth, the more he will keep his mouth shut. For once he talks (or moves), people can certainly classify him accordingly.
The unknown is always wonderful and the "15th degree red belt holders", the experts from super advanced schools, and the "honorable masters" know how to gather around them a mysterious veil of secrecy. There is a Chinese saying that applies to these people: "Silence is the ornament and safeguard of the ignorant".
From the "Tao of Gung Fu" by Bruce Lee 1967