If you watch carefully, you often see that even the top students of the same master often perform a technique or pattern differently from the master, even when the master is still alive and teaching. This is the result of when each student began training with the master and how long the training lasted. Master's themselves often change their thoughts, ideas, and even their techniques over the years. Therefore, a student who studied with a master during his or her early years will receive”snapshot” of the master’s teachings at that time. A student who studied with the master during his or her later years will receive a snapshot of the master's teachings at that time, which may be totally different than the snapshot received by the student during the earlier years. Students who have been with the master continuously since the early years probably will have changed along with the master and be more in line with his or her current teachings.
These changes in a master's teachings are not necessarily purposeful, they just naturally occur as a master ages. A young, vibrant instructor has no problem performing deep stances, high kicks, and fast movements, therefore, the young instructor teaches students to use these techniques. As the instructor ages, even if he or she stays fit, his or her strength and flexibility decreases and techniques begin to slow. Students of the instructor at this later time will learn techniques that are less flashy and more efficient in movement. The theory of "primacy of learning," states that people tend to remember best those things that were learned first. Old habits are difficult to break. This means that newer students of the same instructor will probably be performing techniques that look somewhat different than those of the instructor's earlier students. Therefore, students who study with a master at different times in the master's career will get different "versions" of the master's style of teaching.