Lots of speculation here - some possibly accurate - as to what the instructor meant. An instructor's job is to COMMUNICATE to a student, avoiding ambiguous terms. The student, if he/she is serious in wanting to learn, should ask for clarification if instruction lacks clarity. In this instance, there is the possibility that the instructor's "style" was simply to test the seriousness of a student showing talent, in anticipation that the student would want to delve more deeply to understand. So, to me, I think a serious student would somehow (whatever it takes) contact the instructor for clarification, even requesting face-to-face discussion if that's possible. A good instructor would at least provide (in class) his phone number and/or his email address for students' use if needed.