This is a listing of the Sifu Ranks and their descriptions. Please file your Sifu under the best fit.
|1. Assisstant Instructor (Teaches in Sifu's school)||
This person, generally speaking, has not yet completed the full system as passed on on by their teacher, but they were authorized to teach what they have learned. Many senior students run schools for their teacher and should only be listed in our database if they do indeed run their teacher's school or their own school. Technically, many so called "Sifus" are nothing more than senior students that branched off and opened their own school. Some lineages use "Si-Hing" as a title for these teachers, and we respect that. Technically, a "Si-Hing" is your older kung-fu brother and is a relationship, not a title. Anyone that started before you under the same teacher and is male is a "Si-Hing".
|2. Instructor Level (Partial mastery of system).||
This is a generic level used by some lineages (the person could be a senior student or a sifu). Usually they have more than one level (Instructor level 1, level 2, etc). See ranking notes for details. These levels may also correspond with sash levels for some lineages (black being level 1-3, red being 4-5, and yellow being level 6).
|2b. Disciple (Still in training. Mastered part of system)|
|3. Master of the System (As taught by teacher (Full Sifu))||
This Sifu is a master of the system as taught by his Sifu, but has no certification proving such. This does not really reflect poorly on the Sifu, because certifications and rank are not common within the system... But you must take the claim of masterly at the Sifu's word. The general definition of Sifu is "Teacher". Technically, to be listed as a Sifu you only need to be a teacher of the art. This is not what most people consider a Sifu, however. A more common conception is that a "Sifu" is a master of the art. This is simply not the case, although it should be. A Sifu should be more than someone who trains apprentices, instructors, or oversees the in-depth training of an art. A Sifu should be a mentor, coach, tutor, adviser, counselor, master technician and etc. A Sifu is a guide who is passing on the tradition and philosophy of the art as a way of life, not just the techniques themselves. For this site, to be called a "Sifu" one must simply be a teacher of the art. We try to break down levels of Sifu (certified, master of the art, etc) as best as possible, but this is an impossible task since there is no formal ranking system across all lineages.
|3b. Disciple (Formal. Mastered entire system as taught by teacher).||
Being a formal disciple of your Sifu is serious business. The name is used loosely these days, especially in some lineages were anyone with $10,000 can become a disciple. This modern relationship is more in-tune with being a "private student" than a formal disciple. By way of example, Yip Man has 5 formal disciples, 3 of which were in most likely in Foshan and remain unknown. Compare that to the 16 people that claim discipleship - most of these were actually private students (who learned a lot, but were never formal disciples regardless). To be a Disciple one must go though a Sifu Worship Ceremony. If someone accepts you as a disciple he is your father and Kung-fu mentor forever. As far as kung-fu is concerned you are forbidden to ever learn from anyone else without his permission. The disciple ceremony typically consists of the "three kneels and nine kowtows" as well as the "bai shi tie" and is witnessed (usually by another disciple if possible). Only 2 known Yip Man students (Duncan Leung, and Allan Lee) are known to have completed this ceremony. Strictly speaking, no matter how good or famous they are or how much they contributed to Wing Chun, all the rest of Yip Man's students were simply students. Regardless of who was Yip Man's disciple - one can still become a disciple even if their teacher was not a disciple of his teacher. If you perform the Sifu Worship Ceremony with your teacher then that makes you their disciple for better or for worse.
|4. Grandmaster (Created system, SiJo, or Head of Family)||
Strictly speaking, the Grand Master is the head of the Wing Chun family. There could only be one. However, since the family is not unified anymore, the title "GrandMaster" is a term used very loosely. At this point, all Grand Master titles are self-appointed (or appointed by students). Yip Man was appointed GrandMaster posthumously. He never claimed the title during his life, and frankly saw himself within the Wing Chun family as a whole, not as the head of the family. Several of Yip Man's older students have been given the title "GrandMaster" by their students. It has almost become more a term of respect than an actual ranking for many. We use the GrandMaster title if Sifu claims it. This often actually denotes a break in the Wing Chun family by this Sifu and the start of their own family. (SiJo might be the more appropriate term (system founder), but it is not used). Notable GrandMasters under Yip Man include Leung Ting and William Cheung - both who broke off from the family at large and have their own styles of the art and their own large families.
|Ancestor (Historical Sifu)||
This rank is given to our Wing Chun ancestors. Each is assumed to have been a complete master of the system unless otherwise noted.
|No Formal Rank (Unknown Level of Mastery)||
This rank is given to Sifus who have no rank or who's rank is unknown or undisclosed. We would like to keep as few people in this rank as possible, so please edit in the correct rank for anyone in this list.
|Sash System - Black Sash|
|Sash System - Gold Sash|