This is a listing of the Sifu Ranks and their descriptions. Please file your Sifu under the best fit.
Term Term description
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sash System - Black Sash
Sash System - Red Sash
Sash System - Gold Sash
WingTsun 2nd Technician/Teacher Level 1 The Technician Grades The second class comprises the 1st to 4th Technician grades. By definition a Technician has learned the techniques in his programme and is able to use them in combat. At this stage he is however not expected to be able to use them instinctively at all times. After passing an additional "Trainer 1" examination a 1st Technician grade is qualified as an Assistant Teacher. The "qualified teacher grades" begin with the 2nd Technician grade and involve additional examinations for Trainer 2, Trainer 3 and Trainer 4. 1st Technician grade in WingTsun 1st-4th section Chi-Sao with applications, psychology of ritualised combat 2nd Technician grade in WingTsun 5th-7th section Chi-Sao with applications, 3rd form A 2nd Technician who has undergone additional educational training is entitled to the rank of "teacher". 3rd Technician grade in WingTsun All Chi-Sao sections for the 3rd form, 1st-3rd Wooden Dummy sets 4th Technician grade in WingTsun 1st-6th section Wooden Dummy with corresponding Chi-Sao and applications
WingTsun 3rd Technician/Teacher Level 2 The Technician Grades The second class comprises the 1st to 4th Technician grades. By definition a Technician has learned the techniques in his programme and is able to use them in combat. At this stage he is however not expected to be able to use them instinctively at all times. After passing an additional "Trainer 1" examination a 1st Technician grade is qualified as an Assistant Teacher. The "qualified teacher grades" begin with the 2nd Technician grade and involve additional examinations for Trainer 2, Trainer 3 and Trainer 4. 1st Technician grade in WingTsun 1st-4th section Chi-Sao with applications, psychology of ritualised combat 2nd Technician grade in WingTsun 5th-7th section Chi-Sao with applications, 3rd form A 2nd Technician who has undergone additional educational training is entitled to the rank of "teacher". 3rd Technician grade in WingTsun All Chi-Sao sections for the 3rd form, 1st-3rd Wooden Dummy sets 4th Technician grade in WingTsun 1st-6th section Wooden Dummy with corresponding Chi-Sao and applications
WingTsun 4th Technician/Teacher Level 3 The Technician Grades The second class comprises the 1st to 4th Technician grades. By definition a Technician has learned the techniques in his programme and is able to use them in combat. At this stage he is however not expected to be able to use them instinctively at all times. After passing an additional "Trainer 1" examination a 1st Technician grade is qualified as an Assistant Teacher. The "qualified teacher grades" begin with the 2nd Technician grade and involve additional examinations for Trainer 2, Trainer 3 and Trainer 4. 1st Technician grade in WingTsun 1st-4th section Chi-Sao with applications, psychology of ritualised combat 2nd Technician grade in WingTsun 5th-7th section Chi-Sao with applications, 3rd form A 2nd Technician who has undergone additional educational training is entitled to the rank of "teacher". 3rd Technician grade in WingTsun All Chi-Sao sections for the 3rd form, 1st-3rd Wooden Dummy sets 4th Technician grade in WingTsun 1st-6th section Wooden Dummy with corresponding Chi-Sao and applications
WingTsun 5th Practician/Master Level 1 The Practician grades (Master grades) The third class comprises the 5th to 8th Master grades. These WingTsun experts are referred to as Practicians. They are "Masters of WingTsun" in every sense and can exhibit considerable striking power, speed and automatic reactions which are not controlled by the brain as a result of decades of Chi-Sao training. The higher the grade of a Practician, the greater his skill and knowledge. At this level a Master not only knows the theories of WingTsun, but also those of the other styles. Comparisons with other styles give him a better understanding and mastery of his own style. 5th Practician grade in WingTsun Entry level for Master grading Complete Wooden Dummy form with all Chi-Sao, Chi-Gerk sections and applications 6th Practician grade in WingTsun Long pole 7th Practician grade in WingTsun Double knives 8th Practician grade in WingTsun Double knives against long pole
WingTsun 6th Practician/Master Level 2 The Practician grades (Master grades) The third class comprises the 5th to 8th Master grades. These WingTsun experts are referred to as Practicians. They are "Masters of WingTsun" in every sense and can exhibit considerable striking power, speed and automatic reactions which are not controlled by the brain as a result of decades of Chi-Sao training. The higher the grade of a Practician, the greater his skill and knowledge. At this level a Master not only knows the theories of WingTsun, but also those of the other styles. Comparisons with other styles give him a better understanding and mastery of his own style. 5th Practician grade in WingTsun Entry level for Master grading Complete Wooden Dummy form with all Chi-Sao, Chi-Gerk sections and applications 6th Practician grade in WingTsun Long pole 7th Practician grade in WingTsun Double knives 8th Practician grade in WingTsun Double knives against long pole
WingTsun 7th Practician/Master Level 3 The Practician grades (Master grades) The third class comprises the 5th to 8th Master grades. These WingTsun experts are referred to as Practicians. They are "Masters of WingTsun" in every sense and can exhibit considerable striking power, speed and automatic reactions which are not controlled by the brain as a result of decades of Chi-Sao training. The higher the grade of a Practician, the greater his skill and knowledge. At this level a Master not only knows the theories of WingTsun, but also those of the other styles. Comparisons with other styles give him a better understanding and mastery of his own style. 5th Practician grade in WingTsun Entry level for Master grading Complete Wooden Dummy form with all Chi-Sao, Chi-Gerk sections and applications 6th Practician grade in WingTsun Long pole 7th Practician grade in WingTsun Double knives 8th Practician grade in WingTsun Double knives against long pole
WingTsun 8th Practician/Master Level 4 The Practician grades (Master grades) The third class comprises the 5th to 8th Master grades. These WingTsun experts are referred to as Practicians. They are "Masters of WingTsun" in every sense and can exhibit considerable striking power, speed and automatic reactions which are not controlled by the brain as a result of decades of Chi-Sao training. The higher the grade of a Practician, the greater his skill and knowledge. At this level a Master not only knows the theories of WingTsun, but also those of the other styles. Comparisons with other styles give him a better understanding and mastery of his own style. 5th Practician grade in WingTsun Entry level for Master grading Complete Wooden Dummy form with all Chi-Sao, Chi-Gerk sections and applications 6th Practician grade in WingTsun Long pole 7th Practician grade in WingTsun Double knives 8th Practician grade in WingTsun Double knives against long pole
WingTsun 9th Man Of Arrival/GM Level 1 The Grandmaster grades The fourth class also has four levels, the 9th to 12th grades. The level of the grade shows how well the holder of these philosophical grades understands the theories of WingTsun. At this level the "Grandmaster of WingTsun" should be able to explain and solve all the technical problems not only of WingTsun, but also of other styles. In the end the holder of such a grade should be a living demonstration that WingTsun consists not so much of techniques than of philosophical principles. 9th MOA grade (Man Of Arrival) This no longer involves an examination in the conventional sense, though the candidate must convince the examination board of the IWTMAA that he meets the stringent requirements. He is assessed on the basis of his understanding of WingTsun theories, as shown by his manner of teaching and his published work. The uniform for this grade is black with approx. 4cm wide, yellow stripes and the Chinese lettering for "WingTsun“ in the so-called "grassy style". Only Cheng Chuen Fun (Hong Kong) is a holder of the 9th grade, making him the third-highest WingTsun master worldwide after Great Grandmaster Leung Ting and Grandmaster Keith R. Kernspecht. 10th MOC grade (Master Of Comprehension) This title indicates that the holder is not only a master of the techniques, but has also thoroughly researched the martial arts theories of other styles and is able to recognise the strengths and weaknesses of any style at once. For him there are no barriers between the different styles, as the theories of all styles are merely a unification of the theories of art and science. Only Great Grandmaster Leung Ting and Grandmaster Keith R. Kernspecht (Europe) are holders of the 10th grade. Great Grandmaster Leung Ting, the creator of the Leung Ting WingTsun system, is also the world's only holder of the honorary "Golden Rank". This honorary title was awarded to him by an international council of more than 100 masters and teachers at the suggestion of Keith R. Kernspecht. 11th grade (Master Of Almightiness) This is the highest achievable grade. The holder should have reached a purely philosophical understanding of the martial arts. For him the martial arts are formless and endless philosophical theories. A holder of this honorary title should have made a major contribution to WingTsun and be highly respected in martial arts circles. 12th grade (Sage Of Philosophy) This grade does not actually exist. Such perfection is merely an ideal and therefore not actually achievable. A holder of the 11th grade can have this title awarded posthumously, i.e. after his death, under certain circumstances.
WingTsun 10th Master of Comprehension/GM Level 2 The Grandmaster grades The fourth class also has four levels, the 9th to 12th grades. The level of the grade shows how well the holder of these philosophical grades understands the theories of WingTsun. At this level the "Grandmaster of WingTsun" should be able to explain and solve all the technical problems not only of WingTsun, but also of other styles. In the end the holder of such a grade should be a living demonstration that WingTsun consists not so much of techniques than of philosophical principles. 9th MOA grade (Man Of Arrival) This no longer involves an examination in the conventional sense, though the candidate must convince the examination board of the IWTMAA that he meets the stringent requirements. He is assessed on the basis of his understanding of WingTsun theories, as shown by his manner of teaching and his published work. The uniform for this grade is black with approx. 4cm wide, yellow stripes and the Chinese lettering for "WingTsun“ in the so-called "grassy style". Only Cheng Chuen Fun (Hong Kong) is a holder of the 9th grade, making him the third-highest WingTsun master worldwide after Great Grandmaster Leung Ting and Grandmaster Keith R. Kernspecht. 10th MOC grade (Master Of Comprehension) This title indicates that the holder is not only a master of the techniques, but has also thoroughly researched the martial arts theories of other styles and is able to recognise the strengths and weaknesses of any style at once. For him there are no barriers between the different styles, as the theories of all styles are merely a unification of the theories of art and science. Only Great Grandmaster Leung Ting and Grandmaster Keith R. Kernspecht (Europe) are holders of the 10th grade. Great Grandmaster Leung Ting, the creator of the Leung Ting WingTsun system, is also the world's only holder of the honorary "Golden Rank". This honorary title was awarded to him by an international council of more than 100 masters and teachers at the suggestion of Keith R. Kernspecht. 11th grade (Master Of Almightiness) This is the highest achievable grade. The holder should have reached a purely philosophical understanding of the martial arts. For him the martial arts are formless and endless philosophical theories. A holder of this honorary title should have made a major contribution to WingTsun and be highly respected in martial arts circles. 12th grade (Sage Of Philosophy) This grade does not actually exist. Such perfection is merely an ideal and therefore not actually achievable. A holder of the 11th grade can have this title awarded posthumously, i.e. after his death, under certain circumstances.
WingTsun 11th Master of Almightiness/GM Level 3 The Grandmaster grades The fourth class also has four levels, the 9th to 12th grades. The level of the grade shows how well the holder of these philosophical grades understands the theories of WingTsun. At this level the "Grandmaster of WingTsun" should be able to explain and solve all the technical problems not only of WingTsun, but also of other styles. In the end the holder of such a grade should be a living demonstration that WingTsun consists not so much of techniques than of philosophical principles. 9th MOA grade (Man Of Arrival) This no longer involves an examination in the conventional sense, though the candidate must convince the examination board of the IWTMAA that he meets the stringent requirements. He is assessed on the basis of his understanding of WingTsun theories, as shown by his manner of teaching and his published work. The uniform for this grade is black with approx. 4cm wide, yellow stripes and the Chinese lettering for "WingTsun“ in the so-called "grassy style". Only Cheng Chuen Fun (Hong Kong) is a holder of the 9th grade, making him the third-highest WingTsun master worldwide after Great Grandmaster Leung Ting and Grandmaster Keith R. Kernspecht. 10th MOC grade (Master Of Comprehension) This title indicates that the holder is not only a master of the techniques, but has also thoroughly researched the martial arts theories of other styles and is able to recognise the strengths and weaknesses of any style at once. For him there are no barriers between the different styles, as the theories of all styles are merely a unification of the theories of art and science. Only Great Grandmaster Leung Ting and Grandmaster Keith R. Kernspecht (Europe) are holders of the 10th grade. Great Grandmaster Leung Ting, the creator of the Leung Ting WingTsun system, is also the world's only holder of the honorary "Golden Rank". This honorary title was awarded to him by an international council of more than 100 masters and teachers at the suggestion of Keith R. Kernspecht. 11th grade (Master Of Almightiness) This is the highest achievable grade. The holder should have reached a purely philosophical understanding of the martial arts. For him the martial arts are formless and endless philosophical theories. A holder of this honorary title should have made a major contribution to WingTsun and be highly respected in martial arts circles. 12th grade (Sage Of Philosophy) This grade does not actually exist. Such perfection is merely an ideal and therefore not actually achievable. A holder of the 11th grade can have this title awarded posthumously, i.e. after his death, under certain circumstances.
WingTsun 12th Sage of Philosophy The Grandmaster grades The fourth class also has four levels, the 9th to 12th grades. The level of the grade shows how well the holder of these philosophical grades understands the theories of WingTsun. At this level the "Grandmaster of WingTsun" should be able to explain and solve all the technical problems not only of WingTsun, but also of other styles. In the end the holder of such a grade should be a living demonstration that WingTsun consists not so much of techniques than of philosophical principles. 9th MOA grade (Man Of Arrival) This no longer involves an examination in the conventional sense, though the candidate must convince the examination board of the IWTMAA that he meets the stringent requirements. He is assessed on the basis of his understanding of WingTsun theories, as shown by his manner of teaching and his published work. The uniform for this grade is black with approx. 4cm wide, yellow stripes and the Chinese lettering for "WingTsun“ in the so-called "grassy style". Only Cheng Chuen Fun (Hong Kong) is a holder of the 9th grade, making him the third-highest WingTsun master worldwide after Great Grandmaster Leung Ting and Grandmaster Keith R. Kernspecht. 10th MOC grade (Master Of Comprehension) This title indicates that the holder is not only a master of the techniques, but has also thoroughly researched the martial arts theories of other styles and is able to recognise the strengths and weaknesses of any style at once. For him there are no barriers between the different styles, as the theories of all styles are merely a unification of the theories of art and science. Only Great Grandmaster Leung Ting and Grandmaster Keith R. Kernspecht (Europe) are holders of the 10th grade. Great Grandmaster Leung Ting, the creator of the Leung Ting WingTsun system, is also the world's only holder of the honorary "Golden Rank". This honorary title was awarded to him by an international council of more than 100 masters and teachers at the suggestion of Keith R. Kernspecht. 11th grade (Master Of Almightiness) This is the highest achievable grade. The holder should have reached a purely philosophical understanding of the martial arts. For him the martial arts are formless and endless philosophical theories. A holder of this honorary title should have made a major contribution to WingTsun and be highly respected in martial arts circles. 12th grade (Sage Of Philosophy) This grade does not actually exist. Such perfection is merely an ideal and therefore not actually achievable. A holder of the 11th grade can have this title awarded posthumously, i.e. after his death, under certain circumstances.

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