Is there a grading system in Wing Chun?

TinTin_57

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I realise this question may differ between Wing Chun organisations, but does Wing Chun have a recognised grading system as in some of the other martial arts such as karate, TKD etc?

My own opinion of a grading system is that personally it would help me to know exactly what level of proficiency I have reached in my teachers opinion. It also helps identify your class seniors. I think I am right in saying that the Samuel Kwok Wing Chun association, to which my club is a member, does have a grading system however my club seems not to. I haven't got around to asking at the club about this but generally, is Wing Chun designed more as a system you constantly develop and train in rather than a grading based system?

Sorry if this is covered elsewhere, I did have a dig around but couldn't find anything.

Cheers
TinTin_57
 

mook jong man

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I realise this question may differ between Wing Chun organisations, but does Wing Chun have a recognised grading system as in some of the other martial arts such as karate, TKD etc?

Not really , that is pretty much a western invention.
But the big commercial schools these days would probably all have some sort of grading system in place as well as rules that you have to be in proper uniform.

A lot of it is to satisfy the western hunger for rank advancement and the need to ponce around in coloured sashes , badges , patches and pretty uniforms.

Another reason is that schools have realised that it is a nice little source of continuing revenue to push people into paying for gradings that they aren't ready for , along with all the merchandise that also must be purchased like uniforms , sashes , badges , patches etc.

I had personal experience of this because I was a senior instructor in charge of overseeing gradings , the amount of people that rocked up to the gradings and didn't even have a semblance of a stance or couldn't even remember the whole SLT form was amazing.

Of course I would fail them , they'd have a whinge to their branch instructor , who would then come in and whinge to me , and I would tell him that basically his students were ***** and not to send them for a grading until they were ready.

After a couple of weeks you would see that the students had mysteriously passed the grading anyway after a " Qualifying Period " whatever that means , to my eyes their standard was still crap.

But the school didn't want to piss them off otherwise they would leave and the school would lose their cash cow.
Unfortunately that is the reality of many big commercial schools , it all comes down to profits , and sometimes maintaining the proper standards will take a back seat in order to protect the revenue stream.

So don't worry too much about the lack of gradings in your school or conspicuous indicators of rank , it aint all it is cracked up to be.

As long as what is being taught is quality Wing Chun then it doesn't matter if your training in some dudes garage wearing a crappy old T-shirt and track pants , all the other stuff like grades , sashes etc are irrelevant and are just trappings of the ego.
 

geezer

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I realise this question may differ between Wing Chun organisations, but does Wing Chun have a recognised grading system as in some of the other martial arts such as karate, TKD etc?

My own opinion of a grading system is that personally it would help me to know exactly what level of proficiency I have reached in my teachers opinion. It also helps identify your class seniors...TinTin_57

Different associations and lineages approach this differently. In the WT associations there are well established grading criteria, with 12 student ranks, followed by instructor level ranks: four levels of "technician" followed by five more master or "practition" ranks and then 10th Level or "grandmaster". Each rank has specific material that must be mastered to move up... at least up to about 6th or 7th level Practition. After that, it's a pretty much just refinement, and contributions to your assn. The system was originally conceived by Leung Ting, then substantially refined by Keith Kernspecht in Germany. Now that WT has splintered into several branches, each has a variation on this theme.

The grading system is an excellent method of assuring standardized instruction and assuring quality in a large organization. The carefully organized curriculum makes sure that all students receive orderly and complete training at each level without accidently missing or skipping material. And, the regular testing helps motivate students to practice hard and move forward...

...and, as Mook said, it is also a way to make money off your rank-hungry students, as well as being a bit of a pain in the butt for those of us who are not really interested in teaching commercially. Truly, there are two sides to the whole rank thing. As for myself, I'm happy to train with a small group in a garage and forget about it.
 

yak sao

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I'm a product of the LT lineage and I teach a small group (10-12) from my garage.
For the past 4 or 5 years I had not used a grading system as I hate commercialism in MA.
I was teaching with the idea that there are 6 levels (one level per form)

However, recently I revamped the old 12 student grade system down into 8 SG (all the material is still there, just crammed into less levels) in an effort to give students short term goals. I don't charge for testing so there is no commercialism, and we don't do the whole uniform thing so there's no prancing around in black belts, but it does give the students something to shoot for.
 

geezer

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I'm a product of the LT lineage and I teach a small group (10-12) from my garage... I don't charge for testing...

Say what?! You don't charge an arm and a leg for testing and forward a big chunk of the dough to your association? Blasphemy! You'll get sunburned in heck for that. LOL.

Seriously Yak, how do you get away with that? Is that cool with your association? Because it sure wasn't cool with LT, and is one reason why I'm not in his assn. anymore.
 

CuongNhuka

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My question is -- in schools/orgs that do have a rank system, are there tests like in Judo/Karate/Tae Kwon Do, or do you just get promoted?
 

geezer

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My question is -- in schools/orgs that do have a rank system, are there tests like in Judo/Karate/Tae Kwon Do, or do you just get promoted?

In WT there are tests... but the format and degree of formality varies from school to school.
 

zepedawingchun

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Different associations and lineages approach this differently. . . . .
The grading system is an excellent method of assuring standardized instruction and assuring quality in a large organization. The carefully organized curriculum makes sure that all students receive orderly and complete training at each level without accidently missing or skipping material. And, the regular testing helps motivate students to practice hard and move forward. . .

As geezer stated, different associations approach it differently. In the WCAUSA (Wing Chun Association of the United States of America, Sifu Francis Fong President), we use colored sashes to black and then degrees in black. Very similar to the Japanese and Koreans. And there is testing involved, very strenuous testing as a matter of fact. Students in the instructor program are required to test against opponents who train in Wing Chun, Muay Thai, and BJJ and must at least hold their own.

In Wing Chun and Muay Thai rounds, you're required to defend and contol the situation, but not strike the attacker. With the BJJ opponent, you must escape from at least as many mount positions as possible from the front mount, side mount, and rear hook positions without tapping. The escape must be within 1 minute of each mount.
 

geezer

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In Wing Chun and Muay Thai rounds, you're required to defend and contol the situation, but not strike the attacker...

Could you elaborate a bit on what you mean by controlling the situation without striking the attacker. I've always been taught that in WC/WT the best defense was an offense, and that the objective in an exchange is to hit, not to initiate a defense. Consequently, I can't quite visualize what you mean.
 

yak sao

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Say what?! You don't charge an arm and a leg for testing and forward a big chunk of the dough to your association? Blasphemy! You'll get sunburned in heck for that. LOL.

Seriously Yak, how do you get away with that? Is that cool with your association? Because it sure wasn't cool with LT, and is one reason why I'm not in his assn. anymore.



I went from AWTO to EBMAS to rogue WT man
 

zepedawingchun

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Could you elaborate a bit on what you mean by controlling the situation without striking the attacker. I've always been taught that in WC/WT the best defense was an offense, and that the objective in an exchange is to hit, not to initiate a defense. Consequently, I can't quite visualize what you mean.

In the WC rounds, the feeder has focus gloves and throws various punches to the defender. The feeder is trying to hit the defender. The defender cannot initiate the feed, only defend. The defender can parry the punch(s) and simultaneously punch, only if the feeder has a glove up as a target (which is usually the case anyway). At the same time, the defender must attempt to keep out the feeder. In other words, try to keep the feeder from advancing forwards. The defender can only hit the pad, not the feeder, and only where the pad is located. If the pad to be struck is at chest level, the defender can only return a punch to the chest. If they return it to the face, and hit the feeder, the feeder will then go all out to hurt the defender. However, the feeder is still feeding to the defender pretty aggressively.

In the Muay Thai rounds, the feeder holds 2 thai pads around the waist as targets for the defender. The defender can kick or knee the pads, but not the feeder. The defender must stay active, meaning they have to throw stuff and keep the feeder busy. If there is a lapse in time between the defenders striking the pads (2 - 3 seconds), the feeder then becomes really aggressive and returns kicks to the defenders legs, etc, or jabs and punches to the defender. The defender must also learn to step in, control the feeder in a clinch and fire off several knees. The feeder can parry the defender from coming in and fire counter attacks, but the defender cannot punch or strike back.

In the BJJ rounds, the defender starts on the ground from 3 mounted positions. Those are front, side, and rear. The defender has 1 minute per mount to escape, or change the situation to put the aggressor in their guard. The defender cannot force the aggressor into a submission, but the aggressor can force the defender to submit, either with a lock, choke, or tapout. No striking is permitted from either during these rounds.

We do things that allow us to make the first strike also, which is normal for WC. Just not during the testing rounds. Our belief is anyone can hit anyone at anytime, doesn't matter who you are. But can you stop someone from hitting you, that's why the testing rounds are done very defensively, to see if you can keep from getting hit and how you perform under some pressure.

You actually have to watch the rounds for them to make sense.
 

geezer

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I went from AWTO to EBMAS to rogue WT man

Wow. Then we're members of the same disassociation! Who knew?

Well, actually I do belong to Jeff Webb's new "NWTO", but that's just because he's the best WT guy I have access to (from a technical perspective), and he actually shares what he knows. And, he's a good friend.
 

yak sao

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Wow. Then we're members of the same disassociation! Who knew?

Well, actually I do belong to Jeff Webb's new "NWTO", but that's just because he's the best WT guy I have access to (from a technical perspective), and he actually shares what he knows. And, he's a good friend.


Isn't it great to still get the quality instruction without all the politics? Or having to sell a kidney to be able to afford it?
 

Seeker

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Sigh, we have a grading system and I truly wish we didn't; though it's not mandatory it is 'encouraged.' We have guys who are a well of knowledge but seldom taken seriously by juniors because they don't wear that piece of cloth around their waist... that is until they roll with them. As it should be, because some have shot up the chain who probably shouldn't have. And that is sad.
 

matsu

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we have a minimal grading system and its not enforced.
a slt basic grading- first part of form, punches, footwork and then you are an intermediate. the next grading is very very tough which is why many students stay and intermediate for a long while.
once you arew an advanced student the next grading is holy **** hard and then you can teach as a sifu within the club as such.
i think there is an instructors grading to become an official sifu.

most advanced students start the nite in the beginners class and just stay all nite going thru all the classes.so we all get to train with them and learn
matsu
 

chain punch

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Like others here, the academy I train at has a grading system but it is no way commercial. Gradings happen once a year, you only take it if you are ready and costs 瞿10. We do not even get certificates! Thank God. The evidence of my skill is in me not on a piece of paper or according to a piece of clothing I wear. If you fail then when you re-take you don't pay. We wear what we want to training so if you were to walk into our class there are no visual clues to the level of the students. Thankfully our teacher is extremely rigourous in his analysis and assessment. Recently, 16 of us went through 2 gradings in a day, only 1 of us passed both. The gradings took 9 hours and were a mental and physical struggle. And there is no pressure at all to grade. It is there for us if we want to test ourselves that way.

For me having to work and be on the top of my game during a grading is challenging, frightening and exciting at the same time. If I pass I know I earned it and if I fail then I know I was simply not good enough. We also get very thorough verbal and written feedback on our grading.

Interestingly, my instructor took many years to formulate the grading syllabus and came to class on Thursday and has decided to put grade 6 material into grade 2 because of a violent street ambush he and a friend were involved in a few months ago.

Our syllabus is evolving and organic. Where I live is not Foshan in the 20's, Hong Kong in the 50's or Europe in the 80's during the 'wing chun wars'. It is 2011 and I am fortunate to train in a wing chun system that reflects, works against and ultimately understands the street violence of the time. After all, wing chun in magazine adverts over here in England is often labelled as scientific street fighting.
 

tenzen

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Consider the forms of wing chun your grading system. When you are taught a new form or section of a form that you didn't know yet your advancing. Your sifu will give it to you when your ready. Other than that nope.
 

chain punch

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Perhaps it depends on your needs as an individual. Learning forms is martial arts not match fighting or self defense. It is vital we are clear in our own minds what it is we are training for and therefore our training should reflect this. Forms do interest and I appreciate them from study point of view me but they are bottom of my lost in training. They will not enable me to defend myself outside the kebab house on a Saturday night.

My focus is being able to protect myself using wing chun. Not collecting forms or techniques or being bound by a system.

As Wing Chunners we should be continually evolving not grasping at ghosts of the past. It is important to know our past so we are aware of whose shoulders we stand on. But to follow blind just because 'X' did it is ignorant.

I believe the masters of old would be turning in their graves if there is a lack of evolution. After all they were ordinary people with extraordinary skills who became better than their teachers. Should this not be our goal too?

Dare to seek adversity.
 
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