Titles : Master , Grand Master

oxy

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I just hope I never train with a teacher with last name of Bates! :)

So... I gather you had experience with a 'Sifu Bates' who made you go blind (possibly by gauging your eyes)?
 

Steel Tiger

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Titles seem so important in the eyes of many western students, Sifu, Master , Grand Master, and looking around the web at variuos pages and links, one sees a few teachers with the titles Master or Grand Master, now my question is:
Taking knowledge, both theoretical and practical into account, plus experience and years spent, what defines a Master and a Grand Master?

IMHO, a Sifu is a teacher of students, a Master is a teacher of Sifu's (an individual who has a school that runs subschools each being run by a Sifu), and a Grand Master is an individual who has students who are Masters, each running their own schools with sub-schools/branches which are being run by Sifu's.
Therefore there should be a fair amount of individuals who claim the title Master, but very few who can lay claim to the title Grand Master.

Or am i in the wrong frame of mind with this?.

It would be really nice if worked this well, but it doesn't. For instance, I am a teacher and thus can be called Sifu (though I don't normally use it), but my level of rank is called Master. My teacher is also both Sifu and Master, but his teacher we call "Lao Shi" (literally "old snake") which is a term of respect for a teacher. His rank, however, is Grandmaster. So he is Chan Lao Shi and he is a Sifu and Grandmaster.

In general, though, the ranks are of little importance in CMA. The two that are most important are student (whether it be Si Shon, Si Di, or Si Hing) and teacher (Sifu).
 

Changhfy

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To add my opinion.

Based on traditional Wu Gong culture and etiquette (Mo Da/Wu Da)

Generally speaking the Grandmaster is one who has express privelage to carry on a lineage or family line. This being the case the Grandmaster is given the title of Byun Jyun or Protector.

The Todai that have Bai Si to the Byun Jyun can then carry on the lineage and once complete the family system and are able to express the Dai Ji Sum Fat. They can be awarded the title of Master.

Take note their are several pre qualifications that the Dai Ji must express before the title is awarded including:

Must have mental knowledge of the system. (History, concepts, techniques, methods, ability to transmit the methods, etc...)

The second pre qualification is physical knowledge. (whats known as body karma, ability to express the system under live energy, understand the faat with Sum, etc...)

The third is loyalty to the byun jyun and the Gar Pai.

These are an example of some of the things that are needed to be awarded the title of Master. (but not everybody teaches or uses this method)


take care
 

Kwanslove

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Hey guys I thought I'll join in on this discussion.

Liu He Ba Fa master shared this with me.

A sifu is one who teaches an art, this is a title of respect.

A master is one who has developed his own school of thought.

Most people might get stuck on the school of thought part because they might assumed everyone has an opinion on the art after a while. But no this is more than an opinion it is a philosophy and the teachers own special discipline that will lead the students to their total potential understanding.

Confusias opened his own school of thought, so did Chen Tuan, Zhang San Feng. But this is not limited to just these famous persons many sifu like Chen Xiaowang of the Chen branch of Taiji began his own school of thought based upon silk reeling. Chen proposes silk reeling is the key to Tajiquan understanding and promotes it. Many Abbots of Shaolin have taken Shaolin down different courses based upon their own philosophies.

Now a grand master is simply a master who has become famous for grand means great. Many fighters became famous but this doesn't make them a great master.A great master is one who passes down to the next generation so that they may have the treasures to cherish and evolve. A big sign of a great master is this ability to pass down his teachings to the young so that the light might not be lost. It is an act of atruism and love so to be a great master one who have to have shown much evolution and growth to the higher realms.
 

pstarr

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I don't believe the terms "Master" or "Grandmaster" were ever used in the Orient...those titles appeared after the martial arts reached western shores...
 

Steel Tiger

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I don't believe the terms "Master" or "Grandmaster" were ever used in the Orient...those titles appeared after the martial arts reached western shores...

I think that the term master was probably used but its scope was very specific. It denoted the senior member of a master/disciple or apprentice relationship, which of course could occur in many fields, not just the martial arts.

On the other hand, I agree completely about Grandmaster. it appears to be MA specific and a modern creation.
 

newtothe dark

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I always love this discussion. There are many schools of thought on this just like the ranking in the Japanese arts.
The way it was explained to me is until the arts were exposed to outsiders there was little to no rank needed as the schools were controlled by a family. The titles mostly used today are ways of roughly translating a family tree.
IE: Sifu = Father Sigung = Grand Father Si Dai Gung Great grand Father.
The way my teahers told me was as is the Japanese arts Sensi/Sifu is the name of a school teacher (@ 1-5 dan) Sigung was a teacher of teachers (5-8) and Si Dai Gung is the current head of system.
Now the other title used was Sijo = Head of Family or Founder the was to be for someone that "Created" a new system. Also keep in mind that when asked almost all of my Teachers said that in China none of these were really used in the old days but Sifu and that was an exceptable title if said with respect.
This is just the way I was taught by no means is there a stone tablet saying this is law.
 

tahuti

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Well there is at least one sport where title Grandmaster is used, chess. Even they have experienced inflation, and calling either to abolish title or only to be used for contenders for World Champion.
Elo ranking system provides:
  • Senior master 2400+
  • Master 2200+
  • Expert 2000+
  • Class A,B,C,D,E
Elo system is actually implemented bit differently depending on organization. FIDE
  • Candidate Master 2200+
  • International Master or Grandmaster 2400+
I would say that Apprentice, Journeyman, Master, Grandmaster makes sense, but only if you keep number of Grandmasters low. If books that I have read were correct, Master was usually with 10-20 years of expertise, so grandmaster would be honor title probably with 40+ years.
 

funnytiger

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I think what is happening here is we are getting caught up in the translations of the words as well as our own interpretations of the words.

"Sifu" means teacher.
"Si Gung" refers to your teachers teacher (also referred to as "master" in english.)
"Dai Si Gung" is our teachers teacher (also referred to as "grandmaster" in english.)

Traditionally there was no belt system used in Chinese martial arts, so our western interpretations of these words has lost a lot of meaning. But in the end, they are terms of respect.

These are the things I have learned in my years of training in TCMA. Everyone may learn a little differently.
- ft
 

Taijiguy

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It would be really nice if worked this well, but it doesn't. For instance, I am a teacher and thus can be called Sifu (though I don't normally use it), but my level of rank is called Master. My teacher is also both Sifu and Master, but his teacher we call "Lao Shi" (literally "old snake") which is a term of respect for a teacher. His rank, however, is Grandmaster. So he is Chan Lao Shi and he is a Sifu and Grandmaster.
Laoshi doesn't mean old snake. Lao means old but I think you have shi (an expert in something) confused with she (snake). 老师= laoshi (teacher) 师= shi (expert at something) 蛇 = she (snake/serpent). The pronunciation is a bit different, though very close, esp. to non-Chinese speakers.

Traditional Chinese titles for martial arts are a bit flexible in that they're relationship based. So, you wouldn't necessarily call my sifu, sifu. Laoshi is always a safe and respectable title though for a teacher. But be careful how you pronounce it! My first month or so of taiji practice I called my teacher laoshu (rat) until he got a translator in to correct us ;) Master and grandmaster are western titles and aren't really very good translations imo, in that the meaning is a bit different. Sounds more egotistical than the Chinese words they're trying to be equivalent to. There's also slightly different ways of saying "shifu/sifu". My Chinese teacher was explaining this to me on Monday... one would be something like an expert/master worker, while another (using a different tone of "fu") has the family connotations which is what martial artists use. The first one is often used as a polite term for people who are professionals in something or have specialized knowledge in something. The second I believe is more for a master/disciple relationship like you'd often find in traditional Chinese martial arts. I just learned this two days ago, so my info might not be 100% accurate (I'm still very much a novice when it comes to Chinese language).
 

funnytiger

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Traditional Chinese titles for martial arts are a bit flexible in that they're relationship based. So, you wouldn't necessarily call my sifu, sifu. Laoshi is always a safe and respectable title though for a teacher. But be careful how you pronounce it! My first month or so of taiji practice I called my teacher laoshu (rat) until he got a translator in to correct us ;) Master and grandmaster are western titles and aren't really very good translations imo, in that the meaning is a bit different. Sounds more egotistical than the Chinese words they're trying to be equivalent to.

A very good and clear way of explaining what I apparently failed at explaining. :)

There's also slightly different ways of saying "shifu/sifu". My Chinese teacher was explaining this to me on Monday... one would be something like an expert/master worker, while another (using a different tone of "fu") has the family connotations which is what martial artists use. The first one is often used as a polite term for people who are professionals in something or have specialized knowledge in something. The second I believe is more for a master/disciple relationship like you'd often find in traditional Chinese martial arts. I just learned this two days ago, so my info might not be 100% accurate (I'm still very much a novice when it comes to Chinese language).

However, "shifu" and "sifu" are the same terms with the same meaning just in different dialects. I'm not sure if its as easy as saying that one is a Mandarin dialect and the other is a Cantonese dialect. Most often Northern arts will often use the term "shifu" while southern schools use "sifu".

-ft
 

Steel Tiger

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Laoshi doesn't mean old snake. Lao means old but I think you have shi (an expert in something) confused with she (snake). 老师= laoshi (teacher) 师= shi (expert at something) 蛇 = she (snake/serpent). The pronunciation is a bit different, though very close, esp. to non-Chinese speakers.

Thanks for this correction. I learned all these terms using the Wade-Giles translation system and struggle at times to change them to Pinyin.
 

newtothe dark

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I am new to these forums and have to say I am very impressed. Usually this topic turns people into ranting , challenging machines. This is a great topic because it not only brings up the way each of us was taught but in some ways the way we will teach it to the next generation GRATZ all on being more controlled than alot of other forums.!!!!!!!
 

funnytiger

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I am new to these forums and have to say I am very impressed. Usually this topic turns people into ranting , challenging machines. This is a great topic because it not only brings up the way each of us was taught but in some ways the way we will teach it to the next generation GRATZ all on being more controlled than alot of other forums.!!!!!!!

What's THAT supposed to mean?? You wanna fight??

j/k ;)
 

newtothe dark

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Dont we all thats why we study martial arts hehe Na just very impressed and glad to be a part of some great topic discusions.

BTW I am the Master (joking) of RunFu lol
 

funnytiger

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Dont we all thats why we study martial arts hehe Na just very impressed and glad to be a part of some great topic discusions.

BTW I am the Master (joking) of RunFu lol

Ah, yes. A very ancient and tested art indeed. I have been known to practice it on occasion. ;)
 

Danny T

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Titles seem so important in the eyes of many western students, Sifu, Master , Grand Master, and looking around the web at variuos pages and links, one sees a few teachers with the titles Master or Grand Master, now my question is:
Taking knowledge, both theoretical and practical into account, plus experience and years spent, what defines a Master and a Grand Master?

IMHO, a Sifu is a teacher of students, a Master is a teacher of Sifu's (an individual who has a school that runs subschools each being run by a Sifu), and a Grand Master is an individual who has students who are Masters, each running their own schools with sub-schools/branches which are being run by Sifu's.
Therefore there should be a fair amount of individuals who claim the title Master, but very few who can lay claim to the title Grand Master.

Or am i in the wrong frame of mind with this?.

Per my Wing Chun Instructor, Sifu Francis Fong, who moved to America in 1974; you know, its kinda funny, I never ever heard the term Master or Grand Master until I moved to the United States. In Hong Kong I trained in Judo, Tae Kwan Do, and then Wing Chun and I never heard anyone called Master. My teacher we called Sifu which means father teacher not master. We were as a family helping each other grow and we never used any terms which meant master.

Danny T
 

Dronak

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When I was taking classes, our teacher was "master" and his teacher was "grandmaster". It was being used in a generational sense, like parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, etc.
 

funnytiger

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When I was taking classes, our teacher was "master" and his teacher was "grandmaster". It was being used in a generational sense, like parent, grandparent, great-grandparent, etc.

Similar to our school as well. Sifu was "father", Si Gung was "grandfather" and Dai Si Gung was much like "great grandfather".

- ft
 

profesormental

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Greetings.

My students call me professor... mostly "profe". It was thrown on me since I also teach at the university (physics and math).

Also, the title of Si Fu (Teacher Father) should be a big responsibility... since it should mean the acceptance of a martial family structure... not just
students... or not.

If you're the teacher... it's Lao Shi, and several other variants. Also note that the Chinese call Shi Fu in the context of, as mentioned, Master of a craft or qualified worker.


In the end, if you notice that in japanese and chinese people are addressed by their relationship to each other (just as we call our aunt "aunt" and our brother "brother") and the name of the person... yet even more specific and for out of family relationships...

Quan Fa trainings were supposed to be passed to family members... so it makes sense to group each other as family members... yet note that your place in a family is set... you won't change titles becuase you know more or anything else...

So I find interesting that people use places in a family as "ranking" titles.

Might as well be called "sargent" or captain.

Juan M. Mercado
 

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