Titles : Master , Grand Master

funnytiger

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Hi Juan, I think you misunderstand how and why these "titles" are used as it is being explained. Sifu (or Shifu, same word/meaning, different dialect) does indeed translate to "teacher/father" where we continue to use the family structure Si Gung, my teachers teacher "grandfather" and Dai Si Gung, my "grandfathers" teacher or great grandfather ("dai" translates to big). The correlation for my school is simply that a master is used as an english standby for si gung and grandmaster for dai si gung. We do not use the titles when in their presence, we use their given titles si gung, and dai si gung.

You are absolutely right, the titles you are given in a family structured TMA should not change. I have a si jei who is damn near 12 years younger than me, but she's been there longer so I really can't say a whole lot, lol. No matter how much I excel, she will always be my si jei.

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
 

Taijiguy

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Hi Juan, I think you misunderstand how and why these "titles" are used as it is being explained. Sifu (or Shifu, same word/meaning, different dialect) does indeed translate to "teacher/father"
There are two different "shifu", one of which has family connotations and the other is the master craftsman. Different characters in Chinese and different tone for the "fu", I think. I'll have to ask my Chinese teacher for more details when classes start up again, as I'm still pretty new to the language.
 

funnytiger

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There are two different "shifu", one of which has family connotations and the other is the master craftsman. Different characters in Chinese and different tone for the "fu", I think. I'll have to ask my Chinese teacher for more details when classes start up again, as I'm still pretty new to the language.

There have been several debates on the word Sifu (or Shifu) and its meaning and I have heard from several people that there are two characters with the same meaning. Some say that "father" is a completely seperate character and therefore should not be attributed to how some use it in the TCMAs.

However, the debate is whether they are two different words with two different meanings. In my experience, those who study a nothern TCMA call their teacher Shifu and southern TCMA use the term Sifu.

One poster commented on the term "lao shi" (note the "sh" sound). In Cantonese it is pronounced "Lao Si" (no "sh" sound). I have yet to hear someone who studies a southern based CMA pronounce either terms with the "sh" sound.

Not that my experience is the end all be all of verification... lol. I found several websites that support it.

http://www.shaolin-wahnam-center.org/sifu/respect.htm
http://wongkk.com/answers/ans03b/dec03-2.html (answer 4)
http://plumblossom.net/Articles/Inside_Kung-Fu/July2005/index.html
(A link to text from an article that was in Inside Kung Fu magazine about titles in MA.)

- ft
 

Xue Sheng

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Old post I know, and much of this has already been said

Sifu/Shifu means Teacher
To my sifu (form China) the term sifu only applies to martial arts teachers and master chefs. But my sifu is 70.

To my wife (form China) the term sifu applies to a martial arts teacher a master chef or just about anyone else that teaches you a skillm my wife taught acupuncture in China so she is a sifu to her students. My wie was born into the Cultural Revolution so she is younger than my sifu.

Laoshi is a school teacher

And the term Grand Master as far as both my wife and sifu are concerned is not used in China.

Actually as far as my wife is concerned the term Grand Master is a rather sarcastic title Chinese give other Chinese (Mainly martial arts) when someone claims mastery when in fact they are a flower fist.

The title Grand Master is a product of the West as far as CMA is concerned
 

profesormental

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Agreed.

That is my understanding as well.

On an interesting note, the Grand Master thing is used in esoteric teachings societies. The heads of local chapters are Masters, the heads of huge regions are Grand Masters, and the head of the world organization is like the Grand Poobah or whatever title.

In the end, it is an organizational title that should denote your responsabilities to the membership of the organization, not how others should treat you.

Since martial arts were considered "esoteric" and their teaching styles similar in many respects, it is no wonder that the titles taken are the same as in western esoteric schools, instead of western educational systems (like coach, teacher, principal, headmaster, dean, chairman, etc.)

Guess that a job title is not as glamorous as a pseudo religious title.

Interesting discussion.

Juan M. Mercado
 

Xue Sheng

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Agreed.

That is my understanding as well.

On an interesting note, the Grand Master thing is used in esoteric teachings societies. The heads of local chapters are Masters, the heads of huge regions are Grand Masters, and the head of the world organization is like the Grand Poobah or whatever title.

In the end, it is an organizational title that should denote your responsabilities to the membership of the organization, not how others should treat you.

Since martial arts were considered "esoteric" and their teaching styles similar in many respects, it is no wonder that the titles taken are the same as in western esoteric schools, instead of western educational systems (like coach, teacher, principal, headmaster, dean, chairman, etc.)

Guess that a job title is not as glamorous as a pseudo religious title.

Interesting discussion.

Juan M. Mercado

Interesting, thanks

Also I just had a discussion with my Sifu and with my wife about the title of grand master. Actually one of my Sifus newer students wanted to start calling him Grand Master to which he said no

Grandmaster is used in China in 2 ways.

A great martial arts teacher dies and people then refer to him as Grandmaster (da shi)

A person teaching martial arts or Qigong who is a Huaquan (flower fist) or a fake and they start calling him da shi (aka Grand Master - sarcastic)

So if you call Yang Chengfu da shi (Yang da shi) that is a good thing and the Yang family thinks it is great but if you call Chen Zhenglei da shi (Chen Da Shi) you better have your running shoes on.
 

Nebuchadnezzar

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Old post I know, and much of this has already been said

Sifu/Shifu means Teacher
To my sifu (form China) the term sifu only applies to martial arts teachers and master chefs. But my sifu is 70.

To my wife (form China) the term sifu applies to a martial arts teacher a master chef or just about anyone else that teaches you a skillm my wife taught acupuncture in China so she is a sifu to her students. My wie was born into the Cultural Revolution so she is younger than my sifu.

Laoshi is a school teacher

And the term Grand Master as far as both my wife and sifu are concerned is not used in China.

Actually as far as my wife is concerned the term Grand Master is a rather sarcastic title Chinese give other Chinese (Mainly martial arts) when someone claims mastery when in fact they are a flower fist.

The title Grand Master is a product of the West as far as CMA is concerned

Thanks for the clarification!
 

funnytiger

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Interesting, thanks

Also I just had a discussion with my Sifu and with my wife about the title of grand master. Actually one of my Sifus newer students wanted to start calling him Grand Master to which he said no

Grandmaster is used in China in 2 ways.

A great martial arts teacher dies and people then refer to him as Grandmaster (da shi)

A person teaching martial arts or Qigong who is a Huaquan (flower fist) or a fake and they start calling him da shi (aka Grand Master - sarcastic)

So if you call Yang Chengfu da shi (Yang da shi) that is a good thing and the Yang family thinks it is great but if you call Chen Zhenglei da shi (Chen Da Shi) you better have your running shoes on.

We would use the term "grand master" to illustrate a hierarchy so it is more easily understood by the western mind. My teacher is Sifu; his teacher is Si Gung, which I would refer to as "master" if I had to use an equivalent English term; and my Sifu's teacher's teacher is Dai Si Gung, which I assume is much longer, Cantonese term for "da shi".

It is not a "title" per say, but again, just a way for some to create a bridge between the English speaking and the traditional Chinese terminology.

He would not refer to him as Grandmaster, nor would we refer to him as such in verbal conversation about him. We would say Dai Si Gung.

I say that to say I agree there is a stress put on titles, and some take advantage of that. Some people like to go around calling themselves "sifu" as well as "master" and "grand master". Some believe that because they have these titles they are entitled to a lot of things.

But those who have earned those titles deserve the respect that comes along with it.
 

Xue Sheng

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We would use the term "grand master" to illustrate a hierarchy so it is more easily understood by the western mind. My teacher is Sifu; his teacher is Si Gung, which I would refer to as "master" if I had to use an equivalent English term; and my Sifu's teacher's teacher is Dai Si Gung, which I assume is much longer, Cantonese term for "da shi".

It is not a "title" per say, but again, just a way for some to create a bridge between the English speaking and the traditional Chinese terminology.

He would not refer to him as Grandmaster, nor would we refer to him as such in verbal conversation about him. We would say Dai Si Gung.

I say that to say I agree there is a stress put on titles, and some take advantage of that. Some people like to go around calling themselves "sifu" as well as "master" and "grand master". Some believe that because they have these titles they are entitled to a lot of things.

But those who have earned those titles deserve the respect that comes along with it.

Understood but I Dai Si Gung meaning is Great Grand father teacher and Si Gung is Grand Father Teacher

I do not know the equivalent in Cantonese to Da Shi which does mean Grand Master. There use to be a couple of Cantonese Speakers on MT maybe they can answer that, if not I can ask my sifu the next time I see him he speaks Cantonese and Mandarin. My wife does not speak Cantonese so I can't ask her.

And in China, especially in the North you do not want to be called Da Shi if you are alive.
 

funnytiger

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Understood but I Dai Si Gung meaning is Great Grand father teacher and Si Gung is Grand Father Teacher

Which is essentially what I posted. Your teacher's teacher (si gung) and your si gung's teacher (dai si gung). I hesitate to put the term "father" in there since there seems to be some debate of the translation of the characters between "father" and "sifu". I believe "sifu" to be a father-figure in the traditional schools, but I'm not sure if there is a direct correlation.

I've heard both sides from people who both speak and read Cantonese.

I neither speak or read Cantonese (except for the kung fu terminology taught to us by my Sifu) so I can't speak much on that.

I do not know the equivalent in Cantonese to Da Shi which does mean Grand Master. There use to be a couple of Cantonese Speakers on MT maybe they can answer that, if not I can ask my sifu the next time I see him he speaks Cantonese and Mandarin. My wife does not speak Cantonese so I can't ask her.
And in China, especially in the North you do not want to be called Da Shi if you are alive.

My Sifu speaks Cantonese as well. I will drop him a line today about the term "da shi". I've never heard him use it, so if it does indeed mean "grandmaster" then you're probably spot on about the use of it.

- ft
 

Xue Sheng

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My Sifu speaks Cantonese as well. I will drop him a line today about the term "da shi". I've never heard him use it, so if it does indeed mean "grandmaster" then you're probably spot on about the use of it.

- ft

Da Shi is mandarin, I do not know the Cantonese, but I too will check with my sifu he speaks both
 

funnytiger

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Da Shi is mandarin, I do not know the Cantonese, but I too will check with my sifu he speaks both

The "shi" in da shi kind of makes it obviously mandarin. My Sifu is well versed in Cantonese and knows quite a bit of Mandarin kung fu terminology as well.
 

funnytiger

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I wrote my Sifu and haven't gotten an answer back, but I did a little search on the Internet for "Da Shi" and possibly its Cantonese counterpart "Dai Si". It didn't seem to really return any search results for any TCMA's.

I can not draw any real conclusions from this, but I will guess that perhaps it is not a term used in TCMA because of the implications that come along with it as Xue Sheng mentioned as well as it doesn't seem to fit in with the family structured MA's.

Still waiting to hear back from Sifu....

- ft
 

punisher73

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

I heard that he is famous for his hairy palm technique, which is usually only practiced at night while no one else is there to witness it.

Professormental's post was very interesting as it kind of shed some light on if the title's of master/grandmaster are western ideas how did we come up with them and incorporate them into the martial arts.
 

oxy

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I heard that he is famous for his hairy palm technique, which is usually only practiced at night while no one else is there to witness it.

The skill is so repulsive that he's been forbidden from using it on others.
 

JadeDragon3

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My understanding was that Grandmaster was the person who knew all thier was to Know about thier style and taught it. Sifu was a teacher who taught the style the grandmaster knew. Now the term Great grandmaster is a term for the old granmaster that no longer teaches and has passed the title of GM on to someone else.
 

Xue Sheng

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My understanding was that Grandmaster was the person who knew all thier was to Know about thier style and taught it. Sifu was a teacher who taught the style the grandmaster knew. Now the term Great grandmaster is a term for the old granmaster that no longer teaches and has passed the title of GM on to someone else.

If you call someone, that is still alive, in China a grandmaster there are a few possibilities

1) You think he/she is a fraud
2) You are looking for a fight
3) You are looking to be completely ignored.
4) You don't know any better becase you are a westerner

Grand master is a title that is made up for the west by the west as far as CMA is concerned. The only way someone is called a grand master in china by other Chinese martial artist is if he/she is dead. Then it is a term of respect.

I recently saw a webpage for a CMA teacher in Beijing, there were 2 versions; English were the title of Grandmaster was and Chinese where the title of Grandmaster wasn't.

The page was designed for the audience that would read it. In China you do not call a Sifu a Grandmaster if you are Chinese or a serious Westerner training with him/her. They are usually just Sifu (Shifu)

 

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