Wing Chun ranking system proposal.

Xue Sheng

All weight is underside
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
33,104
Reaction score
7,826
Location
North American Tectonic Plate
Xue Sheng, thank you for your input. Unfortunately, I am not as learned of the Chinese martial arts history as you are and could not tell you what impact Chinese Duan had on the CMA house nor am na簿ve to believe that all the Wing Chun families, styles and systems will jump onboard to this idea. What I am saying is, if utilized properly, this can provide clear consistent progression of learning levels and can benefit the growth of the art. It can show affiliation and provide quality control/ oversight (QC). I recently retired after serving 30 years in the US Army, planned missions, had numerous deployments and unfortunately attended many memorial services but as a leader we always trained or soldiers to don't settle for status quo or "this is how it's always been done". Always look for ways to make it better and to give more than you take. That's all I'm trying to do and I welcome constructive criticism. When I started TKD in the mid 70's there were only 6 belts. Now there are 12-13 depending on the school you go to. A close friend of mine has a very successful martial arts school with a consistent 250+ students for the last 19 years and that's all he does. We both came from the same Moo Duk Kwon TKD background but both have expanded our knowledge into other arts. I questioned him on how they've changed from the old ways and how there are double the amount of belts now. I also expressed my concern about the quality of TKD each student reflected. He explained a hard reality that I know is true because I experienced it in the military. Society has become "less hungry" for martial arts and for most things that have a cost whether it be time, money or sweat. Many people are more "what's in it for me?" focused but still want to try. He said that he's adjusted teaching styles only giving the "old school" ways to those who show that they're hungry and show the potential and aptitude to learn. The others he teaches to their level pushing them to their abilities and provides confidence, physical exercise and classes to fit their 45-60min time block. The ones that stay for additional classes and are always seeking more, reap the benefits of the "old school student" (or old ways we're accustomed to) the others get what they put in but still benefit and are healtier and more productive citizens. As a leader my goal has always been to, by my example, inspire soldiers to set realistic goals, accomplish the mission (to include their mission in life), take personal responsibility for their actions, and always look for ways to improve yourself and your surroundings in spite of what others may say. I am merely trying my best to do that for my new found passion Applied Wing Chun Kung-Fu. Thank you again for your comments.~

I mean no offense and I do not want to discourage you but you really need to learn a lot more about the culture and the history and the politics of the style. These are not soldiers and they do not have to listen nor do many want to, they don't go on missions, they teach Wing Chun and to some it is not a job, it is not a mission it is thier life.

It has been my experience that once you get an affiliation of an organization or a board that oversees such thing… it goes bad rather quickly and things get watered down and pushed to the side and the focus changes from the art….to the rank… and that is not a good thing in my opinion in Chinese martial arts.

The best advice I can give you is learn about Wing Chun, not the forms or that applications but the art, the history of the art, the culture it comes from and the politics and then think about the belt ranks and standardization.

You are not the first and you will not be the last, there is a 1st generation Ip Man student in Hong Kong who believes there needs to be a standardization of all Wing Chun styles and curriculums. There are also those of that generation who do not... I do not think Ip Chun does or Ip Ching but I am not sure there... but with that said, they do not teach the same way either

My final words here are to “Applied Wing Chun”….. all Wing Chun is applied, or at least that was my experience
 

Xue Sheng

All weight is underside
Joined
Jan 8, 2006
Messages
33,104
Reaction score
7,826
Location
North American Tectonic Plate
I agree. It will be a challenge. I don't know if the WC world is willing to "share their knowledge" but someone has to start the dialogue. Why not me? I'm used to dealing with people with a "CAN'T DO" , "SHOUDN'T DO" or "WHY DO?" attitude. I will do the best that I can do and hopefully inspire someone else to do more than I. Thank you again for the dialogue and constructive input. I look forward to more input from you.


You are not the first, probably wont be the last, but who knows, you may succeed, I don't believe you will but then I could be entirely wrong and what does the opinion of a nameless faceless person on a web page matter anyway.

You likely have the western side of things understood and what you propose may fly with that side of the equation, not all of them but more than the eastern side.

You have to understand that in this, particularly dealing with the older Chinese teachers, your desire to do this does not produce in them a desire to respond, care or take any of this seriously. They do not have a can't do, shouldn't do, or why do attitude. They already know why and I doubt they will change. But they have this great way of doing things that I am not sure you are use to. The "go ahead and do" or the go away and then you happily leave believing in your success or you just leave and they go on doing what they have always done because it works. They simply do not take you seriously and see no reason to discuss debate or argue with you at all or for that matter talk to you. I have seen this myself in a few of those old school guys, I saw one completely deny any knowledge of martial arts when I knew he had been at it for around 50 years. I have even asked them why they said what they said or did what they did and it comes down to they simply saw that as the best way to make someone go away.

Basically you are going there looking for a fight and they will not give you one

I wish you luck
 

Flying Crane

Sr. Grandmaster
Joined
Sep 21, 2005
Messages
14,801
Reaction score
4,334
Location
San Francisco
You are not the first and you will not be the last, there is a 1st generation Ip Man student in Hong Kong who believes there needs to be a standardization of all Wing Chun styles and curriculums. There are also those of that generation who do not... I do not think Ip Chun does or Ip Ching but I am not sure there... but with that said, they do not teach the same way either

Not to mention the fact that not all Wing Chun comes thru Ip Man. There are other lineages that trace back to pre-Ip Man, and do not go thru Ip Man at all. They are somewhat different and distinct, but still legitimate Wing Chun. But they are well established and separate.

Try bringing all these people under one umbrella and getting them to agree to an overall standardization, with ranks, etc... Well, I've got 5,000 cats roaming on the open prairie that I'm trying to herd in one direction, just me and my trusty horse...
 

geezer

Grandmaster
MT Mentor
Joined
Oct 20, 2007
Messages
7,134
Reaction score
3,238
Location
Phoenix, AZ
Our organization already has a well developed and standardized instructional curriculum, complete with a system of ranking and colored shirts: white, gray, black, and black with red trim for instructors. Oh and then for Master Level (for the very few that ever reach it) it's red with black trim. Its a good solid approach, but I can't imagine why other WC/VT/WT groups who teach substantially different material would want to adopt our system, and we would never adopt theirs. Different clans of Wing Chun vary significantly in both technique and theory ...even within the same lineage.

I believe MA Lover 1963 has good intentions, but still has a bit to learn about the fractious world of WC where high level "masters" and "grandmasters" frequently refer to each other as "idiots"...even in public!
 

jks9199

Administrator
Staff member
Lifetime Supporting Member
Joined
Jul 2, 2006
Messages
22,830
Reaction score
3,091
Location
Northern VA
Perhaps it's just my outside seat... but it seems like MA Lover has a solution that's in search of a problem. It seems to me that, within each organization, Wing Chun schools have their systems of determining and signifying status that work for them. Across organizations, just like the rest of the martial arts world, it's hard to make a meaningful comparison based solely on signifiers like t-shirts. Think about the differences in black belts (or any other ranking...) across TKD organizations... It's not going to be much better, unless you can somehow unify ALL of the Wing Chun organizations. I think you have a better chance of creating world peace and bringing Christianity (Catholic, Protestant, and all others), Judaism, and Islam into harmony. :D
 

Argus

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
758
Reaction score
284
Location
In my head!
I'm afraid I'm a bit of an anarchist, and must throw my hat in the ring for disunity.
 

mograph

Master of Arts
Joined
Apr 10, 2008
Messages
1,568
Reaction score
693
Well, I've got 5,000 cats roaming on the open prairie that I'm trying to herd in one direction, just me and my trusty horse...
Speaking of herding cats ...

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Instructor

Master Black Belt
Supporting Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2012
Messages
1,467
Reaction score
359
Location
Harpers Ferry, WV
I was inspired by Wing Chun's approach to belts that I run my local Hapkido program in that fashion. We issue certificates to measure progress but rarely ever wear belts in practice. On the occasions when a certain technique requires me to wear my dobak top I might tie mine on to keep the top closed that's about it. i personally think ranking systems exist to motivate a generation with no attention span.
 

Dummy

Yellow Belt
Joined
May 29, 2013
Messages
34
Reaction score
0
Belts and ranks add a sense of limitation and i am against it. Bruce lee had a sign hung up in the place where he and a handful of his students used to train it said " Having no way as the way , having no limitation as limitation "( rough translation).
 
OP
M
Joined
May 28, 2013
Messages
18
Reaction score
1
I was inspired by Wing Chun's approach to belts that I run my local Hapkido program in that fashion. We issue certificates to measure progress but rarely ever wear belts in practice. On the occasions when a certain technique requires me to wear my dobak top I might tie mine on to keep the top closed that's about it. i personally think ranking systems exist to motivate a generation with no attention span.
I agree. The attention span of this generation is technology driven. "microwave mentality", and wanting it all RIGHT NOW is beat of the drum that many of today's society march to. Thanks for the input.
 
OP
M
Joined
May 28, 2013
Messages
18
Reaction score
1
To everyone who has been replying to my thread. THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH!! Your opinions, insight, professionalism and "boots to the head" :D have truly been a blessing. I hear all of you and am "listening" as well. I was blessed to have been taught by many great teachers and leaders. Many of them reinforced the same mindset when it came to training or teaching. "There are no bad students, just complacent teachers." Even though I didn't (and still don't) fully agree with that, there is some truth to it. We adjust our training and use whatever means necessary to teach, motivate and inspire them understand the task, accomplish the task and to disseminate it to the lowest level to the best of THEIR ability. We understand that we can train 200 students with the same equipment, same instructors and same parameters and get different levels of quality, commitment and even understanding but all are moving forward and we can "adjust fire" as we go. Many people today just quit! In my generation the phrase was, "When the going gets tough, the tough get going!" now it's , "If the going gets tough, just quit. Someone else will take care of it." This not just about Wing Chun. It's about an attitude and using a tool (or many tools) to try to inspire learning. Please, I want everyone to know that I have no illusion that the entire WC world will get on board with this, start singing "We are the world" and have a "group hug" while putting on t-shirts. :)D) Nor was that my intent. I was just looking for something that I felt would be a useful tool for the system and to add in the teaching process. Some may think this is "business or money" driven which I could see where some would think that however, my Sifu does not charge fees nor do I. I'm currently teaching at a close friend's school (under the covering of my Sifu) and I do not receive a dime. As a matter of fact, I have paid out over a thousand dollars research and development of this idea and have given away many of the items to students just as an encouragement to them and to inspire them to continue in their training. Will at some point I receive money for lessons? Maybe...but that's not my heart. That's not what's driving me. Teaching and inspiring others to learn, to be the best they can and to positively affect their families, environment and communities is what's most important to me. When I was in my teens and my drive was to "get a black belt" my instructor used to always tell me, "It's not what's around your waist, it's what's in your heart that matters." I heard him but didn't listen until I had to spare some visiting black belts at our school. I was only a senior green belt at the time which back then meant I had been studying for almost 2 years. I was scared but my instructor said "You have been trained. Do what you know." To my amazement I easily defeated each of them in separate rounds. After they had left my instructor said, "See I told you that belts don't matter". I then refused belt test for the next two years but prior to me leaving for college he made me accept my red belt. I agree with many of you but what I'm trying to say is that I had to learn that lesson for myself and make that decision but the structure was there so I could see the path to start on. I am grateful to all of you that we can discuss topics and even "agree to disagree" yet be respectful and professional. Thank you all again for your input. Please continue and I will answer as much and as often as I can. If any of you are ever in the Va. Beach, VA area you are welcome to stop in and share your knowledge. (or just share a burger :D)
 

Tony Dismukes

MT Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 11, 2005
Messages
6,688
Reaction score
5,909
Location
Lexington, KY
Okay, now I'm curious. How did you spend over $1000 dollars coming up with the idea of using colored t-shirts to indicate rank?
 

Argus

2nd Black Belt
Joined
Jul 16, 2012
Messages
758
Reaction score
284
Location
In my head!
While your intentions seem noble, I think you should rather appreciate the disunified and uncodified system that exists in traditional martial arts.

Do you really want to see Wing Chun become like modern Japanese sportive arts, such as Karate?

Do you think that we need to have ranks and gradings to motivate people?

Do you think that Wing Chun needs to become a regulated, controlled system with grading, curricula, rank, and a governing body?

I have to disagree on all levels. The beauty is that we don't have any of that. We learn the art for the sake of the art itself; not for sport or competition, and not to get grades or ranks. The art is rich, diverse, and earnest by virtue that it is not a governed and codified system. Of course you will have varying degrees of quality with this approach, and lineages will differ in what they perceive to be the right way of doing things, but this is the reality of any living, breathing martial art.

I fear the day when such an approach to martial arts no longer exists. I don't want grades and ranks. I don't want to learn to perform forms for an audience, or learn to fight in a competitive sparring or chisau context. And I don't want to see a governing body become mandatory to "authenticate" a system. And once these things become wide spread, they're almost impossible to escape.
 
OP
M
Joined
May 28, 2013
Messages
18
Reaction score
1
Okay, now I'm curious. How did you spend over $1000 dollars coming up with the idea of using colored t-shirts to indicate rank?

Sending off template for embroidery, silk screening, patch prototypes, shirt purchases shipping etc. but that's not my point. My point was that I'm not in this for the money. "Leave more than you take." was the philosophy I was referring to. Thanks~
 
OP
M
Joined
May 28, 2013
Messages
18
Reaction score
1
While your intentions seem noble, I think you should rather appreciate the disunified and uncodified system that exists in traditional martial arts.

Do you really want to see Wing Chun become like modern Japanese sportive arts, such as Karate?

Do you think that we need to have ranks and gradings to motivate people?

Do you think that Wing Chun needs to become a regulated, controlled system with grading, curricula, rank, and a governing body?

I have to disagree on all levels. The beauty is that we don't have any of that. We learn the art for the sake of the art itself; not for sport or competition, and not to get grades or ranks. The art is rich, diverse, and earnest by virtue that it is not a governed and codified system. Of course you will have varying degrees of quality with this approach, and lineages will differ in what they perceive to be the right way of doing things, but this is the reality of any living, breathing martial art.

I fear the day when such an approach to martial arts no longer exists. I don't want grades and ranks. I don't want to learn to perform forms for an audience, or learn to fight in a competitive sparring or chisau context. And I don't want to see a governing body become mandatory to "authenticate" a system. And once these things become wide spread, they're almost impossible to escape.

Argus, Thanks you for your response. I'll try to answer in sequence. Do you really want to see Wing Chun become like modern Japanese sportive arts, such as Karate? - No, that's not nor has been my desire. My Sifu told me that WC was not designed or intended to be used against Wing Chun. However, I recently saw where they had a World Wing Chun tournament in China last year with the Ip family sponsoring. I wouldn't mind going to see the different WC styles and visit China but at this point in my life I personally don't care about the competition aspect but if someone else does, more power to them. It looked like they had a large turn-out.

Do you think that we need to have ranks and gradings to motivate people? That depends on the person. Some people are goal driven, others are not. I just think it will provide a clear progression within the style for those to follow. I know, and agree, that this is not for everyone. I just built it based upon what I saw and how I thought it might be used to help teach students and provide structure.

Do you think that Wing Chun needs to become a regulated, controlled system with grading, curricula, rank, and a governing body? There are "PROS" and "CONS" for both arguments. I would love to believe that the WC/VT world would agree to a senior governing authority (like Kukiwon is for TKD) however, the reality is like some many of my constituents have so graciously pointed out. "That'll be like herding cats" or "Nailing Jello to a tree." To answer your question: "does it NEED to be regulated globally?" In my opinion....no. Thanks again for the input.
 
OP
M
Joined
May 28, 2013
Messages
18
Reaction score
1
Okay, now I'm curious. How did you spend over $1000 dollars coming up with the idea of using colored t-shirts to indicate rank?
Sending off and paying templates for embroidery, silk screening, patch prototypes, shirt purchases shipping etc. but that's not my point. My point was that I'm not in this for the money. "Leave more than you take." was the philosophy I was referring to. Thanks~
 

StormShadow

Blue Belt
Joined
Mar 20, 2013
Messages
221
Reaction score
3
I agree. The attention span of this generation is technology driven. "microwave mentality", and wanting it all RIGHT NOW is beat of the drum that many of today's society march to. Thanks for the input.

One thing I must say is I appreciate your ability to take criticism. An aspect of someone applying wing chun philosophy's to their life.
 
Last edited:
Top