Kung Fu School Structure
The structure of a mo kwoon (place of martial training)
is very much like a family. This has its roots back in the days
of imperial China when a particular style of kung fu was typically
only taught to members of the family that invented it (e.g. the
Chow family). Only recently has this trend been broken with kung
fu now being taught to any who are interested. Nevertheless, the
traditional family-oriented nature of kung fu titles remains the
same (even though these people may not necessarily be related).
Below is a list of family titles and how they relate to a kung
fu school. It is hoped this information will give you a greater
understanding of these titles when you next hear them. Next to
some are listed examples of who would have this as their
title in the Australian School of Kung Fu and Tai Chi.
- Si-jo. This is the person who founded
the kung fu style you are learning, e.g.
The following are as related to your Grandfather/Grandmother:
- Si-tai gung. Great Grandfather. This is a very senior
practitioner/grandmaster of the kung fu style, e.g. Ip Chee Keung..
- Si-gung. Grandfather. In general, this is anyone who
taught your Si-fu, or is above your Si-fu in rank, e.g. Nat Yuen.
- Si-sook gung. Grandfather's younger brother. Someone
higher than your Si-fu in rank but not as high as a Si-gung,
e.g. Dr H H Tan.
The following are as related to your Father/Mother:
- Si-fu. Father. This is the most senior instructor
within the school who is teaching you in some way, e.g. Dennis
Sue-Tin, Guy Sue-Tin.
- Si-mo. Mother.
- Si-bak. Father's older brother.
- Si-bak mo. Father's older brother's wife.
- Si-gu ma. Father's older sister.
- Si-gu cheung. Father's older/younger sister's husband.
- Si-sook. Father's younger brother. In general, a senior instructor
that has trained for a very long time under your Si-fu, e.g. anyone with a 5th
to 7th degree red belt.
- Si-sook mo. Father's younger brother's wife.
- Si-gu ji. Father's younger sister.
The following are as related to you:
- Dai si-hing. Your oldest brother. In general, an instructor
that teaches you directly, and has trained for a long time under
your Si-fu, e.g. anyone with a red belt up to and including 4th degree red
- Dai si-ji. Your oldest sister.
- Si-hing. Your older brother. In general, a senior
student of the school who may assist with teaching, e.g. anyone currently
learning Sarm Gung Bik Kiul, Sarm Bo Pai Tarn, or Bo Sim Sau.
- Si-ji. Your older sister.
- Si-dai. Your younger brother. In general, this refers
to a non-senior student of the school.
- Si-mui. Your younger sister.
- Tong si-hing. Your older male cousins (on your father's
- Tong si-ji. Your older female cousins (on your father's
- Tong si-dai. Your younger male cousins (on your father's
- Tong si-ji. Your younger female cousins (on your father's
- Bil si-go. Your older male cousins (on your mother's
- Bil si-ji. Your older female cousins (on your mother's
- Bil si-dai. Your younger male cousins (on your mother's
- Bil si-ji. Your younger female cousins (on your mother's
Note that the word si means "trade" or "by
trade". This is usually replaced with ah when addressing
your blood family.
Here are a few special titles that only a Si-fu or above may use:
- To dai. Your students (when addressing them).
- Dai ji. Your students (when referring your students
to someone else).
- Yap suk dai ji. Your close students/disciples.
This list is by no means complete but hopefully has broadened
your understanding a little :)
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