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21st April 2022

Wing Chun Grading System: Your Guide

Wing Chun is a young martial art with a continually evolving system with prestigious roots in the famed Shaolin temple of ancient China.

Wing Chun encapsulates all the traditional forms and enhances them with the modern training methodologies of today.

Within Wing Chun, it’s not about the strength in your strike, but how well you economise your movements and the thoughts behind each action. Wing Chun trains the mind and the body, making it a wholistic art. So, with this rich historical background, what are today’s Wing Chun grading levels? Is there a Wing Chun grading system? Read on for UMF’s guide to how this traditional martial art has been graded throughout the years.

Wing Chun Grading History

Wing Chun as a martial art has evolved since its inception 250 years ago. Over the years, the martial art has morphed and taken on new aspects to become the modern version taught today. However, Wing Chun still draws on its core principles of honour, integrity, and dedication to training remain the same. For many students of Wing Chun, it is more than a combat style; it is a way of living that requires discipline, concentration, and resolve. It is tough to rank a martial art so tied to deeply human characteristics. However, as the art has evolved to fit modern times, a grading system has been developed to help students track their process of mastering the art of Wing Chun.

Wing Chun Grading Levels

The Wing Chun grading system at UMF is tiered into ten levels covering the following:

  • Sil lim Tau (Little Idea)
  • Chum Kiu (Detecting the Bridge)
  • Bil Jee (Darting Fingers)
  • Mook Yan Jong (The Dummy)
  • Bart Jarm Do (Eight Cutting Knives)
  • Lok Dim Boon Gwan (Long Pole)

The highest rank in the Wing Chun grading system is that of a Sifu, and even then, there is no set time frame for when this is achieved. Attaining the Sifu level has no set time and is different between schools. Some schools consider seven years adequate time to become a Sifu, whilst others might be training for close to fifteen years and still not be considered a Sifu.

The Wing Chun Grading System Today

Each Wing Chun School across Australia uses a variation on the coloured sash levelling program. Like the belt program, the sashes are used to indicate rank. Typically, shirt colours remain the same.

The standard levelling colour coding follows:

  • White (Level one)
  • Light blue (level two)
  • Medium blue (Level three)
  • Dark blue (Level four)
  • Light brown (Level five)
  • Brown (Level six)
  • Black (Level seven)
  • Grey (Level eight)
  • Green (Level nine)
  • Gold (Level ten)

Mastery of a Simple, Practical, Efficient, Effective and Direct System

So, whilst there may be the existence of some form of Wing Chun grading system, the art itself is far more detailed than simple ranks. A martial art is just as much about students learning about themselves as it is the students learning new techniques. Wing Chun has its roots in the philosophical developments of the student, and this is an ever-evolving process. These formal parts of the system are just the start of a long-life journey.

Attaining Sifu status is by no means an indication that training is over, as, in the last stage of the Wing Chun grading levels, there are constantly new techniques to be learned and training to be completed. That is why Wing Chun beginners need to focus on mastering as many aspects of Wing Chun as possible, and enjoying this process, rather than concentrating on the time it takes to become a Sifu.

Teaching The Wing Chun System

The greatest contribution an individual can make to the art of Wing Chun is to advance beyond the levels of a student and take the time and commitment to teach others. Teaching is an art, requires additional training, and is an enriching experience for passionate Wing Chun masters. Senior Instructors have made their mark not only on students but on the art of Wing Chun itself, contributing to research and proliferation of the art.

Master Wing Chun with UMF Academy

Regardless of the reason you are looking to learn Wing Chun, UMF academy has a team of coaches and trainers that are passionate about instilling the virtues of this noble martial art in students. We used a specially devised ranking system for some of our martial arts classes, but we continually emphasise the role of personal development in considering how well a student is progressing. Book in with a trial class with us today to start the rewarding journey of learning Wing Chun Kung Fu.

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