People Of The Federation Wing Tsun System

All the great people who study, teach and train with me make up one part – the most important part – of the complete Federation Wing Tsun System.

Without people learning, practicing, teaching and exploring the system, it would fall into disuse and become just another dead art, of academic or historical interest only. This is certainly not the case, and happily, more people than ever seem to be finding their way to Federation Wing Tsun Kung-Fu and making it part of their own personal martial journey. This is wonderful, and I thank you all.

Those who study and share the Federation Wing Tsun System do so directly through me and my own clubs, or via an affiliated organisation. Those who have my permission to teach the system are all listed on this website.

Please remember that I have taught a great many students over the decades, and many of them reached a well-deserved instructor rank with me. Naturally though, not all of them are still training, and some are now teaching an adapted version to fit their own purposes – sadly without crediting the source of their knowledge.

If you wish to learn the Federation Wing Tsun System exactly as detailed on this website, remember to check who your instructor is before paying for lessons. You may be learning someone else’s version of the system, and pattern parts don’t always fit. Come get the real thing.

FWTS | The People

People Circle
Representing all the people in the world, including you & I. Some are inside the system, although the vast majority are outside it, sadly! 🙂
Those who started learning the Federation Wing Tsun System, but left before completing the apprentice level, for their own personal reasons.
Those who have completed an apprenticeship in the system, but left before completing their journeyman training.
Those who have completed the system, but who are now no longer actively training.
Affiliates Circle
Representing martial arts clubs & organisations that offer the Federation Wing Tsun System to their members. Please contact me if you’d like to be one of them.
Apprentice-Level Students
Those studying within the apprentice level of the training programme.
Journeyman-Level Students
Those who have completed their apprenticeship in the system, and who are now exploring their individuality as a journeyman/woman of Kung-Fu.
Master-Level Students
Those who have completed the system, and who are still actively training for health and ongoing personal development.
Instructors Circle
Representing that small group of students who are learning to share their skills & knowledge with others
Apprentice-Level Instructors
Senior apprentices who are on the Instructor Training Programme. You can start instructor training once you pass the 9th Student Grade, if you have the appropriate skills, mindset and character.
Journeyman-Level Instructors
Journeymen who have completed the first stages of instructor training, and who are learning to teach & share the more advanced student grades.
Scholar-Level Instructors
Instructors who have completed their own study of the system, who are capable of mentoring future Journeymen, and who are changing/improving the system for future generations of students to enjoy.

A Word About Titles

The relationships between all the different people within a Kung-Fu family, including this one, can be described by way of their traditional titles. Although I don’t really use such things in my classes and interactions (I prefer people to call me Lee, not Sifu or Master – no egos here) it is probably worth knowing the correct forms of address, if only for the purposes of historical interest.

Relationships exist as soon as there is more than one entity to be considered. The individual members of every family, group, clan, business, club, gathering or social enterprise can all be expressed by the way they are related to each other, and the martial arts are no different. No-one is an island; you have a place in a hierarchy within the world of Kung-Fu, just as you do in all other walks of life.

Because the Federation Wing Tsun System is a martial art of Chinese origin, it is appropriate that the terms used to describe our internal relationships reflect those of Chinese family traditions.

Please note that in practice it would be unusual for our people to address each other using the modes shown below. By all means call your instructor or colleagues by their traditional Kung-Fu titles if it makes you happy, or if you feel it shows respect, however nobody here will insist upon being addressed in such ways. We take our art a lot more seriously than we take ourselves.

You & Your Immediate Kung-Fu “Family”

These are probably the most common titles you’ll come across; terms describing your relationship to your own instructor and to other students within your school or club.

Your Parents
Your own instructor
Your Elder Siblings
More experienced students than you, taught by your own instructor
Elder Brother
Elder Sister
Practitioner of the Federation Wing Tsun Kung-Fu System
Your Younger Siblings
Less experienced students than you, taught by your own instructor
Younger Brother
Younger Sister

The Family Of Your Kung-Fu “Parents”

Of course, your instructor came from a school or club originally too, learning skills from instructors of their own. These terms describe your relationship with their family.

Your Grandparents
The teacher of your own instructor
Your Parents’ Elder Siblings
Students of your instructors’ teacher, who are more experienced than your own instructor
Elder Uncle
Elder Aunt
Your Parents
Your own instructor
Your Parents’ Younger Siblings
Students of your instructors’ teacher, who are less experienced than your own instructor
Younger Uncle
Younger Aunt

Further Ancestry

Naturally, the terms exist to describe a far greater depth of ancestry than is listed on this page, however in practice the above titles plus the two shown below (for good measure) would usually be sufficient.

Your Great-Grandparents
The teacher of your instructors’ teacher
Lineage Founder
The person who initiated any given style/system
Male or Female

The “Sifu” Title

There is an important difference between the term “Si-Fu” (with a hyphen), and the term “Sifu” (without a hyphen). The pronunciation is identical, but the hyphen serves to distinguish between them in written usage.

Sifu (without a hyphen) is a professional title bestowed upon an individual, male or female, upon achievement of a particular level of skill & knowledge within a discipline. It is similar to the way the title Doctor is usually bestowed upon medical students after passing their exams, or upon academics after the attainment of their PhD qualification.

In the Federation Wing Tsun System, the title of Sifu is awarded when a qualified instructor succeeds in raising TWO of their own students to an equivalent, or higher grade than they themselves were at when they first began teaching the art. Thus the title is a reward for long personal study, reflective of years of dedication to ones students, and an acknowledgment of sincere effort to improve & share the system.

In my professional career to date, I have only ever awarded this title to two of my students: Mr. Andrew King, an ex-instructor of the system who had been my student for 15 years when he gained the title, and Mr. Joe Jackson-Taylor who is still teaching the system, and has been my student for 14 years (as of 2015) – and that’s it. Nobody else.

To be super-accurate, the title of Dai-Sifu (literally ‘Great Sifu’) also exists. This is awarded when very senior instructors succeed in having the Sifu title awarded to two of their own students. Officially this is my own rank as I have created two Sifus, but really, who needs such pompous things? 🙂

Please note that the above criteria do not necessarily apply to others. In some variants of Wing Chun it is common practice to award the Sifu title as soon as one begins teaching. In others it is a title by purchase: Pay enough money, and you too can hold it. I don’t agree with either of these practices; they do nothing for the art except to promote ego and financial motives. My students know that any Sifu within the Federation Wing Tsun System has earned the right to the title over a decade or more of effort.

By contrast, Si-Fu is a term which can be understood as ‘Father-Teacher’; a paternal relationship between the student and their own instructor, as shown in the table above.

You can read more about this interesting distinction right here, however a simple way to understand the difference is to realise that you can only have one set of parents; one father, one mother. Thus your own instructor is your Si-Fu or Si-Mo (meaning that they are your Kung-Fu parent), regardless of whether or not they have been awarded the professional title of Sifu within the Federation Wing Tsun System.

The pages below will take you deeper into the different roles of our people:

Where Next?

Level Contents
1 Overview
2 The Martial Art System The Training Programme The People (you are here)
3 Five Martial Elements
Creative Relationship
Control Relationship
Apprentice Level
Journeyman Level
Master Level
Apprentices & Journeymen