View Full Version : What's a grandmaster?

03-31-2001, 07:45 AM
This might sound silly, but exactly what is a grandmaster? Does it have to be synonymous with creator/inheritor of the system? Or can it just be a very senior instructor within an art who has decided to emphasise certain aspects of the art or utilises a particular training philosophy which is slightly different from what others are doing? How is the term used in a Chinese context?

03-31-2001, 09:50 AM
Generally it is a master who has taught someone else who has achieved master status.

IMHO too many people are willing to claim the title of master or grandmaster.

Guns don't kill people, I kill people

03-31-2001, 03:51 PM
its just a word.....

03-31-2001, 04:26 PM
ABandit: That makes sense, but that just shifts the question to "What is a master?"...I suppose it has connections with mastering a particular art and understanding the intricacies of it. But the problem is, how is it possible for someone else to judge when someone has mastered their art?

Edward: It sure is a word. But words generally refer to things (at least most of us would like to think so), and I'm wondering what the word "grandmaster" refers to...The word must have been coined to refer to a particular state, I would think, and I'm interested in this. I suppose what I'm asking is what the necessary conditions for being a grandmaster would be like, what is it about someone that would make the neutral observer with an understanding of the word "grandmaster" say "Yep, that guy's a grandmaster". Know what I mean?

Big Vern
03-31-2001, 10:19 PM
alright guys. a grandmaster is basically the equivalent of a managing director, he started the company and has many directors below him, who managed correctly can make him lots of $$$$$$$.
there is some great and inspiring co's out there and some dodgy ones.

04-01-2001, 01:57 AM
A Grandmaster - or Sigong / Sigung - I was always told was basically just the Sifu of a Sifu.

04-01-2001, 01:58 AM

As the word suggests, a master is someone who has mastered the art. I guess that means that they have reached a level of proficiency and understanding of the art for them to be considered to have mastered it.

To me, this is different to simply qualifying as an instructor. True, an instructor has reached a certain level of skill in the art to be able to teach others, but a master is someone who fully understands the philosophy and techniques of the style.

I guess a grandmaster simply has more experience, and hopefully more wisdom than a master. Ultimately, the title grandmaster is bestowed in respect to a teacher that has taught his students well and they in turn have attained mastery of their art.

Big Vern:

Unfortuantely nowadays you are fairly correct. There are so many people out there claiming the titles of master and grandmaster when they do not really deserve the title.

As I said before, I don't believe that an instructor necessarily has the right to claim the title of master, yet so many claim the title. To me, to claim the title of master you have to not only be good, but exceptional in your art.

Guns don't kill people, I kill people

mun hung
04-01-2001, 06:08 PM
The problem with the name "Grandmaster" is that entirely too many people use it! Not even the late great Yip Man called himself a "Grandmaster". I'm sorry, but I find that most of the people who call themselves "Grandmaster" are usually into the money game. Just another way of promoting themselves thru marketing, and another step at commercializing the art. There are so-called "Grandmasters" who have never fought a day in their lives! Do they really deserve the title? What I find even more sickening are people who call themselves "SiJo" - which means "creator of the art". What's up with that? Just my humble opinion.

I may be bad...but I feel good!

04-01-2001, 10:15 PM
Most often the word Grandmaster is a self-given title. The Cantonese work Sigung can be translated to mean grandmaster but it refers to your sifu's sifu (grand sifu if you will). Nowadays it is a title sometimes used for an older sifu that is well respected.


04-02-2001, 12:03 AM
my opinion is ; grand master is men tho give big periods of life time for wing chun allso know wing chun philosophy and do progres inside wing chun system of combat or progres in wing chun fight or psihology and starategy to fight , im mean is not that important are is sify or not . that is just my opinion - friendly tiger_1 ( if nature give to pig 4 hands than pig say give to me 2head) ;)


04-02-2001, 08:06 AM
So, if I'm a sifu who has trained another sifu, then I might refer to myself or be referred to as a sigung, which I might then translate as "grandmaster". Others, working with a different definition of "grandmaster" could then feel that someone is claiming to something that they never claimed to be (and I think this is a problem that afflicts all arts), and take offence. This could cause animosity, and the whole thing would be over a lack of communication.

Does this sound plausible?

04-02-2001, 08:40 AM
Sounds about right. If a term has traditionally been used to describe one thing, then suddenly it is distorted then obviously there will be misunderstandings.

If you claim to be a master, then traditionally this implies a level of skill, understanding and wisdom has been schieved by you. Many so called masters claim the title without having truly earned it.

Guns don't kill people, I kill people

fiercest tiger
04-02-2001, 09:53 AM
I have 2 guys doing a instructors course at my school. now if they pass all exams etc, the are graded to sifu, this makes me a sigung. like it or not thats the way it goes and apparently in china its quite normal for young teachers as myself to be called a sigung grandmaster....scarry stuff i dont know if i could get use to it! :D



08-28-2001, 10:14 PM
In my experience, 'grandmaster' is more of a westernized thing and there's no real equivalent in the Chinese culture (which tends to be more familial than strictly titular). If it's broken down, you have:

JongSi (Ancestral Teacher), which is the founder of an art. It is not typically the Chinese way to take credit for creating something (older is better) and so if something is new, its usually credited to a god, dream, famous person, great legend, etc. If not, this term is usually reserved for postumous use (for example, since he passed away, Yip Man has been referred to by his students as Yip Man JongSi).
(Note: this is the martial/religious version of JoSi)

SiJo (Teacher/Ancestor), which is the proper term for generation(s) before SiGung (your sifu's, sifu's sifu or prior). Thus, someone can be *your* sijo, but not *a* sijo.

SiGung (Teacher/Grandfathr), which is the proper term for your sifu's sifu. Same as sijo in that someone can be *your* sigung but not *a* sigung. Someone else's sigung or sijo could be refered to as sifu (generic honorific) by anyone else.

Jeung Moon Yan (Center Gate Person), which is the term used for someone who formally inherited a system from a past JMY or from the founder.

Gao Sao (High Hand), which is a term for a highly skilled individual, not often employed in modern, less formal, times.


Rene Ritchie

08-29-2001, 03:06 AM
Don't know anymore.
Don't care anymore.
Doesn't matter anymore.

08-29-2001, 03:51 AM
Wow, this is an old post.