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The theory behind our grading structure

The Wing Tsun stages of development are based on the Taoist five elements  (fire, water, earth, wood, metal) come from the far Eastern philosophy of Taoism.


As our association is heavily based on the Confucius Virtues of the Chinese Phoenix we also apply these five virtues to each stage with the aim that as a person goes through the Wing Tsun System they also work on improving their character.


"Being a Martial Artist is being a Peaceful Warrior, without a peaceful mind you cannot be a warrior and without warriors, there can be no peace"



The elements represent the cycle of life and the cycle of the entire Wing Tsun system. The cycle goes back to the beginning when you reach the end. It is there to remind us that no matter how far we progress we should always remember where we began. The development through each stage of the system also ties in each Confucius virtue of the Phoenix so that there is also a focus on moral and ethical growth. 

FIRE: This element represents the birth of Wing Tsun, which came from the tragic burning down of the Siu Lam Monastery by the defector monks, the rebel Lee Pai Sun, and the Manchu government in 17th century China. But also it’s the spark within us as a new student, which is the beginning of our learning and the representation of re-birth. A time to reinvent and improve ourselves. Beginner stages of learning – Siu Nim Tau is a reflection stage to look at oneself and try to understand ourselves better.  


Siu- Nim-Tao - The Way of The Little 'Idea'


Focus on virtue:  智(zhi)-  Wisdom /knowledge - connected to the head of the phoenix.  


Application: Seek wisdom of the art but also of yourself, aim to understand yourself on a deeper level. Enjoy learning and reading more books. Learn the experience of others. Be an empty cup, do some introspection, be a good student. Internalize what you learned and being able to form the wisdom in your thoughts to make good judgment in any situation you encounter in life. Always check in with yourself when difficult situations or conflict arise, check in with your actions and your role, and have the ability to hold yourself to account.   

WATER: This element represents water, and the water theory is the theory of fluidity, and water beats fire so it also represents the next stage. In wing Tsun the water is under a bridge, this represents the next stage – bridging forward to the second stage in learning Chum Kiu, which means, “seeking the bridge”. But it also is the bridge between a beginner and a master. Chum Kiu stage is to try to understand others, both with empathy or reading a dangerous opponent. It is the bridge between you and others, and the bridge between your beginner stage and master stage.


Chum-Kiu - Seeking the Bridge  


Focus on virtue:   義 (YI)- (consideration for others ) - connected to the wing of the phoenix.


Application: Understand the full context of a situation before giving judgment or an opinion in a moral and helpful way. Aim to understand others and not just from your own experience or perspective, be humble and socially conscious enough to empathise and understand others. also gain ability to read others and if they possess good or bad in intentions. 

EARTH: This element represents soil that is needed for growth. Earth can bury water and is, therefore, the next stage of learning. The Earth element in Wing Tsun is a mountain as it holds some of the highest techniques and ones, which require the most amount of skill.


Earth is Biu Jee, the third stage of Wing Tsun. Biu Jee is the stage where you must begin to master yourself but understanding that this task is never actually completely possible. Biu Jee has a saying “Biu Jee stays in the house” it is the most brutal of unarmed techniques.


This is why it is accompanied with self-mastery, mastery of ego, fear, hatred and all dark emotions, the Chinese realised that training brutal techniques without focus on self mastery can turn the practitioner dark and there is a saying that many who arrive at the top who don’t focus on self-mastery will become darkened and lead astray by the thin air, and become blinded by their ego from high knowledge and destructive ability and they will be trapped up there forever. The challenge with attaining high skill in martial arts is developing kindness and responsibility for there is no greater discipline than to behold destructive power but without the desire to ever use it.


Biu Jee - Dart Finger - To Fly   


Focus on Virtue: 禮 (LI) - Propriety- connected to the back of the Phoenix



They will be active in helping their Kung Fu Family readily. Be respectful and loyal to any relationships you are in. A teacher must be this stage at minimum to be eligible to open a school.  

WOOD: This element represents growth from the fire of the sun, water, and earth-combined nature is born, trees are grown. This it the wooden dummy stage and long pole stage combined. Wood is grown from earth but requires fire (the sun), and water to do so. The wooden dummy combines all the best techniques of the 3 prior stages (Siu Nim Tau, Chum Kiu, Biu Jee). The wooden dummy perfects the movements and is a correcting tool for the movements. 
Long pole – interestingly in its origin combined metal and wood as it originally had a metal handle. 


Muk Yan Chong -Wooden Dummy 

Luk Dim Boom Qwan - 6 1/2 point Pole 

Focus on virtue:  仁(REN) -  Benevolence (kind hearted, humanity) -  connected to the chest (heart) of the phoenix


Application: To actively aim to Add values to other people’s life. Show love and respect for yourself and others.  Actively and consciously aim to stay a student and still practice all material, but have the ability to understand it on a deeper level. 


The Practician Stage (master grades) incorporating the Fifth to the ninthLevels, which reflects the standard of practical training and combat power training.  They are regarded as being able to apply their techniques with absolute proficiency and adeptness, besides having a high standard of striking power. The higher in level a Practician is promoted, the more he knows about the theories and techniques of  At this stage, a Practician is able to understand the theories of kung fu styles other than his own, and by comparing the different theories, he will have a better understanding of his own system, and be improved in their Wing Tsun ability. 



METAL: This is the final element the 5th and the crown of the system. Metal comes from earth deep in the earth it is formed. The Baat Chum Dau is the crown of the entire system, it is known as the 8 bladed knives as it beats all 8 types of cutting weapons including the samurai sword. The most destructive, skilful and beautiful stage of the art.


The Baat Chum Dau is known as the weapon designed for a woman. Both beautiful and deadly. Its movements come from Biu-Jee and there are many noticeable characteristics of the Biu Jee movements. But most interestingly, metal can be melted by fire and the theory is to always remember that you are still and always will be a student…

Baat Chum Dao - 8 Bladed Swords - AKA - Wing Tsun Butterfly Swords 

Focus on Virtue: XIN) – Integrity/trustworthiness. Connected to the abdomen of the phoenix, (the area of energy source- Dan TIEN) 

Application: Develop the habit of trust in yourself and other people. Always act with honesty and integrity in everything you do. Be harmonious and balanced within. Be living truly as your authentic self.  

"a master lives and dies by their word' 

A deep understanding of the theories of both in Wing Tsun kung fu and other martial arts systems.

Has the ability  to explain any theoretical problems, to research into the strong and weak points of the theories,  and be able to blend theories (not only of Wing Tsun but also of other martial arts) in a scientific and rationalised manner, and a sufficient level of philosophy.  


There are 12 student grades in our grading structure

4 Grades belong to Siu Nim Tau with last two introducing Chum Kiu:

  • Forms

  • Basic Self-Defence

  • Lat Sau /Chi Dan Sau

  • Applications

  • Basic Sparring

4 Grades Belong to Chum Kiu with last two introducing BIu Jee: 

  • Kicking Forms

  • Chum Kiu Form

  • Kicking cycles

  • Advanced Lat Sau

  • Chi sau sections 1-4

  • 5 stages of  a fight (puncher, Kicker, mixed and traditional, ground fight, Wing Tsun vs Wing Tsun)

  • Weapons defence

  • Multiple attackers


  • Complete the 7 ½ sections of Chi-Sau (5,6,7)

  • First part of Biu Jee form and basic applications

  • Free fight any previous stages

  • Advanced Weapons Defence








  • CHI GERK 1-4




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