Here at the AUWCKFC we adhere to the Australian Wing Chun Federation grading system. The AWCF grading system is divided into levels, each corresponding to a form from the Wing Chun system. The first Level requires a fluent understanding of Siu Nim Tau (Siu Lim Tau, Tsu Lim Tao, or variations of..). Siu Nim Tau (little idea) is the foundation upon which all other forms build in different ways, and is perhaps a greater focus in Chu Shong Tin's lineage than others. Level 1 is our closest equivalent to a black belt in other martial arts.
The journey to Level 1 is divided up into four intermediate grades over roughly three to six years (depending on the student). These are awarded as the student demonstrates certain key understandings in class.
New members (no grade)
To be assessed for Level 1, the student will be invited to complete a traditional written exam, pass any in-class assessments, and then attend an external physical assesment by the AWCF.
Levels 2 to 6 do not have any intermediate grades, but are assessed in the same way as Level 1, and take similar periods of time to acheive (three years minimum).
Lineage and Titles
Traditionally, Wing Chun was passed from a master to one student at a time. Many kungfu styles were family secrets. Thus, a family tree-like structure was commonly used to notate lineage. During the mid 20th Century, Ip Man (and later others) began giving public classes, which made the use of family titles difficult, however, it was still observed.
On top of that, there is a common use among practitioners in our lineage to refer to Chu Shong Tin (sometimes Tsui Tsun Tin) affectionately as Sigung (grandfather) regardless of their position in the lineage. For our current principal instructor and many of that generation, it is true that Jim Fung was the sole Sifu of most current senior practitioners in Australia. However, for newer generations, this can cause some confusion, as most new students technically should refer to Jim Fung as Sigung and our Principal Instructor as Sifu. Perhaps, due to the significance of Chu Shong Tin's contemporary contribution to Wing Chun, and Jim Fung's role in bringing Wing Chun to Australia where it thrived, it is not uncommon not to depart from traditional family titles in training unless refering to Jim Fung as 'Sifu' or Chu Shong Tin as 'Sigung'.
Our lineage represents a source of credibility, style, and also garners a community. The details of these trees are often debated, but all lineages seem to agree that it traces back to the Shaolin:
Ng Mei (1705 - 1785) - One of five exiled Shaolin elders
Yim Wing Chun (1740 - 1820) - The art's namesake.
Leung Bok Chau - Husband of YWC and sometimes accredited with introducing knives form.
Leung Lan Kwai (1755-1835)
Leung Lee Tai (1798 -1878) - Sometimes accredited with introducing long pole either with or from Wong Wah Bo (1784 -1864). Red boat opera performer.
Leung Jan (1826-1901) - Often known as a pharmiscits and herbalist, and features in some films/comics. Father of Leung Bik
Leung Bik & Chan Wa Sheun
Ip Man (1893-1972) - Political exile from China to Hong Kong, then taught publicly there.
Chu Shong Tin (1933-2014) - Labelled by Ip Man as "King of Siu Nim Tau". One of several notable students: Leung Sheung, Lok Yiu, Wong Shun Leung, and Ip Man's sons Ip Chun and Ip Ching.
Jim Fung (1944-2007) - Came to Australia to study in 1970, started this Club in 1971, and has several notable students still teaching throughout Australia.
Seth Piszczuk - The Club's Principal Instructor.