Kung Fu Titles

Shifu Kevin, Shi Xiong Richard, Shifu Jason, Shifu Peter, Shi Xiong Vincent, Shifu Richard

Traditionally there is a great deal of respect and protocol that goes along with titles amongst the martial arts family. Family is the best term actually, as the hierarchical terms are based on traditional Chinese family structure. One character used for Shifu is in fact, father. Fellow classmates are referred to as younger or older brothers and sisters depending on whether they have trained longer or shorter than yourself. Your Shifu’s classmates are referred to as younger or older aunts and uncles and in return they will use niece and nephew. Likewise your Shifu’s teacher/s become known as Grandmaster and Great Grandmaster. See list below for some of the more commonly used titles and their meaning.

Traditional Kung Fu Family Titles
Mandarin (Pinyin): Zu Shi

Great Great Grandmaster
Mandarin (Pinyin): Shi Zu

Great Grandmaster
Mandarin (Pinyin): Shi Tai Gong

Mandarin (Pinyin): Shi Gong

Teacher of Tradition
Mandarin (Pinyin): Zong Shi

Mandarin (Pinyin): Shi Fu

Si Mou – Master’s Wife
Mandarin (Pinyin): Shi Mu

Senior Kungfu Brother
Mandarin (Pinyin): Shi Xiong

Senior Kungfu Sister
Mandarin (Pinyin): Shi Jie

Junior Kungfu Brother
Mandarin (Pinyin): Shi Di

Junior Kungfu Sister
Mandarin (Pinyin): Shi Mei

Mandarin (Pinyin): Tu Di
Grandstudent (Male)
Mandarin (Pinyin): Tu Sun

Grandstudent (Female)
Mandarin (Pinyin): Tu Sun Nu

Senior Kungfu Uncle
Mandarin (Pinyin): Shi Bo

Senior Kungfu Aunt
Mandarin (Pinyin): Shi Gu Ma

Junior Kungfu Uncle
Mandarin (Pinyin): Shi Shu

Junior Kungfu Aunt
Mandarin (Pinyin): Shi Gu Jie

Kungfu Nephew
Mandarin (Pinyin): Si Zhi

Kungfu Niece
Mandarin (Pinyin): Si Zhi Nu

As you can see a single person may be referred to by 4, 5 or even more titles depending on who is speaking to them. To simplify matters in BKF we have adopted a simplified approach. Chief Instructor is referred to as Shi Gong, Instructors are referred to as Shifu, advanced students/assistant instructors are referred to as Shi Xiong (or Shi Jie if female) and students simply called by name. This takes care of the bulk of our interactions but as we grow and interact more with our kung fu grandmasters, aunts, uncles, cousins etc. we may adopt more and more titles as needed.