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Thread: Family Terms in a Kungfu Family

  1. #1
    YunXiang's Avatar
    YunXiang is offline Sifu Michael Chow - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Canada
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    Family Terms in a Kungfu Family

    Hello Everybody!

    As you may have noticed, I've posted titles for addressing members withing a kungfu family. In this post, I hope to help those who are unfamilar to make some sense of it all. I'll be using an example of a simple family tree I've created to help explain.

    The example family tree is depicted in the image attached to this post. Here's an explaination of the family tree diagram:

    The different levels from top to bottom are the different generations. The top most level is the oldest generation and the lowest is the youngest generation. For example, let's say Gam Dai Bou is the 3rd generation of their school. Therefore, Michelle LaFluer would be 4th generation and Mohammed Lalji would be 6th generation.

    In each generation, the most senior is on the rightmost end and the most junior is on the leftmost side. In the generation containing Michelle, Artur, Marc, Jesusa, and Minh, Michelle is the most junior and Minh is the most senior.

    Beside each name in paranthesises is the gender of the person. The letter M refers to male and the letter F refers to female.

    In this example, let's focus on John Smith and what he would address everyone else on the tree. Please note I will be using Cantonese terms using romanisation methods that Sifu uses and the Yale system. The ones in paranthesises are the Yale romanised version.

    Gam Dai Bou is John's Sigung (Sigung) or Grandmaster.

    Marc McMillan is John's Sifu (Sifu) or Master.

    Minh Nguyen is John's Sipak (Sibaak) or Senior Uncle*.
    Jesusa Cortez is John's Sikuma (Siguma) or Senior Aunt*.
    Artur Rutter is John's Sisook (Sisuk) or Junior Uncle*.
    Michelle LaFluer is John's Sikujie (Siguje) or Junior Aunt*.

    * note: seniority is relative to John's Sifu.

    Kentaro Kobayashi is John's Siheng (Sihing) or Senior Brother.
    Svetlana Mironov is John's Sijie (Sije) or Senior Sister.
    Zhu MeiXiang is John's Simui (Simui) or Junior Sister.
    James Doherty is John's Sidai (Sidai) or Junior Brother.

    Sanjay Bal and Mohammed Lalji are John's Toudai (Toudai) or Students.

    Jane Meadowfield is John's Tousoonlui (Tousyunneui) or Female Grandstudent.
    Joseph Green is John's Tousoon (Tousyun) or Male Grandstudent.

    That's it! I hope this helps.

    Cheers,
    Mike.
    Last edited by YunXiang; 16th October 2004 at 03:17 AM.

  2. #2
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    Question Family Terms in a Kungfu Family

    Please can you tell me? Si Heng Michael Chow!

    What is the different between Si Heng, Si Dai, Si Jie, Si Mui and Tou Dai?

    I wonder because I have get private message from a student, telling me that I have use wrong title, that I should use Si Heng instead of Si Dai!

    Thanks
    Last edited by HugoDarien; 9th November 2006 at 05:08 PM.

  3. #3
    joko's Avatar
    joko is offline Sifu Joko Riyanto - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Indonesia
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    Hello, Sidai Hugo,
    I know I am not Sihing Michael Chow, , but I try to answer your question.

    Those who learn from the same teacher become the students (Toudai) of the teacher, and it is said they join the Kung Fu Family of the teacher.

    Sihing = Senior Brother, he who studies from Sifu earlier, regardless of age.
    Sidai = Junior Brother, he who studies later,
    Sijie = Senior Sister
    Simui = Junior Sister
    Tou dai = student; for example you are Sifu Wong's Toudai.

    In general, it is the time of when one learns for the first time, regardless of age, to determine who is more senior or junior. There are exceptions, but the exceptions are very rare, so you do not have to worry about the exceptions.
    In case of those who are classmate, (join the Kung Fu Family at the same time), then the older one in age becomes the Senior.
    Brother Maxime is my classmate when learning from Sifu in April 2005, hence he is your Sihing, not your Sidai, as you learned from Sifu later, in 2006. (I noticed you address him as Sidai in another thread, that is perhaps the reason you received that PM).

    From your Sihing,
    Joko
    Last edited by joko; 9th November 2006 at 07:35 PM.
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    Family Terms in a Kungfu Family

    Quote Originally Posted by joko View Post

    Sihing = Senior Brother, he who studies from Sifu earlier, regardless of age.
    Sidai = Junior Brother, he who studies later,
    Sijie = Senior Sister
    Simui = Junior Sister
    Tou dai = student; for example you are Sifu Wong's Toudai.
    OOO Thank You so much Sihing Joko for your so good help, this - your help really clear some clouds that I had in my mind, about how to call people in this forum!

    Quote Originally Posted by joko View Post

    Brother Maxime is my classmate when learning from Sifu in April 2005, hence he is your Sihing, not your Sidai, as you learned from Sifu later, in 2006. (I noticed you address him as Sidai in another thread, that is perhaps the reason you received that PM).

    From your Sihing,
    Joko
    Yes it was why I get the PM, that was not from my Sihing Maxime! Before I believe that my Sihing were the teachers of the regional courses, but now that I know I said, to you Sihing Maxime PLEASE FORGIVE ME

    I hope that whit my questions I am not unrespectful!

    1. Now I wonder, if it doesn't matter which of these dialects, one should use in this forum?

    Cantonese
    Cantonese (Yale)
    Mandorin(Pinyin)

    2. And I wonder too! If which of these 3 ways, are the best or the most respectful to use in this wonderful forum? Or maybe it doesn't matter?

    Sihing or Si hing or Si Hing
    Sidai or Si dai or Si Dai
    Sijie or Si jie or Si Jie
    Simui or Si mui or Si Mui
    Toudai or Tou dai or Tou Dai

    3. My last question is why here:

    http://wongkiewkit.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2896

    I can read titles whit numbers to example:

    si1 hing 1 and si1 dai6

    Just wonder!

    Have every body have a nice day!

    Your Brother:

    Hugo
    Last edited by HugoDarien; 11th November 2006 at 01:36 PM.

  5. #5
    Emiko H's Avatar
    Emiko H is offline Sifu Emiko Hsuen - Chief Instructor, SHaolin Wahnam Japan
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    Hello, Mike. I"ve always appreciated coming back here to look up the titles and terms, especially for the Shaolin Wahnam members in Japan (who are culturally very concerned about respect and proper address etc.). Thanks for your excellent work in this thread.

    I do have one question which has come up recently:
    is there a special term for "cousin"?

    There is one participant in my recent Japan courses who is a male student of one of my sidai's. In this case, what would my student call him?

    If you know the answer to this, I would appreciate learning more about this.

    Thank you.

    Best,

    Emiko
    Emiko Hsuen
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  6. #6
    Matt F. is offline Sifu Matt Fenton - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam USA
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    I, too, had a question about family titles.

    I learned directly from Sifu at a regional course. So, I call him Sifu. That makes Anthony my Sihing. But what do I call Anthony's students to be respectful? If it is broken up like a family tree, then I would be their uncle. However, they are all senior to me in ability. Is there a term for Senior Niece/Nephew? Or would I call them Sihing/Sijie?

    Thanks.

    -Matt

  7. #7
    YunXiang's Avatar
    YunXiang is offline Sifu Michael Chow - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Canada
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    Hello, Emiko. Thank you for your kind response. I am glad to hear that you and your students have benefited from my work.

    Regarding the "cousin" (i.e. classmates of the same generation with different teachers), they would address each other like "siblings" (i.e. use either siheng, sijie, sidai, or simui). Please note that the seniority of the teacher is not a factor in determining the seniority between cousins. The rules for "kungfu siblings" apply for "kungfu cousins".

    As a reminder for everyone, here are the general rules in determining seniority:
    • Whoever has first learned from the teacher/school system is most senior.
    • If it is uncertain who had learned first or they learned at the same time, then the student with the higher attainment is senior.
    • If seniority cannot be determined by who has learned first and attainment level, then seniority is determined by birth age. The older student would be more senior.

    I hope that helps.

    Best wishes,
    Mike

  8. #8
    YunXiang's Avatar
    YunXiang is offline Sifu Michael Chow - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam Canada
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    Greetings, Matt.

    Technically speaking, they would still call you si-sook (i.e. junior kungfu uncle). Even if your nieces and nephews are more advanced, they would still call you "si-sook".

    The term for "kungfu nephew" and "kungfu niece" is "si-jat" and "si-jat-lui" respectively.

    Best regards,
    Mike

  9. #9
    Emiko H's Avatar
    Emiko H is offline Sifu Emiko Hsuen - Chief Instructor, SHaolin Wahnam Japan
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    Thank you, Mike.

    That was most illuminating. I will pass this on to my students in Japan.

    Best wishes,

    Emiko
    Emiko Hsuen
    www.shaolinwahnam.jp
    www.shaolinwahnam.ca

    ESSENCE OF SHAOLIN
    Taught by Grandmaster Wong Kiew Kit
    4th generation successor of the Southern Shaolin Monastery
    Essence of Shaolin: Dec 4 to 10, 2017
    Small and Big Universe Course: Dec 10 to 14, 2017
    Essence of Shaolin: Dec 14 to 20, 2017
    To apply, send email to: secretary@shaolin.org


  10. #10
    Grimlock's Avatar
    Grimlock is offline Sifu Chris Didyk - Instructor, Shaolin Wahnam USA
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    Thank you, Sifu Michael. I've been wondering about this, too.

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