Author Topic: Curious . . . Is It Simo? Simoe? Simu?  (Read 16505 times)

Offline Sifu C

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Curious . . . Is It Simo? Simoe? Simu?
« on: September 05, 2006, 01:05:41 PM »
I have seen Simo written several different ways:  Simo, Simoe and Simu.  I am curious as to which spelling is accurate.  Also wondering what is the customary usage of this term in our Kaju Ohana.  For example, is Simo the wife of any Black Belt?  or must that Black Belt be of a certain rank?  If it is the wife who is the Black Belt, does that make the husband a Simo?

To be a Simo, does that person have to be a praciticing martial artist as well?  or ?

Just curious on what you have run across.

With my respects,

Sibak C
Sifu Craig Lawrence
CLAW Martial Arts - Chief Instructor
4th Degree Black Belt, KSDI
Antioch, CA

Offline Cheyenne

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Re: Curious . . . Is It Simo? Simoe? Simu?
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2006, 01:43:29 PM »
After conversing with GM Bautista, I believe the correct spelling is Simu- as if Sifu

"Translated and confused with the term Master, Sifu (Cantonese) Shrfu (Mandarin) is the title of one who trains apprentices, instructors, or oversees the in-depth training of an art.  A Sifu isn't just a teacher, but a guide who is passing on the tradition and philosophy of the art, not just the technique.  Simu is the respectful title of Sifu's wife."..

I have heard the term Simo used alot as well especially in KAJU.. 

Our title of Sifu is 3rd to 5th degree

any other question I can help you with -let me know
Much Kaju love and respect,
« Last Edit: September 05, 2006, 02:00:06 PM by ZhiGuNg03 »
Cheyenne Corpus
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Offline Mitch Powell

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Re: Curious . . . Is It Simo? Simoe? Simu?
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2006, 01:48:37 PM »
Professional Titles in Martial Arts
July 12, 2004

These days a lot of martial arts instructors adopt professional titles, like Master or Grandmaster, in an attempt to improve their credibility, or solely for the purpose of impressing their students. Some even invent their own titles to make themselves appear more accomplished than their competition, or even their own teachers! However, legitimate martial arts titles have nothing to do with self-promotion. Instead, such titles should be the result of a lifetime spent promoting your system and your students.

In China, all martial art instructors are called Sifu, or Shifu in Mandarin. Some Northern Chinese call their teacher by the term Laoshi, or Losi in Cantonese. Many third generation students call their teacher’s teacher Si-Gung, or Tai-Laoshi. The fourth generation students often refer to the first generation teacher as Tai-Sigung, or Si Tai Gung.

However, there are not many traditional kung fu teachers in China with more than four generations of students below them. This is because a teacher’s students usually have to help teach until the teacher passes away. Then the students can begin to teach on their own. However, in some cases, when highly skilled students move far from their teacher, they are permitted to teach on their own before their teacher’s death. In this case, it is easy to see how a third generation of students can come about. However, a third generation instructor could only happen if this person’s student were also to move far away and begin teaching on his or her own. For a rare fourth generation instructor to be produced, this process would have to happen yet again. So as you can see, to arrive at four generations of instructors all living and teaching the same art, at the same time, is quite a rare occurrence in deed.

All the titles for addressing students and teachers are based on Chinese family titles. For example, Sifu means teaching father. The wife of the teacher is called Si-Mo, even though she usually has no knowledge of her husband’s martial art. If the teacher is a woman, she is still referred to by the masculine term Sifu. The lady sifu’s husband is call Si-Jeong, or teaching uncle, even though he may not practice martial arts. The term for a male senior classmate is Si-Hing, or Shi-Xiong in Mandarin. A female senior classmate is called Si-Jie, or in Mandarin, Shi-Jie. A male junior classmate is called Si-daih, or Shi-Di, whereas a female junior classmate is called Si-moi, or Shi-Mei. Your teacher’s male or female senior classmate is called Si-Bak, or Shi-Buo. And similarly, your teacher’s male or female junior classmate is called Si-Suk, or Shi-Shu. These titles have little to do with formal ranking or learning levels. They are used in China mostly as a way of politely addressing people you would normally see in and around your teacher’s school. So, how did we arrive at the complicated ranking systems and titles used in today’s martial arts schools?

When American GI's imported Japanese and Korean martial arts into North America after the Second World War, many of the early teachers of those arts began to devise more extensive ranking systems. The Karatedo and Taekwando organizations in the US and Europe were some of the first schools that used colored belts, degrees and professional titles for ranking purposes. In those organizations, a fifth degree black belt who taught was qualified to be a Master. The 9th or 10th degree black belt who headed the organization was usually considered to be a Grandmaster.

Yet, despite all of these precedents and traditions, there is no shortage of individuals willing to bestow all manner of exotic titles on themselves. I can understand the kung fu instructor who uses the Grandmaster title after developing a sizeable organization, which includes several qualified Master and Sifu level instructors. However, there are some instructors that have never produced a single Master or Sifu level student, but see nothing wrong with using the title of Grandmaster. Some of these so-called Grandmasters don’t even have many students, let alone a full time school. Some assume this title just because they have produced a student who is an instructor. Perhaps they confuse the title of Grandmaster with grandfather. Yet, as I explained earlier, these titles are not the same.

In my case, I was certified Grandmaster by my teachers for the purpose of passing on their particular systems of martial arts. Today, my Plum Blossom International Federation has over 100 schools world wide, and I have produced more than one Master level instructor, and dozens of Sifu level instructors encompassing five generations of teachers. In my federation, we only award professional titles like Sifu or Master to instructors that are actively involved with teaching in their own school or organization. A certified staff instructor in one of our schools must be at least an advanced level or black sash level student. To earn the title of Sifu, one must complete the senior-advanced level, and must be the head instructor of a full time school. The Master level is reserved for someone who has not only completed the senior-advanced level, but also has produced a couple of Sifu level instructors that run schools. A Grandmaster is promoted by the soon to be retired Senior Grandmaster, after this individual has produced a couple of Master level instructors. These Master level instructors and Sifus are therefore the foundation of a martial arts organization of significant size, that promotes a particular system on a full time basis.

So as you can see, the true Master or Grandmaster is not self-appointed. Holding the title of Master or Grandmaster carries a significant level of responsibility, and represents a lifetime of effort spent building a great martial arts organization. The true Grandmaster achieves his or her title by producing many successful Masters, and Sifus that are hard at work teaching their art to the next generation.

Reprinted from Doc Fai Wong's web site
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Offline sarusm

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Re: Curious . . . Is It Simo? Simoe? Simu?
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2006, 11:23:58 PM »
In understanding the history of Kenpo Karate we have spelled it Simo.  As Sifu is know as the father of a school of martial arts, the female counterpart would be Simo, Mother of the school.  This title is from the Chinese ranking system.  As far as its origin. it is derived from the Cantonese meaning Teacher or Mother.  I hope this helps. there are a few websites that explain the ranking system  I found this one during a search.  The below is from that website:


There are numerous styles or systems of martial arts originating in mainland China.  They typically are somewhat less formally structured in the ranking of proficiency, than the Japanese or Korean Arts.  Often a disciple of a particular style continues training throughout their lifetime.  The landmarks along the way may be denoted by sash colors, or just by knowing who in the school has seniority or greater time in grade than you.
. Teacher-elder uncle  A senior teacher in the same generation as your teacher.
. Younger brother A fellow student who started studying after someone in the same generation of students.
. Is the Cantonese for Shifu Teacher-father.
. Teacher-grandfather The teacher's teacher.
. Grand-teacher's older brother A senior individual in the same student generation as a teacher's teacher.
. Grand-teacher's younger brother A junior individual in the same student generation as a teacher's teacher.
SIHING Elder brother A fellow student who started studying previously to an individual.

SIJO Teacher-ancestor Used to mean the teacher of the teacher's teacher. Sometimes used to mean the founder of a Chinese martial art style. Sometimes used as Tai sijo meaning great teacher-ancestor.
. Teacher-nephew A student of a junior or senior teacher of one's teacher's generation.
. Teacher-mother It is sometimes used as sifu's wife.
. Teacher-younger uncle Used to refer to a teacher who is junior in status to one's teacher.


Tony Garcia
Gentlemans Gentleman to Jung Si George Lim
Lim's Hawaii Kenpo LLC.

Offline Gints Klimanis

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Re: Curious . . . Is It Simo? Simoe? Simu?
« Reply #4 on: September 09, 2006, 02:37:15 PM »
Thanks.  That's the most complete list I have read.  I can understand why some of those titles go unused in English-speaking countries.

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Offline Rob Poelking

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Re: Curious . . . Is It Simo? Simoe? Simu?
« Reply #5 on: September 28, 2006, 09:19:52 PM »
What I find interesting is that we have reversed the use of Sibak to designate a junior black blet rather than a senior of your sifu.
Rob Poelking, Black Belt, Original Method
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Offline David V. Amiccuci

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Re: Curious . . . Is It Simo? Simoe? Simu?
« Reply #6 on: October 02, 2006, 08:59:30 PM »
Prof. Mitch,

Right on with your insights, It is a pleasure to read what I was taught.
To think to respect training and years of devotion and hours and hours of instruction and to actually profess when your a professor totally right on . :)
Grand Master David V. Amiccuci
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Offline Suspicion

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Re: Curious . . . Is It Simo? Simoe? Simu?
« Reply #7 on: October 03, 2006, 01:00:06 AM »
My Wing Chun master taught me the chinese titles, he is chinese from a Martial Arts family















If I could I would also show the chinese representation of these titles.

John Santa Catalina "Semper Fidelis"
Kajukenbo Bautista Method under proffesor J Corpus, jurisdiction of GrandMaster E. Bautista NorCal HQ  K.S.D.I
Kombatan Modern Arnis under GrandMaster Warlito Concepcion /Eskabo Daan under GrandMaster R. Castro, jurisdicton of Great GrandMaster E. Presas I.P.M.

Offline Stan Kristovich

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Re: Curious . . . Is It Simo? Simoe? Simu?
« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2006, 01:35:24 AM »
I've read that these are the same as family-relationship titles, not just for kung fu.  Can anybody confirm that?

Stan K
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Formerly of Stevenson Kenpo-Karate, Mililani, HI