The grading system
The B.K.F.A. has adopted a system of coloured belts or sashes which are awarded to students as they progress through the syllabus. This article explains the colour system.
Traditionally there is no grading system in the Chinese martial arts. Rather, students in a Chinese martial arts school would be ranked in a manner similar to that of a family placing the eldest at the head. Of course in the case of a martial arts school age would not itself used to measure seniority but rather the length of time spent in the school. As such students entering such a school would be expected to pay respect to their seniors, even if in time they became more proficient than them.
The British Kung Fu Association has however introduced a grading system with coloured belts or sashes being awarded to students as they progress. The Chinese sash differs from the Japanese 'obi' belts in that it is rather wider and made from less heavy fabric. In principle the sash can be used to support the lower back and torso during heavy exertion.
In the B.K.F.A. the sashes vary in colour from the first (white) to the last (black). There are 8 different coloured sashes (although the black sash rank is itself divided into 6). The colours are:
|1st grade - white|
|2nd grade - blue|
|3rd grade - orange|
|4th grade - green|
|5th grade - yellow|
|6th grade - purple|
|7th grade - brown|
|8th grade - black|
As mentioned previously the black sash grade is divided into 6 degrees. There is also a special honorary grade that can be awarded to senior members of the association that have demonstrated great dedication to the Lau Gar style. Members awarded that grade are called 'Guardians of Lau Gar'.
Guardians of Lau Gar have this motif on their sashes
At Stafford we are lucky to have 2 such a grades as members of the instruction team, namely Chief Instructor, Sifu Pete Hornby and Sifu Alec Clarke.