Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Concept of the belt

The Choy Li Fut Kung Fu grading system issues practitioners with coloured fringes (attached to the ends of a red sash/ belt) when they have completed specific techniques and forms; however that is not completely what is involved in the ownership of a fringe.  The progressive sequence of fringes to black belt which is concisely outlined below, explains the qualities of each rank that the instructor encourages within his/her students.  Through training we accumulate a variety of virtues necessary for martial arts excellence as we progress in the Choy Li Fut System.  These concepts have been present throughout martial arts history, and by applying them to our training, we not only attain a worthy CLF rank, but we also develop attributes that can be carried over into every day life.

Beginner Level I (White Fringe)


5 basic blocks
5 basic punches
3 basic kicks
5 basic stances
1-5 self defence techniques


Memorisation of technique is necessary to establish the building blocks of successful Kung Fu training.  By taking the time to retain and understand them, we create a sound base for further development.  It continues to play a major role throughout our training careers, and can help maintain a healthy active mind into old age.  Muscle memory also has an important impact on training, so through regularly practicing the techniques our mind and body absorbs the information accurately.


Time keeping is an important part of everyday life, however timing can also translate into a physical quality, such as the ability to block or evade when struck by an aggressor, or through awareness and timing we can avoid a confrontation altogether.

Beginner Level II (Yellow Fringe)


Small Arrow Fist Form
Small Leopard Fist Form
Lively Horse Form
5-10 self defence techniques


When we make a decision to study at a martial arts school and begin to rank within its system, it is important to respect what we are learning, our instructor and class mates.  In return we earn and get treated with greater respect.  A well organised class, where everyone adheres to the structure and observes the etiquette will create an open learning environment that will enable us to not only further achieve, but to develop respect within ourselves.

Goal setting

We will achieve success once we establish our goal and work for it, and when we reach it we can set a new one. Each rank is seen as a new goal in the Choy Li Fut system, and these are the necessary stages towards the ultimate level of black belt. We can personalise our training too, by creating smaller goals within the ranks by choosing a component such as a form or technique, and we can improve specific areas of our techniques through identifying our strengths and weaknesses.

Intermediate Level I (Orange Fringe)


Five Wheel Horse Form
Five Wheel Fist Form
9 Star Blocking Hands 2 Person Form
10-15 self defence techniques


The action of practicing the forms on a consistent basis keeps motivation and development on track.  Making a habit of being consistent and maintaining a rhythm can also be reflected in other areas of our lives.


Until committed, one is hesitant.  In martial arts, hesitance is a cardinal sin whereby one leaves oneself open. Attacks and strikes are not as powerful if executed without full intent.  Commitment means giving all of our attention and effort to every movement or strike.

Intermediate Level II (Green Fringe)


Jiangmen Small Cross Pattern Form
Chau Sot Single Ended Staff Form
Wall Bag Form
15-20 self defence techniques


When we practice our martial arts techniques we focus on positions and posture.  In order to develop that focus and improve, we should also focus our eyes, mind and body; enabling the mind and body to operate in harmony and allowing maximum effectiveness. 

What we focus on can determine the outcome, and blocking out distractions can be the difference between winning and losing, whether a confrontational scenario, in a learning or working environment or other various day to day situations.


This is about doing the right thing even if it is not popular, and facing challenges with head up and eyes focused.  We can develop courage through performing in front of peers or at demonstrations.  As our courage grows, we are more willing to accept greater challenges, and be better prepared for confrontation.

Intermediate Level III (Blue Fringe)


Small Plum Blossom Broadsword Form
Small Plum Blossom Form
Tiger vs Leopard 2 Person Form
20-25 self defence techniques


Lack of effort is responsible for a lot of unattainable goals, so by giving our best effort mentally and physically we become more proficient in a shorter time.


Kung Fu takes time to develop, we must develop the ability to know when to push and when to wait patiently – that will determine our success.  If you expect too much too soon, you may force things before they are ready and that can cause set backs.

Advanced Level I (Purple Fringe)


Long Fist Form
2 Person Staff
Fut San Cross Pattern Form
Sparring/ Takedowns/ Joint locks

Self Control

Lose control of your actions and emotions and your opponent has an ally.  Loss of control can be dangerous, therefore meditation and Chi Kung practices can assist with managing it should we ever meet this challenge.  During sparring/application/bag work, we can safely learn to control emotions, remain calm and focused and we will make every encounter work more effectively.


It is essential in climbing the ladder of success.  We tend to enjoy the things we like and dislike the things we don’t like so our weaknesses remain weak.  Be enthusiastic in all martial arts pursuits.  When given a task that doesn’t excite you, embrace and overcome it.

Advanced Level II (Red Fringe/ BLACK BELT LEVEL)


Yee Jong Pa Kwa Form
Cross Pattern Tiger Form
Butterfly Knives Form
Push Hands/ Pressure Points


Martial arts training can be overwhelming, so decide that you will become proficient in all aspects and that alone will make a difference in your training.

Follow Through

This is about the ability to do what we know we should do and complete the task and finish what we have started.  A partially completed technique is very dangerous; it shows lack of commitment and confidence, and for instance following through with a strike is very important for maximum effectiveness.

By Sifu Jo Hardy