Bai Shi initiation ceremony.

March 5, 2009


This is brought on by a question I received recently from Peter – one of Chas’ student in Seattle.

The question was about “Bai Shi” or “Kung Fu initiation ceremony”.

Found a, to me,  well-written article about this here.


So what is Bai Shi ? In the context of Chinese martial arts it is a ceremony with ritual elements conducted by a master in which one or more students “Enter the Door” and become disciples.

After the conditions of Bai Shi have been read or told to the students, they agree to accept them and the ceremony begins. Normally this would be at the master’s home or studio where there would be a portrait of the founder of the style. Usually, but not always there is a fee paid by the student traditionally in a red packet as red is a propitious colour and it is considered indelicate to display money openly. The master then places an offering of fruit in front of the portrait of the founder and lights a ritual number of incense sticks which he gives to the student who then kneels down before a portrait of the founder of the style and gives the koutou (literally knocks the head) three times to show his respect to the founder’s memory. The student then faces the master and again gives the koutou. The incense is then placed in an incense burner in front of the founder’s portrait. The ceremony is over; the student has entered the door.

So there you go ….. some aspects of this all-important ceremony still observed by many traditional kung fu schools all over Asia.

In my book, preservation of CKF, covers ceremonies like this one and many more.

Every style has their individual flavor added that makes viewing all the more interesting.

So Pete, read the article – you’ll find the answers you need there.

And get ready for the ceremony with me and my Sihing when you guys visit this year.

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