Traditional Bai See Ceremony held in Wellington

On December 18th 2008 Chin Woo NZ Life Member Sifu Melissa Chan held the traditional Bai See Ceremony to accept Mr David Chan as her first Indoor Disciple (Yup Sat Dai Gee).

The ceremony was held at the training premises of Sifu Melissa’s kung fu school in Wellington and was witnessed by many friends and family. Several senior students and instructors in the Wellington martial arts community were present to witness the Ceremony including: Sifu Peter Sue (Lam Tong Long), Sifu Peter Yu (Wing Tsun), Sifu Stan Lytras (Hung Gar & Shotokan Karate) and Mr John Duncan (Nan Shaolin Wu Zu Quan).

Sifu Melissa’s daughter Teresa Chan was MC for the Ceremony while her two sons Arron and Michael assisted in the preparation and delivery of the ceremonial tea offering. Chin Woo NZ Chairman Sifu Peter Yu gave an informative address to the audience on the significance of the Bai See Ceremony and following the conclusion of the formalities, refreshments were served.

In traditional Chinese martial arts, the Bai See Ceremony is a custom held when a Sifu accepts a new Todai (Disciple) into the kung fu family. It can be referred to in western terms as an ‘Adoption Ceremony’ as the Student is effectively being adopted into the Sifu’s kung fu family line. Once the Sifu/ Todai relationship is established it is considered to be as irreversible as that of natural family. Legitimate transmission of knowledge from Sifu to Todai is established to pass on the martial and ethical teachings to the next generation in the chain. There are many conditions between Sifu and Todai to be observed including the expectation that the Disciple will not accept teachings from another Sifu without the prior permission of the Sifu.

The traditional Bai See Ceremony is not often seen as the level of dedication, commitment and sacrifice required by both Sifu and Disciple often conflicts with the demands of modern day lifestyle and values. While not verifiable, it is highly likely that Sifu Melissa is the first female Sifu to hold a traditional open Bai See Ceremony in New Zealand.

About Sifu Melissa Chan

Sifu Melissa Chan began her training in the early 1960’s in Guangzhou City, South China. She studied Hung Gar and Hap Gar kung fu from her Sifu Mr Deng Gum To until the early 1980’s when she immigrated to New Zealand. She competed actively in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s in China and in 1980 won the gold medal for traditional southern fist kung fu at the All China Nationals. Since arriving in NZ she has trained on her own and exchanged ideas with long time friend Sifu Peter Sue. In 2003 she was invited by the Chin Woo Athletic Association of NZ Inc to commence classes teaching her line of traditional southern fist kung fu. She is the Chief Instructor of the New Zealand Ling Nan Wushu Association based in Wellington.

David Chan is one of Sifu Melissa’s four original students who started with her back in 2003. He currently holds the post of Secretary General of the Chin Woo Athletic Association of NZ and has been involved in martial arts since 1989.

For more information on Sifu Melissa Chan and the New Zealand Ling Nan Wushu Association please visit the Links section of this website.

All photos courtesy of Keane Chan (Keane Design).

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