Master LAM, Kam-Chuen

 
 

To begin with, let us have a few words on how to address and identify someone properly in the Chinese manner.  To not be able to address someone properly is considered discourteous in many cultures and understandably so.


'Master Lam Kam Chuen' is the title that you will see often in this website and on his publications.  This is the full name of the master which this website is dedicated to.  First of all, unlike the Western structuring of names, the Chinese places the surname first and the first name afterward.  Hence, our dedicated master here goes under the name of Master Lam rather than Master Chuen.


It is very important to remember this order here if you are planning to have any contact with any Chinese arts.  In the past, when the general knowledge and contact with the East was virtually non-existing, everything must be translated to the Western format to accommodate the public knowledge of the time.


Today, with greater international interactions and media education, general awareness of the East has significantly improved.  Hence, Eastern formats can be kept true to its form without transformation or distortion.

 

Once again, 'Master LAM, Kam Chuen' is structured with the family name first and the personal name afterward.  This structuring is partly due to the virtue of filial piety which the Chinese culture places great emphasis on.

 

'Sifu Lam' is also an acceptable alternative to address Master Lam.  'Sifu' is a term used mainly in Southern China.  Literally, this title means 'father-by-craft'.  It is originally used by pupils and apprentices to address their teachers.  The term itself reflects that the closeness of a Chinese master-pupil relationship is parallel to a family.

 

This term is used courteously to addresses any craftsman, whether he be a carpenter, an electrician or a baker.  Contrary to public beliefs, 'sifu' is not a term monopolized by the martial art world.

 

Another alternative of addressing a master is 'Lao Shi'.  This term literally means 'teacher'.  It bears a more scholarly tone and it is used predominately in Northern China.

 

Because Chinese martial arts are introduced to the world through Hong Kong action movies, 'sifu' or 'master' are the most commonly accepted terms.


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Addressing the Master Correctly