The NVTO ranking system is broken into three different phases: Student, Instructor, and Master.
The NVTO student program consists of twelve student grades aimed at building foundational skills in striking, grappling and counter-grappling, footwork, reflex-training, and practical self-defense. At this stage, the focus is on techniques and concepts taught in the Siu-Nim-Tau (little idea) and Chum-Kiu (bridge seeking) forms.
Later in this program, students are also taught how to deal with multiple opponents, armed opponents, and how to apply soft defenses for controlling an opponent without inflicting unnecessary harm. Depending on the individual and the training intensity, completion of the twelve student grades takes between three and four years.
NVTO instructors are ranked from First through Fourth degree. After finishing the advanced chi-sau (reflex training) programs dealing with the first two Ving Tsun forms, Instructors progress through the techniques and concepts contained in the Biu-Tze (thrusting fingers) form and the Muk-Yan-Jong (wooden dummy) form.
Instructors who have completed the empty-hand aspects of the system will then learn the two Ving Tsun weapons sets known the Luk-Dim-Boon-Gwun (long pole) and Bart-Cham-Do (double knives).
Ving Tsun experts ranked at Fifth Degree and above are known as Masters. In addition to having completed the technical aspects of the art, a Ving Tsun Master is capable of generating considerable striking power and speed. Owing to decades of chi-sau training, they also exhibit a very high standard of automatic reactions.
As a true representative of the Ving Tsun system, a Master’s physical skills should be balanced by martial morality and knowledge. Beyond having a thorough understanding Ving Tsun’s foundational theories, a Master will also be knowledgeable in the general theories of other martial arts.
Therefore, advancement in the Master ranks is also linked to one’s accomplishments as a teacher, the furtherance of the Ving Tsun system, and to continued growth as a martial artist.