As a traditional Chinese ceremony of cultural significance, Baishi has had a longstanding history.
It is a ritualistic ceremony in which a Master will accept and receive his or her students who have shown discipline and commitment to learning their craft and a willingness to continue and contribute to its development within their master’s teachings. It is with great honor the student will become a disciple and next descendant of the school, continuing the lineage.
This type of ceremony is performed in other traditional schools within China including the martial arts, acrobatics, opera, traditional medicine, acupuncture and also within philosophy schools and the arts.
It is believed that for students to receive true knowledge and skills of an art, one should be fully dedicated to and honor his or her master’s teachings, respecting the ancient spirit and history of their craft. The disciple ceremony initiates a bond between master and student. It is an acknowledgement of trust by master to student and a commitment to continue guiding their journey of learning and nurture the next generation within the lineage.
There are four stages of learning progress in traditional Chinese culture.
First a student must find his or her master and begin to follow the master’s teachings and develop their skill.
Second, with dedication to study and practice, the student continues to develop their understanding and knowledge with the system.
Third is a commitment to the master’s teachings and a willingness to go deeper into the spiritual journey expressing their interest at this time to be accepted as disciple.
Fourth is to continue following the master’s footsteps by taking on responsibility and contributing to the system so that one day they may become a lineage holder.
The first two stages of development are known as “outdoor learning” and traditionally were a time where the relationship between shifu and student is fundamentally conducted outside the walls of the master’s residence and within class.
The third and fourth stages are known as “indoor learning” and traditionally would allow the student to train within the walls of the master’s residence. The student having gained the shifu’s and family’s trust would now be invited to participate in the Baishi ceremony and become a disciple or “indoor student”.
The Baishi ceremony is considered the highest sign of reverence to the lineage and master. The student is like a son or daughter to the master and members of family lineage. The master’s line with family members and disciples will take full responsibility to the teaching and development and master will even bestow a family name in the ritual.
As a traditional kung fu school, Ziranmen is following this traditional ceremony of Baishi to pass the Ziran knowledge and initiate the next generation of lineage holders.
In 2016 Master Liu Deming, 5th Generation Lineage Inheritor or Ziranmen and Ziran Qigong accepted six students as 6th Generation Disciples; Adam Martin, Renato Keca, Toby Mills, Ralph Spethmann, Abby Lee and Ingrid Malenfant.
In 2018 Master Liu accepted four more students as 6th Generation Disciples; Anne Augé, Eric Conte, Marie-Christine and Florentino Alvarez Gallego