Traditionally Chinese kung fu was passed from Master to a single or select few students only. The sash, which comprises a long length of material wrapped around the waist (usually twice) and tied in a bow down the right side of the body, was traditionally used to protect the stomach and other internal organs. As the teachings of kung fu became more open and public, Masters began accepting larger numbers of students. As a result, the sash colour was changed to depict the level of competence (or grade) of a student.

There exists no universal standard for sash colours between Schools or even kung fu systems. The coloured grading system as used by Australasian Wing Chun Kung Fu Organisation is as follows:

Grade Classification Sash Colour
0 Beginner No Sash
1 Junior Student White
2 Junior Student Green
3 Intermediate Student Blue
4 Intermediate Student Gold
5 Senior Student Black
6 Senior Student Full Black
7 Instructor Red Bar on Black
8 Si-Fu Full Red

No student is permitted to establish their own school unless they have reached the level of Si-Fu or has been given permission by Si-Gung Roger Smart.