I'm looking for a chengyu (成语) or a proverb or a phrase that can elegantly express "to walk with one's own legs", which is used to say that someone has learnt enough and doesn't need a master any more.

As an example:

I taught you all what I know, now it's time you walk with your own legs.

  • Do you mean " stand on your own (two) feet"?
    – Tang Ho
    Feb 17, 2017 at 9:39
  • Not really, that is more like "supporting yourself", "make a living by your own". What I'm looking for here is more of "apply the skills you have learnt". Too fine of a nuance you say?
    – blackgreen
    Feb 17, 2017 at 9:42

3 Answers 3


The term that describes someone has completed his study under a teacher or master is '出師'

There are common phrase like:

藝滿出師 /藝成出師(mastered a craft or art and be independent of one's master)

You can omit '出師' and just say '藝成'

You can omit '藝成' and just say '出師'

學成出師 (completed one's study under a teacher or master)

I taught you all I know, now it's time you walk with your own legs.


學(study) 成(complete) 出(independent of) 師(master)

  • These sound the most appropriate to me, thanks
    – blackgreen
    Feb 17, 2017 at 12:38

I collect the following phrases that have the meaning of "independent".


support oneself
support oneself by one's own labor
earn one's salt
earn one's own living
live by the sweat of one's brow
live by one's own labor
live on one's toil
live on the earnings of one's own work
stand on one's own feet

I think 自食其力 is closest to "to walk with one's own legs".

  • WebSaru, dictall and dict.cn all show that one of the translations of 自食其力 is "stand on one's own feet". Why is the translation of "walk with one's own legs" not 自食其力?
    – user3a
    Feb 18, 2017 at 12:56
  • I too asked if he meant to say " stand on your own (two) feet" , but the OP said he want to know how to express" someone has learnt enough and doesn't need a master any more." with an idiom. That certainly is not what 自食其力 means.
    – Tang Ho
    Feb 19, 2017 at 3:56

The student surpasses the master.


  • This one is very apt! Feb 19, 2017 at 7:57

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