Taoist Kung fu Grading System

Master Ho awarding grades to his students

Promote Chinese martial arts level system – part 1

Over the past 7 years, Australia has tried to establish a Chinese martial arts level system. While people have thought about the idea, this has not resulted in any action. Therefore, the writer will try to establish the system this year, first by establishing the judging committee and defining the requirements for levels 1, 2 and 3. Next year will start accepting applicants for grading for a trial period of 1 year.

Ten years ago, China has promoted a level system to be used in other countries, but the success was minimal. There are high level Chinese martial artist (qualified in China) working to promote the system overseas, but evidence shows that there is currently no established system outside of China.

This may have to do with the fact that the overseas- level system proposed by China focused on performance. Karate, judo and tai kwan do on the other hand all have a level system that requires practical self defense skills and thus attracts many young people. In western countries, most martial artist focus on practical self defense and little focuses on show/performances. Therefore, if a level system which focuses on show/performance will not be appealing to many people and will be difficult to establish.

Now, Sydney will first establish the Chinese martial arts level system for Wu Dang Tai Chi/Ba Gua/Xin Yi categories. Wu Dang martial arts promotes health then self defense. One must have a good virtue and use softness to conquer hardness, stillness to conquer action, following the force to counter-attack. Both push hands and sparring can be used for self defense practice. Therefore, push hands and sparring can be used in the level system for practical purposes. People with more then 10 years experience will be able to teach this school of martial arts.

This level system will aim to require more skills than just one single martial art, like karate, judo and tai Kwan do. This is similar to China’s recent sparring competitions where wrestling, punching and kicking are combined, here combined Tai Chi and Ba Gua skills are required. Therefore, this will make the level system more interesting.

Promote Chinese martial arts level system – part 2

This article focuses on the details of the level system and the main requirements for the beginner’s level. Wu Dang martial arts include Tai Chi, Ba Gua, Xing Yi and Taoist Chi Gong. Chi Gong skills will not be examined as it is difficult to measure, but students should practice Chi Gong and understand how to focus the Chi to soften the body to achieve health benefits.

Tai Chi will be the first level skill, Ba Gua/Xing Yi will be the second level and push hands/sparring form and weapon will be the third level. Irrespective of the internal martial arts school, all should follow this guideline to advance.

Level 1:

  • Complete Tai Chi form
  • Basic single push hands, and double (4-directions) push hands
  • Understand how to use softness to neutralize hardness
  • Practiced for more than 1 year
  • Scores > 70

Level 2:

  • All skills from level 1
  • Complete Ba Gua form
  • Moving push hand
  • Using softness to neutralize hardness in practice, using the movement in the form during push hands/sparring
  • Proving in push hands/sparring with other level 2 practitioners that skills are of the same level
  • Score > 75

Level 3:

  • All skills from level 2
  • At least 1 form with weapon (e.g. sword/saber).
  • Using softness to neutralize hardness in practice, using the form-movement during push hands/sparring with punch and kicks. And be able to follow and dodge direct attacks to defend oneself. Following the force to counter an attack.
  • Proving in push hands/sparring with other level 2 practitioners that skills are of the same level
  • Score > 80

People meeting the requirements of the above 3 levels will have attained the complete foundation of Wu Dang martial arts, which include Tai Chi, Ba Gua, Xing Yi, Sword/Saber, push hands and a sparring form. Based on this foundation, students will continue to learn and improve their skills in softness and following the force to counter attack, thus enameling one to interact with a western boxer or external martial arts practitioners.

People who trained more than 4 years, will be qualified to participate in level 4 (mid stage) grading.[requirements adjusted for people with prior martial arts experience]. People qualified in mid stage levels will be allowed to participate in sparring competitions, thus allowing interaction with other martial arts schools. This will improve Chinese martial arts skills of the students and complete the initial stage of the Chinese martial arts level system.

Information about the cost of the exam

To be fair to the public and participants, the exam will focus on the practicality of the martial arts. Irrespective of the type of martial arts, the participants must demonstrate practical self defense application or health benefits. As for the grading, participants must be able to perform in front of the public in order to demonstrate the courage and skills.

For Grade 1,2,3

  • Application fee $100
  • Examination cost: $300
  • Total: $400
  • Cost covers: traditional custom, certificate, badge, special lessons (3) prior to the exam and the running cost of the function.

For Grade 4,5,6

  • Application fee $200
  • Examination cost: $400
  • Total: $600
  • Cost covers: traditional custom, certificate, badge, flag of the organization, special lessons (5) prior to the exam and the running cost of the function.

For Grade 7,8,9

  • Application fee $300
  • Examination cost: $500
  • Total: $800
  • Cost covers: traditional custom, certificate, badge, flag of the organization, special lessons (5) prior to the exam and the running cost of the function.

After the first examination, the cost of the subsequent exams for higher grade will be 50% less.