White & yellow belts
Tai chi chuan syllabus - beginner's level

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Attendance requirement

To pass the white belt, students must attend:

• Weekly tuition
• A minimum of 15 workshops per calendar year

Failure to do so will mean no grading and no progress. The worst case scenario for very poor commitment will be transfer to qigong & tai chi.
If you haven't signed-up for workshops, don't ask to be assessed/graded in class.


Until you've passed white belt, students wear the same uniform as a qigong & tai chi student:

• White cotton crew-neck T-shirt
• Black cotton martial arts/karate trousers
• Flat footwear; preferably not training/sports shoes

tudents may wear a plain long-sleeved white sweatshirt over their white class T-shirt.

Learn the fundamentals

Having completed the qigong ticksheet, students often want to start learning kung fu. This is admirable but seldom practicable.
Usually, the individual cannot adopt a 'bow stance' accurately and has no real sense of how to work with a partner in a martial arts context.
In order to prepare themselves for martial arts practice, it is necessary to gain competence with very basic partner work drills and pushing hands exercises.

Neither health nor tai chi chuan

Having left the qigong & tai chi group, the student must now qualify for the tai chi chuan syllabus. This is the goal. The basics need to be learned.

In all martial arts there is a constant, never-ending emphasis on getting your basics right because without those basics, you'll never become all that you could be.

(Bruce Frantzis)

Lay the

The basics has 3 parts. The first part is the qigong ticksheet. The second part features a selection of straightforward partner work exercises. The third part is about pushing hands, monkey paws, pushing legs and psoas exercises.
Once the student has completed all 3 parts to the required standard, they can commence the tai chi syllabus.

Martial tasters

Any kung fu opportunities in class constitute a 'taster' - an incentive to move up the syllabus and complete the basics. The student is encouraged to attend tai chi workshops but will be taught subject to ability.


There are 20 belts in the tai chi chuan syllabus:

  1. White 1

  2. White 2

  3. Yellow 1

  4. Yellow 2

  5. Orange

  6. Green

  7. Blue

  8. Purple

  9. Brown 1

  10. Brown 2

  11. Black (1st dan)

  12. Black (2nd dan)

  13. Black (3rd dan)

  14. Black (4th dan)

  15. Black (5th dan)

  16. Black (6th dan)

  17. Black (7th dan)

  18. Black (8th dan)

  19. Red 1/Black (9th dan)

  20. Red 2/Black (10th dan)

Pale belts

The first 4 belts are introductory. They are for people who have an interest in tai chi and want a mild taste of the art.

5-10 repetitions per arm

For the highest yield, each qigong exercise needs to be done 5-10 times.

Ba duan jin #2

Students learn the second version of this exercise and replace the qigong & tai chi/introductory version.
Remember not to pull the shoulder joint back too far when extending the palm. 30°forward is advisable if your shoulder joint is not yet flexible.

Moving qigong (full set)

It is useful to start learning the remaining exercises as soon as possible.

Reeling silk exercises

Although reeling silk exercises are included on the qigong ticksheet, they are not really qigong exercises. They are power generation exercises.

Form (section 1)

If you do not know section 1 of the Long Yang form, work with Rachel on a Sunday morning if you can.
When Rachel says that you are competent enough to learn section 2 with Sifu Waller, you can continue with the sequence.
Beginners are encouraged to purchase the Long Yang form (section 1) DVD to assist with home study.
Once the student is familiar with Long Yang form (section 1) they undertake a 4 week drilling challenge in which they practice section 1 for 45 minutes non-stop commencing at 7:00 PM.
Sections 2 & 3 are taught in a similar fashion.

Weapons drills

Students may begin by studying stick drills or knife drills, or both. There are 3 sets of stick drills. When all 3 sets are familiar, the student may study the sword drills.
Students are encouraged to purchase the Weapons DVD to assist with home study.


If you can't remember the exercises, buy the Qigong DVD, Qigong Corrections DVD and Partner Work DVD so that you can practice the exercises at home between classes.


The risk of injury in combat sports is especially high. To prevent injury, do the following: 1) Learn to warm-up well before any exercise, 2) Do everything possible to accelerate recovery between workouts.

(Frederic Delavier)

White 1

Qigong exercises
- standing qigong/3 circle qigong
- full circle qigong
- form posture qigong
- ba duan jin (8 exercises)
- moving qigong (8 exercises)

Reeling silk exercises
- plate exercise
- 4 directions - forwards & backwards
- 4 directions - to the side
- Opening & closing - to the side
- Cloud hands

Pushing peng (intro)
Standing post

Assignment #1 - Q & A
Assignment #2 - Attitude & etiquette

White 2

Partner work
4 directions with a partner
- central equilibrium – maintain the centre
- eyes-closed walking
- palm at 3 distances
- peripheral vision - mugger scenario
- posture testing
- yielding exercise

- 90°
- diamond stepping
- leading & following (eyes-closed)
- relative distance (tig)
- avoiding line of force (solo & melee)
- riding the attack
The ball game
Monkey paws
Pushing legs
Single pushing hands

Challenge – full circle qigong (30 mins x 4 weeks)
Challenge – standing qigong (4 postures) (20 minutes x 4 weeks)

Yellow 1

Long Yang form (section 1) (regular)
Ba duan jin #2 - alternate version
Constructive rest
Horse stance
How to escape from a hold
Moving qigong (complete set)
Partner work mistakes

Challenge - form challenge (60 mins x 4 weeks)
Challenge - yielding exercise challenge (30 mins x 6 weeks)

Assignment #1 - Q & A
Assignment #2 - Attitude & etiquette

Recommended reading - The Sword Polisher's Record

Yellow 2

Fear of falling
Floor work
- basics
- back-to-back
Hitting a focus mitt

Horse stance qigong
How to punch
Playing the attacker
- commitment
- range & reach
Psoas exercises
Punching rehab

Challenge - horse stance qigong (5 mins x 4 weeks)
Challenge - qigong and reeling silk in 30 mins (30 mins x 4 weeks)

Assignment #1 - Q & A
Assignment #2 - Attitude & etiquette

Recommended reading - There Are No Secrets


Further reading

• Know the basics
• New
• The physical
Working with the instructor
• 100 days challenge
• The basics


school database

Page created 2 March 1995
Last updated 05 December 2023