Intermediate grade
Taijiquan syllabus - level 1 - foundation skills

classes     taijiquan     self defence     qigong     tai chi for health     about us     reviews     a-z


Intermediate students have passed the beginners syllabus grading. They must commit to 12 workshops/boot camps/private lessons per calendar year in addition to weekly tuition in class.


The term 'intermediate' literally means in-between. They are neither beginner nor a martial artist.
Intermediate students are not experienced nor are they experts.

Teachers can only teach you to the level that the strength of your basics will allow them to. They can't do anything more, it's impossible.

(Bruce Frantzis)


Intermediate students wear:

• Black cotton crew-neck T-shirt
• Black cotton kung fu/karate trousers
• School badge sewn onto the T-shirt
• Flat footwear; preferably not training/sports shoes

Physical fitness

The intermediate syllabus is mainly about physical fitness, learning the Long Yang form pattern and commencing martial training.

You must get fit

All martial arts require the student to be fit for combat and taijiquan is no exception. There are many lazy tai chi classes in the world. This is naive in the extreme.

Cross-training tai chi
Our taijiquan students train: core strength, massage, leg stretches, cardio work, yoga, qigong, neigong, form, partnered work, martial concepts and weapons.
The training is done carefully, gently - in a controlled manner - without exertion or strain.


If you don't meet these criteria, you are encouraged to set the time aside and work hard. There's no hurry. Home practice is the key. You just need to develop your organisational skills.
Remember - 'hard work' is what kung fu means.

Level of difficulty

The intermediate grade is about getting fitter. Not fighting. It is the beginning of the martial training. Expect a challenging learning curve
Students who do not like the prospect of getting roughed up should consider doing tai chi for fitness instead. It should take the average student less than 2 years to complete the entire intermediate syllabus.

 In hindsight, intermediate (part 1) was a hurdle of my own making.

(Dr David Cousins)


A yoga mat is necessary for the warm-up routine at 6:30 PM. A rubber-coated 1" stick and a rubber knife are required if you are interested in weapons night.

Ba duan jin #2

Intermediate students learn the second version of this exercise and replace the beginner's/introductory version.
Remember not to pull the shoulder joint back too far when extending the palm. 30°forward is advisable.

Posterior pelvic tilt

An intermediate student will not be allowed to pass their grade if they perform yoga with a posterior pelvic tilt.
Performing combat with a back problem is dangerous; so students are required to fix this problem themselves.
Many of the recommended exercises for fixing posterior pelvic tilt look similar to the ones in the syllabus. In fact, we work significantly more muscles than the recommended 'fix'.
We're already teaching exercises that could potentially fix up many conditions but we cannot make a student do the work at home.

Horse stance with monkey butt

An intermediate student will not be allowed to pass their grade if they perform the horse stance with an anterior pelvic tilt.


If you can't remember the exercises, buy the Exercises DVD and the Fitness DVD so that you can practice the exercises at home between classes.

Cardio work

Aim to do cardio work (set 1 or 2) just once a week. If your knees hurt at all, don't do it.

Weapons drills

The knife, stick and sword drills are practiced every month on weapons night. If you can't remember the movements, buy the Weapons Drills DVD.


Cat stepping involves learning the principles behind the main stances and then undertaking a simple assignment designed to test your understanding.


Taoist Yoga
DVD, Fitness DVD, Weapons Drills DVD and Exercises DVD are the ideal titles to watch for supplementary guidance and revision.

Part 1

Long Yang form (section 1) (mirrored)
Constructive rest
Floor work
- basics
- back-to-back
Horse stance
Knife drills
Leg stretches (2 sets)
Martial concepts

Challenge - knife drilling (30 mins x 4 weeks)
Challenge - mirrored form (60 mins x 4 weeks)

Assignment #1 - Q & A
Assignment #2 - Martial concepts theory
Assignment #3 - The Sword Polisher's Record: The Way of Kung Fu

Part 2

Long Yang form (section 2) (regular)
Cardio work (2 sets)
Crescent moon
Monkey paws (5 hands)
Qigong development
Silk arms
Standing post with arms

Challenge - form challenge (section 2) (60 mins x 4 weeks)
Challenge - qigong development (40 mins x 4 weeks)
Challenge - silk arms (30 mins x 6 weeks)

Assignment #1 - A & E
Assignment #2 - There Are No Secrets


Part 3

Long Yang form (section 2) (mirrored)

Floor work
- kicks
- tackling

Horse stance qigong
Square on the inside, round on the outside

Tao yin/Taoist Yoga (3 sets)

Challenge - horse stance qigong (5 mins x 12 weeks)
Challenge - form challenge (section 2) (mirrored) (60 mins x 4 weeks)

Assignment #1 - Cat stepping
Assignment #2 - The Essence of Tai Chi Chuan - The Literary Tradition


Reading is not optional

To complete each level, students must answer assignments to prove that they have taken the time to read this website and all of the required texts.
Failure to read the books will impede progress and hinder understanding.

Further reading

• Intermediate attitude
• The basics
• Not a beginner?
• Intermediate attitude
• Black T-shirt


school database

Page created 2 March 1995
Last updated
21 May 2015