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The term 'intermediate' literally means in-between. They are neither beginner nor a martial artist. Intermediate students are not experienced not are they experts.
It should take the average student about 2 years to complete the intermediate syllabus.
The intermediate syllabus is mainly about physical fitness, learning the Long Yang form pattern and commencing martial training:
Cardio work (2 sets)
Core strength (3 sets)
Leg stretches (2 sets)
Long Yang form (sections 2 & 3) (regular & mirrored)
Stretches & joint work
Tao yin/Taoist Yoga (3 sets)
The student's responsibility is to practice the Art frequently enough for the muscle memory to remember what to do. This takes time and patience.
Without a strong foundation a taijiquan student is not going to get very far:
Countering punches, kicks & grapples
Double pushing hands
Knife drills (intro)
Small san sau
Stick drills (3 sets)
Theory & principles
provide the adequate, necessary groundwork for later
Only you can gain skill at taijiquan and become a taijiquan student. If this is not happening, do not look outside of yourself for the answer. Who binds you? Who is stopping you?
That's right; you are. Look to your own practice, attitude and commitment.
You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make
This is the beginning of the real taijiquan training. Having explored some basic concepts the student is now required to increase their martial focus.
The student's ambition is to cease to act like a tai chi for health student. They want to become a 'taijiquan student' instead...
Black T-shirt (fitness)
Intermediate students wear a black T-shirt rather than white.
The student learns the last of the qigong exercises in an effort to build strength prior to the experienced syllabus (where neigong and form will replace qigong as the principle source of power).
Basic taijiquan training
There are many new things to learn - weapons drills, stretching exercises, combat skills and sections 2 & 3 of the Long Yang form. The student must also revise and mirror the entire form sequence.
This is a challenging part of the syllabus where home training really makes a difference.
How do you move?
Form reflects the way in which you personally move in taijiquan. If your form is clumsy, then you are clumsy and that is useless for combat.
Your taijiquan must be fast, sensitive, alert, powerful and lively. The cat-like grace of taijiquan encourages agile, strong movement, excellent poise, high energy levels and a feeling of vigour.
Invest in form
Students normally underestimate the significance of form. Bad form = bad taijiquan. It is that simple.
Your form highlights and determines how you move, how you use your body. Invest as much time as you can in form practice. The better your form, the easier all aspects of the taijiquan will be to pull off.
There are three martial sets (san sau) to learn at this point in the syllabus. San sau are predetermined attack and defence sequences in which both students are required to adhere to a set pattern.
The purpose of san sau is to train timing, coordination, range, accuracy, footwork, rhythm, habitual responses, composure and reflexes.
Training begins with the basic pattern, before adding peng, jing and eventually full-power attacks.
The way most people do
taijiquan, it's not a martial art. They could never use it the way they're
doing it. Everything's in their hands, they just fill in the rest with
By the time the student has finished the second part of the intermediate grade they should be well on their way to attaining good combat skills.
Their sense of range, timing, distance, power generation, leverage, balance, stability and mobility will be developed.
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18 April 1995
Last updated 06 June 2018