Taijiquan syllabus by grade

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Skill levels

Grades in our taijiquan syllabus:

  1. Beginner (tai chi for fitness)

  2. Intermediate 

  3. Experienced

  4. Advanced

  5. Expert

  6. Mastery

Preliminaries come first

In the mainstream martial arts the onus is usually upon fighting so the syllabus is designed with this in mind.
A taijiquan syllabus is a little different.
Not only must the student gain combat skills, but they must also learn how to use the body in a wholly unfamiliar way.
This means that qigong exercises, healthy body use, neigong concerns and non-combat partner drills (e.g. pushing hands) are initially more important than combat skills.


Qigong serves to build strength until the student is skilled with taijiquan.
The syllabus starts with a wide range of qigong exercises designed to supplement the taijiquan.

Tai chi for fitness

The first grade in the syllabus is non-martial.
Students focus upon learning the basic qigong exercises and the introductory partner work.
Strength, balance, coordination, mobility, stamina and flexibility are the focus.

Taijiquan fighting method

The student only moves from the tai chi for fitness training onto the taijiquan training once they have passed the beginners grade.


In spite of it being divided into parts the entire process seemed like a living thing wholly contained in itself, and not even remotely comparable to a gymnastic exercise, to which bits can be added or taken away without its meaning and character being thereby destroyed.

(Eugen Herrigel)

Taijiquan requires patience

Intermediate syllabus is when the fighting begins.
But it is not until the experienced grade that the Art can be used in actual combat.

Learning curve

The taijiquan learning curve is slower and steeper than a mainstream martial art, but the effects/benefits are far more widespread.
They can easily be employed in day-to-day body use.

beginner     intermediate     experienced     advanced     expert     mastery

Page created 2 August 1995
Last updated 18 May 2017