Official Grading Syllabus of the World Taiji Boxing Association.
Syllabus in use as of April 14th 2023.


Introduction:

Grading in the WTBA is based on the foundation content of what we train.

Therefore, only the most important areas of training are focused on in your grading, to make sure your focus is on skill development with well-rounded skills, rather than how many forms and drills you know.

Grading is recommended to everyone but is not mandatory unless you wish to teach.

Things Not Covered.
The “Extra” forms and training methods which are not part of the main syllabus, are there for people who want to specialise in a particular area, for their own personal reasons.
Also, these extra methods are often recommended to a particular student by their teacher, if they are struggling to understand a certain principle, seeing that principle taught from a different training method can sometimes help you out.
We recommend you stay focused on the grading content, until other things are recommended by your teacher.
Or, if you really feel you want to learn something extra, perhaps a weapon form, you should ask your teacher for advice on this.

Bagua or Taiji.
In the WTBA we have always trained a mixture of these two arts, as they complement each other so well, plus a few other bit and pieces from other styles, such as the grappling arts.
This doesn’t mean you should learn them both at once though.
The forms should be learnt separately, get one to at least instructor grade 1, before starting the other.
Which one is totally up to you, it depends what you want from your training and where you are coming from.
If you would like more info on the differences between the two, please click here, or get in touch with any questions you have. 
For Martial Training Drills and Combat grades, there is a mixture of Taiji and Bagua already in them, this is how it’s always been in the WTBA.
Erle Montaigue, our founder, took the best drills he found from each.


How it all works:

There are five different syllabus options.  
The best way to train is to practice the full system, however, we understand that some people will have specific interests and or abilities. 
For this reason, there are five different options to follow within our syllabus. More details on that later.
What you are graded in is what you are permitted to teach once you reach the first instructor rank.
Obviously you can't teach combat if you've only been graded in forms.

How and when to go for a grading.
You will have a grading booklet for each grade, listing everything you need to do.
As you progress through your training, when you or your regular teacher, (if you have one)
feels you are performing a certain section of the grade correctly, you can put a pencil tick in the box for that part. Once you have ticked off all required sections within a grade, you should then book in for a grading. If you pass, you’ll be given feedback on what you should work on next.
If you do not pass, you’ll be given feedback on what you need to improve on.
Some things like forms can be graded via video, other things like partner work need to be in person.

Gradings are all done by the WTBA Global Chief Instructor.
Currently Eli Montaigue.

Where and cost.
For gradings in person, you need to find a place where Eli is teaching.
Either come to him in Malta EU, or attend a workshop at one of the many locations around the world.
Video gradings for form/qigong only are done via Skype video call.
Unless you plan to grade at the WTBA headquarters in Malta, you will usually be asked to do the form/qigong parts of your grade online, this way there is more time for the partner work to be done in person at one of Eli's workshops around the world. 
Cost of grading is €20 for student grades and €40 for instructor grades.
Please note, if you do not pass, Eli will take some time with you to show what you need to work on, so the fee is not wasted since you get a class.


How strict is the test.
The test is very strict, you are not only grading to know how well you are doing, when you grade you represent the WTBA at that level.
The WTBA has a very high standard as of April 14th 2023.
There is a set amount of allowed errors in each grade. 
Grades are not given out for hard work and dedication, or for showing up to class for 10 years, or because you're a really nice person who brings cake to class. (yes I've actually witnessed this)
They are giving out based on your skill and understanding of the system. 

Grading Requirements.
Everything you need to know for each grade, will be covered in the new MTG videos for that grade.
(Please Note this is a working progress and some videos might not be available yet.)
The videos we currently have are still good for learning from, but won't follow exactly the grades, so ask Eli about this.
Or you can learn the requirements directly from Eli, or any WTBA instructor who follows the grading syllabus in their classes. 

Grading Booklet. 
We will soon have available a grading booklet to help you track progress, watch this space for updates. 


The Grades:

Listed below are the options we offer for you to train in and maybe one day teach. 
Think about what you want from your training, and choose the option which reflects this best.
In short, if you want to learn the complete system of combat and healing, then go straight to option 5, but if you have problems with your body or a specific interest, then check out the other options to see what will fit best. 

Option 1. (Non martial, without partner)
Only the soft calming elements of form and qigong, without partner drills. 
Great for people who don't have anyone to train with, and who have problems with their body and are unable to do any kind of the fast or rough movements.
Also good for people doing some other kind of rough sport, looking for a simple syllabus to follow for calming down and staying relaxed.

Option 2. (Non martial, with partner)
Everything from option 1, but adding the gentle partner drills which don't involve any kind of impact. 
Great for the same type of people as option 1, but who do have someone to practice with, still keeping things gentle, but gaining a much higher understanding of movement through the partner work. 

Option 3. (Martial, without partner)
Form and Qigong like in option 1, but eventually incorporating the martial explosive movements.
Plus all martial training that can be done without a partner, such as solo San Sau forms and bag work.    
This is obviously for those people who want to learn the full system but have no one to train with, you will train everything you can do on your own. 
This will give you a far higher understanding of movement compared with only doing slow form, increasing all the benefits the art offers.
With this option, if you can one day make it to a workshop or training camp, you should be able to grasp the partner drills without too much trouble, compared with someone who has only done slow form, you at least know how to hit from your bag work, so you'll understand power and will have some degree of conditioning. 

Option 4. (Martial, with partner, non combat)
All the solo training from option 3, plus all partnered training drills, but without real combat training. 
This means you will learn almost everything about movement and self development, almost complete training, only missing out on real combat. 
Forms and bag work will be done to the highest levels, partner drills will be done to almost the highest levels prior to real combat, self defence/combat drills will not be done.
From a health and fitness point of view, this option will give you 90% of what you can get out of the training compared to option 5.
This is for people who want to feel all the martial training with and without a partner, but don't want to risk getting punched in the face, hence why we regard this as martial but non combat, you can't learn how to fight and defend yourself unless you train rough. You will still get bumps and bruises on your arms and legs though.
You will of course be able to fight better than someone with no training, but it's unlikely that someone with no fighting skills will attack you. 
This is why even when you reach the highest grade, you will be considered not combat ready.  You must pressure test and train in a free sparring situation in order to know how to fight, this involves getting hit, there's no way around it.

Option 5. (Full System)
Everything from option 4, but taking all drills to the highest level of real combat. 
Pressure testing what you know, through scenario training as well as free sparring, with and without protective gear. 
Full combat training, including how to deal with two attackers, or someone with a weapon etc. 
This is the full system, only with this option can you reach the highest rank of Master Degree. Attaining the highest levels of inner development, combat & healing. 
Often people think that more practice in form is the best way to gain the highest health benefits, this is not the case, the highest levels are attained through the balance and understanding of the full system. The ability to protect ourselves and our families is one of the main factors in reaching inner peace. 
Please note, we train to fight only when it's unavoidable. There's no talking your way out once the punch is thrown.
The way we train combat is to get the highest level of skill we can, without any long term injuries such as brain damage. 

Extra Curriculum.
There are many forms and training drills not covered in the grading syllabus. 
If you are interested in learning some of these, you can ask to learn either from video or your teacher, (if they know them) in accordance with your current grade. 
Each extra drill or form will state what grade you should be at in order to start learning it. 
Then you would take a separate test on that.
There are some methods that you learn on your own and teach once you are past a certain grade, these would be so similar to what you already know, there would be no need to take another test on these. 
If you happen to find something within our range of videos that is not listed in either the main grades or the extras, then just get in touch and ask about it. 


For a full article talking about what benefits you can expect to get from each area of training, please click here. 







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