Official Grading Syllabus of the World Taiji Boxing Association
Erle Montaigue's Fa-jing Chuan
Syllabus in use as of the 1st of January 2024

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. This is to make sure your focus is on skill development with well-rounded skills rather than how many forms and drills you know.

Please note: 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 them out.

For example, you will often learn the Qi Development tools to better understand the stillness of the Taiji or Bagua form, but you will not be tested on your performance of these methods, so long as you understand the principle they teach within your main form, that is what we want to see.

We suggest you stay focused on the grading content, until other things are recommended by your teacher. Or, if you really feel like you want to learn something extra, perhaps a weapon form, you should ask your teacher for advice on this.

As a general rule, it's better to stay focused on the foundations listed in the grades, doing other things can help, but usually takes focus away from your foundations. Just ask if curious. 

Taiji or Bagua


The WTBA syllabus of the Erle Montaigue System is a mixture of Taiji and Bagua training methods, however, with your form you should choose one or the other. You can do both, but this will of course take you much longer to pass each grade.


It’s generally recommended to train in one till you are at least a Grade 1 Instructor.

Most people start with Taiji, for reasons explained in the FAQ article here:

advice for most people is to start with Taiji, then start Bagua after instructor grade 1 at the earliest or after instructor grade 3 at the latest. This is general advice as you might have a specific reason to start with Bagua or to choose one and never do the other. If that works, then it's the best path for you.

Ask Eli, if you’re unsure which one you want to start with.

How it all works


You can follow the main syllabus of the full system, or one of the four modified options.
This g
ives students different ways they can train, depending on their interests. For example, martial or non martial.  

What you are graded in is what you are permitted to teach once you reach the first instructor rank. There are a few other forms and drills that will come under a certain grade, more is explained on this in the Extra Curriculum section you’ll see in the coming pages.

Simply put, you can’t teach fighting if you’re only graded in form, and you can’t teach Bagua form if you’re only graded in Taiji form and vice versa.

How and when to go for a grading


Gradings are all done by the WTBA Global Chief Instructor (Head of the WTBA).

The position currently held by Eli Montaigue.

Gradings are included at Eli’s foundations or instructor training camps.
Your test will not be done all at once, you will be tested during training without even knowing.

For example, Eli will be testing your push hands during the classes on push hands, so for most things there will not be an official time you're taken to the side and tested. 


You will get a tick and signature for each area of training. Once all boxes are ticked, you have passed that grade.

If you are not able to attend a training camp and would like to book a standalone test, then get in touch. You can also have your solo forms tested via video, this way your time in person can be used for the partner work.

When booking a standalone test, there is only a fee if you fail the test, that's right, pass your test and there is no fee. If you fail, then your test will be a class anyway, as you will get feedback on what you need to work on, so no money is wasted.

The charges are, £25 for student grades (around 30 minutes) and £50 for instructor grades (around 60 minutes). Prices are subject to change, contact Eli for up-to-date pricing.

How strict is the test

The instructors test is very strict, you are not only grading to see your progress, but also when you are given a grade, you are representing the quality of the WTBA at that level.


Student grades are less strict, as it's important for a student to move on before perfecting each area, since often movements later on in your training may be what unlock your skills.

A lot of the things you’ll be tested on for Grade 1 Instructor are the same as those in your student grades, they simply need to be totally correct now.


For your first instructor rank however, this will be tough, we don't want any bad habits being passed onto your students. 

The WTBA has a very strict high standard as of January 2024. There are a set amount of allowed errors in each grade. Your character will also play a part in this, we will not give out instructor rank to someone we feel will not be a responsible and humble teacher.


Grades will only be given out based on your skill and proper understanding of the system.

There is only one exception were we will give out a grade 1 instructor grade to someone who has not yet completed everything in that grade. This is when someone knows everything for grade 1 except for one or two of the training drills, but they need to start teaching now. A reason could be to keep a school from closing due to the main instructor moving away. 


We can give out an "Interim Grade" you can start teaching, then add the missing content over the following 12 months. You cannot stay on an interim grade for more than 1 year.

Focusing on your grade

The student grades are split up into four small sections, therefore it’s often good to play around with things in grade 2, 3, & 4 even if you have not yet passed grade 1, so long as your focus remains on grade 1.


For instructor grades however, there is a lot in each one, so it’s best to stick to your grade.

Of course, there’s still nothing wrong with having some fun in something from a higher grade, but don’t let it take your focus from the grade you are working on.

Grading Requirements

Everything you need to know for each grade will be covered in the videos for that grade. (Please Note this is a work in progress and some videos might not be available yet).
There will be a “box set” available soon for each grade and everything you’ll need will be in that set.

WTBA teacher should also know what you need to be learning for each grade, but it’s always good to have the videos as well for practice at home.

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

Full system or a modified option

On the next page 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. Remember you can always change at any time.

In short, if you want to learn the complete system of combat and healing, then you should follow the Full System, but if you have problems with your body or a specific interest, check out the other options to see what will fit best. 


If unsure, please get in touch and Eli will help you choose.


Please note: If you want to start teaching, you can pass one of the modified grades in only form for example and get a class started just on that.  Over time you can then train more in the partner drills and upgrade your grade.


Also note: To teach for the WTBA you must be on the WTBA Instructors Register.

Requirements for this are detailed on the last pages of this book after your Instructors Certificate page.

Full System Combat & Healing

Primary Grading Syllabus of the WTBA (which is what most people should follow)

This is the complete Erle Montaigue System of Combat & Healing, known as “Fa-Jing Ch’uan”
Meaning “Explosive Energy Chinese Boxing”

Every aspect of training is covered here: Forms, Qigong, Partner Drills, and Combat.
Taking all areas to their highest levels.

Forms and Qigong will develop into the deepest internal understanding. Partner drills will be taken past the point of drilling and into combat. There will be pressure testing for what you know, through scenario training as well as free sparring, with protective gear. 


This will also include how to deal with multiple 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 and attain the highest levels of inner development, combat & healing. 


The way we train combat is to get the highest level of skill we can, without any long-term injuries such as brain damage. Bumps and bruises sure, maybe a broken toe, but nothing serious.

Often people think that more practice in form & qigong is the best way to gain the highest levels of inner development, but 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, deescalating and walking away are always the first line of defence.

There is a fine balance between standing up for yourself and starting a fight.
You can hold your ground and still deescalate the situation.

However, this is not always possible, so for this we need to know how to survive and protect our family. This could be with the use of non-lethal methods to subdue someone when the situation is not serious, or with the use of deadly force when your family’s lives are at risk.


A true warrior stays calm & deescalates where possible…..



But fights when they must.

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 you see in the MTG videos on the website, will state what grade you should be at in order to start learning it. It will also state whether you need to take a separate test on it.


Some things can be taught as an inclusion of your current grade. These would be very similar to what you already know so there would be no need to take another test.

For example:


·      If you are a grade 1 instructor in the Full System or Modified Option #4,
you can teach dragon prawn boxing drills and/or the Wudang hand weapons.

·      If you are a grade 3 instructor in the Bagua form, you can then teach the animal forms.


In the description of an MTG video, you’ll see something like: “The content of this video can be taught by a grade 3 instructor or higher”. Or “To teach this subject as a WTBA instructor you’ll need to take a separate test on this as an Extra Curriculum Grade


There is a lot of content in your main training, but as a teacher you might like to change things up a bit with a different form or drill.  

Something like a weapon form would need a separate test.



Now let’s scroll down to look though the four modified options for those not wanting to train the full system.


In the WTBA, means doing explosive movements in forms, or rough partner drills involving impact and bruising, also striking training on the bag. Basically, doing martial training for the purpose of fitness and understanding the body.

“Combat” on the other hand means fighting, training for self-defence. This means pressure testing with protective gear and free sparring, as well as other training such as weapon defence.

Option #1 Non-Martial | Without Partner

In this option you will train only the soft calming elements of form and qigong, without the partner drills. 

This is great for people who don’t have anyone to train with, or those who have problems with their body and are unable to do any kind of fast or rough movements.


It is also good for people doing some other kind of rough sport and are looking for a simple syllabus to follow for calming down and staying relaxed.

Please Note: If you are following this option, you will see in the higher grades, the mention of Fa-Jing and martial strikes in the Taiji or Bagua form. This aspect can be ignored since you are following the non martial option. You cannot learn Fa-Jing with non martial training. This will be explained clearly in the new grading videos.

Option #2 | Non-Martial | With Partner

Everything from option #1 but adding the gentle partner drills which don’t involve any kind of impact. 


This option is great for the same type of people as option #1, but who do have someone to practice with. You will still be keeping things gentle but will gain a much higher understanding of movement through the partner work. 

Please Note: If following this option, you will see in the higher grades, the mention of Fa-Jing and martial strikes in the Taiji or Bagua form. This aspect can be ignored since you are following the non martial option. You cannot learn Fa-Jing with non martial training. This will be explained clearly in the new grading videos.


Option #3 | Martial | Non-Combat | Without Partner

Form and Qigong like in option #1, but eventually incorporating the martial explosive movements. All martial training that can be done without a partner will be also included, 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, so, 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 which will therefore increase all the benefits the art offers.

Please Note: If following this option, when you look at the content for each grade, you may see things like Small San Sau. In this case you only need to perform the solo aspects of that form. Anything you see that needs a partner can be assumed  you don’t need to do that specific part.  If unsure, just ask. This will be explained clearly in the new grading videos.

Option #4 | Martial | Non-Combat | With Partner


You will practice all the solo training from option 3 plus all partner training drills, but without the real combat training. This means you will learn almost everything about movement and self development 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 the full system.

Also, you can feel free to train along at a workshop with the combat drills, as they can be done more gently anyway, but you would not do this in your grading since for the grading you would need to do it with power, in which case you either leave it out, or do the full system grade.

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. However, you will still get bumps and bruises on your arms and legs with this grade option.

 When we do train combat in the Full System syllabus, we do so with the highest care taken for safety, as we don’t want any long-term injuries.


With this grade option, you will of course be able to fight better than someone with no combat experience (like a random drunk in the street etc.) But, if you have not trained in combat, then obviously you wouldn’t stand much of a chance against someone with combat experience.

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.


Please note: If you complete all sections in a grade, you will receive a Full System rank in that grade. 
on the other hand you are following one of the four modified options, you need to pay attention to the sections needed within that grade for your chosen option.

You will see listed for each section, for example, “Required for modified options #1 #2 #3 #4.

If you are following option #3, then you would need to complete all areas requiring option #3.

The new book covering everything you need to know for each grade is currently being printed and will be available soon. 
Get in touch if you would like to be put on the list for one.