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The YMAA recognises four levels of training; beginner, elementary, intermediate and advanced:
- Beginner - Typically 1 to 3 years for Tai Chi Chuan or Hsing-I, 1 to 2 years for Choy Lee Fut.
- Elementary - Typically 2 to 4 years for Tai Chi Chuan or Hsing-I, 2 to 3 years for Choy Lee Fut.
- Intermediate - Typically 4 to 6 years for Tai Chi Chuan or Hsing-I, 2 to 3 years for Choy Lee Fut.
- Advanced - Typically 3 to 5 years for Tai Chi Chuan or Hsing-I, 2 to 4 years for Choy Lee Fut.
The time scales are included just to give some idea of the length of time needed to reach these levels of skill, they will vary considerably from student to student depending on innate ability, previous training, what the students wants out of the art and how diligently the student is prepared to train.
It is important to remember that, while it is good to set yourself goals, arts like Tai Chi Chuan or Hsing-I can be practiced for a lifetime and not be fully explored. The best approach to the practice of these arts is that of 'patient application', in a spirit of relaxed enthusiasm. Above all enjoy your training.
The YMAA does not, at present, issue certificates, belts, badges etc for levels of training and holds no grading for different levels. Instructors are relied upon to know where their students are in their training. The YMAA may introduce grading for training levels in the future if there is a demand from students.
The YMAA does issue certificates for instructors as follows:
- Level 1 instructor - certified to teach beginners.
- Level 2 instructor - also certified to teach elementary students.
- Level 3 instructor (Si Jo) - also certified to teach intermediate students.
- Sifu - certified to teach all levels including advanced.
Level 1 instructors of Tai Chi Chuan are not certified to teach martial aspect of the art. Level 2 & 3 instructors in Tai Chi Chuan may choose either to take the health/esoteric only examination or to also undergo the martial examination. If a level 2 or 3 instructor has passed the martial section they receive the martial endorsement, denoted by a black badge worn with the instructor badge for their level and are certified to teach the martial aspects of the art at that level. The rank of Sifu is not awarded unless the student has also covered the martial aspects of the arts taught and therefore no martial endorsement is needed at that level.
All Instructors of Hsing-I or Choy Lee Fut are martial arts instructors in those arts.
To see what YMAA instructor badges look like click here.
For a complete breakdown of the requirements for certification of instructor levels see Instructor Award Criteria Levels 1 to 3 on the reverse of all YMAA certificates or click one of these links: