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Curriculum

Our Northern Shaolin Kung Fu system of Tian Shan Pai (天山派) is a very effective and complete art that teaches practical skills for every range of self-defense. This is not a mixed martial art but rather an integrated one. The excellent footwork, blocking, punching and kicking techniques are combined with the throws and take-downs of Shuai Jiao and the controlling, locking and grappling techniques of Qinna. Our curriculum is well structured and progressive. Each level builds on the previous level and adds new aspects of our art through the forms and techniques that are taught.

Our classes are divided into three levels: beginner, intermediate and advanced.

Beginner students are white and yellow belts. They practice basic skills, forms and self-defense techniques based on Qinna.

Intermediate students are blue, green and purple belts. They practice skills, forms and self-defense techniques. Sparring and learning weapons become options at blue belt level. For Green and Purple belts, sparring is a required part of the curriculum. The focus is on kicking, punching, blocking, footwork and timing. No techniques below the belt are permitted and there are no throws or takedowns.

Advanced students are brown, red and black belts. They practice skills, forms, self-defense techniques, weapons and sparring. In sparring, striking techniques are permitted as well as throws, takedowns, sweeps and techniques to the thighs and lower legs.

At each level, distinctively different forms are taught that build on each other and focus on important principles of our art. The first form teaches basic stances, strikes, grabs, blocks and takedowns. Movements are linear and performed at a fairly constant speed. The next form introduces coiling movements, circular movements, dragon footwork, gua fist and timing principles. Later forms add in the principles of explosive timing, changing pace and direction and more advanced stances. More advanced forms add breath control and power development, dynamic kicking combinations, balance, body mechanics and more.

Following is a brief description of our curriculum at each belt along with the minimum time to complete the level. Please note that the time frames are minimums and actual time required will depend on the individual. Each student progresses at their own pace and proficiency must be demonstrated before advancement. It is not unusual to spend much longer than the minimum time at some levels. While students will practice a variety of kicking techniques at each level, only the listed kick must be demonstrated at testing.

Please note that the time frame listed is the time at that level, NOT the time since you originally started. You must add the time required for each of the previous levels. These are minimums and not guaranteed. Students can take as long as they need to complete each level.


White Sash:

Form:  1/2 ChuJi Quan (Primary Fist)
Kicks:  Front Snap Kick
Self-Defense: Techniques 1-3
Techniques: Drills 1-20
  Shield and Pad Training
Time Frame: 2 months minimum

Yellow Sash:

Form:  Complete ChuJi Quan (Primary Fist)
Kicks:  Front Thrust Kick
Self-Defense: Techniques 1-3
Techniques: Drills 1-20
  Shield and Pad Training
  Sparring Drills
Time Frame: 3 months minimum

Blue Sash:

Form:  Long Quan (Dragon Fist)
Kicks:  Roundhouse Kick
Self-Defense: Techniques 1-3
Techniques: Drills 1-20
  Blocking Drills
  Shield and Pad Training
  Sparring Drills & Step Sparring
(Free Sparring is optional)
Weapons (optional) Fan, Short Staff, Broadsword
Time Frame: 4 months minimum

Green Sash:

Form:  ZhongJi Quan (Intermediate Fist)
Kicks:  Side Kick
Techniques: Drills 1-20
  Blocking Drills
  Shield and Pad Training
  Sparring Drills & Free Sparring
Weapons (optional) Short weapon or Long Staff (see prerequisites)
Time Frame: 4 months minimum

Purple Sash:

Form:  ShaoLin Quan (Shaolin Fist)
Kicks:  Inside and Outside Crescent Kicks
Techniques: Drills 1-20
  Blocking Drills
  Shield and Pad Training
  Sparring Drills & Free Sparring
Weapons (optional) Any Weapon (see prerequisites)
Time Frame: 5 months minimum

Brown Sash:

Form:  GongLi Quan (Power Development Fist)
Kicks:  Back Kick
Techniques: Drills 1-20
  Blocking Drills
  Shield and Pad Training
  Sparring Drills & Free Sparring
Weapons (optional) Any Weapon (see prerequisites)
Time Frame: 5 months minimum

Red Sash:

Form:  ShiEr Tui (12 Kicks)
Kicks:  Kicking Combination
Techniques: Drills 1-20
  Blocking Drills
  Shield and Pad Training
  Sparring Drills
Free Sparring with one opponent
Free Sparring with two opponents
Weapons Must have one short weapon and one long weapon
Time Frame: 12 months minimum

Black Sash - 1st Degree:

Form:  Lian Huan Tui (Continuous Linking Kicks)
Techniques: Drills 1-20
  Blocking Drills
  Shield and Pad Training
  Sparring Drills
Free Sparring with one opponent
Free Sparring with two opponents
Weapons Must have one short weapon and one long weapon different from the weapons used for the Red Sash curriculum
Internal Training Tai Chi
Time Frame: 18-24 months

Black Sash - 2nd Degree:

Form:  Open
Techniques: Drills 1-20
  Blocking Drills
  Shield and Pad Training
  Sparring Drills
Free Sparring with one opponent
Free Sparring with two opponents
Weapons Must have one short weapon and one long weapon different from the weapons used for previous sash levels
Internal Training Tai Chi
Special Options Full Contact Sparring System
Qinna
Instructor Training
Time Frame: 24 to 36 months

The program described here that takes a student from 2nd Degree Black Sash to 3rd Degree Black Sash is a suggestion. There is a greater degree of flexibility here. Students at this level should consult closely with the Chief Instructor to develop the program that best suits the student’s needs and interests.


Weapon training prerequisites:

To begin weapon training, you must first have completed an empty hand form. This is normally achieved at Blue Sash level.

Your first weapon must be a short weapon and the choices are Fan, Short Staff or Broadsword.

After learning your initial short weapon, you can then learn Straight Sword, Long-tassel Straight Sword, or Long Staff.

After learning Long Staff, you can learn Spear, Guan Dao, Three-section Staff or Chain Whip.

You must learn Straight Sword before learning Double Hook Swords.

Other weapon forms may be taught at the instructors discretion. Some of the weapons available to learn are:

Fan
Short Staff
Broadsword (Dao)
Southern Broadsword (Nan Dao)
Straight Sword (Jian)
Long-tassel Straight Sword
Long Staff (Gun)
Spear (Qiang)
Guan Dao
Three-section Staff (San Jie Gun)
Chain Whip
Double Daggers
Double Hook Swords
Double Broadswords
Spear vs Double Broadswords

While loaner weapons are often available to begin training, students are expected to own the weapons they are being taught. We carry in stock or can order most weapons for you.