PROGRESS AND CERTIFICATION SYSTEM FOR STUDENTS AND INSTRUCTORS
(Hellenic Wu’s Tai Chi Chuan Academy)
It is common knowledge for the truly devoted Tai Chi Chuan practitioners that the distorted way in which it spread in the Western world, not only did it not allow Tai Chi Chuan to properly organize its syllabus and develop its teaching methods but, on the contrary, led to organization and methodology being considered by a wide range of practitioners and even instructors of the so-called “Tai Chi”, as a modernism that should be rejected.
It is common, in many schools, for teachers not to really teach – and for students to simply imitate their instructor as best as they can-, based on the unsubstantial justifications “this is what they do in China” or “only after many years of practice, and without requiring any explanation by the trainer, is “Tai Chi” revealed to you and you understand it “.
As a result, each new generation of practitioners and instructors is poorer in knowledge and skills, condemning Tai Chi Chuan to a declining course. As the number of people practicing grows, Tai Chi Chuan itself, instead of evolving, is being impoverished in terms of quality and depth. At the same time, it becomes more and more difficult for those interested, to find an instructor with complete and deep knowledge.
Thus, this complex, deep and complete art, gradually takes the form of an exotic type of exercise in the mind of people, which either only promotes softness, grace and beauty or becomes a gentle exercise for the elderly and the sick or is presented by various New Age movements as a mysterious imprint and expression of the secrets of the universe and the Tao. However, as we have argued in our extensive articles, Tai Chi Chuan is none of this.
In an effort to solve the above problems, many Grandmasters are aligning with modern teaching methods and are adopting various systems of progress and certification, providing a more rational and modern method of teaching, and also motivating the Western student to advance in his apprenticeship in depth.
In the spirit of these developments, and after many years of intensive practice, study and testing, we are able to gladly present to the Greek trainees of Tai Chi Chuan, the System of Progress and Certification for Students and Instructors of the Hellenic Wu’s Tai Chi Chuan Academy.
What is the Progress and Certification System and what its purpose is
Roughly speaking, the Progress and Certification System is about a) the detailed recording, organizing and division into levels of the complete syllabus of Tai Chi Chuan, as practiced by the Wu Family and Master Wu Kwong Yu, b) a complete and modern teaching methodology, so that instructors can teach methodically and systematically and students can fully understand the syllabus and can use it according to their desires (maintaining or improving their health and physical condition, relaxation, concentration, balance, self-defense, etc.), c) giving the opportunity of obtaining official certifications to any student who wishes to do so, proving their competence in the respective syllabus and d) the education, certification and continuous training of instructors, aiming at the more comprehensive and deeper knowledge and spread of Tai Chi Chuan and its teaching methodology.
Axes of the Progress and Certification System
- Every student knows from the beginning of their apprenticeship not only what the complete syllabus of Wu Tai Chi Chuan consists of but also when they will be taught each part of it.
- Students’ knowledge and skills are gradually built like a solid structure, starting from the base of the art of Tai Chi Chuan and moving on to higher levels, where the most complex and demanding parts of the syllabus are distributed methodically and in a balanced way.
- As soon as students start their apprenticeship, they acquire knowledge from all the different but complementary areas of the syllabus, in balanced proportions. This method allows students to comprehend the function of each movement, to acquire a broad and own perception of the art, and not to just roughly imitate movements, whose meaning and purpose are incomprehensible, as it happens when one is limited to only one or two areas of Tai Chi Chuan.
- Students are given the necessary time to learn and delve into the syllabus, without any knowledge being hidden (as it often happens), without haste but also without having to wait for years and years, being stagnant, due to ignorance and / or insecurity of their instructor.
- In case they wish to, all students have the opportunity to be examined and to receive an official diploma from official organizations, proving that they have sufficiently learned the respective syllabus. However, participating in the examination system is NOT mandatory, nor does the students’ progress depend on whether they choose to be examined or not. The teaching method follows the Progress and Certification System and is provided in the same quantity and quality to all, regardless of whether or not they choose to participate in the exams, depending on their real level, the interest they show and their technical skills.
- Educating and certifying students is differentiated from educating and certifying instructors. Students, no matter how skilled they become, are not entitled to teach, unless they receive the relevant compulsory education. Teaching is a very high and difficult art itself, and anyone interested in it should not only have sufficient knowledge in Tai Chi Chuan but they should also know how to teach it correctly and effectively -something completely different than just performing it.
- Candidate instructors can obtain their certification in a short period of time, as compared to the past, having received, however, a substantial and systematic training. That way, the spread of traditional, authentic Tai Chi Chuan is enhanced, while the number of self-taught “instructors” gets limited. A student, who is willing to offer as a trainer, is not confronted with distorted mentalities which can hinder them, and new instructors have the opportunity to learn this art in more depth, by teaching. “Learning by teaching,” the saying goes.
Official organizations on which the Progress and Certification Program is based
Our Academy’s Progress and Certification System is fully recognised by the Head of the Wu Family and our Teacher, Wu Kwong Yu and by the International Wu Style Federation, the only global organization responsible for the proper teaching and certification of the authentic Wu style.
It is also recognised by the Hellenic Wushu-Kung Fu Federation and is fully in line with what applies in China and the International Wushu Federation.
The Hellenic Wushu-Kung Fu Federation is the only Martial Arts Federation recognized by the Greek State and our active participation in it ensures that our students are eligible for state-recognised diplomas, and that our instructors have the right to pursue a Coach Degree and a Professional License to teach, issued by the General Secretariat of Sports.
The International Wushu Federation is globally the only official body authorized to issue Duan diplomas (equivalent to the Japanese Dan), which have real international value, based on the syllabus approved by the Chinese Wushu Association, the only official Chinese body for Wushu and Tai Chi Chuan. The participation of our Teacher, Wu Kwong Yu, in the Chinese Wushu Association and their cooperation, gives the students and instructors of our Academy the opportunity to participate in exams for obtaining Duan diplomas, directly from the International Wushu Federation.
It is worth noting that Master Wu Kwong Yu has been recognized by the Chinese Wushu Association as the only authentic source of Wu style, and anyone claiming a Duan grade diploma (based on Wu Style) from it, should be examined in the Two-Person Form, which was created by Master Wu Kwong Yu himself, and is taught in our Academy.