Classic Student Syllabus

Li-Chan Guan Syllabus (Per Rank)

Novice Level

Student ‘Healthful (Right) View’ Level


  • Learn salutations
  • Persistently work on stance & footwork training, e.g., Little Stance Subset & Ready Position Subset & in all sets
    & exercises (in order to manifest strong rooting – & in a fashion congruent with fine-tuned traditions)
  • Persistently work on the Eight Section Warm-Up Stretch Subset & Floor Stretch Subset
  • Persistently work on horizon walking, relearning techniques/purposeful movement, & false floor theory
  • Persistently work on diaphragmatic breathing, timing of breathe, assertive/healing sounds
  • Persistently work on insight into centerline theory, & general mapping applications
  • Begin persistent work on chi (bioelectric) awareness/strengthening, fluidity/lightness/relaxation training, anti-stress/anxiety theory and practice (practical application of the theory of lightness), inclusive of proper body dynamics – relaxation/positioning of the hands/feet/shoulders/face – and once again, proper mapping/posturing
  • Begin to persistently work on push-up and yin/yang pull-up chi kung
  • Persistently gather insight into the visual meditative demeanor and basic meditation skills/practice
  • Persistently work on insight into the beginner program and overall structure of art
  • Persistently work on basic hands/kicks/appropriate miens – inclusive of the five primary & three ancillary animals
  • Persistently work on way-of-hands & chin na theories & practices
  • Learn & persistently work on two to three kung fu, tai chi chuan, and/or remedial chi kung sets/routines
  • Persistently act out practical applications (‘solutions’) of martial techniques with peers
  • Persistently envision ‘imaginary opponents’ during set practice
  • May begin very slow sparring
  • Persistently gain greater insight into the notion of moving meditation
  • Persistently gather insight into the five kung fu virtues & Tao Chan/Ming Chia philosophy
  • Your word is your honor – if you say you are going to do something then you should do it – remember that you represent the art/school in your daily life
  • If you desire to learn the whole art, then at some point it is traditional to ask to become a closed-door student
  • Persistently practice proper heavy bag work, thinking-through theory, & relaxed whiplike movement
  • Begin persistent work on acupoint (cavity)/dim mak/kinesiology practices (inclusive of basic TCM insights)
  • Persistently gather insight into the practical application of the puppetmaster theory
  • Begin to work persistently on basic modeling theory/practice & two person multiple step practices
  • Begin to gather insight into warding-off/reeling silk theory & practice
  • Begin persistent study of standing/moving chi kung theory & practice (inclusive of the theory of lightness)
  • Begin to persistently work on the required readings – formulating questions & prompting discussion – seeking to gather a rounded education/insight into the philosophy and all aspects of the art
  • Persistently practice sets/routines – practicing intensely each day to prompt greater insight and competence -training your muscles and mind to work with each other…connected – particularly inclusive of a level of harmony/oneness which is respective of the Li Jia art stylism/tradition
  • Persistently take part in group classes & private lessons
  • Of equal importance to all of the above, persistently ask questions – often working on deciding on what questions to ask with regard to the art (inclusive of how the art associates with all aspects of daily life): asking questions is the most substantive means by which for most people to learn – letting the instructor know what issues you need to gain insight into at any given circumstance (this is a critically important classic outlook within our traditional teaching theory/practice…questions are a wonderful gift to instructors)
  • Decide how to persistently embrace the notion that the greatest gift of all is that there is always room for improvement: Realize that no matter how much you come to love/enjoy this art, it will at times become a chore – further realize that a deep healthful outlook toward the notion of’ embracing one’s comfort & discomfort equally’ is necessary in realization of (credible)true skill
Intermediate Level

Student ‘Healthful (Right) Resolve’ (aka ‘Healthful Intention’) Level


  • Once again, persistently seek deeper insight and competence into all of the above
  • Learn & persistently work on two to three more kung fu, tai chi chuan, and/or remedial chi kung sets/routines
  • May begin to persistently work on iron hand & iron shirt training
  • May begin persistent work on slow sparring (sun sou)
  • Persistently work on variations of sets already learned (inclusive of range, drunken mien, & reaction flexibility)
  • Begin persistent work on isometric ‘muscle/tendon changing’ techniques to enhance relaxation, self-awareness, muscle tone, & circulation
  • Persistently gather insight into the notions of hard/soft, internal/external, & yin/yang
  • Persistently work with instructor to review and fine-tune what has already been learned – once again, remember: there is always room for improvement (the greatest gift) – a concept which never ends
  • Persistently gather greater insight into the philosophical & practical application of the notion of true health & the true (primary) gauge, i.e.: are any of my given thoughts and/or actions making my/the world a better place –
    or making the my world/the world a worse place?
  • Begin persistent effort in realizing insight into the central features of Ming Chia, e.g., the Bright Beautiful School of Thought: the true responsibility of healthful interaction; acting without acting (aka wu wei); the
    same boat theory
  • Continue to persistently discover questions to ask instructors – a never-ending practice (once again, questions are viewed as a wonderful gift for instructors – & are the deepest way to learn for both students & instructors)
  • Begin persistent insight into dealing with multiple opponents
  • Persistently gather deeper insight into the notions of scattered, switched, healthful balance/homeostasis, living in the moment, witnessing, the h’ou t’ou, opening the door /parting the veil, a glimpse of heaven, true appreciation of the miracle of the moment, the accumulation of light, & craving/desire as the root of all misery & unhealthful things in the world
  • Realize a level of mastery in various aspects of your practice
  • Persistently read/study/discuss the tenets of “A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health”
  • Persistently read/study martial arts & related health/wellness magazines, journals, books, and online writing
  • Learn & persistently work toward greater insight into the four keys (inclusive of answering the Great Riddle)
  • Begin persistent practice of the dark side of the Tornado Set (aka light side/dark side)
  • Begin to persistently perform your teaching of less-experienced students & student internship (remember: a good teacher/instructor learns more than the student)
  • Persistently gather greater & greater insight into what chi kung really is
  • Somewhere during this level, one must have realized a level of mastery with regard to purposeful falling – inclusive of learning how to fall correctly
  • May begin persistent work on walking the kung fu circle
  • Begin persistent work on guided imagery
  • May begin persistent work on ground fighting
  • Must begin work on one weapon set
  • Begin to realize deep insight into technique solutions (inclusive of mapping)
  • Persistently become more & more aware of the art’s traditional Chinese nomenclature (terminology)
  • Understand why the sets are not unlike a catalog of the techniques of the art
  • May begin persistent study of the Tai Chi Classics
  • May begin persistent practice of walking/jogging/running chi kung
  • Gather persistent insight into the six harmonies
  • Persistent work in understanding the history of the art
First Degree Black Belt

Student ‘Healthful (Right) Speech’ Level (= 2,000/3000 clock hours of practice) & possible assistant instructorship level


  • Persistently seek deeper insight and competence (a level of true skill) into all of the above
  • Learn & persistently work on three to five more kung fu, tai chi chuan, & chi kung sets/routines (remember: it is
    most important to realize a level of mastery of the sets – versus doing a larger number…inclusive of learning to
    perform the sets in a fashion congruent with the Li Jia tradition)
  • Practice more intense moving meditation & stationary meditation
  • Learn the chi kung art of horizon sitting
  • More deeply embrace true relaxation – avoiding unnecessary use of musculature, e.g., for true health, power, &
    speed – albeit, realize what the old saying means: go slow, one can always go fast…go fast, one can only go fast
  • Realize true insight into the knowledge & philosophy of the art & how it applies to everything in one’s life
  • Realize deep insight into the notion of pattern literacy (connecting-of-the-healthful-dots)
  • Enjoy a fundamental practical & objective insight into the complete workings of the art (a traditional
    requirement in attaining a first degree black belt)
  • Will have memorized & be able to competently perform the Nei Kung Tao (all 108 techniques)
  • Will learn to completely avoid double-weightedness , unnecessary pivoting on a weighted foot, & will have
    realized a significant level of mastery with regard to proper footwork & proper posturing

  • Will ascertain a means by which to avoid uncontrolled fear of doing what is necessary to learn/gather true skill,
    true insight/objectivity
  • Gather greater insight into the practical application of the drunken demeanor in techniques & sets
  • Will have begun to gather insight into the traditional practice of cuffing/slapping practices
  • Will have realized quite deep insight into cavity awareness and implementation (part of dim mak) in striking,
    grappling/seizing/controlling/tendon-splitting/chin na; competent thinking-through, penetrating/exacting
    strikes…with competent alignment within postures (obviously inclusive of proper arm/leg extension alignment)

  • Will be able to spar (at each of the slow, medium, & fast speeds) at a level congruent with expectations at this
    level (inclusive of being able to ‘think on one’s-feet’ (and/or enjoy the ability of having the evolved motor
    memory to react to stimulus without having to think, e.g., witnessing…emptying the mind & acting out selflessly)
  • Begin to persistently gather insight into the complete workings of Traditional Chinese Medicine – & how
    knowledge of acupuncture complements understanding of dim mak theory (& vice-versa)
  • Gather a course of heart, one that is of substance, that makes the world a better place – one with healthful
    probity & moral fortitude (inclusive of wu wei, the true responsibility of healthful interaction, the same boat
    theory, true appreciation of the miracle of the moment, the true responsibility of supporting others, true
    honesty, true happiness, true effort, & true freedom)
  • Avoid drunkenness; romanticization of violence (promotion of violence in any fashion); hateful, greedy, &
    ignorance-rooted behavior (e.g., practical awareness of the notion of the three portents)
  • Realize that a first degree black belt is tentative & can be taken away and/or lost (inclusive of – if one ever
    stops practicing the art)
  • Gain deep insight into the notions of the long wall & the wall of lies
  • Realize practical application of the notion of the true responsibility of ‘turning the other cheek’ (one aspect of
    true strength)
  • Gather greater skill in walking the kung fu circle & begin practice of the dance of the crane
  • Will have satisfied a substantive amount of instruction internship hours (particularly if working toward becoming
    a full instructor, e.g., a classic student tenure)
  • Will have persistently learned at least two weapons sets by this time
  • Will have learned all subsets, at least two tai chi chuan sets & one full chi kung set
  • May have begun plum flower post work (or within similar context)
  • Will have gained a level of mastery in modeling techniques, two-person set/techniques, & dark side techniques
  • Will have begun two-person weapons practice
Second Degree Black Belt

Student ‘Healthful (Right) Action’ Level/First Level Master of Arts/Full Instructorship/Lower Level Shifu (= 2000/3000 clock hours & minimum three to four years between each black belt level/will have completed or all-but-completed 2000 clock hour instructor internship


  • Persistently seek deeper insight & competence/true skill into all of the above
  • If you are a classic student, you will have asked & have become accepted as a closed-door student
  • Will realize an extraordinary level of performance & insight in regard to most or all of the Li Jia sets (inclusive
    of knowledge of variations thereof; persistently working on interpreting variations of each technique in each
    set…deviation in footwork/hands/feet/short, medium, long arm/ranges/opponent proximity)
  • Will have begun to enjoy extraordinary insight into Tao Chan/Ming Chia & all philosophical issues of the art –
    inclusive of the notions & practices within the theory of lightness – most particularly its meditational notions
    and practices…promoting an appreciation of lightness…true happiness, true insight/objectivity, & true effort
  • Will have begun to gather insight into the Tao Te Ching (it is traditional to actually memorize a specific version
    of the Tao Te Ching), primary Confucian texts, and primary Buddhist texts
  • Persistently work toward gathering deep insight into the Three Marks of Being, Four Noble Truths, &
    Eightfold Healthful Path
  • Will have gathered ownership of the notion that the philosophical tenets of the art are not meant to compete
    with other belief systems – inclusive of never evangelizing, proselytizing, marketing, promoting, or aggrandizing –
    understanding that this healthful way-of-life is meant to be truly altruistic, benevolent, & deeply well-meaning
  • Will have at least a fundamental practical insight into how Tao Chan/Ming Chia (e.g., the evolved amalgamation of
    philosophical (vs. religious) Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism) relate and are integrated with tai chi chuan, chi
    kung, & kung fu
  • Will have begun to gather insight into why tai chi chuan, chi kung, & kung fu are a way-of-life and how they
    become part of all facets/aspects of our daily life
  • Will have begun to gather insight into the art of dreaming
  • Will have gathered insight into the benefit and practice of bending light & sound
  • Will have begun to gather insight into the notions of higher attitudinal/emotional skills, inclusive of aspects of
    healthful staging
  • Will have skills in playing the part of the perfect witness (witnessing) & horizon sitting – to the point that you
    can begin to teach these skills…inclusive of the true health skills of opening the door; parting the veil; true
    meditation; a glimpse of heaven; associated moving meditation (also relating to the theory of lightness)
  • Will have begun to seriously understand guided imagery & how it relates to a glimpse of heaven theory &
    practices: the physical = golden pill/magic elixir/spine-tingling sensation; the visual = third eye/yin tang &
    witnessing…learning to witness one’s internal & external environments without fear & precognitive, pre-
    patterned thinking – AND learning to interact with one’s internal/external environments while witnessing
  • Will have begun to understand the notion and practice of chi animation
  • Will have realized significant insight into Pattern Literacy (connecting-of-the-health-dots)
  • May have begun insight into the practice of dark work/yin shu
  • Per tradition, ask the instructor to begin to offer the ‘higher skills’ to you when you believe you are ready
  • Endeavor to display yourself in private & public in a manner which is congruent with the notions of the true
    responsibility of healthful interaction, acting without acting, & the same boat theory
  • Once again, realize that improvement in your skills is a never-ending journey – in any aspect…physically, mentally,
    emotionally, spiritually, heartfully – congruent with, once again, that the greatest gift of all is that there is
    always room for improvement – it is one aspect of taking true responsibility for one’s own health & wellbeing
  • Any student will have by now inquired into all aspects of the art – as set forth in the Classic Sets, Subsets, &
    General Techniques & Practices sheet (which generally makes mention of all aspects of the art)
  • Will have gathered significant chin na & general self-defense skills (albeit, remember: the true meaning of self-
    defense is self-defense against yourself & your own bad habits & weaknesses)
  • Will have begun to seriously work on multiple opponent self-defense skills
  • Will have begun to serious work on adrenal stress training
Third Degree Black Belt

Student ‘Healthful (Right) Life’ Level/Lower Level Shifu-Second Level Master of Arts


  • Persistently seek deeper insight & competence/true skill into all of the above
  • Will realize an extraordinary level of performance & insight into all of the Li Jia sets & subsets
  • Will have significant skill & insight into the fundamental Li Jia guided imagery/visualization techniques,
    inclusive of basic insight into the externalization of bioelectric energy
  • Will have gathered significant skill with regard to resonant healing/assertive sounds, inclusive of the
    personal sounds, generic sounds, & cat/crane sounds
  • Will be seriously working on ground fighting skills
  • Will have gathered significant dim mak & diagnostic skills, inclusive of kinesiology practices, acupuncture theory
    & application, e.g., cavity press & strikes (& combinations), yin to yin, yang to yang, yin to yang (appendage sides),
    midday/midnight law, incongruent timing of breathe & tendon splitting/separation
  • Will succinctly be working on: acupuncture/pressure theory & practices; nutritional theory & practices; herbal
    theory & practices; tui na theory & practices; physical therapeutic theory & practices; joint adjustment theory
    & practices; enjoy a comprehensive view of all the workings/complementary facets of traditional Chinese health
    arts – most particularly from the Li Jia/Ming Chia tradition
  • Will have studied & enjoy a comprehensive view of the various aspects of the martial art subculture, inclusive
    of basic insight into the particulars of at least the most common arts thereof
  • Will have significantly/redundantly studied & discussed at least the primary texts in the Required Readings
  • Commonly, by this time students will have caught & released (undamaged) an appropriate wild animal…as per
    tradition (mammals at least as large as a rabbit and birds such as a crow or general bird of prey)
  • By now, will be well-versed in traditional nomenclature (terminology) – English, Mandarin, some Cantonese, &
    Western/conventional medical terminology
  • Will be able to comprehensively answer any question offered by a less experienced student or individual,
    relative to these arts
  • Will have gathered significant insight into all aspects of the philosophical traditions of Li Jia/Ming Chia arts
  • Will be seriously working on taking the required pertinent science courses, e.g.: chemistry I & II; biology I & II;
    anatomy/physiology I & II (inclusive of human cadaver dissection); (conventional) nutrition; medical terminology
  • Will have taken CPR classes & keep up on evolving CPR techniques
  • Will have taken a class on emergency medicine, e.g., bandaging, procedures, etc.
  • Will enjoy a comprehensive insight into the history & traditions of the art
  • Will have studied general feng shui & understand traditional Li Jia (non-religious) feng shui, e.g., of one’s
    external-external, external & internal environments (inclusive of basic insight into Chinese astrology)
  • Will absolutely be able to teach all aspects of the art – besides the more complex medical facets
Fourth Degree Black Belt

Student ‘Healthful (Right) Effort’ Level/Initial Full Shifu Level-Third Level Master of Arts


  • Persistently seek deeper insight & competence/true skill into all of the above
  • Will have succeeded in taking all of the required outside science courses
  • Realize significant expertise/level of mastery into all aspects of the traditional Chinese health arts
Fifth Degree Black Belt

Student ‘Healthful (Right) Thinking/Mindfulness’ Level/Fourth Level Master of Arts/Shifu


  • Persistently seek deeper insight & competence/true skill into all of the above
Sixth Degree Black Belt

Student ‘True (Right) Meditation’ Level/Fifth Level Master of Arts/Shifu/Sifu


  • Persistently seek deeper insight & competence/true skill into all of the above
Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, & Tenth Degree Black Belts

Consistent with the sixth, seventh, eighth, & ninth level of master of arts/shifu, & coinciding with the Four Noble Truths; these four levels are honorary, e.g., tenable if/only as one continues to quite seriously practice the art; the seventh degree black belt/sixth level master of arts is customarily congruent with full graduation…at approximately the 20th year of practice; this art has no contemporary ‘grandmasters’ – Li Shih-K’aik is the only traditional grandmaster of the art


* It is important to enjoy deep insight into the notion that this art is meant to provoke a loving and unselfish true joy in/of life and its living…deep awareness of life as an art form – strategically and healthfully avoiding stagnant plateaus of living death. The commentary of The Lotus Flower Blossoms says it quite well:

“There is a place where, wherever you are there, whatever you are doing…no matter what, in any given moment,
there should be nowhere you would rather be. It is where you are right now – and you have the ability to so deeply and artfully appreciate your life and its living…to connect one healthful insight to the next, and make them all one…learning to witness this already-existing truth.

In the wilderness of our existence….a place of budding flowers about, about to unwrap in a showing of perfect appreciation for all to thrive upon, we are the flowers which can blossom again and again in each season of
our deeper and deeper insights…all connected…each better and more healthful than before.

It is not unlike Heaven…and it can become Heaven, with enough insight and appreciation. It takes quite a few sparks, glimpses – spine-tingling moments…as a way-of-life which becomes more and more purposeful…more and more without time or space or distance.More and more there is less and less to hide behind. (from A Glimpse of Heaven: The Philosophy of True Health – Chapter XV – Copyright 2011)”

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Mason City Tai Chi~Chi Kung~Kung Fu & Wellness Center LLC

11 East State St.
Mason City, IA
Tel: 641-423-2648

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