STQI Downtown Toronto School

STQI Toronto Grading Exams

(online application form below)

What is the Shaolin Grading System?

The Shaolin Grading System provides an objective method to test one’s capability in a discipline of traditional Shaolin Martial Arts, so that one is able to measure progress and see a clear path for improvement. It is also a key communication tool for instructors for work placement at the school and at other venues. Grading is optional for most programs at our school and is therefore not required in order to take higher level classes.

Why a Non-Belt Grading System Works

In traditional Shaolin culture, there is no belt system like one would commonly find in North America for martial arts. Instead, the practice of kung fu is thought more of like moving meditation with the goal of experiencing peace through self-defence movements. It is not about advancement or material attainment. Yet, in North American culture, attainment is at the heart of society. In order for Shaolin to be integrated into North American culture, the ideas of peace and attainment need to be combined in a way that satisfies all. In the spirit of Shaolin and self improvement, students participating in the grading system are heavily discouraged from showing off their grades to other students.

5 Streams to Explore


Grading is available across all our Shaolin programs and is intended to cater to all ages, gender, and backgrounds including those who have inherit circumstances such as illiteracy and
disabilities.

How Will Grading Work?

Each program discipline will have its own unique qualifications with 5 distinct grade levels. Each level is progressive meaning that the passing of one grade will be required for the testing of the next successive grade.

Which Grade Should I Choose?

Every student will need to start at the first grade and will want to consult with their instructor to determine if they are ready. Their instructor may also recommend consecutive grade testing in which case the student may apply for multiple grade levels at the same time.

Grade Certificate

A grade certificate is issued after the results have been compiled and will indicate the student’s name, discipline stream, grade tested, grade score, and other relevant details including judge’s comments.

Grading Fees

The grading exams require a lot of effort and commitment as well as judging expertise.  Monies collected from grading exams are used to fund judges, administration,  and future developments to improve the grading system.  The 2017 fee schedule is as follows:

o Each stream and level: $50 (e.g. Children Kung Fu Level 1)

o Each additional level in a stream: $25 each (e.g. Children Kung Fu Level 1 and 2)

o If more than one stream is selected the fees are cumulative as stated above (e.g. Fee is $125 for Qi Gong Level 1 + 2 and Gentle Kung Fu Level 1)

Special Circumstances

Language: Participants unable to comprehend English may provide their own translator. The grade Certificate will indicate that a translator (and language) was present.

Illiteracy: Participants who are unable to read and/or write may request all testing (including written testing components) to be read and written by a grading official.

Disabilities/Impairments: Participants with physical disabilities who opt for special treatment will participate in the testing as normal except where the physical disability makes that test impossible. In such case, the test will be modified and graded accordingly. The Grade Certificate will indicate impairment and special treatment.

Grading Specifics of Each Discipline

The grading system is designed so that the tests become progressively more difficult the higher the grade. For instance, a Shaolin kung fu foundation skill such as the Mă Bù horse stance will need to be lower and held longer at higher grade levels.

Kids Shaolin Kung Fu

The Kids Shaolin Kung Fu tests are for those under 14 years of age and focuses on the student’s ability to show speed, correctness of form, and steadiness. Children will be tested on various Shaolin foundation skills including flexibility, stances, acrobatics, foundation kicks, self defence techniques, and forms. Knowledge and understanding tests may include questions about the Shaolin Virtues and its application. Students are expected to perform form(s) according to grade: 1) Wǔ Bù Quán, 2) Xiǎo Lián Huán, 3) Tōng Bì Quán, 4) Yīn Shǒu Gùn, and 5) Two other advanced forms.

Shaolin Qi Gong

The Shaolin Qì Gōng tests are predominantly understanding questions and therefore students with a greater understanding of qi gong philosophy, theory, and knowledge through experiential practice will be able to pass higher grades. Students will also be tested for the key skills of qi gong including breath control, abdominal breathing, Róu Mă Bù, and Qì Gōng forms according to grade: 1) Technical Bā Duàn Jǐn Qì Gōng, 2) Practical Bā Duàn Jǐn Qì Gōng, 3) Technical Yì Jīn Jīng Qì Gōng, 4) Technical Xiǎo Hóng Qì Gōng, 5) Practical Xiǎo Hóng Qì Gōng.

Gentle Shaolin Kung Fu

The Gentle Shaolin Kung Fu tests do not include or require jumping or low knee bends and instead focuses on one’s ability to master gentle foundation skills and stances; and demonstrating smoothness, breath control, ease of movement, balance, with occasional release of power. Knowledge and understanding tests may include questions about the application of forms and theory behind Gentle Shaolin Kung Fu. Students are expected to perform form(s) according to grade: 1) Basic Róu Quán, 2) Advanced Róu Quán, 3) Yīn Shǒu Róu Gùn, 4) Xiǎo Hóng Róu Quán, and 5) Méi Huā Róu Dāo Quán.

Adult Shaolin Kung Fu

The Adult Shaolin Kung Fu tests are for those 14 years of age and older and focuses on the student’s ability to demonstrate effectiveness in self defence. Students will be tested on various Shaolin foundation skills including flexibility, stances, acrobatics, foundation kicks, self defence techniques, and forms. Knowledge and understanding tests may include questions about Shaolin kung fu philosophy and application of forms. Students are expected to perform form(s) according to grade: 1) Wǔ Bù Quán, 2) Tōng Bì Quán, 3) Yīn Shǒu Gùn, 4) One weapon and one advanced hand form, and 5) Two other advanced hand or weapons forms.

Senior Shaolin Kung Fu

The Senior Shaolin Kung Fu tests are for the elderly (minimum 40 years of age) who have accepted to train in a manner that respects the physical limitations of their joints. These tests are the same as the Adult Shaolin Kung Fu tests except students are not penalized for rigourous tests requiring jumping and low knee bends. The student must still be able to demonstrate effectiveness in self defence with speed, power, accuracy, and steadiness.

When Is The Next Traditional Shaolin Grading Exam?

The Traditional Shaolin Grading Exams will be held twice a year at the downtown Toronto school, on the first Saturday of May and November, beginning Saturday, May 6th, 2017. The second exams of the year will be held on Saturday, November 4th, 2017. Applications for the exams is announced approximately two months prior to the exam date and the deadline to apply is 3 weeks before the exam date.

Grading Exams Application Form

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