Shaolin Wahnam does not have a system of coloured belts or a grading system. This more relaxed approach is a good example of Chinese culture contrasting with more formal Japanese traditions. What we do have in Shaolin Wahnam is the syllabus set out below. This basically just ensures that students learn to walk before they can run. Each new level builds on techiques and skills developed in the level below and allows students to keep track of their progress.
Programme for Regular Classes
Level 1: Fundamentals of Shaolin Kungfu
Form: Basic patterns, stances and footwork.
Application: Specific Techniques.
Force: Zhang Zhuang (basic stances), One Finger Shoot Zen, Leg Stretching.
Philosophy: Dimensions, aims and brief history.
8 basic patterns of hand attack and defence.
Basic stances -- Horse-Riding, Bow-Arrow, False-Leg, Single-Leg, Unicorn, Goat.
Footwork -- forward, backward and sideways.
Specific Techniques against simple punches, kicks, holds on wrist, and throws from standing position. Use Mirror Hand against punches, retreat Bow-Arrow against kicks, circularhand against holds on wrist, and Bow-Arrow stance against throws.
Level 2: Lohan Asks the Way.
Form: Basic set -- Lohan Asks the Way.
Application: 4 basic hand attacks and defence from poise patterns.
Force: Zhang Zhuang with hand forms, Spacing, Timing, Breath Co-ordination.
Philosophy: Principles of Attack and Defence.
Sparring mode-- pre-choice and self-choice.
Principles -- Three Arrivals, Ask the Way, Safety First.
Level 3: Black Tiger Steals Heart.
Form: Applicaion Set 1 -- Black Tiger Steals Heart.
Application: Hand attacks in three-step sequences.
Force: Flow of movement, Quick decision making, Instant modification.
Philosophy: Principles of Force Training.
Sparring mode -- changing patterns.
Principles -- Gradual Progress, Perseverance,Techniques and Skills.
Level 4: Fierce Tiger Speeds Across Valley
Form : Application Set 2 -- Fierce Tiger Speeds through Valley, Patterns for kicks and defence.
Application: Further hand attacks in three-step sequences, One-step kicking attacks and defence.
Force: Leg-Stretching Exercises.
Philosophy: Techniques, Tactics and Strategies.
Sparring mode -- left or right, run-on sequence.
Principles -- Soft against hard, Exploiting opponent's weakness, Avoiding his strong points.
Level 5: Happy Bird Hops up Branch.
Form: Application Set 3 -- Happy Bird Hops up Branch.
Application: Combat sequences with kicking attacks.
Force: Breath Co-ordination., Sinew Metamorphosis Part 1.
Philosophy: Use of Tactics.
Tactics -- Feign weakness, Pressing attack, Breaking opponent's momentum.
Level 6: Felling Tree with Roots.
Form: Application Set 4 -- Felling Tree with Roots.
Application: Combat sequences with holds and falls.
Force: Sinew Metamorphosis Part 2.
Philosophy: Use of Strategies.
Strategies based on "Know Thyself, Know your Opponent".
Level 7: Shaolin Staff
Form: Flowing Water Staff or Chin Wah Staff.
Application: Against staff and other weapons.
Force: Hit, Thrust, and Eye sight training.
Philosophy: Principles of weapon combat.
Safety, certainty and decisiveness, Avoiding strength and attacking weakness.
Level 8: Shaolin Knife
Form: Plum Flower Single Knife.
Application: Against knife, spear and other weapons.
Force: Accuracy and "knife force" to cut an apple.
Philosophy: Characteristics of major weapons.
Major weapons -- staff, knife, spear, sword, dagger, Big Knife, trident, soft whip.
Level 9: Unarmed against Armed
Form: Empty Hands Enter White Blade.
Application: Unarmed against dagger, staff and knife.
Force: Countering feign moves.
Philosophy: The principles and practice of Apparent and Real.
"Over Bridge, Flow with Water".
Level 10: Single Unarmed against Multiple Unarmed
Form: Tiger Enters Herd of Sheep.
Application: Single unarmed against multiple unarmed.
Force: "Bamboo Man" or "Through the Woods".
Philosophy: "Back-wall battle" and "Dodge-hit battle".
Agility stamina and endurance.
Level 11: Single Unarmed and Armed against Multiple Armed
Form: Dodge Hit.
Application: Single unarmed and armed against multiple armed.
Force: Dodging skills and using enemy as shields.
Philosophy: "Catch the Leader First" and "Break Through the Weakest".
Importance of mind and energy control.
Level 12: Introduction to Specialized Training
Form: Composing own form for training.
Application: Sample application of specialized skills and techniques.
Force: Selection from Abdominal Breathing, Sinew Metamorphosis, etc.
Philosophy: Specialization of force or techniques, or both.
This is an introduction to further training.