An ongoing series of events to encourage professionalism and quality of Judging at UK and European Competitions.

Judges Seminars from the Events listings


Judging Points of Tai Chi

Latest 2008-2009

The first level TCUGB certificate of qualification is awarded after receiving six attendance certificates for any of the ongoing Judges Seminars (since 2005). The second level of the seminars has begun on 6th December 2008, introducing test sessions of style criteria. The third level of qualification will focus on observation, recognition awareness and scoring ability of three different styles (planned to commence in 2010). There will be ongoing higher level qualifications as suits each trainee judge. The fourth level will be to complete test criteria for all the listed traditional styles.

The second level 2009 test criteria seminars can be taken by persons new to the programme, or those who have some but not all six attendance certificates of level one. Trainee judges can attend third level events if they have either completed phase one (attendance of six seminars) as well as three further tests, or, in case they have missed the phase one events, if they have obtained six test qualifications.

Full details of each Judges Seminar, including location, are to follow. The seminars will continue in September 2009


List of attendees at the Wudang Test Criteria Judges Seminar on January 24th 2009 with Richard Odell


These are listed on a separate page: Judges Seminars Programme 2008


These are listed on a separate page: Judges Seminars Programme 2007


Participants for the Chen Style with Liming Yu 8/3/08, Old Trafford Manchester.

Participants for The Wu Style 54 Competition Round Form with Gary Wragg 17/2/08, Bethnal Green London.

Participants for The 42 Combined Form with Faye Yip 26/1/08; , Coseley Wolverhampton



The Autumn and Winter Judges Seminars 2007 have all been very positive and well attended. The participants for each are listed below. Some members have attended all three.

Mark Peters hosted the Cheng Man Ching Style on September the 29th near Birmingham, Faye Yip conducted the October 13th Sun Style day, and I gave the November the 11th seminar. The aim with these all style training seminars is to enable potential judges to be experienced and skilled in appreciating the specific criteria in each style, and at least to have had some actual coaching and practise. To have some idea of how each style feels in practise, plus very necessary pointers in observational skills, makes a considerable difference when it comes to judging a contestant fairly.

The aim for next year 2008, is to continue these monthly seminars around the UK, covering all the related traditional styles. So far they have focused on forms only, and on one form in depth on any seminar day. There will also be separate weapons and pushing hands seminars. It is hoped that a qualification certificate test will take place by next Autumn for those members who have attended six seminars and wish to go on to be properly qualified. I will say that still only a minute fraction of Union members have been involved in this programme. The more other, of the, six hundred instructor members, and their students who could be involved, the healthier the judging situation will be, apart from a natural outcome of a better appreciation of each others Tai Chi Chuan.

Fay Yip will take a 24 form seminar on the 8th of December at Coseley, and also a 42 Form day on January 26th. On February 17th, I will host a Wu Style day in London, and Li ming Yue will give a Chen Style day in Manchester on Saturday March 8th. These details plus the continuation of the 2008 programme will be featured on the Union website and regularly in our magazine and newsletters.

Gary Wragg.

Cheng Man Ching Judges Course 29th Sept. 2007

Sun Style Judges Course 13th October, 2007.

WU Style Tai Chi Chuan Judges Course, 11th November, 2007.

December 8th 2007 on 24 Step Tai Chi form at Coseley, Wolverhampton.


The six seminars for 2006 took place at Nottingham, 19/2/06, Caledonia, 11/12./6/06, and Rickmansworth, 11/11/06. The participants so far have been;

Nottingham, 19/2/06.

Caledonia 11/12/6/06. [Two day seminar counts as four seminars subjects].

Rickmansworth 11/11/06.

Demonstrations at a competition are when private practice becomes public. A meditation becomes a demonstration. It is the embodiment of the meditation in action, the form being demonstrated, that the Judges respond to.
My intended programme for 2007 is to have a whole day devoted to one traditional form only. Faye Li-Yip has agreed to give three seminars: Sun Style, 24 form and 42 form. I will give a Wu Style seminar. Shelagh Grandpierre will be hosting a Yang Style day, and there will be Cheng Man Ching and Chen Style seminars to complete this year's programme. These will be held at venues local to each instructor and will be advertised on the website, our magazine and newsletter.
From the very beginning I have envisaged these seminars to be annual, on-going events specifically available for the training of judges at top level. It will mean that fully qualified Judges will have trained in all the relevant styles to be able to distinguish one criterion from another, rather than having a biased preference for their own style. Completion of six seminars will provide a good base level of qualification, and judges can then choose to continue to improve with the on-going seminars.
While it is true that good Tai Chi will usually stand out, some contestants' forms will suffer due to ignorance and/or bias on the part of the judges. Many competition-wise contestants these days alter their forms to pander to the judges for extra marks. To some judges this will not always be apparent. No matter which part of the world I visit, these same problems arise, China, North America, Europe, Russia and the UK equally.
For most participants these judges' seminars have been real eye openers, where we have re-appraised the meaning of quality and accuracy of judging. Also the criteria for the traditional family styles of Tai Chi are close to, but not exactly the same as, the very popular and successful system of the combined 24 and 42 forms seen in competitions today. In the course of the coming seminars we will take a look also at the acceptable variations of traditional styles and hybrid forms. In addition, I would like to propose a new special category for self-invented forms that judges may respond to freely. There is a huge amount of creativity in the world and we cannot be so rigid as to ignore it; Tai Chi Chuan and the Internal Arts are no exception. There are many practitioners in the UK, as there are in most other countries, who wish to learn the Internal Arts properly, which is often an incentive to join the TCUGB. There are also many who just wish to do their own thing.
Much experience is necessary for top-level judges. The training at our seminars also involves looking at the various rules and systems in competitions throughout the world. Knowledge of the different styles and rules is imperative, and while good Tai Chi is good Tai Chi regardless of a few technical inaccuracies, it is the substance of the style that is important. The contestants at competitions deserve the best possible judges available.
In the UK Tai Chi Chuan and Internal Arts world we have a wealth of talent, and we are capable of sending a high quality national team to any major world competition, but from the standpoint of the TCUGB, we do not condone or agree with the jazzed up versions of Tai Chi Chuan geared for the Olympics in 2008, that is, according to the IOC's three special movements conditions. This is a distortion of the principles of Tai Chi Chuan. While the IOC are in control of the rules for Olympic Tai Chi Chuan, we in the TCUGB will continue to do our best to preserve the best values in traditional Tai Chi Chuan in our competitions, and not to lose sight of what the purpose of Tai Chi Chuan has been and still is.

Gary Wragg.