The Carolina Association of Chinese Martial Artists (CACMA) has a home page:

On it you will find a full range of classical Northern and Southern Chinese schools and our events and activities.  As head judge for our association’s Internal Ring competition I have overseen the compilation of these rules.




Time limit: Minimum 2 minutes & maximum 3 min. with 30 second verbal warning at 2:30 min.

EXCEPT TAIJI 24 & 32 SWORD – to be performed to completion


Classical Nie Jia principles: Mind intent leads the qi in smooth and continuous movement linking all the joints of the body. When one thing moves, everything moves (I dong quan dong).  An empty spirit extending to the head top comes from having a sunken chest and lifted back.  A clearly separated and then re-integrated upper and lower body helps distinguish substantial and insubstantial in order to avoid double weighting.  Judges are looking for the Spirit of a style, not a perfect rendition.  In addition to assessing faults in individual moves, stylistic characteristics, and transitions as well as postures, evaluation of “Good”, “Adequate/Lesser Faults”, and “Needs Work” will be in three categories:


1). STANCES re:

  • pelvis/coccyx —clearly “defined sit stances” or is the position too far in or out
  • knees —safe/stable or exceed front/back in/out limits
  • steps —empty, light, controlled or heavy
  • feet —firm/well placed or rolling/shifting/awkward placement

2). POSTURES (Unity) re:

  • waist/hips —active or idle
  • shoulders/elbows —relaxed/extended verses high or restricted
  • arms —linked to body-driven or more independent
  • hands –immobile or slack

3). VIGOR re:

  • head —erect/centered or down/jutting forward
  • face and eyes —engaged, calm or tense and furtive
  • flow—continuous and well paced verses halted
  • intent-clearly finished moves or vague


Time limit: Minimum 1 minute & maximum 2.30 min. with 30 second verbal warning at 2:00 min.

All the nie jia criteria above for open hand forms will apply to competition with additional criteria for defining san ti.


Classical principles: In san ti stance there is no shape, nor intention. A straight back inclines but remains straight. Dropped shoulders and elbows with the hands pressing forward keeps shen in the upper dan tien   Elbows are hidden under the armpits and remain sunken and dropped while loose and extended. The tip of the nose, hands, and feet match each other. The six harmonies of hips/shoulders, elbow /knees, ankles/wrists in the limbs match with their root sections generating power; the middle section directs it; the end section expresses it. The two shoulders should coordinate with each other. The rear leg bounces up to push the front leg forward. The legs turn in urgent manners.


The body moves and the hands and legs immediately follow. Movement up and down is hidden. The jin energies of xingyi are: Tsae as if stepping on something poisonous; Pu, leaping like a rabbit or tiger; Guoo, folding and wrapping so that nothing is exposed; Shuh, binding or sealing top and bottom into one; and jyue, like water breaking through a dam — this last relentless and explosive thrusting or pressing jin is the essence of xingyi.


Time limit: Minimum 1 minute & maximum 2.30 min. with 30 second verbal warning at 2:00 min.

All nie jia criteria above for open hand forms will apply to competition with additional criteria in stepping.


Classical principles:  Arc stepping may be executed at high, middle, and low levels. Upper thighs contract inward while the feet go with the waist’s movement. The hands go with the waist turning and eye focus.  Loosened shoulders and vigorously dropped elbows movements lead down and up like a wheel turning.  There is no definite shape to bagua.



Time limit: Minimum 1 minutes & maximum 2.30 min. with 30 second verbal warning at 2:00 min.

All nei jia criteria above for open hand forms will apply to all manner of weapons forms with these additional criteria:


1). BODY re:   stepping —rooted/nimble verses floating or awkward

  • the empty hand —involved and correctly positioned or neglected and useless for application

2). WEAPON re:   condition/safety —skill apparent verses endangers self or others

  • usage —edges “working” or weak alignment
  • tassel/flag —well managed or poorly employed
  • grip hand(s) —supple, flexible, controlled verses immobile or loose

3). INTENT re:   target—“opponent” present versus absent

  • eyes —leading weapon or wandering with inappropriate focus



Time limit: Two 1 min. rounds with a 30 second break


All the nei jia criteria for open hand forms will apply.  The goal is to award skills that demonstrate the “effective subtlety” of:  unbalancing an opponent with finesse rather than excessive strength, applying force into vulnerable places and not against resistance, disrupting an opponent’s equilibrium rather than just causing them to move forward, backward, or sideways, neutralizing (hua) or evading an incoming force and redirecting (returning) it.  Judges may also take into consideration “positive control:” the impression of which competitor seems to be responsible for the best aspects of the match, and nei jia “postural dynamics” as set out in this section.

Expert observation is our standard, and safety first applies especially to Free Pushing.  Push-hands judges are teachers with many years of experience in taijiquan who have undergone specialized training in this method.  Tui Shou’s mid-range grappling includes: composure, maintaining central equilibrium (root), posture, re-alignments, and well-timed stepping.  Yielding, sticking, neutralizing, and returning follow in succession.  Judges look also for classical taiji principles of peng, lu, ji, an, tsai, li, shou, and ko.


Weight Classes for all Tui Shou divisions, include Free Push Hands competition, are: Men <160 lbs, Men 160-180 lbs, Men 181-200 lbs, Men >200 lbs, Women <130 lbs, Women 130-150- lbs, Women >150 lbs


Fixed stance and restricted step competitions are restricted to an alley 4 feet wide/l0 feet long marked in tape with a center cross “+” mark. Competitors are required to wear a T-shirt, marital arts pants and athletic shoes. Fingernails must be closely clipped. The referee will use voice commands working with the timer and score keepers and judges. TARGET AREAS are: from below the base of the neck to above the coccyx or bladder area. Pushing the neck, head, bladder area, hip joint or leg is illegal. REVERSING STANCES IS NOT ALLOWED. Single forward foot stepping with the back foot following and backward stepping with the front foot following is encouraged.  Charging must be restricted to ko application.  BRACING SHOULDER TO SHOULDER IS NOT ALLOWED. Personal violations leading to disqualification include excessive strength, grabbing clothing, two hand grabs, holding on to prevent loss of balance, head butting or other endangerment, such as strikes of any kind or qin na joint folding.



This division is open to all stylists including external players who adhere to the nei jia rules listed above.

Time limit: three 2 min. rounds with a 45 second break between rounds


Contestants may wear protection bands to protect joints, including elbow, wrist, knee, and ankle.  Contestant must be free of serious infectious diseases.  The field will consist of a circle: the diameter being 15′. An “+” shaped tape line will mark the center.   All nie jia criteria apply and in addition, free stepping is allowed. Points will be awarded when an opponent steps beyond the outside edge of the circle, as well as when any part of the opponents body touches or falls on or outside the circle. MAS/Amended 201

 Posted by at 12:27 pm