Although all styles of Tai Chi Chuan have basic principles in common as in compliance with the Tai Chi Classics, when it comes to judging in a competition, unless judges are aware of style specificities, they may tend to have a bias towards their own style and mark down other styles. Judges need therefore to have a genuine understanding of the other styles, in order to guarantee impartiality. While it is natural for some judges to have at times diverse opinions on a score in a competition, generally judges' scoring should tally within reasonable limits.
One area of judging among others that needs to be improved is the popular notion of low forms being more difficult than high forms, therefore deserving higher marks. This lack of understanding of the intricacies of traditional high forms may be seen in the judging at most competitions, both domestic and international. Evaluating externally difficult movements is little to do with evaluating the internal substance of a style. This is what the ITQF values in internal styles competitions. The ITQF Judging Seminars Certification Program is an attempt to set a standard of fairness and real understanding of judging through the input of current national and international expert judges.
The first level ITQF certificate of qualification is awarded after receiving six attendance certificates for any of the ongoing Judging Seminars (since 2005). The second level of the seminars began 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 2011). 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 test criteria seminars can be taken by people 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 either if they have 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.