I have previous experience in the martial arts. Is this an advantage in learning Tong Bu Dao?
Generally speaking, any experience in the martial arts under a qualified teacher, is good experience. It will likely aid the practitioner along the way, even if in the beginning some things will feel different.
It is expected that those with prior experience in traditional Chinese martial arts will feel at home with Tong Bu Dao, and will find it easier to integrate into the classes.
For those who have previously been teachers of authentic Chinese gongfu, there is the possibility of quicker promotion through the ranks, based on proving one's ability in the tests. For example - a person who has practiced the traditional Chinese martial arts for over 10 years, may be made an exception and can become a Laoshi (instructor) in Tong Bu Dao within a minimum of 600 training hours (rather than 1200) and a minimum of 1.5 years in the system (rather than 3). It is nonetheless up to such a person to prove himself worthy and capable. Otherwise, exceptions are not made with respect to the minimum requirements for rank.