I think I live in an alternate universe.
Or everyone else in the Martial Arts does.
I see Instructors putting together their training/grading syllabus…
“Erm, for red belt we’ll do this… for yellow this…. for orange this….”
They do one set of techniques for basics, different moves in a form that don’t relate to the basics and then different pairs work that doesn’t relate to either basics or form.
And I’m like…..”That’s not only back to front – it doesn’t make sense!”
I ask, “what’s the end result you’re looking for at black belt and above?”
And guess what…. I get a blank look because they haven’t thought about it!
“Erm… good basics?……”
“Is that it?” I certainly wouldn’t want to train in a club where even the coach doesn’t know where we’re all going!
So how did I do mine for Shi Kon?
I started with the end product. What kind of student and Instructor do I want to produce?
I want my students to develop emotional intelligence, compassion, patience and tolerance, along with courage, resolve and determination. to have good health, mental and physical.
I want them to be competent ‘peacekeepers’ to be able to defend themselves and others. To be able to neutralise anything an opponent throws at them, to competently punch, strike, kick, lock, throw, choke and strangle.
How am I going to train that? They need progressive meditation and neigong for the mind, posture and breathing, then qigong to prepare the body by softening and connecting the myofascia, opening the joints and learning how the body gets connected power.
I put the 8 principles in place that MUST be within every technique to make it work and mnemonically brought each principle into one word. Put the 13 strategies in from the Yang Family system that dynamically flow through combat and respond to whatever an opponent does these too mnemonically into one word for each one.
The major forms from brown to black had to contain those qualities, Sanchin for the internal system manipulating spine and core with breathing and connection, Tensho to add the core work powering the 5 Animal Boxing and Naihanchi for the fajin and different ways to power the techniques.
Then I continued to work backwards listing all the techniques that can express these principles and strategies and grouped them into a principle for each grade. Then each grade would have the techniques as basics, that had to be demonstrated against a range of attackers as pairs work, strung together for combinations and all put together for a mnemonic short form for them to remember what they have to do. That’s obvious synergy!
I used allusion, mnemonics and application, right from the start they are learning towards a goal at higher grade without realising it, they had an easy way to remember everything and the grading was the ability to make it work!
A white belt is already training to be a black belt, everything has to be practical towards that end and used without any ‘fluff’ or ‘padding’, all training is synergistic with a specific goal in mind and everyone knows where they are going, why they are doing it, what they are doing and how it relates to the end product and what that end product is!
It makes me a genius in the martial arts world but normal everywhere else, if you wanted to be a top athlete you would be taught this way, or a musician, or dancer, or taking a university degree and so on….
So it ain’t me that lives in that alternate universe!