Posts Tagged ‘Black belt’

The differences between Beginners and Advanced practitioners.

Written by Jess. Posted in Black Belt Research Project 2013, Coaching


Beginners Karate Club, Karate club in Basingstoke, Karate in Old Basing, Karate in Hatch Warren, Karate in Brighton Hill, Brighton Hill Karate, Karate in KempshottThe differences between Beginners and Advanced practitioners.

Beginners- White, Orange and Red belts

By Jess Muller

I feel that beginners should spend the majority of their lesson time working on their fundamentals. This should include: the stances, the blocks, kicks and punches. Also, correct positioning of the body should be taught (weight distribution,) as well as how to correctly execute the moves.

So, in a 90 minutes lesson, 60 minutes should be spent on basic training, with the rest spent on warming up and cooling down. This will ensure that good power, skill and precision is learnt early on without overloading the brain with trying to learn a form as well as basic moves.

Once they have gathered some knowledge on the basics, and can complete each move without assistance, fighting can now be introduced. This is because they have now developed good skill, precision, control and concentration, due to the time spent learning the basics. Now the blocks, kicks and punches can be incorporated into the fighting. This is far more effective (I feel,) because it is easier to develop as they can see the moves being put into practice. Also, there is a smaller chance of injury as they have more knowledge on how to execute the techniques carefully and correctly. Therefore, rather than going into a fight blind with no previous experience, they will be prepared with some moves. By having good fighting skills the individual can gain good power, skill, precision, strength, control and timing, which can be incorporated into the basics and then katas/forms.

Once the basics have been further improved and the individual can now fight with relative skill and competency, it is time to introduce kata and/or forms. Heian Shodan is the first kata that is taught in Shotokan Karate. It encompasses the basic head and stomach height punches, as well as the downward block (Gedan Barai.) This is all the kata includes so it requires the very basic moves to be correct otherwise this won’t allow the kata to look good and be good. By having a good kata the individual can gain good balance, precision, strength, skill, control and concentration. Thus making the basics better as these new found skills can now be used to improve their basics and fighting. If the club starts learning forms first instead of katas, then the first form they will learn will be the Kickboxing Form. This includes the basic punches (jab, cross, hook and upper cuts to the head,) and two of the basic kicks, front kick (mae-geri,) and roundhouse kick (mawashi geri.) From this you can then learn the same skills as katas, just in different ways.

Advanced Practitioner- Purple to Brown and two white stripes.

By the time that practitioners have reached this level, they are considered advanced grades.  The time should be split accordingly to their strengths and weaknesses. For example: if there are 30 people in the class, and 18 aren’t very competent at kata, and the remaining 12 need practice on their fighting, then the time should be split in half evenly. This ensures that everyone can improve in their certain weakness, but also improve in another area even more.  By improving your weaknesses, you are making yourself a rounded martial artist as you are good at everything and not just one thing.

In a 90 minute class, the time divide will probably not be equal. More time will be spent or fighting drills or combinations rather than the basic techniques. Or you may start off with the basics quickly (as a warm up for 15 minutes,) and go into kata for 45 minutes and then fighting for 30 minutes. This helps to make sure that everyone is improving in every area, and not just in one.

As advanced grades, they should be learning more advanced fundamentals like multiple kicks on one leg and combinations of moves. There shouldn’t be a long time spent on fundamentals (like there is for beginners,) but the focus should be on the fighting and kata.

In fighting, individuals should now be thinking about: the gaps for the techniques, the speed, precision, guard and the techniques. This is because they can fight at these grades, and know what they are doing, but they need to understand their opponent too. Also, it is about pushing the individuals so that they have to think about where they are going instead of aimlessly throwing techniques. By understanding your opponent, you can read them to see any tell-tale signs of movement, or to see what techniques they do the most.

In their kata/forms work, they should know at least 3-5 forms (kickboxing form, close quarter form, power hands, 16 gates and possibly 13 hands.) This is for purple belts – higher grades should know all of the forms. Or the katas: heian shodan, heian nedan, heian sandan, heian yondan and tekki shodan– if they are taught the katas and not forms. This will increase their memory bank of moves as the different katas/forms contain different moves. In addition, they also begin to show different techniques which advanced practitioners need to work on. For example, in tekki shodan, it begins to teach the action of moving the waist and not the hips to generate more power. Likewise the close quarter form teaches this too.

Differences between the grades

A beginner should spend most of their time repeating: basic moves, katas and sets of moves. This will make the muscles remember the move and also make their brains remember how to correctly do a technique, or kata/form or fighting. However, an advanced practitioner would spend their time on increasing the speed of a technique, or the precision of a move or kata/form. They would spend less time repeating the basic moves, just briefly going over them to make sure that everything is correct.

The attitudes should be different as lower grades should be trying to catch up with the higher grades, and trying to improve as quickly as possible. The advanced grades should be looking at improving everything to get to black belt standard as it is in their reach, and still trying to prove how much of a gap there is between them and the lower grades. This shouldn’t be a negative thing; it is a good way of improvement, when you have a target that you are desperate to reach as it is achievable.

Summary of differences

  • Lower grades should spend more time on their fundamentals than any other area to get a good basis for katas/forms and fighting. Advanced grades should split the time between the three areas, especially the area that they aren’t so good at.
  • More repetition of fundamentals is required for lower grades compared to advanced grades.
  • Advanced grades should be improving the speed and precision of the fundamentals whereas the lower grades should be focusing on doing the moves correctly.
  • Advanced grades should try to learn harder techniques (multiple kicks, or hard combinations,) compared to lower grades who should get the very basic moves correct first.
  • In Katas/Forms, lower grades should know one or two, and make sure that they can remember them and demonstrate them independently. Advanced grades should know multiple katas/forms all at a good standard.
  • Advanced grades should think about their body positioning, weight distribution and waist movement to generate power and make every move as strong as possible. Lower grades should think about where the target is for every move and think about what the moves could be used for (Bunkai– analyzing the moves within in a kata/form to see what they could be used for.)
  • In Fighting, lower grades should try and use a few basic moves that they know (blocks, punches, front kick and roundhouse kicks,) to the best of their ability. Advanced grades know more techniques, so they should put them into practice to see if they work well for them as an individual.
  • Advanced grades should think about the openings of the opponent, and throw suitable techniques for that gap. Lower grades should think about where they are aiming their technique – head, stomach or leg.
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Black Belt Gradings 2013

Written by bryan. Posted in Grading, Updates

Black Belt Project, Black Belt Grading, Adults Grading, ExaminationAs Martial Artists, we should all seek to constantly challenge ourselves to test our knowledge and skills every time we train. As Gichin Funakoshi (who is credited with introducing Karate to Japan) said “Karate is like warm water. If you don’t heat it constantly, it will cool.” Without this constant evolution, we cannot claim to be Martial Artists.

In line with this, we are making a significant change to how we run the Black Belt grading this year. In 2013, there will only be 1 Black Belt grading, this will take place during December on the weekend of Saturday 7th.

As part of their grading, candidates will have to complete and publish a given research project where they have to justify and prove all conclusions that they arrive at.

The aim of this is to challenge the individual on a personal basis to broaden and deepen their knowledge base over a longer period of time and ultimately with the goal to significantly improve their physical and non-physical skills.

The pieces chosen for each individual will be targeted to be challenging for them and although a stretch to complete will be achievable.

Adults will have to do the following

1. Produce an initial briefing by the end of February that will be published to explain

1.1. About their topic and what it encompasses

1.2. How they will be doing the research

1.3. How they will be presenting your findings

1.4. Some indications of their timetable during 2013 to achieve this

2. Between March and November to provide a minimum of six reports/updates on their progress and thinking.

3. Produce a short summary of findings and conclusions and teach a 60 minute class on that topic during November / December

Children will have to do the following

1. Produce an essay explaining

1.1. What the topic means to them

1.2. How they will be doing the research on the topic

1.3. What they personally hope to get out of their work

1.4. How they hope their work will help other children

2. Between March and November to write three essays on their topic. 

3. Prepare a short < 5 minute talk on their topic to discuss with the other children and be prepared to answer any questions that they may have on the topic

 

For all candidates regardless of age, they must still meet the necessary technical standards during 2013 to be invited to grade in December.

 

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Basingstoke Black Belt Grading

Written by bryan. Posted in Grading, News

Karate Black Belt, Adult Karate, Martial Arts in Basingstoke, Karate club in BasingstokeOur Martial Arts School based in Basingstoke held a grading on Saturday 8th December with members attending from both our Alton and Basingstoke classes. The grading itself was split into four different groups dependent upon age and ability. This was also one of two opportunities for Black Belt candidates to be examined during 2012.

Congratulations to the many people who came away with new belts, your own hard work, effort, perseverance and determination paid off. For those that were disappointed this time, listen and consider the feedback given to you, to help you come back stronger next time. Gradings at our club are examinations, you simply don’t pass for turning up, you have to prove that physically you can do the techniques correctly and that you understand the principles behind them. At a senior level you have to also understand the theory that goes behind it and be able to pass that knowledge on to others.

Many of the children excelled what they did, I’d like to mention particularly Samantha Butcher who is 11. She attempted her Junior Black Belt grading, for her this meant conducting a warm up in the younger age Children’s class, also teaching them a couple of groundwork based techniques and acting as the coaches assistant when necessary. In the second part of her grading session with the 10-15 year olds, she had to present two things  to the group:-

  1. Explain why a Black Belt always has to take themselves out of their comfort zone and what this means for their progress
  2. Explain what you think the most important part is in learning a Martial Art

It’s not uncommon for the presenter to get asked questions about the topic that they have presented and this proved to be the case again with Samantha being asked some challenging questions about her presentations.

In addition to this she then had to take part in over 25 fights, some in a competition scenario where the objective was to win the match and some, where she just had to keep going against both more senior students and against multiple fighters. Finally she finished up with performing her respective forms and katas. Samantha’s performance was excellent, it showed a lot of confidence in her skills and also a maturity. Without doubt she had proven her right to wear the coveted Black Belt that she earned.

Mention should also go to Louise Kelly, Ewan Furness, Hannah Boyle and Amelia Pomerance who all achieved double grades during the Children’s grading sessions.

 

Black Belt, Kids, Children's Martial ArtsThe final session was the adults grading commencing at 7:30pm. These are always more nervous affairs because the people taking part in these are always taken outside of their comfort zone and don’t know exactly what they will be asked to do. Nine of people attending this grading were being examined for Brown Belt or higher, so it was fair to say that the intensity was somewhat high as were the expectations from the examiners.

Congratulations go to Mark van Meerkerk and Emma McDade who passed their 1st Dan Black Belt examination and to Jonathan Swift who passed his 2nd Dan Black Belt. All of whom demonstrated strong physical techniques, determination, discipline and fortitude. Like Samantha all three had to also present various topics including their thoughts on ‘Deeper Training,’ ‘What makes a good student’ and ‘Defending against Knives.’ With several senior black belts present during the grading, it’s fair to say that the push-back to them was quite strong.

After a near 3 hour grading which included padwork, body evasion, knife defence, sparring, forms and teaching for the higher grades, I’m pleased to say that all of the adults passed and some are now ‘looking forward’ to their own Black Belt examination in the next year or so with some advice on things to concentrate on in their own practice.

Mention should also go Rob McDade who double graded.

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