Students with little to no experience in martial arts will benefit from learning in an environment geared to their fitness level. The fundamentals are introduced in our Beginners classes, which include correct postures and the appropriate hand placement for each position. Basic applications for self-defence and practical drills and exercises that will help to develop encourage proper movement, breathing and positional awareness. The goal of our Beginners’ classes is to develop enthusiasm for the arts while providing students with basic techniques and an understanding of how to apply them in real life situations.
The White Sash represents the beginning, like a painters new canvas, awaiting the artist’s creativity to unfold the beauty of a painting. The first step in your journey with us, and how you earn your white sash, is to memorize the Student Creed.
This will set an intention and give direction to every class that you attend. Like the difference between a light bulb and a laser-beam, your mind will focus on the most important reason that you are training. The development and conditioning of your mind, body and spirit.
YELLOW and ORANGE CURRICULUM
Once you received your white sash, you will start to work toward earning your yellow and orange sashes. This is done by learning the keys.
A key is a Kung Fu move that is designed to give you a physical advantage in a combative situation. There are 36 keys that you will be learning at this level. You can learn them in any order you like. Each week you will learn two or three, you should pass one each week to stay on track. If you think that you have got it down, approach your instructor to check it for you.
When you have completed 18 keys you are ready to test for your yellow sash, and the following nine for orange. Tests are scheduled throughout the year, we will mention test dates in class as well as a notice will be posted so that you know when the next one is.
The 36 keys of the yellow/orange level form the basis for many Kung Fu techniques. While you learn the keys you will learn the first two principles of Kung Fu which are Form and Timing.
Knowing these basics so well that they become second nature allows you to use them in different circumstances such as self-defence (purple & red sash) and various aspects of free-style sparring (green, blue, brown sash) as well as many forms.
Learning and practicing the keys and then combining them as techniques is like learning the alphabet when learning to read and write. After the foundation of the alphabet is achieved, small words are formed, followed by sentences and so forth. Learning the keys, forms the foundation for more advanced training.
YELLOW ORANGE TESTING
When you are ready to test, an instructor will assess your progress and review our programs. Testing is an example of developing your finest character. You will be tested on the quality of each key in its form and your ability to use appropriate timing. Once you have completed the requirements for orange sash, you may begin the self-defence curriculum (purple and red sash).
Because Kung Fu is a life long journey of discovery, we ensure students have the proper foundation of skills before advancing into higher sashes. Safety at Beyond Kung Fu is paramount. Students only move forward when they have developed the requisite skills to advance.
PURPLE & RED CURRICULUM
Purple and Red Sash levels are the next stage where you use the keys to practice twelve self-defence drills. A drill is a training scenario that challenges a students skill and resolve when facing danger. You will test your inner character and strengthen your emotions, as this is what makes the true difference when defending oneself. You will develop an unbreakable confidence in yourself and learn to be precise with every movement.
We will practice one drill each week. You should pass a drill each month to stay on track. You can pass them in any order. If you do not pass a drill in a month you should set a private lesson with an instructor so that you will stay on track. When you pass six drills you are ready to test for purple sash, the following six for red.
ASSAULT PREVENTION STRATEGIES
Learning and practicing self-defence techniques are the physical aspects at purple and red sash levels. Non-physical strategies are also studied. Methods are learned which are meant to avoid and/or thwart physical altercations. The actual physical techniques are only to be used when the situation has elevated to the point where it becomes necessary.
You will learn to heighten your awareness and to use this to enhance or elevate your state of consciousness. In self-defence training the increased awareness of surroundings through sight, hearing and intuition is taught. When you develop a profound calmness of mind, then you have the advantage over your adversary. You are able to read the signs of danger, understand your a gut feeling about a situation and therefore use avoidance to defend yourself.
Methods of behaviour to avoid an attack are practiced as a preventative strategy. Assertiveness when used to mentally, verbally and physically conduct yourself can defuse potentially lethal encounters. Proper breathing increases your energy, brings clarity of thought and decreases the appearance of fear. Using the voice confidently shows an unwillingness to be a \’victim\’ in a situation. You will become aware that you may be a potential target where and when danger exists and therefore practice safekeeping, a continuous process of risk assessment. Practical knowledge of how to do this is part of learning self-defence.
PURPLE & RED TESTING
To pass this level, students must complete practical tests using combative mind focusing and combative application. You will be tested on your form, timing, mental clarity and emotional composure. These must be present during each self-defence technique. The ability to show intent and the willingness to handle adverse or challenging situations is to be maintained.
A working knowledge of every technique must be apparent in the physical action of the student. The physical elements of combative application must follow a specific sequence comprised of release, stun, pump, takedown and finish for each technique. The different intensities and velocities required to perform the sequence must be clearly expressed. For example, stuns must be done quickly and accurately whereas finishing strikes are not as fast but are the most powerful.
Once you have passed your self-defence drills you are ready to move on to the Advanced Curriculum. At this point you may choose to specialize in the Taolu (Forms) or Combative Sparing Drills. The artistic forms training will involve learning open-handed and weapons forms.
The sparing drills will solidify your combative skills to a whole new level. You will learn how to ward off multiple opponents to protect loved-ones, what to do against someone with a weapon, and you will grow a profound solidity in your character. There are 18 drills in total. You may learn them in any order. When you pass six you are ready to test for green, six more for blue, and the final six for brown. You are required to have sparring equipment at this level, which is available for purchase.
BLACK SASH TEST PREPARATION
Your Black Sash Test is a mufti-faceted experience. It will aid you in exploring your mental, physical and emotional boundaries. In order to pass this test you must demonstrate your Keys, Self-Defence and Sparring, all at a Black Sash level.
In addition to the physical testing, there is a written portion which is intended to help you reflect on your journey of self-discovery on the path to Black Sash. There is assigned reading material which is intended to aid you in carrying what you have learned from your training into the rest of your life.