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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1855

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2020 5:07 am    Post subject: Curriculum organization suggestions Reply with quote

Following the expectations of my instructor and my sandan grading early next year, it seems like starting a branch dojo is the only way to continue personal improvement. It has recently become inevitable that my future will make it impossible to travel more than once a year.

At the present, everyone without exception and regardless of previous training starts at white belt, then three kyu grades(green, blue, brown) and shodan etc.

There are no precise requirements or minimum time in grade. Except for the kihon kata, each student’s test is personal to them. Each grading is evaluated by the 9th dan instructor(headmaster and hombu dojo CI) and everyone holding the grade being tested for or higher.

Each grading consists of all kata learned so far plus the oyo kumite and kata applications for one random kihon kata out of five, one Naihanchi out of three and two Pinan kata out of the five. Each grading also includes a breaking test of a certain number of one inch thick boards with a technique chosen by the instructor. For second dan and higher the test is breaking a standard baseball bat at the handle with a instep kick.

I realize this is a lot of details but I know that students outside of Asia, particularly the West and especially youth and teenagers may find it easier to see their own progress if the material is divided into more milestones. I also know that one reason my instructor works the way he does is that it is probably better suited for our small group of less than 40. Most of his dojo directors use a different belt scheme and organization. Each dan also has a kata to demonstrate which is usually the most recently learned.

I would appreciate suggestions on how to break down the curriculum. Basically dividing the material and maybe adding kyu grades.

There are 5 kihon kata, 3 Naihanchi, 5 Pinan 2 Passai, 2 kusanku and Gojushiho plus the applications sequences for each. This includes basic bunkai and one or two variations. It’s quite a lot material to take in.
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28800
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Wed Oct 14, 2020 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never had the opportunity to train a kata with its bunkai, but it seems to me that it could be quite involved and require a considerable amount of time to learn, memorize, get right, and then regurgitate. For that reason, I think perhaps going to a one belt per kata system might be the most beneficial, for learning purposes. You could also include a breaking requirement for each of the ranks, and as they go up in rank, the complexity of the breaking technique(s) could go up.

If you are reluctant to add additional belt ranks, you could instead use tape to put on the belt to indicate that the student has learned a kata, bunkai, and demonstrated the breaking requriments. It would be a quick indicator of what they know and what they don't know in regards to the rank.
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Spartacus Maximus
Black Belt
Black Belt

Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 1855

Styles: Shorin ryu

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 5:40 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

At present both applications and kata are taught together. The instructor teaches this way and so does everyone under him. It wouldn’t make sense to differ from this, as knowing what each move is supposed to be and how they work is key to understanding what skills each kata is meant to train.

It may seem overwhelming and take more time to learn, but it is more productive and efficient than just learning the sequence of moves and waiting until shodan or later to start learning applications.

As far as adding grades so as to divide the existing ones, it seems like a reasonable idea. All his students who teach under him at their own dojo have more belts. It’s all the same material, but taught at a different pace.

Most of my peers are from the same cultural background as the instructor. One of the most important things about teaching is that the teacher must adapt his teaching if he is to bring out the best of it in his students.

Maybe it would be a good start to set a milestone(rank/grade/new belt colour) for each kata and bunkai/applications sequence drills. All kata in the curriculum can already be divided in three or four parts. Except of course the kihon kata, which are much shorter. The only difference would be having three or four short tests instead of just one long one before each kyu.

Does it sound reasonable?
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28800
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 8:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

That sounds like a completely reasonable approach to me. I'm of the mindset that a testing shouldn't have to be long in order to accomplish what it is meant to accomplish.
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DWx
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 17 Jan 2007
Posts: 6382
Location: UK
Styles: Tae Kwon Do & Yang family Tai Chi

PostPosted: Thu Oct 15, 2020 1:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Spartacus Maximus wrote:
At present both applications and kata are taught together. The instructor teaches this way and so does everyone under him. It wouldn’t make sense to differ from this, as knowing what each move is supposed to be and how they work is key to understanding what skills each kata is meant to train.

It may seem overwhelming and take more time to learn, but it is more productive and efficient than just learning the sequence of moves and waiting until shodan or later to start learning applications.

As far as adding grades so as to divide the existing ones, it seems like a reasonable idea. All his students who teach under him at their own dojo have more belts. It’s all the same material, but taught at a different pace.

Most of my peers are from the same cultural background as the instructor. One of the most important things about teaching is that the teacher must adapt his teaching if he is to bring out the best of it in his students.

Maybe it would be a good start to set a milestone(rank/grade/new belt colour) for each kata and bunkai/applications sequence drills. All kata in the curriculum can already be divided in three or four parts. Except of course the kihon kata, which are much shorter. The only difference would be having three or four short tests instead of just one long one before each kyu.

Does it sound reasonable?

That sounds like a reasonable approach.

Forgive me if this doesn't work as we don't quite have the same concept as bunkai in TKD. But do you have levels of bunkai? As in obvious applications through to more hidden ones? Could you teach the kata, teach the obvious bunkai, teach the next level, then third level is to devise your own bunkai. The student then studies the same kata for 3 grades but each time its fresh as more to think about.
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scohen0300
Orange Belt
Orange Belt

Joined: 09 Feb 2016
Posts: 163
Location: It varies
Styles: Matsubayashi Shorin Ryu, Muay Thai

PostPosted: Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

So I actually put together my own curriculum for Shorin Ryu! I’ll share what I have so far and hope that it can be of some use to you. Although I’ve only been training Shorin Ryu for 12 years it’s consistently been a huge part of my life.

White Belt: Fukyugata focus
- Fukyugata 1-3, they get a green stripe after they properly test for 1 and 2. When they test with the third, they get their green belt.
- knowledge of certain kihon applications are required to get to green. Fukyugata 1 is for basics and 3 is for speed/power and basics, so they’ll only need to show one bunkai for Fukyugata 2.

Green Belt: Naihanchi focus
- Naihanchi 1-3, they get a brown stripe after testing for 1 and another for 2. When they test and pass for 3, they get brown belt.
- kihon applications and some bunkai will be required for each.

Brown Belt: Pinan focus
- Pinan 1-5, they get a black stripe after they test for Pinan 1 and 2, another black stripe when they test for 3, 4 and 5.
- Then wait a year to test for black belt, where I’m debating on a full test of everything they learned, requiring more bunkai to be shown for each kata they’ve learned. This is to see that they’re still learning and growing as well as maintaining knowledge of what they’ve learned. AND/OR I’ll teach my next kata, Seisan, and that will be their final requirement to get their black belt.

Dan Grades:
- pretty standard. Must wait 2 years to test for nidan, 3 years for sandan, etc.

Personally, I’ve always hated the colored belts like yellow, blue, purple, etc. so I’d like to keep white/green/brown/black. I’m thinking the testing for Kyu ranks will take place every 3-6 months.

I’m also working on a kumite/bunkai system. All karate, nothing special. But in a way that I think will give “unknown movements” more practicality so students are aware of WHAT they are practicing and WHY. The focus will be on kihon for that, as I believe a solid understanding of kihon can promote a better understanding and exploration of the bunkai in kata.

Definitely still a working process, but I hope this helps!
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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28800
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 8:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I do like the idea of using stripes as "markers" of what the student has done and what they need to do. It makes it easy for an instructor to glance at his students and know what they need to focus on.
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sensei8
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 23 Feb 2008
Posts: 15327
Location: Houston, TX
Styles: Shindokan Saitou-ryu [Shuri-te/Okinawa-te based]

PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2020 2:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bushido_man96 wrote:
I do like the idea of using stripes as "markers" of what the student has done and what they need to do. It makes it easy for an instructor to glance at his students and know what they need to focus on.

That's part of the 101 ways to use Electric Tape; been using it for quite a very long time. I STILL get a smile when I apply it to a student obi because they've that puzzled look all over their face..."What's Sensei doing?!?!?!?!?"...priceless.



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bushido_man96
KF Sensei
KF Sensei

Joined: 31 Mar 2006
Posts: 28800
Location: Hays, KS
Styles: Taekwondo, Combat Hapkido, Aikido, GRACIE

PostPosted: Fri Oct 30, 2020 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

sensei8 wrote:
bushido_man96 wrote:
I do like the idea of using stripes as "markers" of what the student has done and what they need to do. It makes it easy for an instructor to glance at his students and know what they need to focus on.

That's part of the 101 ways to use Electric Tape; been using it for quite a very long time. I STILL get a smile when I apply it to a student obi because they've that puzzled look all over their face..."What's Sensei doing?!?!?!?!?"...priceless.


Years ago, one of my instructors used a three-stripe system with electrical tape. First one showed the student had the basics of the rank down; second showed they knew the form; third showed they knew the one-steps. If the student had all three stripes, the instructor knew they were ready to test.
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