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The Genwakai Theory of Progression
According to Nango Tsugumasa, founder of Genwakai Karate, there are two important aspects to understand before you can master any martial art, especially karate. They are 1) understanding the levels of human combat and 2) understanding the learning process.
In understanding the levels of human combat there are four levels:
Level 1 the Normal level where someone is at if they have no training. They depend on instinct and natural ability
Level 2 is the Survival of the Fittest level and is where one’s physical prowess and strength is the determining factor
Level 3 is a Tournament Champion’s level where one’s physical techniques are developed to outstanding levels.
Level 4 is the Old Masters level where an individual has the ability to deal with extreme situations like life or death challenges with confidence.
Genwakai is based on a learning process that can lift a person from the Normal level to the Old Masters level. It is through a three phase progression that a person can reach the highest level.
The first phase is to learn the basic techniques. This entails acquiring knowledge of proper stance, exact placement of hands and feet, how to perform blocks kicks and strikes correctly and effectively. The learning phase requires these basic techniques be committed to memory.
The second phase of progression is refining the basic techniques. This is the most important phase of development. It involves repetition and refinement until techniques are executed with perfection and without hesitation or forethought as natural reflexes. Kata is the primary teaching tool.
The third phase is application of the techniques. Genwakai uses full body armor in an effort to determine if their techniques are effective.
The normal course of instruction is to learn a principal then apply it to a given circumstance. Thus one is generally inclined to step directly from the learning phase to the application phase. However, students wishing to master karate must not circumvent the refining phase of development. Shihan Nango realized this important detail and created Genwakai with emphasis on the refining phase of development.
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