About the syllabus
The Wu-Wei Dao martial system of the Academy comprises a comprehensive syllabus that provides a means of continuing development from white belt level to the end of 8th dan black belt (9th and 10th dan grades are honorary in nature). Accordingly it is a syllabus that spans more than 50 years.
At the core of the syllabus is the concept of "sequential relativism" - ie. that the techniques, strategies and principles taught will keep pace with the student's evolving expertise and changing (and aging!) body.
In this regard it is important to note that syllabus moves progressivley from the "hard" ("go" in Japanese) to the "soft" ("ju" in Japanese) (see more on this below).
Importantly, at every stage of the syllabus, students are taught comprehensive situational skills, eg. deflections, strikes, kicks, evasions, throws, locks, holds, restraints and other grappling, and a working knowledge of most types of martial weapons (excluding firearms).
Going from "hard" to "soft"
"Hard" (also known as "external" - "waijia" in Chinese) arts are simple, easy to learn and effective. They are practical as they rely more upon simple strength and speed to work, and less on refined movement and efficiency.
"Soft" (also known as "internal" - "neijia" in Chinese) arts are more sophisticated and require much less applied force to work. The do however require exquisite timing and refinement which can take many years to master.
In practice, no art is truly "hard" and no art is truly "soft", as is indicated in the Academy's logo featuring a yin and yang: you will notice that there is a little bit of the red in the blue and vice versa.
Karate is an example of a "hard" or external art, however the style that we teach in the Academy (Muidokan Karatejutsu) already has "soft" elements (the core being the art of "Goju-ryu" or "hard/soft school"). As the student progresses and becomes more efficient in movement, so the "softer" side of karate is brought to the fore.
Once a student reaches black belt (shodan), students become exposed to elements of the Chinese internal arts (neijiaquan) which progressively take "softness" (in the sense of efficiency and refinment) to a whole new level. There are 3 principle internal arts of China, namely xingyiquan, baguazhang and taijiquan (tai chi). Before a student starts studying these arts specifically, the Wu-Wei Dao system teaches a variety of "bridging forms" that are half-way between karate and the internal arts. From godan (5th dan onwards) the material is exclusively internal in nature.
Of course, nothing prevents a student who is not at 5th dan from pursuing a study of the internal arts with the Academy: we offer a separate internal arts class and everyone is welcome to join in (see our Chen Pan Ling family system). However, studies outside the Wu-Wei Dao system are akin to "not for degree" units at university and do not form part of the grade structure (which is aimed at providing a practical and comprehensive set of civilian defence skills appropriate to a student's skill level and experience).
Teenagers and children
The Academy offers different syllabuses for teenagers (known as "juniors") and children. This is in recognition of their different developmental needs.
The junior syllabus approximates the adult one but gives greater scope for grading and hence differentiation between levels of ability. When a junior attains the age of 17 (or alternatively when he/she reaches the end of the junior syllabus) he or she goes through a reorientation period to convert to the comparable adult grade.
The child syllabus is markedly different as it focuses not on civilian defence but on developing foundational coordination, core body strength and kinaesthetic awareness. All of these are crucial to development in the martial arts as a teenager or adult, however they are just as important in daily life. When a child attains the age of 13 (or alternatively when he/she reaches the end of the child syllabus) he or she goes through a reorientation period to convert to the comparable junior grade.
Members only syllabus and instruction website
To access a detailed syllabus-dedicated website (members only), click here.