Although the martial arts curriculum varies across the various age groups, levels, and specific martial arts, there are general requirements which are the core curriculum and foundation of your martial arts study.
Our Martial Arts Curriculum
Students are required to attend a minimum 2 classes per week to train . Each level requires a specific number of classes before advancing to the next grade.
Flexibility, cardiovascular capacity, endurance, balance, coordination, and muscular strength are several key areas developed and tested.
Stances, footwork, body mechanics, strikes, blocks, kicks, distancing, symmetry, development of power, and other foundational skills are studied in-depth. When learning the basics, the focus is less on the specific style and more on the substance of what you need to learn to effectively apply martial arts across any style, or even disciplines outside of martial arts.
Knowledge and Theory
CMAC Dapo tends to attract and nurture unconventional thinkers. This is intentional: we seek students (and faculty) who have courage, creativity, and curiosity. We study martial arts history, philosophy, language, and ethics, and concepts are not limited to East Asian traditions but span across all cultures. Students have varying requirements ranging from knowing how to tie their belts, to drawing a map from the dojo to their home, to reading actual books for youth and adults.
Kata / Forms
Think of forms like a composition of skills, organized to pass on knowledge—similar to musicians passing on there songs through composing. And just like music, each song/kata is specific to that musician’s insights, message and skill. Some kata are created to look good for show, some are created to learn how to fight, some are to reinforce fundamentals of a style, and others have a deeper meaning that requires many years of refinement to discover.
A specific form is studied per belt level, increasing in difficulty the more advanced a student gets. The richest kata have been passed on from teacher to student for hundreds of years, and require a certain maturity to train. These kata possess an intangible inheritance unique to the cultural psyche they emerged out of, and can reveal great knowledge the more they are refined and taught. These kata have been referred to as the classics, and it is the classics that are the parent head of most patterns of fighting from hundreds of styles around the world.
We follow the Goju Ryu kata system for karate, and International Modern Arnis Federation-Philippines anyo requirements for arnis.
The martial art word for self-defence, goshinjutsu literally means “life preservation arts.”
• Life - to recognize that life itself can create distortions in our behaviour and that of others, that influence actions, feelings, and thinking
• Preservation - to recognize the value and uniqueness of life and our own, and to do our best to protect it, even while under attack
• Arts - to refine the ability to manage an attack in a creative strategic way that supports the life and preservation directives.
Reflections, Mindset, and Art Journals
To teach students, especially children, that most obstacles in life are fights that cannot be solved as a physical threat is one of the most difficult lessons—nonetheless, they do seem to start there.
Many mental skills require constant practice in order to improve, and a wonderful place for a child to start applying what is learned from the tenets of martial arts. And make no mistake, these skills will require a fight:
• Growth mindset
• Reflecting on past errors and ways to improve oneself
Students learn how to roll and breakfall as part of safety during training and self-defence. Being comfortable on the mat allows for higher training which requires safety while learning throws and takedowns
Matwork teaches students to relax and trust their bodies, which are key components to training and self-defence in all martial arts.
Sequences (with a training partner)
Yakusoku, sinawali, and other partner drills allow students to study attacks that are most common. One partner takes the role of attacker, and the other the receiver or defender.
Partner drills establish fundamental values of—
• closing distance to cope with an attack
• creating distance to cope with an attack
• through which merits of self-defence are improved and refined.
Physical applications vary based on age and level: disarms, holds, locks, chokes, takedowns, breaks, hyperextensions, and throws.
Sparring requires patience, timing, and fortitude—it is a complex tool through which to put things together in order to create something that can be learned from. Just like teaching children to use instruments in a kitchen to put ingredients together, like a stove or a knife, sparring (physical fight practice) in a martial arts class is an instrument through which to put martial arts ‘ingredients’ together.
We have a specific sparring program required for advanced students or those ready to add this component to their training.
Students may attend more classes if enrolled in Advanced Training or other programs. Attendance requirement increases siginificantly when attempting Black Belt. ↩︎
Although the basics studied in a particular style establish the fundamental context of a style’s purpose. For example, at our school our basics are specific to self-defence versus a flashy, competitive format. ↩︎
Socio-emotional Learning and Values Education for Children
The lessons of martial arts may be gathered by a young student, however, applying them often requires a bit of guidance, especially with social obstacles like friendship, sharing, and bullying, among many others that arrive with increasing complexity as they get older—after all, there is a big difference between learning the meaning of something, and it’s substance.
The virtues and non-virtues we study include respect, greed, compassion, and many more.
Chicken Wing Ninjas and Bizmo the Cleaning Ninja Troll
Here is an excerpt on this cutting-edge program, from its creator BasselsJ:
The cartoon-like characters have become an artistic vehicle through which the complex concepts of fighting are fun and yet allow each child to refine an understanding of them at their own pace.
I create these video lessons and resources for schoolteachers and parents who also struggle to convey and explore many of the lessons I do. For example, to teach children that being greedy or cruel is not a reflection of who or what they are, but is how we discover the strengths in ourselves to overcome conflict and messy situations as we grow up.
Download Your Specific Martial Arts Curriculum
PDF Format · Version 2021–2022
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