Welcome back! This is the second level of the Shaolin Academy Temple and Animal Style Curriculum! This level promotes the foundations of External Kung Fu as the previous level focused on the Internal aspects of Kung Fu. Here you will work on Posture, Leg Strength; very practical and usable kung fu techniques, the kind that most any martial art style would teach. This is the level that can teach you how to manage a confronting situation confidently. But it will require some learning, training and practice!
These skills are essential for the following levels and what you neglect here will make many aspects of the following levels challenging not to say impossible. If your foundation is not good, everything built on it will be wobbly. And it takes 5 times more effort to relearn than it takes to learn something correctly in the first place!Getting things right the first time takes time and effort; unlearning and then relearning takes even more time and effort and usually sees many people give up! Yet, being wrong and then learning to be right creates wisdom which with time and dedication creates masters.
This level is very much a classical hard work, hard training level. Deep Stances, Practical Punches and excellent quick defensive techniques. Footwork is a bit more involved and the Kicks are possibly the most powerful you will encounter; if done right. So, enjoy, take your time, have fun and question the obvious! - Sijo
Located in the south on the South China See, it has 3½ thousand kilometers (2½ thousand miles) of winding coastline with rivers from all over the province discharging into the Sea. It was a remote part of the empire, largely ignored by emperors, inhabited by the 100 Yue people (a collection of ancient Yue tribes during the Spring and Autumn Era). The area came under official Imperial-era administration through the efforts of unification of the Qin (BCE 221-207) Dynasty. There were major but intermittent periods of migration of Han Chinese people from the north to the south that benefited the Kwantung area, the first one occurring during the Jin (CE 264-420) Dynasty. Other migrations followed during the Tang (CE 618-907) and the Song (CE 960-1279) Dynasties, as well as during the Jürchen-led Jin (CE 1115-1234) Dynasty.
This cosmopolitan function would eventually have it embroiled in the trade conflict between China and several foreign powers, in particular, with Great Britain (part of the 8 Powers Alliance) that would lead to the Opium Wars (1839-1842 CE and 1856-1860 CE). This lead to the loss of Hong Kong to Great Britain and Macau to Portugal.
But even so, Kwantung was home to much conflict. With so many cultures and foreigners passing through and influencing the locals with different views, Kwantung became the birthplace of the Taiping Rebellion and the heartland of the anti-Qing government movement that would eventually bring down the Dynasty (CE 1644-1911) Dynasty, China's last Imperial dynasty.
Kwantung is sometimes refereed to as 'in the center of where things happen', the people of Kwantung Province are natural-born revolutionaries. This also leads them to be a source of some very effective, proficient and hard Kung Fu styles.
Bodhidharma a south Indian prince, a member of the Indian Kshatriya warrior class and a master of staff fighting attained enlightenment (Bodhi) and became the 28th of Ch'an Buddhism. He left his place of birth and study to follow the spread of Buddhism to the 'New' world. It is said that his first steps on Chinese soil were around 525 CE in Kwantung.
This was 14 years before he arrived in Shaolin and his first steps following the path of Buddhism. He was possibly seeking the first Chinese Buddhist temple, the White Horse Ssu which was to the north. Bodhidharma stayed in Kwantung for around 2 years before continuing his journey north where he would pass a mountainous area which had/has a Buddhist Temple called Shaolin (but that is another story covered in the page dedicated to Shaolin Temple History).
After he left Kwantung, the Xilai (literally "visitor from the west") temple was built in 527 by the followers of Bodhidharma around the time when Bodhidharma started his efforts to enter Shaolin. Xilai was one of the few temples built by it's followers and not with Royal support. It was a small temple compared to the other temples in Kwantung. Over the many years that each of these temples to a lesser or greater degree was used by Shaolin and thus this Shaolin Temple was referred to as the Kwantung Temple of Shaolin rather than the Xilai temple. It was also renamed to Hualin Temple a few years after the burning of the Shaolin Temple.
The current temple has an area dedicated to Bodhidharma and the bringing of Kung Fu to China. The 500 Arhat Hall, constructed in 1851, houses 500 gold-painted carvings of arhats (those who have reached Nirvana), each with a unique and expression.
Kwantung) was a Gateway to China very close to Macau and Hong Kong, up the road from Vietnam and Burma and not to far away from Taiwan and the Philippines. The region, originally settled by Miao, Li, and Yao tribes, continually attracted migrating groups from the north; some (notably the Hakka) retained their own languages. Kwantung was the main scene of China's early foreign contact, chiefly through Guangzhou; there was trade with the west during the Roman Empire, trade with the Arabs during the T'ang dynasty, and European trade that originated during the 16th cent. with the Portuguese. Kwantung has been a center of revolutionary activity; there the Kuomintang was formed (1912) under the leadership of Sun Yat-sen, and there Chiang Kai-shek began his drive (1920s) for the unification of the country.
It is believed that over 50% of all Chinese migrants across the world came from Kwantung and many more through it. Because of this, many of the Kung Fu styles would have been influenced by this. With Kwantung being a melting post for all matter of races, many conflicts and fighting styles would have been in use here. There are though two very popular and in a small way similar styles that may have found their origins here but at least strong influence.
Hung Gar very likely developed as a result of the unrest after the burning of Shaolin in the 17th century. It is said that Hung Gar stylists practiced in secret on Junkets where they had to work on low Horse Stance (because of the ceiling height) and in cramp spaces. This would have reinforced the low Mabu Stances and Kama Square exercises. Many believe that the Karate was also influenced by the Strong and Hard Kwantung styles.
One of the most well know of Kwantung were a group very famous martial artists dubbed the Ten Tigers of Kwantung. Each of the 10 Tigers had a speciality which made them excel in their Kung Fu including Iron Wire, Lama Kung Fu, No-Shadow Kicks, Black Tiger Style, Soul Chasing Staff, Beggar Kung Fu, 3 Organ Seeking Kicks, Iron Head, Iron Finger and Poison (Red) Hand. But they all also had in common was the diligence to their cause and honor. They displayed the pure sense of the martial arts practitioner although they were in no way saints. Yet, from all the Chinese martial art characters know today, they do belong to a rare group; those that probably really existed.
With all this as inspiration for our 2nd Kwantung level, we focus on the Strong, Hard aspect of the Shaolin Styles inspired by the Kwantung Province. Direct movements, on low stances with direct and strong techniques (Stone Breaking Fist, and Sun Fist) supplemented by shorter range uppercuts and cross cuts to give variation. Leg movements are strong, solid and low, and often used to upset the opponents balance. Evasion is simple sideways with quick palm blocks supplemented by the Strong basic blocks of the first level. Focus is on the Martial Art aspect of Kung Fu
The form of this level is the Shaolin 5 Directional Horse Stance form, Kwantung Form. Where Fujian White Crane and the 5 Ancestor Fists influenced Karate, the Kwantung Form would have influenced Karate's footwork. Now is the time to work on your core and leg strength, the power of your punches, side stepping and develop strong kicks. With the Breathing development of the first level you should gain a very strong body and good foundation to start on the more involved of the Shaolin Arts!The most important things in life aren't things. - Anthony J. D'Angelo
The pattern of information and curriculum established in the first level is continued in this level. Next you will be presented with a number of supportive, relevant and important information underpinning the training of this level and preparing for Red Sash.
This information is needed and will be tested verbally, in class/training and in the eventual Assessment. It will also be a foundation to your Red Sash Assessment!
Kwantung Kung Fu was a hard and earthy style focused on low stances, strong techniques and tough body. It was, what may be seen as the old school traditional Kung Fu, where you practiced a small number of techniques over and over, on low horse stances, hard and enduring; focusing on the martial art aspect of Kung Fu, making it effective for your needs.
Although not mentioned, part of Endurance is Patience, a part of Strength is patience and a part of Toughness is Patience; the Patience to focus on what needs to be done and do it well. Using the principle of KISS, training is meant to be hard, direct and strong. This spirit is well embodied by the Shaolin Academy 2nd Level Kwantung Form. Simple movements, direct techniques in clear directions and repeated in each segment; is very unique and different than any other form/pattern you will encounter in the Shaolin System, almost Karate like for that matter. It is the first and only level where all the items in the Form you are learning have already been taught and trained!
This is so, to allow you to focus on making this simple form very Strong, with extremely low stances, strong and powerful punches, iron hard blocks and very solid connection with Earth Chi (connection to the surface you are working on). This is the one time in a Assessment where you can not aim for a 60% pass for the form. You know the stances, you know the punches, you know the blocks, you know the stepping, you know the Kama Square. You are not doing anything new so that you can focus on the;
As a Shaolin Kung Fu practitioner with the Academy, you do not need to be super fit, super tough, super quick or super in any way. But it is part of Shaolin Academy training to teach you how you can attain any of these through Shaolin training. That means, each level teaches you one clear aspect of Life and Shaolin. This level is dedicated to;To succeed you need either Endurance or Patience; in this level you need both. - Sijo
The first level just used your natural movement direction forward and focused on safe and measured retreating. This is the first of the 5 movement, evasion methods we use. The second is Sideways moving, evading or sometimes called sidestepping.
You may have heard the term "Sidestepping the Point" as a way of conveying that someone is trying to 'evade' a point by not attacking or retreating from the issue but by sidestepping the subject. You may see how politicians effectively 'sidestep' a question by referring to an earlier point, suggesting that the question is not addressing the issue or that the questioner has missed a previous point. A classical sidestepping is when the former president Clinton said that he had not had sex with Monica Lewinski; in essence, from a certain point of view, he was correct.
So, as mentioned in the first level our evasion and attack techniques can be both physical and metal/argumentative. And if you have ever encountered a person who used this on you, in an argument or a sparring match, you will know how effective a good side-step can be in an argument or a fight. In this level you need to focus on learning to physically side-step and as with the forward and backward, there are two styles and two directions.
In the first level you learned Short Stepping, Long Stepping and (Side Changing) Cross Stepping; in this level you learn Sideways Short Stepping, Sideways Long Stepping and Triangle (Side Changing) Stepping. In a way, a totally different direction but exactly the same principles; should be very easy to learn and apply. Make sure you master this and make it second nature. There is nothing as frustrating for an attacker or bully when all they get is empty air.If you are not where the attack is hitting, you can not be hit. - Sijo
The Stance Horse (Riding) is possible, arguably the most important stance in Kung Fu most certainly in Shaolin Kung Fu; but you have already learned it to 99%, but as usual the last 1% is the key difference. Let's remind ourselves of another important stance, the life stance, the upright stance or as you know it the Natural Stance;
Well OK, there are a few differences between the Natural Stance and the Horse Stance, but only 1% where it matters, the hight of the Horse Stance is lower. Like riding a horse, your knees would be bent at a 90 degree angle. Arms would not hang loosely but be either in Golden Bridge, Buddha Palm, Separating Mountain or a Guard Position and the feet would be almost double Shoulder/Hip with apart! All else is the same.A Straight Spine, show a strong Blood line; it displays Strength and Power, no need to fight or glower.
There is one point to make; some styles argue that the feet/toes should not be parallel and can point outwards. Just to clarify, it is NOT the Shaolin Way but there are two other reasons that this is ever so wrong;
One of the reason people can not execute a correct Horse Stance is due to Calf Stretch and Instep Flexibility; aside from the usual reason of inadequate leg strength.DO NOT TRAIN YOUR HORSE STANCE ENDURANCE until you have it right/graded!
We always know what we want, don't we?. Well.... The great equalizer is time the great lie is money. No matter who you are, how rich or poor, how strong or weak, you have 24 hours a day, no more and no less. But theoretically there seems to be no limit on how much money you can have. But most of us do have to live with a finite amount of funds within the 24 hour time period. So it may be a good idea to really have a look at what is important! But for that we need to look at the Siblings three, Need, Want and Desire.
It is sometimes very difficult to see the difference between the three as often they appear as identical triplets. Need normally gets what he wants; food, shelter, companionship, sleep, etc. Need is very basic usually although he can become greedy and then all-of-a-sudden Need has a whole lot more the he needs, bigger shelter, better food, more friends and such. Sometimes Need get's so greedy that there is no more for Want and Like. Need will need cars, jewelry, entertainment, and more and there is nothing left for Want and Like. On he other hand there is the beautiful Desire. A very but very strong young lady who dreams a lot. Desire likes to imagine big, grandiose, without limitations. First Class Holidays, mansions and villas, Sport and luxury cars, large wardrobe, shoes and bags. Where need tends to be the salt-of-the-earth type, Desire is the dreamer and likes to gamble, believe the impossible and desire the imaginable.
Want, the middle brother, like so many second born was stuck in the middle. He constantly argues with Need; asking him if Need really needs this or that or only want's it because he can. And then he has to educate his beautiful sister Desire, who often mistakes desire for wanting even sometimes mistaking it for needing (like that pair of $2000 dollar shoes that match the skirt so well). It is a constant struggle between the three to decide which is which, they all three look and feel so alike. But there is a difference and as long as they can not agree Life is a constants Stress and Struggle. What to do?
Aunt Prudence is often a good source of good advice when they bother to listen to her. Aunt always suggest to look at what is available in resources and then check what really has to be attended to survive and live and then create a plan. But Aunt Prudence is not a popular person in the triplets household. Uncle Balance suggest that each should have an equal share and like good siblings to share and be happy with that, but Need always argues that because of commitments that Want (that Mobile Phone Contract that now needs to be maintained) and Desire (that last expensive holiday that needs to be paid off) created the he needs most of the resources and thus they ignore Uncle Balance.
Often until Sargent Reality pounds on the door and demands attention do the three start to pull their heads in and then all resources go to Private Survival. The triplets are not good in this mode of operation and especially Desire bemoans the situation whilst Want is making lists and Need is running around muttering 'told you so'. After a while a compromise is arranged and a new sublet is let into the triplets place called Director Debt.
When manager Debt moves there is less of everything and the triplets feel unhappy bemoaning that there is not enough time in the day to to make ends meet. They often spend the rest of their lives living with the manager without anything to show for it. Yet, Manager Debt is not a bad person, it just depends if he moves in asked (like for investment and future reasons for a limited time) or unasked (because of past sins and problems)!
The solution is in the problem and no one ever seems to speak Grandpa Planning and Grandma Fun. They seem like such an odd couple, the very strict Grandpa who indulges the whimsical Grandma. often they don't relies that it is difficult to do the one without the other. Grandpa Planning is from the great family of Order whereas Grandma Fun is from the ancient family of Chaos and together they argue a lot but they also compliment each other mostly. grandpa always want's everything planned and grandma agrees as long as he plans for some chaos and fun. Grandpa grumbles at this always but always agrees as he know that life with out Fun would be not so good.
So finally our threesome went to see Grandpa and Grandma; grandpa suggested they take list all the regular and semi regular outgoing's on a piece of paper. these would include all there utilities, insurance's, rent, and other foreseeable outgoing's. Then add them all up in such a way that they have a total for the year that includes all the items they they have committed to that Need manages. Then he suggested that they also look at the future and see what would make their life better and for that reason take 25% to 40% of what is left and put that in a savings bag to grow for the future (house, holiday, education, renovation). What is left is equally divided between Want and Desire making sure that neither one or the other get to little or too much. That is Balance.
After you Stop and Take Stock when you are about to do something you may also want to check that your Core/Foundation/Precepts are correct! What does this mean?
There are a few answers to this, depending on what you want to do. The simplest answer is, "Do you know what you are about to do". It is in essence a Risk Management Strategy whereby you want to ensure that whatever you are going to do/create/build on, has a good foundation and will not fall in on you. A bit like having a discussion, do you have the facts right. When you are going into the bosses office to ask for a raise, do you have the right info to present to him to support your claim.
In Shaolin Kung Fu it is much easier for you. A lot of time and effort and more time and more effort has been spent allocating the techniques to the levels they are located. If you try to move on to the next level before you have the Core of the previous level fairly right, you will be in-building a flaw into your training that, if not fixed will spit and damage your style. Also, the skills and fitness and strength and flexibility and.... that you achieve each level is in preparation for the previous level. If you do not meet the minimum requirements much of your training afterwards will be negatively influenced, more difficult and less successful. In worst case you can come to the conclusion that the style does not work just because you chose some short cuts.
One of the best ways to check that you have at least your techniques right is the Shaolin Academy Systems. For each of the technical groups we have a System of Stances, System of Blocks, System of Punches, System of Kicks, System of Elbows, System of Stepping, System of Knees and System of Iron bar techniques. Each of the levels adds to each of the systems and if you are flawed in the one level this will translate and project into the following levels. Have seen this over and over again; so;Ensure that your Core and Foundation is Correct; and good enough to build on and add to!
Shaolin Kung Fu is about safety and not being hurt. There are times though when a little hurt is better than a lot of hurt, times when being hit to one part of the body is preferable to being hit to a more vital part of the body. So long ago the 5 Shaolin Gates (entry points) were defined as those which could great the most havoc with your being and chi.
Being hit in any part of the head brings with it the danger of Brain and Upper Spine damage. prolonged training bouts and sparring with hits and kicks to the Head will cause brain damage and might make a person into a vegetable. For the most, the head needs to be protected. And resting on the Neck, all blood supply and fluid supply for the brain going up and back down, signals about touch all go through the Neck and Spine; signals and commands going back down that make our body function. There is no doubt that these parts need focused protection.
For the most the chest is protected by the Rib cage and for most martial artists (who do the millions of sit-ups) will have a strong set of Abs and generally good core strength. This does offer a strong protection for the front of the body except for that small spot where the Chest bone ends and the Abs don't quite reach, the Solar Plexus. It is at the center of the human body and open to striking that affect all the major organs but in particular the lungs through the Diaphragm. Many martial artists who ignore this point fail very quickly in both competitions and real defence.
Floating Rib strikes rob the affected person of strength, just ask any serious Boxer or Muay Thai fighter. It is not as quick acting as the Solar Plexus but because of all the organs in that area and the lack of protection, strikes to this are can be devastating and permanent. Bleeding Kidneys and Livers, ruptured tracks and other such injuries often befall those who neglect the protection of the floating ribs. As with the most obvious of all vulnerabilities, the Groin/Bladder. The effect of strikes to this area (and kicks) is so devastating that most sport arts and martial arts forbid targeting this area. Yet, when training for Self Defence, we have to protect this vulnerability else we can be on the ground doubled up in pain and totally unprotected.
Yes, a good strike to any part of the body can be vary damaging. But a less than good strike to the 5 Shaolin Gates can be more damaging than some of the best strikes to other areas. And yes, there are other areas to protect but; aside from the brain and 4/5th of our sensing organs in the head, the rest of the Major Organs (Heart, Lungs, Spleen, Liver, Kidneys, Stomach (Small and Large Intestine), Pancreas) are all located in front of our spine behind the chest and abdominal's and we need to protect these.
Most any martial art worth it's weight in salt will have some form of Centerline Principle. This principle, in essence, explains that you need to protect your center and attack the opponents center to have the best result. This means that if you hit off centerline your opponent need only rotate a bit away from the punch, extending the attack range on the other side and reducing the effect of your off-centerline attack. Looking at our Instructor James to the right, we see the yellow lines almost in the form of the Peace Sign, showing the centerline from the front view.
You will learn that there are two aspects to defending yourself safely, one is the Vital and Associated Pressure Points and the other is this Centerline. Most every Martial Art has "it's" favorite/preferred/secret/unique targeting points and in a professional competition you would study your opponents moves and attacks as well as their defence inclination. In a Self Defence centered style like Shaolin Kung Fu you need to be prepared for the unexpected. As this is almost impossible, you need to be prepared for that which can do you most damage and harm. As there many, many areas of the body that can be manipulated in some way or another to cause pain, trauma and even death, at this time the best defence is to protect your centerline.
There is also a hierarchy to this, as what to protect most and which should protect itself. And here we come back to the Shaolin Gates as these 5 points are the central key to the Shaolin Academy Centerline Defence. Legs should look after themselves; meaning if your legs are attacked, you defend with your legs by either blocking or evading with the, Your hands need to be tough, quick and flexible enough to protect themselves your head and body together. This is the 1st step to an effective defence without all the complications.If you know Kung Fu you will not need it.
Conflict is an essential part of life. It is important to growth, learning and even staying alive. Without challenges, many would not have the will to stay alive. It is how we deal with these conflicts that makes the difference between normal stress and growth or distress and sickness.
Although you may not be a Donkey roped to another Donkey, Laws, Rules and Civil Sense do limit a lot of the possibilities we may come up with. You owe money, why not rob a bank to get it? Stupid question, consequences, yes? Or are you one of those honorable people who would not even rob a bank if it were legal? Good-on-you is you are. Any-which-way, if you look back on your life, you will see that many, many achievement you have made were attained because there were obstacles in you path or things holding you back. And if you think about it frankly, often we derive pleasure from overcoming obstacles and conflict. So, why not review you method of dealing with a rope around your neck and compare it to a Shaolin guide for Conflict Resolution!
I will not explain this but the following 5 Virtues of the Peaceful Shaolin Warrior is a clue to the solution that i found for my self;
Aim to Manage. Violence promotes Violence. As a Peaceful Shaolin Kung Fu Warrior the key to any volatile situation is not to overcome it or to submit to it but to seek to Manage it (not control but manage). This may mean that you have to resort to submission or attack but it also means that your aim is to manage it with a Peaceful Mind. Unless you are very well trained and experienced, this can rarely work if you are in fear, anger or any extreme emotion.Management means that you seek a Win-Win-Win outcome;
Seek Understanding. You understand what is happening and why and how and... is very important before you seek to manage or find a solution. Sometimes simple venting can look like a aggressive situation and could be misunderstood and thus create unnecessary action and consequences.Understanding is the Foundation and Management is the Path;
Bias for Listening. Jumping in like a clown and telling everybody to calm down creates exactly the opposite. If you are very animated this adds to the animation. And when have you ever seen someone who is agitated being calmed by being told to calm down? Words have started and stopped wars; make sure you do not create the tipping point for a war. If you are CCC (Cool, Calm and Collected) and believe that words are not having a positive effect and there is imminent danger action may be required, but until then, be inclined to Listen if possible, use Words when required and as a last resort, when you have failed all else, use your Presence and power.Unless you are fairly confident in your ability and skill of managing the situation,
Inclination for Support! Not everything can be solved by you or any single person. Some are better than others and most everyone is good at handling some specific situation or another. Often, sometimes it is better to throw your support behind someone who seems to be handling the situation for a positive non-violent outcome. This can be as simple as just standing by their side or as complex as removing secondary agitators or counter-arguers by engaging them with words.Our Civilization and Progress is based on people Working Together and overcoming differences..
Remove the Fuel!! Sometimes the strongest statement you can make is by withdrawing all together (if it is safe). Sometimes, the fuel to violence and the inhibitor to peace is you; walk away. Just walking away and possibly encouraging other people to walk away. Remove yourself from the conflict, the agro and the possible violence, if it is safe to do so. But, be careful turning your back on an agitated or animated person; put some objects between yourself and the source of possible violence before you turn away.Every fire dies when you withdraw the fuel; although it may simmer under the surface.
It may be time to introduce you to the Shaolin Academy Movement! There are, at this stage, 5 distinct types of movement one allocated to each of the Shaolin Academy Temple levels.
Moving forward and backward is fairly normal for us, it is that which we do the most and the best. As such it is also easy to learn and initially very effective; in out, out in. The advantage of a straight line attack is it's directness and simplicity but there are two distinct problems with this form of movement for Sparring and Self Defence.
Moving backward in a straight line makes it easy for the person moving forward as going forward they are quicker than you are going backwards. Also,you remain in the line of direct centerline attack. For larger persons, going forward and then quickly changing to going backward takes a lot of energy and is slow. So, at the beginner level we acknowledge this form of movement and teach the safest version but we quickly move on to Kung Fu stepping methods.
We focus on Sideways evasion at the White Sash level. Being able to jump out of the way of an oncoming Steamroller Attack is much better sideways than backwards. This would be the preferred movement method for most actions at this time with a sprinkling of forward and backward just to make it difficult for your attacker to predict you. Also, this works in verbal conflict too. Throw in a side step in an off topic but possibly relevant matter to disrupt your attackers onslaught. A side to side moving target is much more difficult to hit.
The sooner you adapt your main movement from forward-backward to side-side, the sooner and easier you will be able deal and use the more advanced stepping actions!
It is almost impossible to 'get-it-right-the-first-time' when you are learning. No matter what anyone states, there is a trial and error cycle that most everyone has to go through before they perfect their Kung Fu. It is extremely frustrating if there is only one level to aim for; especially if you belong to those people who work with two left feet and two left hands. That is why the Total Quality Cycle is an excellent model for Shaolin 5 Animal Kung Fu Academy training and Assessment. The reason i like it is because it is an upward spiral that in theory at least, never ends! It also depends Why you are learning and training Shaolin Kung Fu as to how deeply you wish to be involved in the techniques.
This is the way to go, constantly improve not just get it right once. →
You are NOT expected to achieve the best results on your first Assessment. It is important that you are assessed as soon as you can so that you are able to receive feedback that will allow you to focus on what needs focus. Shaolin Academy Assessment's are structured in such a way that you can ALWAYS improve on your initial results. The Shaolin Academy Curriculum Card for Level One gray Sash Emei Shan level (to the right) has each item having 4 result areas behind it. Even if your 1st result is Pass, you can keep on improving until you achieve the result you need/want.
Pass(60%+) minimum requirement for Assessments is a Pass, which means that the technique is mostly right and safe; meaning that can continue to use this technique for health and fitness application and there is minimum possibility of any damage or short term. We do suggest that, as skills deteriorate over time unless there is a guided refresher, that you regrade every year or so to ensure that you are not developing any bad habits; things change.
Credit (70%+) is the result we give when this item only requires more practice to smoothen out the rough spots, develop your body a bit more for the movement(s) and generally just requires doing! Again, a Re-Assessment would be good every 18 months or so to continue training the technique marked between 70% to 79%.
Distinction (80%+) This is the mark we give when we believe that you have learned the item to a Shaolin Kung Fu usable level. It is precise, strong, quick, on target, practiced, accurate, etc. We believe that the technique is usable for Self Defence or Ring Sparring.
High Distinction (90%+) Suggest that you have had opportunity to use this technique and make it work for you. This may have been in semi or full contact competitions or in training with fellow senior students where you have practiced safe-combat. With the mark you have shown that you are using the technique as expected, that you understand the function and purpose and have the strength, speed and control to make it work most every time and in most every situations. It also means that you are eligible to be a Black Sash in Shaolin Kung Fu and can seek to instruct.
But as the graph above suggest, this is a retrieve process and that is where TQM comes into the understanding and making the system work to your needs. The minimum level required for a Assessment is 60%, Pass and this is what require to confirm that you are on the right track. This allows your graders to tell you what you may need to adjust to achieve a better result in the future. If you immediately aim for a higher mark, without the benefit of a Assessment review, you may build into your technique some habits that are NQR; and this then takes a lot more work to fix than getting it right at a lower result level and being guided to a higher result.
Now that you have received guiding feedback you improve your technique and aim for a higher result, depending on your need. For exercise and Self Defence a high 70's to mid 80's result is sufficient. For martial arts and Black Sash you would need a 90%+ result. But as mentioned, do not achieve this in the first try; second maybe, third and fourth is good.
Pass(60%+) is all you need if you wish to use the training just for light and easy exercise; much like if you would do Tai Chi!
Credit (70%+) is what you want to achieve if you wish to train your Kung Fu for vigorous Cardio Vascular workouts with some impact or competitions including non-contact and touch contact sparring.
Distinction (80%+) is required if you wish to 'use' your Kung Fu for real defence, full contact or heavy impact work. Also if you wish to be come an instructor in Shaolin Kung Fu.
High Distinction (90%+) is required if you want to run your own venue/kwoon/studio without any back-up. You really need to know the ins' and outs of all the techniques and train them correctly regularly.Kung Fu is a tool, a skill and an attitude; but it is up to you to design it to your Peaceful needs - Sijo