The Progress Model

A model is a model – not reality but a tool for understanding it.

The progress model is layered into different phases by order of the student’s progress. First is physical preparation. The next levels progress from the performance of simple moves up towards the achievement of martial-art expertise. The model is a progressive rather than a descriptive one. There is a certain overlap between some of the levels. However, the model delineates a clear structure for advancing physical skills. Thus the model is intended for the use of those who are planners and instructors.

Why is this layered model?

Layering facilitates accurate feedback from real fights or sport fights back to preparatory levels. Such precise feedback helps analyze any task (not just sport fights), and through going down in levels, design unplanned but safe confrontations, create permanent practices for these, take apart basic moves, and very precisely define the physical preparation requires. The clear division into levels facilitates target-oriented training, and locating weak spots. Thus, goals may be achieved effectively with the least consumption of time. Practice towards any physical task – from preparation for a contest to generally improved health and motor functions – is enhanced by the comprehensive use of the methodical pyramid.

What are the martial levels?

Every level in the methodical pyramid consists of skills and contents that do not appear in previous levels.

The physical preparation level is where general movement skills appear. However, only on the basic level – the kihon – do movements appear that belong to the martial-art: kicks, punches, rolls etc.

The regular practice level – Kata – contains basic move sequences that are not included in the basic level. Here adversaries practice range, timing and continuity.

On the sparring level, the randori, an element of uncertainty is added to the practice of range, timing and continuity. The adversary, his moves unforeseen, forces his partner to use all the skills acquired in previous levels and to merge them on the spot.

The top level, the reality level, the tatakai**, is a relational phase, it can not be practiced but has to be the background for everything else learned. In real fighting, the warrior encounters wildness and a total absence of rules for the first time in the progress model. Sparring matches, even contests, always contain an inner skeleton of rules. In the movement goal level there is no certainty.