Saturday 10 July 2010

The grading Syllabus: Development, intro and Grade 1

What follows below are taken directly from Martin's grading syllabus.

The Grades Explained

Let me start by saying that I believe in this grading system. It is what is necessary to get from beginner to expert. It is delivered in what I believe to be the order of importance. It is your short term training goals. It is not however an easy system. Anyone looking to grade should realise that you’re going to need to train hard to earn them. Too often in martial arts schools it seems that as long as you pay your money, you will get your grade. Not here. If you pass, you will know you deserve to. Please don’t let this concern you all however. It’s up to me to make sure you are ready and I’ll always be honest if I think you are ready or not.
The information within may seem complex but it will all make sense once you start training the specifics for the grade. You will notice as the grades get higher that the details for each movement are reduced. This is in fact because the applications are so much more complex and would require a book to explain them here so the necessary concepts or movements become a list rather than a detailed breakdown. In some cases such as the emergency attacks, the information is totally removed due to the danger of using these attacks.

Remember. The grading syllabus is here to make you concentrate on specifics and even force you to train some of the things that perhaps you don’t enjoy doing yet will ultimately make you a better martial artist. Some of the material within the grades may well change over the years as I teach an organic system that I constantly evolve with new training ideas. I believe that you never stop learning and I still love finding new and exciting ways to express my system.

It should also be noted that as you progress through your grades and attain the necessary standard, you shouldn’t just forget what you have learnt and move on. With this in mind it will be expected that a student going for a grade will have to join in with the testing for all the previous grades. For example a student who is hoping to pass grade 6 must first re – pass grades 1 – 5!

The final grade (the black sash) should be everyones aim. The standard for attaining your black sash will be high and the material will not be disclosed before hand. Of course it will be hard and it’s designed to test your mental strength as well as physical ability. The purpose of the black sash is a final affirmation of the journey through the system and I can promise you that on the day of the test, you will be in a place where you will feel you could conquer anything.

Grade 1 – Balance, Footwork, Posture and Punching

‘No matter how big the attacker is, he has a chin and therefore can be knocked out. If your punch is hard enough and quick enough so that it lands without warning then you maximise your chance of knocking your attacker out without them even throwing a punch. But balance should never be compromised. As long as you have balance then you have the potential for power. As long as you remain balanced even after punching, then you can continue to attack and capitalise on your initial advantage or make good your escape. Our style is aggressive. The best form of defence is attack. Be first with your punch and be ready to follow up. This is where it all begins………’


The fist must be formed correctly. This means the fist must be as tight as possible without tension in the forearm or bicep. The punch should be driven from the elbow and along the centre line. Elbow power must be maintained at all times whilst the forearm remains relaxed and pointing at the target. Shoulders must be back and the elbows down. Single and chain punches will be used to analyze technique and ‘rate of fire’. Endurance, accuracy and power will be tested on the focus pads.

Balance, Footwork and Body Structure

The feet should be at a 45 degree angle. The width of the foot at grade 1 should be as narrow as possible without losing balance, punch power and the ability to keep the hips and shoulders square. The legs must be bent, the rear knee pulled in and the hips square. Core muscles and lower abs should be engaged and the spine upright. The lats should also be engaged. Shoulders must be square and never further back than the hips. The neck should not be bent. The weight should be 75 % on the back leg but the student must have his weight on the balls of the feet.
When moving, the drive should come from the back leg. With the rear leg bent the muscle is already engaged. The rear leg pushes and the front leg lengthens the stance. Pressure should be felt on the inside of the ball of the rear foot. The front foot lands and then snaps the rear foot under the body weight again. Weight must not increase beyond 25% to the front leg at any point! The student must demonstrate all of this on their own, with a partner, with their guard up and whilst chain punching.

Mastery of pre fight, pre emptive striking, hunting down and basic takedown.

The fight ready position (FRP) must be applied. Hands must be up, in a non threatening manner with the strong arm back and the front arm forward. The arch between thumb and finger should be directly under the attackers chin. Legs must be bent with muscles already engaged and ready to push forward. Eyes should be on the chin. ‘Trigger touch’ punching and ‘meet and hit’ punching will be tested. Punches must be delivered without drawing back, legs loading (bending – they should already be bent) or any other movement that may warn the opponent. The purpose of the FRP means that everything is ready to go. The very next movement must be the step and punch. Once connected the student must demonstrate their ability to remain in balance and hunt down the opponent whilst throwing more shots or escape.
In addition the student must understand the theory of pre fight awareness and how to project a confident manner.

Focus pads

Left and right punches on the pads while moving around. When moving into range, this must be done with footwork rather than leaning or distributing more weight onto the front leg. Accurate, solid punches delivered without drawing back are essential.
Pyramid set to 5.

3 Drill

All attacks should be towards the partners face, not the arms. Lap’s should be in the correct direction and strong. The defences with the exception of the pak sau must be moving forwards and the arm that is lap’d must be relaxed.
The required standard for grade 1 is to show the ability to change from one side to the other, remain relaxed and maintain form.

Lat Sau

Punches must be towards the opponents face and not become specific blocks. The arms stay relaxed throughout but the shoulders remain square even if they are getting hit!
The required standard for grade 1 is to show the ability to change from one side to the other, remain relaxed and maintain form.


Explain and demonstrate the three basic theories of Wing Chun.

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