I thoroughly enjoyed the videos, especially your clear and thought-provoking lectures and demonstrations.... As a martial arts student and instructor myself, I am very excited about introducing this material into my own practice and classes. Your approach to the martial arts is fresh and powerful...and it has already gotten me thinking about how I can better teach my students and, more importantly , what I can better teach my students. --Matt Dorsey, Rochester, NY
The ROAD to MASTERY (Part I)
Travel with Willem deTHOUARS (Kuntao Silat), Bruce JUCHNIK (KoshoRyu), and Tony ANNESI (Takeshin Sogo Budo) as they show signposts on the technical journey toward Mastery. Your first signpost is, of course, Basics. But basics are more than they first appear. Even for a beginner, each art has a different concept of what basics should be. DeThouars and Juchnik discuss basics like perception and awareness while Annesi covers basics like stance and blocking stability. Not only must you master basics, you should also test them. Discover Shihan Annesi's unique way to test postural efficiency so you can improve your own stance and structure.
The ROAD to MASTERY (Part II)
Basics become Forms and Techniques. You have practiced many basics as self-defense. More often, however, basics transmute into the more complicated combinations you know as kata or waza. Even these contain more than meet the eye. Annesi's bunkai of Tensho kata, for example, illustrates a point made in his earlier Transmutation videos and in Cracking the Kata Code videos, that any form, whether a kata or a waza can hold enormous meaning below its surface. Learn how a simple kata can have subtle application that can be lost upon even those who practice it regularly.
The ROAD to MASTERY (Part III)
Form & Techniques produce Variation. For most students, improvement in the martial arts means adding to their list of techniques or variations. The more choices of techniques you have with which to respond to an attack, the better you are able to handle that attack. Variations are endless so it is logical that students perceive a large repertoire of variation as the pinnacle of martial development. This video suggests that Variation, although essential, is merely a stepping stone on your way toward mastery.
The ROAD to MASTERY (Part IV)
Variations lead to Principles. Once you have accumulated myriad variations, you must have a way to organize them. Even the master's mind cannot work if clogged by a mile-long menu of technical choices. This is why the next signpost on the road to mastery is understanding how variations can be summarized into a relatively small group of Principles (genri). Different arts approach Principle in different ways; but, to master an art, you must go beyond the accumulation of concretes to the integration of concepts. New to the study of principles? Not after you experience this signpost.
The ROAD to MASTERY (Part V)
The fundament of freedom: Everything is Budo. When you integrate both techniques and principles, you go beyond shape, form, or style. Not only do your trained actions become automatic, but your everyday actions become structured with the new intent of self-defense. You now can turn any motion into a lock, a block, a blow, or a throw. Because budo has become part of your life, your life can serve as the shape, style and method of your budo. Beyond the gate of traditional budo lies the Road to Mastery. At the pinnacle of mastery lies Banji-wa budo desu (Everything is budo).