The material in the Orange Belt Curriculum (Nanakyu) introduces more complex movements and movement patterns. Chief among these are movements involving multiple hand strikes and multiple kicks. Nearly all strikes and kicks in this belt involve multiple impacts with one or both arms or legs.
The topics introduced continue to focus on common defense methodologies and provide strategies and approaches that may work well in many different circumstances. No skill, Kata, technique, or strategy is perfect or applicable to all, or even most, situations. You should begin to understand that no skill is likely to be useful, even against the attack for which it is intended, without some modification or adaptation to address a specific situation. Therefore you should consider such skills and Kata as a teaching tool that shows ways in which your body and mind can respond to momentary windows of opportunity afforded during a confrontation. In an actual self-defense situation you are likely to find that you utilize multiple different skills; you are unlikely to use a single strategy or skill. You should ultimately train so that your movements are spontaneous and adaptable so they afford you the most flexibility during a confrontational situation.
When you first learn a new skill you should begin slowly to perfect the basic movements, methods, and timing. Then, as you become more proficient, gradually increase the speed and power until the skill can be done extremely fast and effectively while you remain in perfect balance and control. Generally speaking, the speed and power develop much more quickly than the balance and control, yet all are required for any skill to be effective.
Throughout this belt you should work on improving your balance, speed, power, and coordination. You should also incorporate and address any comments and suggestions that were made to you at the conclusion of your most recent belt rank examination. The comments were offered to improve and enhance your martial arts skills. Please treat the comments as positive suggestions, for that was their intent.
The requirements for advancement to Orange Belt are more stringent than those for Yellow Belt. You will be required to be more proficient and faster while exhibiting fewer errors in your skills, Waza, techniques, and Kata during your ranking test. This is generally the case within Tensoku Ryu. You will find that each belt is significantly more demanding than the last.
Finally, recognize that knowing a skill does not mean you should look for ways or situations in which you might employ it. Conflict should be avoided whenever possible. The skills are provided as a defensive strategy that might be employed only when no other option is available. Practice the various maneuvers as though your life depends upon it, because someday it may. But do not utilize them to test their effectiveness on others, demonstrate your martial arts prowess, or satisfy your ego.
The following material must be mastered before you can achieve the Orange Belt ranking. Most skills must be demonstrated both “in the air” and “against an opponent.” A skill executed “in the air” is done without an opponent so that knowledge, speed, timing, positioning and other aspects of the skill can be evaluated without visual interference. Skills done “against an opponent” are done on another student or instructor to demonstrate knowledge of strike placement, movement, balance, positioning, and other practical aspects of martial arts skills.
During ranking examinations, skills should be done for maximum intensity, speed, control, and effectiveness. We are most interested in ensuring that you not only know how the skill is done, but that you can make it work effectively should you unfortunately ever have need to defend yourself.
The Orange Belt skills focus on multiple strikes, kicks, blocks, and a variety of essential stances or postures.
Where’d They Go?
One of the concepts addressed by the material in this belt is opponent positional awareness. You will be introduced to a number of strategies, movements, and ideas that train you how to consciously, and eventually unconsciously, track or predict the location of your opponent(s) at any moment in time. Many of these practices will seem counter intuitive at first but you should quickly come to understand how they will enable you to always remain one step ahead of your opponent(s).
In Tensoku Ryu, knowing your opponent’s current location is far less important than knowing where he or she will be next. Ultimately you will not only know their future location, you will also be able to predict and even dictate their movement when they get there. In due course you will be able to know your opponent will throw a right upper cut strike because that is the very strike you intend for them to throw. As you become very proficient at Tensoku Ryu you will be able to dictate an opponent’s position and movement with extreme precision.
Unfortunately it takes a very long time to develop the senses and skills required to dictate such movements. The first stage along that journey is developing an innate sense for where your opponent will be following a specific movement. That is an essential skill you will begin to develop as you progress toward Orange Belt.
You will also be introduced to the use of weapons for the first time. Commensurate with this weapons training is your understanding and observance of the customs, etiquette, and common practices of weapons use in and outside of the Dojo. We have an increasing number of etiquette requirements and training rules that are designed primarily to keep you and those nearby safe. A large part of the reason you are learning weapons is that you have demonstrated that you have a positive attitude and can act responsibly. Your responsibilities increase dramatically when you wield a weapon. As a result we have little patience for those who imprudently use weapons. When you have a weapon either in your hands or nearby, you must follow the prescribed etiquette, usage, and behavioral rules so that everyone can feel safe while in your vicinity.
Throughout this curriculum and during your martial arts training you will be exposed to techniques, methods, strategies, concepts, and practices that could lead to potential injury or death for yourself or an opponent. Should you ever be threatened with severe injury from an attacker these concepts may well protect you, but there can be no guarantees that any particular concept, practice, technique, or Kata will offer you a successful defense. There are too many variables to ensure that a particular approach to defense against an attack will be successful. Rely more on avoiding conflict than upon using combative skills to protect you in an attack.
Using a martial art skill, technique, movement, concept, Kata, or any martial arts practices against an opponent should be avoided whenever possible. Tensoku Ryu does not promote, condone, or encourage use of violence against anyone, including an attacker. While it may be emotionally gratifying to injure another, it is not legally justified except in those rare situations where you (or another person) are under threat of impending injury or death. Use of martial arts skills on another will subject you to legal scrutiny and certain legal prosecution if your actions are determined to be inappropriate.
Orange Belt Curriculum