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PHOTO OF Gerrit Zaayman after completing Godan drading. Intro of Thesis underneath. For the full thesis please contact Sensei Gerrit at zaaymang@gmail.com

Gerrit Zaayman - 5th Dan

SUMMARY OF THESIS - KARATE DEVELOPMENT PHASES - THE WAY TO BUDO-KARATE - SASKA GoDan Thesis by Gerrit Zaayman - March 2017


Table of contents
1. EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ...................................................................................................... 3
2. INTRODUCTION ............................................................................................................... 3
3. THE PHASES OF DEVELOPMENT ......................................................................................... 4
3.1 The Discovery Phase ....................................................................................................... 4
3.2 The Technical Phase ........................................................................................................ 5
3.3 The Power Phase............................................................................................................. 6
3.3.1 Breathing ....................................................................................................................7
3.3.2 Ki ...............................................................................................................................7
3.3.3 Kime ...........................................................................................................................8
3.3.4 Power Training Exercises ................................................................................................8
3.4 The Budo Phase ............................................................................................................. 10
3.4.1 Training Supplement for the Budo Phase ........................................................................ 12
4. THE ULTIMATE GOAL ........................................................................................................ 14
4.1.1 Guiding principles ....................................................................................................... 16
5. CONCLUSION .................................................................................................................. 18
REFERENCES…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………19

1. Executive Summary The pure definition of the term “budo” means the “way of the warrior”. In the karate world this refers to “the karate way”. This means embracing a lifestyle based upon the principals of karate including; body and mind, focusing on technique, conditioning, good health, strong spirit and ultimately striving towards the perfection of character. According to some commentators such as Kenji Tokitsu and Shigeru Egami, the word budo is so deeply engrained in the Japanese culture that it is difficult to describe the full meaning of the concept in the English language. For this overview, it is sufficient to simply describe it as a way of life built around the principals of karate.
Technically the word “budo” can be used to describe the entire karate development process. However, in describing the phases of development I have reserved the term to classify the last phase in the development process. This is because karate practitioners typically only start to become aware of the full impact of Budo Karate in the later part of their respective karate journeys.
In my experience, as both an instructor and a pupil we go through 4 primary phases in our karate development. These are the Discovery, Technical, Power and Budo phases. Each phase can last multiple years and the rate of transition is, to a large extent, up to the desires and goals of the practitioner.
Each phase is an achievement in its own right, and each phase provides its own level of satisfaction and sense of achievement when mastered. One of the most important things to understand, especially for our young and beginner practitioners, is that there are no shortcuts from one phase to the next. Progression between phases can only be achieved by consistent hard work over many years, to learn, fully understand and master each aspect of the development process.
Both the body and mind needs continued stimulus and rehearsal to develop and release the potential available to each of us. This potential can only be achieved if pursued with enough passion and dedication. We currently live in a world of instant gratification and often do not have the patience to work on an art form requiring years and years to develop. Therefore, karate must be viewed as a way of life – part of a life long journey of constant learning and development.

2. Introduction
One of the questions often asked is “why do I have to wait so long between successive belts if I know all the material”? This question becomes even more prevalent during black belt (dan) gradings where the length of “waiting time” in years is equal to the dan level you wish to advance to next.
I think we can all relate to the fact that sometimes we feel that we have mastered a specific technique or kata (form) only to realize some time later that we now have an even deeper understanding. After decades of involvement in karate, talking to many practitioners as well as extensive literature study, it became clear that this was a common question many karateka throughout the years were struggling with.
Slowly I started to realize that the so-called artificial time buffers between gradings was designed to provide practitioners the opportunity to fully grow and developed as required to be ready for the next grade level. In the early phases of our karate training we believe it is all about technique (kata and kihon) and that progression is only dependent on the ability to know and demonstrate the various techniques and forms.
It is only later that we discover the many other, even more difficult aspects, such as body conditioning, breathing, spatial orientation, distancing, mindset, Ki and kime and many more, also required to realize the full potential of karate.
After careful consideration, I developed a roadmap of what I believe is a practical framework to describe the karate development process. The purpose of this thesis is to share my research and experience to help other karateka understand where they are in the development process and to better understand the path ahead.
This framework should help practitioners realize that there are many steps in this process and without this knowledge we might even be unaware of the learning still ahead of us. Practitioners must embrace this fact, as karate is a life long journey of discovery, learning, growth and there is no definitive endpoint.
I have defined four ‘Phases of Development’ (Discovery, Technical, Power and Budo) and will endeavor to explain these phases in more detail in the sections to follow. For my own personal development, I found tremendous value in understanding these phases and associated progression one can expect and should constantly strive for.
If one embarks on a journey without any roadmap it is often harder to reach and identify the correct milestones on each leg of the journey.
I trust this thesis will help to provide some guidance as to the expectations and subsequent progression of both learners and instructors.
For the full thesis write to burger@saska.co.za


Sensei Gerrit Zaayman
 

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