Appreciate The Small Things
The Intermediate Stage is the third of four stages which together make up the Apprentice Level of the FWTS Training Programme.
The purpose of the Intermediate Stage is to apply everything you’ve previously learned at a much closer range. Reducing the available space means that you have less room to move, so smaller, more economical techniques need to be employed. It’s also far easier to overreact, so a greater degree of precision is required in all your movements.
Reducing the space also makes things happen a lot faster. Multiple attacks, defences, and counter-attacks occur in seconds, which leaves little time for thought. Automatic reactions are the order of the day, for which we need to develop relaxed, fluid movement throughout the whole body.
Details are incredibly important, but only after the bigger picture has been understood. The devil is in the detail, as they say, but too many people focus on the small things early on, and this often holds back development.
Yes, the exact position of your elbow/shoulder/hip/knee/foot can be extremely important, but here in the Intermediate Stage is the right time to start obsessing about such things. Make sure you can do everything in the earlier stages first. Get the broad strokes right, sketch out the overall picture, and now you can start adding details and filling in the blank areas.
Work Through Grades 7-9
The material within the Intermediate Stage is delivered across the seventh, eighth and ninth Student Grades, which provide the short-term goals to be achieved. New material is introduced in the seventh grade, expanded and developed in the eighth, then varied and consolidated in the ninth. This connects with all previous material to provide a stand-alone set of skills and knowledge.
|Student Grade 7||7SG Syllabus
7SG Training Programme
|7SG introduces Elbow-Strikes, and explores close-range options from all Outside positions.|
|Student Grade 8||8SG Syllabus
8SG Training Programme
|8SG expands & develops the use of Elbow-Strikes, and adds close-range options from all Inside positions.|
|Student Grade 9||9SG Syllabus
9SG Training Programme
|9SG adds all the Knee-Strikes, explores close-range options from all Under/Over positions, and rounds off the Intermediate Stage material.|
Focus On The Details
The focus of the entire Intermediate Stage is to raise awareness of the Technical Element of the martial art system.
Although aspects of all the Five Martial Elements are included, students within the Intermediate Stage should concentrate on being as precise and accurate as possible. You are already able to move and defend effectively at longer ranges, and have an understanding of strategic choices. Now we expect a greater level of detail and accuracy in all movements – yours AND your opponents – and a growing awareness of you can achieve more by doing less.
You will discover a greater degree of physical control throughout your body, and an understanding of just how connected you are. Your awareness will no longer reside in your extremities, your hands and feet – instead you will control your elbows, your shoulders, your hips in order to achieve the correct positions.
As a comparison, a developing student of mathematics starts to explore and manipulate things other than integers (whole numbers). Fractions, decimals, an ever-increasing level of detail between one number and the next, and the small things start to grow in importance, for example: 5 x 5 equals 25, but 5.01 x 5.09 does not. Small details matter, and will become clearer as you zoom in.