This is one of the most common questions asked of an Instructor, and probably the hardest to answer. This is because most martial arts syllabus deal with kick, block, punch competencies when teaching & testing students.

Kicking & punching in the air and breaking boards with your hands or feet are great skills, but unfortunately won’t teach you how to deal with an actual physical attack.

At the Figtree Kan Zen Ryu Karate Dojo, students develop through scenario based competencies. This is after all how our brain absorbs and recalls information. We instill a "Call to Action" recall and response, not simply a learnt technique.  We teach levels of threat response so one can simply break free and escape, or if needed, escalate the response to stop the threat.

Each grade is like a mini self-defence system with techniques taught hand in hand with specific strategies and scenarios appropriate to the skill level of the grade.

Building Foundations

By the time a student has passed the first 3 belt grades at the Figtree Kan Zen Ryu Karate Dojo, they will have achieved the foundation competencies to defend themselves at all ranges, and against all of the most common acts of unarmed physical violence.

Some Of The Area Covered:

Long range - punch kick attacks

Mid to Short Range - elbow, knee, head-butt attacks

Close range - grabs, clinch, joint lock & submission escapes

Take-down defence

Ground defence

Seated defence

Defence against multiple attackers

Not Just for Sport

While we have been very successful in martial sports competitions, we teach far more than merely sports martial arts. It is a fact that many of the techniques that are deemed illegal in sports martial arts, are the “Go-To” techniques of the street thug!  The scenario based competencies' students learn at the Figtree Kan Zen Ryu Karate Dojo are focused on defence against the most common street attacks.

Sports Martial Arts and Street Self-Defence are worlds apart!

Kids Karate Classes at Kan Zen Ryu Karate Figtree with instructor Tyraus Farrelly

While students are in their formative stage of learning karate, a focus on gross motor movements during self-defence scenarios, and a strategy of push/pull, break free and escape, are essential.  Maintaining balance through proper stance-work and learning the Yin/Yang of Karate - The dual importance of both slow well-executed techniques with good "FORM" is essential, but so is the ability to fire off at 100% intensity so each technique is effective or "FUNCTIONAL".  The concepts of FORM & FUNCTION are continually instilled, so too are the functional differences of sports karate vs pure karate or Self-defence.

While instilling the important precepts of courtesy and respect, students will learn specific PRIMARY applications for each technique for both sports competition and self-defence.

Some of the Self-defence Competencies for White Belt:

  • Defence against a Straight punch, hook punch and punch attach from the side
  • Defence against straight kick
  • Defence against one & two-handed push/pull/shove
  • Defence against various hand grabs
  • Defence against tackle
  • Defence against a rear grab
  • Defences against a lapel grab
  • Establishing passive guard & personal space
  • Level one & level 2 threat responses

Having passed their first belt grade, students are now gaining an awareness & ability to judge distance, they are developing co-ordination, balance, timing, power, and accuracy in their technique.

While developing further the principals and strategies of the first belt grade, students are introduced to the concept of angles of attack & defence, their targeting changes from simple high, mid & lower level, to targeting specific points on the body.  They are introduced to break-falling, take-downs & joint locks, and learn specific self-defence scenarios while seated & on the ground.   They will learn the importance of balance, positioning and hand/wrist control.

The "PRIMARY APPLICATIONS” for sports competition and self-defence will be taught for each technique.

While continuing to instill the important precepts of courtesy and respect, students at yellow belt must study and develop the attribute of discipline.

Some of the Self-Defence Competencies for Yellow Belt:

  • Defence against Head Butt
  • Defence against a grab & punch, straight in-front & from the side
  • Defence while seated
  • Defence while on the ground
  • Basic take-downs & joint locks
  • Advanced applications of previously learnt techniques
  • Establishing various wrist/hand control options
  • 8 angles of attack and defence
  • Introduction to level three threat response, (depending on age and character/maturity of student)
  • Targeting specific vital areas, (depending on age and character/maturity of student)

Students have grown from the initial development of gross motor movement and responses' to developing more accuracy, focus, power, timing & distance.  Their defence and striking ability has become more honed and they are becoming more comfortable defending against many types of attacks.

The 8th Kyu orange belt techniques and self-defence competencies' round-off these skills by focusing on in-close techniques & strategies.  Knees, elbows, clinch work, arm & head control, vital point striking, joint locks, chokes and take-downs.

Completion of the 8th Kyu orange belt syllabus completes the foundation competencies' at all self-defence ranges.  They are by no means a martial arts expert, but they have covered self-defence competencies against most of the "predictable/habitual acts of unarmed physical violence".

While continuing to instilling the important precepts of courtesy, respect, & discipline, students must now focus on the virtue of Honesty.  How it applies in self-reflection and improvement as a martial artist and how it applies in life to make them a better person.

Some of the Self-defence Competencies for Orange Belt:

• Defence against Double handed grab/choke

• Defence against Knee strikes

• Defence against elbow strikes

• Clinch Defence

• Basic level 2 take-downs & joint locks

• Advanced applications of previously learnt techniques

• Establishing various arm & head/neck control options, (clinch control positions)

Continuation of various level three threat response applications, (vital point striking)