Background, Curriculum, & Rank
We teach multiple disciplines, including traditional and modern styles. Primary systems of instruction include: Kung-Fu, Karate, Kickboxing, Brazilian Jiujitsu, Boxing, Muay Thai, Capoeira, Mixed Martial Arts, Kali/Silat, Aikido, Jujutsu, and Soft Style Arts. These styles have classes dedicated to their instruction.
As well, we uniquely teach the art of Sho Biyn Jiu (translated as First Understand Peace). The art is the cumulative result of the marriage between several systems, which includes influences primarily from Chinese Kung-Fu, Muay Thai, Ed Parker’s Kenpo, Tae Kwon Do, Judo, Aikido, and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In joining the philosophies from the styles, various strengths and weaknesses are brought to light regarding each individual style and how the style affects the practitioner. This enables the student to tailor the system towards her/his personal strengths, instead of forcing the student to adapt to the system.
Many traditionalists may get caught up in stylistic differences and feel that adding to a system takes away from its’ purity. While diversifying may be viewed as taking purity away from form, it is my belief that it adds to the essence of a system and makes it stronger. As an illustration, take an upside down pyramid, where the base is at the top and the point is at the bottom. In a traditional system that leaves no room for adaptation, you have the original instructor as the base (top) of the pyramid. S/he may teach many students, but likely doesn’t impart all of her/his knowledge to the students. That is, rarely is a student greater than the teacher. Therefore over time, as instructor teaches student, and the student becomes the teacher and instructs others, you have a knowledge base that decreases in size. You then have the upside down pyramid effect. With the Sho Biyn Jiu system, the teacher instructs her/his students on how to increase the art and make the art grow. This reverses the upside down pyramid. As well, you lose much of the conceit and pride that may tend to sneak in.
Plus One Defense Systems utilizes structured curriculum with primary and secondary competency focus areas. Each specified art has a designated structure. Within the Sho Biyn Jiu system four main areas of development are labeled as distinct aspects of the curriculum. The first area is that of “Technique”. Here, the student learns to do specific movements- punches, kicks, evasions, locks, manipulations, and so forth. The second area is that of “Forms”. Commonly known as katas or kuens, forms put various techniques into patterned motion. These movements have meaning and teach balance, coordination, and sequencing. They also train the body’s muscle memory, which helps the student eventually move faster and with less thoughtful effort. The next area is that of self-defense. Arguably the most important of the four, self-defense training with Plus One Defense Systems emphasizes concepts over techniques. To give an example, grabbing somebody’s wrist in a manipulation maneuver, after they grab or motion to grab you, is a technique. Utilizing a defensive motion to control the height, width, and depth of your opponent is conceptual in nature. Understanding how circular and linear approaches affect a given defensive situation becomes conceptual, as well. It is this emphasis on the conceptual foundation of technical maneuvers that help make a series of movements effective. That is why the concepts behind techniques are taught as a foundation to self-defense training, including ground fighting and weapons defense training. The forth area of physical training is that of kickboxing/sparring. Students participate in a light-continuous fashion with a focus on either stand-up or ground work. The focus is on utilizing strategy, concept, and technique in a way that practically teaches this area of personal defense. Along with its practicality, kickboxing and ground work is great exercise and serves well to help condition students.
There is an overall focus on mental training within the curriculum. This training teaches the student preparation methods for self-defense situations. Visualization is used to help prepare students, and defensive awareness is cultivated. This is done in an atmosphere that fosters respect, integrity, confidence, courtesy, modesty, perseverance, and self-control.
Rank is earned by students and is symbolic of how far along the training path one has come. Rank achievement differs depending upon the art you study. At Plus One Defense Systems students earn their belts in many different systems. Within the Sho Biyn Jiu system the belts are earned in the following order: white, yellow, orange, green, blue, purple, brown, and then black. Each belt level has an advanced classification. After the rank of black belt is obtained, training continues with various degrees of the black belt to be earned.
The colors in the belt system are very symbolic. The actual color white, in itself, is composed of all the colors in the visible spectrum. To observe this, take a prism and hold it up to white light, as the light is broken apart into different wavelengths the colors appear. So goes the belt system. The new student first earns the white belt. As time goes on, s/he progresses through the belts and each individual color, dissecting and digesting the material, until a greater understanding is achieved, and the student reaches the black belt. Subsequently, black is the absence of color. When your eye sees the color black, you actually see what surrounds the color and not the color itself. As a black belt, character and that which one surrounds her/himself with is key. The moral and ethical aspects associated with the abilities and rank are vital, and their development, which is woven into the curriculum, becomes the true test of rank.
It would also be noted that students who study with us, regardless of the discipline they study, are required to become members of the United Martial Arts Alliance. The alliance is an international association that certifies the ranking of students that are promoted at affiliated schools, of which Plus One Defense Systems has the distinction of being recognized. The association’s president is Kyoshi Robert Austin, 8th Dan Black Belt. Benefits of membership include rank recognition through the alliance, a certificate of membership (if desired), a membership card (if desired), and members can wear a membership patch on their uniform.