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Paul Herbert 5th Dan
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‘Grading Syllabus for Shotokan Karate 9th-1st Kyu’ by Karate-Videos presents, as the title would suggest, the grading syllabus for beginners, up until they get to put that beautiful silk belt around their waist.

 

This DVD is demonstrated by Craig Raye, the late Sensei Enoeda’s club dojo captain for 10 years and his sparring partner Robert Richards who also trained under Sensei Enoeda, Kawasoe and Ohta.

 

For me, the beauty of this DVD lies in its format. By the simple flick of your DVD remote you will have access to demonstrations in Basic Kihon drills, kata and kumite, by Raye and Richards. For the beginner this will provide an interesting insight into the future development they will follow as they move through the grade ranks.

 

What makes this DVD that little bit different from the rest is the excellent use of camera angles. Most DVDs provide the standard angle, from the front, sometimes from the rear and occasionally from the side. This DVD however provides up to 12 different angles of viewing including Wide Shots, top shots, close ups, profiles, mirror images, forward and reverse views, from above ad split screen.

 

This makes viewing excellent in that you can study the parts you are interested in, completely under your command. You can choose the way you view it, which naturally translates to you learning in the way you wish to. This is an excellent bonus for me.

 

As with all of the Karate-Videos, this DVD combines the excellent format along with a beautiful set up. The footage is shot from a sterile white room, which interestingly ensures 100% of your attention is on the karate rather than on the sometimes-awful décor that you can sometimes see in Karate Videos.  Call me weird, but this type of thing is very important and definitely ups the standard of the production.

 

This DVD includes:

 

Kata Kihon

Heian Shodan

Heian Nidan

Heian Sandan

Heian Yondan

Heian Godan

Tekki Shodan

Bassai Dai

 

Kihon

 

Kumite

 

As mentioned above, this DVD allows you to scroll through the footage necessary for learning grading material. While the syllabus may not fully fit in with all organisation’s grading syllabus, from an instructional angle, this DVD may provide some interesting thoughts on specific drills for each grade. For many groups, designing a grading syllabus that will fully nurture, enhance, challenge but not alienate students is incredibly difficult, so by viewing the methods of Raye and Richards here, you may be able to take away some interesting ideas.

 

For me the weaker part of this DVD lies in its lack of explanation. Kata is done to a count, which makes learning the timing of the kata easier, but it gives no information on the grading requirement in the sense of standards. No technical points are made which I think would have made this DVD all the more useful. Its important to remember however that this is not intended to be instructional in a video tutorial sense, but rather informative on a syllabus that has created some truly excellent karateka.

 

This DVD is excellently shot, well designed and does the job it intended. If you want to follow a syllabus that these karateka use then this is a great DVD for you.

 

Shaun Banfield