All classes at our school are scaled – beginners learn and practice what is appropriate for beginners and more advanced students learn and practice what is appropriate for their rank. Besides the obvious reason of this is how it was done traditionally, there are a number of reasons for this progression.
First, it certainly does not make sense for students in their first week at the school to do the same level of work as the most senior students who have been training for years. The new students would become overwhelmed and exhausted – perhaps question why they signed up in the first place. By the same token, if the more advanced students had the same workload as the new students they wouldn’t be pressed enough to fully develop their bodies and skills. Thus, students can expect to be pushed more with less rest and more intensity after each rank is attained.
Second, there is another purpose for the lower rank resting (besides catching their breath). It is important for them to watch class and observe what the higher rank is doing. They will clearly be able to see the different speeds, powers, balance, etc. between the various ranks and hopefully learn and be inspired to advance themselves.. Movements, forms, and techniques they will soon be learning will be done before them and will help in their learning if they choose to pay attention.
Third, like most things in life, the basics are the foundation that all advanced skills are built on and without a sound foundation of basics the more difficult aspects of kung fu won’t come. Therefore, new students must put in a good deal of practice in the basics to develop competency. Once they have demonstrated ability to properly execute what they’ve been taught, then the student can move on and learn other techniques that may seem more awkward and demanding. Should students learn too much, too fast there is a chance that they can forget details of the movements taught or even the entire movement. There is even a chance of injury. This is why there is a natural progression of learning and development at our school.
Always keep in mind that the basics must always be drilled and that more difficult and advanced aspects of kung fu come in time. Don’t mistake more advanced looking techniques or forms as more advanced kung fu. Being able to properly execute techniques – be they “beginner” or “advanced” in sparring with relative grace and ease is the ultimate expression of kung fu skill.