“How long should it take to go through the first stage?”
Sorry I missed this Adam.
Advancement is an individual thing.
There are some who have trained for 20 - 25 years and have yet to move to stage two.
That is okay too because the martial arts journey is a personal one.
These long time “shu” stagers are usually stuck in follow mode and have not yet been able to move on to exploring and discovering on their own.
If all you do is follow without exploring on your own then you will never leave the shu stage.
Again, every one training in the martial arts has the right to practice as they see fit.
Those who only want to follow have the right to do so.
But they are not seeking mastery but mimicry. Now sometimes they are seeking to mimic some really good karateka so that ain’t half bad.
This is very clearly written in the above quote:
”The theory behind the mastery of secrets via kata memorized involved, then, a progression from total subservience to tradition to a level of individual creativity.”
If you never move out of subservience you will never master Karate.
The time is personal and cannot be guessed at and not everyone is capable of moving to stage two and fewer I would think to stage three.