TRAINING | DOJO ETIQUETTE | COURSES | TECHNIQUES | SHOTOKAN GRADING
This page provides details in relation to what our classes consist of, the Dojo Etiquette (Rules) we expect each student to follow and details about some of the techniques we use throughout our training sessions.
You must ensure that you train regularly, even though your muscles may complain initially. Do not be afraid to make mistakes, and do not worry if your progress is not as rapid as you might like it to be – everybody feels awkward at first. If there is anything that you do not understand, just ask a higher grade.
FORMAT OF TRAINING – WHAT TO EXPECT
The session starts when line-out is called. Students should quickly, and quietly, form lines of equal length, facing the sensei. It is customary to order rows according to grades – higher grades are typically nearest the front and towards one side or the other of the dojo. Students then kneel and bow to the Sensei, and a series of warm up exercises follow. These exercises are typically a mixture of aerobics and stretching, designed to increase flexibility and prepare the muscles for karate training.
Now training begins. If space permits, the class may be split into groups according to grade, so that students may be given instruction aimed specifically at their level.
Classes will typically involve a balanced mixture of the three main aspects of karate; Kihon (Basics), Kata and Kumite.
In kihon, you will learn the Karate way of punching, blocking, kicking and movement. Often you will do drills for your Sensei/Instructor. These drills are vitally important to each and every student’s development as the techniques you learn during this part of your training are the foundations of every aspect of karate. You should always try your absolute hardest, sound motivated, get low, and snap out your blocks, punches, and kicks.
In kata, you learn to combine the basic techniques in a flowing movement. Each kata is built around a specific fighting strategy for you to understand. Always remember to look where you’re going, and remember what you learned in kihon.
In kumite, you learn to apply kihon and bunkai in a controlled environment. Kumite is one step towards real combat, in that two practioners will attempt to perform moves on each other, whether in turns, or in Du Kumite which is another step towards free fighting. Remember to be relaxed, and don’t pay any attention to the size of the person.
Good balance is crucial to exercising Karate techniques with precision and timing. The sequence of techniques demanded by kata requires the karate-ka to adjust their centre of gravity and maintain balance through complex kicks, turns and strikes. As the central part of the body, the hips are crucial to maintaining good balance and should also be rotated to add power and balance to kicks, punches and blocks.
POWER AND SPEED
Karate techniques rely on a combination of power and speed and karateka must learn to use their body strength effectively in order to maintain control and concentrate the greatest amount of force at the point of attack or defence. The ability to use muscular strength to the greatest effect through kicking, punching, striking and blocking is known as kime and requires the karateka to relax their body until the point of impact, at which point maximum power can be exercised.
Karate is an extremely focused art form which requires the karateka to learn to perform with complete concentration. Kicks and punches are not simply about building up strength in the arms and legs, but to have the most effect demand the entire body to be concentrated without distraction on the target.