WHAT IS KARATE?
Self defence. There is no first attack in Karate.
What Will You Learn?
Shotokan training is usually divided into three parts: kihon (basics), kata (forms or patterns of moves), and kumite (sparring).
This is how we generally start the lesson and is where you perform a sequence of prearranged moves against an imaginary opponent, while moving in a line.
Kata means either ‘form’ or ‘pattern’ and is where you perform a sequence of prearranged moves against an imaginary opponent.
We approach Kata in two different ways, firstly as a performance art where the aesthetics and form are paramount. The other approach is called Bunkai where the Kata is viewed as a catalogue of fighting moves that have some practical application for self defence.
Every time you progress a grade you will be asked to learn a new Kata.
Kumite means ‘sparring’ and is preformed with a training partner. This allows students to apply the techniques learned in line work to practical applications. Beginners will learn basic one- step sparring (Ippon Kumite) which is based on using formal positions and pre-arranged attacks and defences. This then develops into circle work (Based on group attacks) and Free-sparring (Jiyu Kumite).
We also teach defences against grab application such as wrist grabs and head locks.
Karate is a Martial Art
Karate is a Japanese martial art based on techniques developed in Okinawa and China. It focuses on self defence using punches, kicks, blocks, joint locks and leg sweeps.
The word karate is composed of two characters. The first ‘kara’ means ‘empty’, the second ‘te’ means ‘hand’, so karate can be translated as empty hand.
A Brief History of Karate
The history of karate is shrouded in mystery.
Karate tended to be studied in secret
societies before the twentieth century
and many of the written records were
destroyed in the Second World War.
It is believed that karate traces its routes from
ancient China when a Buddhist monk called
Bodhidharma introduced martial exercises
to the Shaolin temple. However, the majority
of karate’s development took place on
Okinawa. It is a common misconception
that karate was developed in Okinawa by peasants but they spent all day labouring, and to continue doing karate in the evening would require an extraordinary person. The truth is that the karate masters were of noble class.
The person responsible for modern day karate is Sensai (teacher) Gichin Funakoshi (image right). He helped to modernise karate and advertise it to the western world. He is often referred to as the father of Shotokan Karate.