What is Shotokan Karate-Do?
"Kara" is the Japanese for empty while "te" means hand and do translates as "the way". Karate-Do is the way of the empty hand. The purpose of Karate-Do is to work towards improving your self-discipline, self-control and your character through training. Karate develops balance, speed, power and
co-ordination. These are developed by practicing three areas: Kihon (Basics), Kata (Forms/Patterns) and Kumite (Sparring)
What is Kihon?
"Kihon" means basics or fundamentals in Japenese. It is the term used to describe the basic techniques which make up the foundation of karate. The training of Kihon is essential to advancing in Karate.
The practicing of Kihon involves stances, punches, kicks and blocks, it also includes correct form, attitude and breathing techniques.
What is Kata?
"Kata" literally translates to forms in Japanese. Karate Kata are a series of movements and techniques which are executed in a specific order while keeping correct form. Kata is not a literal representation of a fight, it shows the flow from one move to another. Kata teaches you form, balance and how to visualise attacks. You'll learn many Kata during your training.
What is Kumite?
"Kumite" is the sparring part of Karate. You learn how to apply techniques learned in Kihon into a fight situation. In Kumite, students don't strike full power due to the risk of injury. The aim of training is to be able to deliver powerful punches and kicks but in a controlled manner by pulling your strike back just after making contact (before contact for lower grades). While training you wear small gloves (mits) so you can deliver more power while reducing risk of injury. Training Kumite is not about dealing damage but landing fast, precise and controlled strikes.
Who is Karate for and do I need to be fit?
Karate is for everybody, children, men, women and older people. Fitness does not matter. Don't say "I'll start when I'm fit". Everyone gets the same training, obviously the Seinseis won't demand the same endurance from an older person.
Karate training is personal, there is no competition with anybody else. The seinseis only expect you to try and do your best, they are there to guide you.
What are the Benefits?
There are many benefits to practicing Karate. Build your self-esteem and self-belief, develop respect, discipline, self defense and self motivation, increase focus, attention span, general health, fitness and lots of other skills.
You also make long lasting friendships, memories and gain self-understanding.