Introduction to the Class:
Karate training has a variety of forms, each with their own purpose. In the Shotokan Karate class at CSU, we want you to experience as many of these forms of training as possible, as each one enhances your karate. Regular Karate classes can be broken into 3 major types of training: Kihon, Kata, and Kumite. In addition to these regular types of training there are special types of training such as testing and tournaments.
Kihon - Basics/Combinations
Kihon, or basics, involves learning how to make a technique and improving the execution of a technique. This can be as simple as doing a single technique in place, or practicing a complicated combination of techniques and shifting. The goal is to try and perform the techniques as efficiently and effectively as possible, and it is a never ending lesson.
Kihon training is a great chance to build strength and muscle tone as well.
Kata - Forms
Kata are prearranged sets of techniques. There are 26 kata in the Shotokan syllabus. Kata training is used to further train your body to execute techniques while moving and shifting. In addition to this body training, kata training helps to develop an understanding of how karate can be applied in a variety of situations. During kata practice, a common recommendation is to envision being surrounded by enemies, and think of how each move of a kata can be used to handle an attack from one of the surrounding opponents.
Bunkai training is an extension of kata training that involves practicing individual moves with a partner. In addition to increasing understanding of Karate techniques and their potential applications, kata is great for building strength and endurance.
Kumite - Sparring
Kumite training involves executing attacking and blocking techniques against an opponent. It can take a variety of forms, from 3 or 5 step sparring in the early stages to free sparring at advanced ranks. In the early ranks, step sparring is used to allow participants to become accustomed to defending and attacking while beginning to learn about their ideal distance and how to adapt to an opponent's timing. At intermediate ranks, single step and semi free sparring are used to refine specific attacks and defenses, as well as to allow participants to learn about different types of offensive or defensive shifting. Finally, at advanced ranks, free sparring is used to tie everything together.
Kumite training is critical for developing confidence in techniques. At the higher ranks, kumite training is also an excellent cardio workout.
Special Training - Testing and Tournament
While testing and tournaments are never required, they are important aspects of Karate and warrant a special mention. Both types of training allow you to get further feedback on your karate, and more importantly they force you to submit your karate to viewing and critique. This helps you develop confidence in your abilities, and a willingness to demonstrate them when called upon. Competition is never required of our students, but it is encouraged. Winning or losing are not the important part of the training. Getting out there and executing your best possible karate in a potentially stressful situation is the goal of the training.
That being said, we do not generally offer any special tournament oriented training at the CSU Shotokan class. When competition training is offered, it generally consists of the same training regimen normally practiced, just at a noticably higher intensity. The goal is to make your Karate better, not to train you to "win" under a given competition's rules.
In addition to the confidence building exercise represented by testing and tournaments, these special trainings also give practitioners a chance to see the skills of others that they may not regularly train with.
While we run a fairly relaxed class, please try to keep the following rules in mind. These rules exist almost universally for the safety of the students. If you have any questions about the rules, please ask the Sensei before or after class and they will be more than happy to discuss them.
- Always bow upon entering the dojo, and bow to senior students and the Sensei as they enter.
- In the dojo, karate is your only concern. Talking during class, inattention to the instructor, or practicing anything else is disrespectful.
- Address your instructor as "Sensei" or "Mr." or "Sir", and black belts as Sempai.
- If the Sensei corrects your technique, respond clearly with "Osu" or "Hai".
- Thank the Sensei or the Sempai for their help.
- Never correct or criticize the Sensei or the Sempai. It is okay to ask questions, but complicated questions or questions about conflicting instruction should be saved for after class (this minimizes confusion and disruption to the class).
- Plan to stay for the whole class. If you have a personal commitment, be sure to make arrangements with the Sensei or Sempai before class begins.
- If you arrive late for class, you must wait for the Sensei or the Sempai's permission to enter the training.
- If you become ill during class, ask the Sensei's permission to leave. You will not be permitted to re-enter the training unless special conditions apply (such as a student who suffers an asthma attack, from which a full recovery can be achieved within a few minutes).
- If you need to leave the class for any reason, please let the Sensei know.
- If the Sensei asks for extra effort or spirit, all should respond "Osu!", loudly and clearly to show good spirit.
- Always bow to your partner prior to engaging in partner drills or sparring as a sign of mutual respect.
- Students will wear the traditional gi, or loose clothing. A gi must be worn for kyu/dan testing.
- Gi or workout clothing must be washed frequently and kept clean and fresh.
- Fingernails and toenails must be kept short.
- No jewelry of any kind is permitted during training, for protection of all students. If the student has a wedding ring which will not come off, they must put protective covering on it prior to training.
- No chewing gum, candy, or food of any kind is permitted during training.
- DO NOT ABUSE YOUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE MARTIAL ARTS. Karate should be used to avoid injury to yourself and others