LESSON OVERVIEW AND WHAT TO EXPECT
All new students who wish to take part in Karate training, must have a basic understanding of what to expect from the various aspects of the training and participation of this rewarding pastime. Listed below are a few hints, tips and guidelines to help introduce you to the world of Shotokan Karate and traditional martial arts training.
Lessons are usually broken down in to five basic parts. Consisting of: Warm-up, KIHON (Basics) , KUMITE (Fighting techniques), KATA (Patterns), and Warm Down, each section is explained below.
At the start of every lesson we start with a minimum of 15-20 minutes warm up, this will consist of gentle jogging around the hall including with changes of direction, running sideways in either direction, which can help with reaction and agility. Small sets of sit ups and push ups usually just 5 or 10. Full arm and shoulder rotations to help loosen up our shoulders, plus some hip rotations in both directions, toward the end of the warm up we move on to some gentle stretching of the legs working the thigh and calf muscles to help build flexibility, stamina and strength. We try to get all joints loose and all your muscles warmed up, this helps minimise the risk of injury whilst training.
All exercises and stretching techniques during the warm up are carried out at each students own pace and ability, only with time and experience will each student be asked to push that bit harder during the warm up to further their progress. If any student is carrying an injury, they must inform the Instructor and only do what they can manage, we are not here to hurt you more!!
All basic (KIHON) training is centred round learning to execute the correct technique involved for each attack or defensive move. The speed and pace of the technique is purely down to progressive training and experience. New students will not be expected to keep up with the higher graded students in the class, once again time spent listening and following the instructors command, will reap the greater benefit for those that want to learn. During basics you will also learn how to stand correctly in the proper stance. Various techniques require a different stances to be executed properly. “Good technique comes from good stances” like building a house you have to have solid foundations before the walls and roof can go on!
Kumite is the correct term used for sparring or fighting techniques. New students will not be expected to turn up for the first lesson and fight the club champion, this is not only unrealistic, but also potentially dangerous. When starting to understand the techniques required for successful sparring, however for the new student training with the higher grades is the best and quickest way to learn the skills and techniques required. The experience from our more seasoned members mean that you are in safe hands.
All new students will have learnt how to block, and when to block an attack. By following a rigid structure of basic moves, which starts with 3 step sparring. This literally means we step forward and backwards 3 times punching to the body and to the head area of your partner, in turn your partner will respond with the appropriate rising and outside blocks to fend of the incoming attack. Once this set of moves are complete the roles are reversed to go back the other way.
Only after mastering the basics of three step sparring will a new student participate in gentle free sparring, this is usually a senior grade, who will have the skill and ability to control the pace of the bout. Thus minimising the risk of injury. Once a student gains in confidence and ability does the sparring step up a gear, protective mitts and other safety equipment should be worn to minimise the risk of injury, We do not expect all students to be the next world champion, we do however expect everyone to have a go, and discover their own limits.
Sometimes known as forms in other styles of martial art, kata is an essential means of understanding what karate is all about, to put it simply kata will make sense of all the individual moves you have learnt by stringing them together to make a preset pattern of moves.
With every belt or grading that the student (karateka) undertakes they will learn a new set of moves or kata, the further through the colour belt system you go the harder technically and physically they get.
Up to and including the first degree of black belt a student will learn at least 12 kata.
By the time the student is half way to the black belt he should have a good grasp about each of the moves he is performing and why. Kata can sometimes be thought of as having an imaginary fight, with only you doing the moves!
Just as it says, after a hard training session its no good just stopping what you are doing and then going home, its essential we let our bodies recover from the lesson as well. We simply do this by repeating some of the exercises we did at the start of the lesson at a much slower pace allowing our bodies to slow down the pace as well.
IS IT FUN
Above all else you are here to enjoy your introduction to karate and the world of martial arts, by following these simple guidelines, you will maximise your training time in the dojo, and progress in this fantastic pastime quicker than you might imagine. For the children we often start and finish with team games, which gets everyone working together in a fun environment whilst getting warmed up for the session at the same time, or cooling down at the end.
There are more injuries treated each year in hospital as a result of fishing, than there are linked to participating in any form of martial art.