What is Kata?
- Kata is a series of pre-determined fighting moves designed by the original founders of karate to pass a dialogue on defense strategies from teacher to student.
- Kata is made up of both basic and complex karate moves that are sequenced in a specific order to defend against one or many imagined attackers. A practitioner practices these set moves first for memory, then for proficiency.
Once a kata has been learned, it must be practiced repeatedly until it can be applied in an emergency. For knowledge of just the sequence of a form in karate is useless. – Ginchin Funakoshi
What are the benefits of Kata?
- There is no age limitation on learning kata, you can start at any time, even if you haven’t practised karate before, it is never too late.
- Unlike some activities such as football, running and other heavy impact type games, you can continue to practise kata your entire life, it will not wear your the joints, it will strengthen their formations.
- When taught correctly and with meaning kata has been proven to be a an effective means to learn the art of self-defense.
- Kata practise facilitates proficiency of technique, builds muscle memory, flexibility, strength, mindfulness, stamina and breath control.
- When learning a kata from a traditional karate style students have the opportunity to learn from the great masters who developed kata as a vehicle to pass on their own self-defence techniques in these neatly packaged gifts we call kata.
Is it difficult to learn Kata?
- No, but it does take time. Kata is practiced over and over again. Until the movements are known intrinsically and become second nature to the practitioner, then they are practiced some more. Lots more.
- Kata movements are finely tuned again and again with mindful repetition, where the practitioner pays attention to every required act of it’s ultimate simplicity.
“In the past, it was expected that about three years were required to learn a single kata, and usually even an expert of considerable skill would only know three, or at most five, Kata.” – Ginchin Funakoshi
Master Chojiro Tani
“Karate-do is a lifetime study.” – Kenwa Mabuni
Kata should form the largest part of your karate training.
- This is a contentious issue amongst many new karate practitioners that believe kumite to be the crux of training. Kumite is a game of tag with a live opponent, designed to put you under stress, it is about how many times you can get hit, fall down and get back up again. If that is how you choose to test your mettle then please go ahead. I believe that kumite should be reserved as either an event at a sports karate tournament or practised because it is a requisite to achieve your next rank, it should not be the main focus of your training. A more experienced karate practitioner will tell you that kata should be ninety percent of your training so that the movements developed through kata will become so intrinsic within your physical makeup that kata itself will form the foundations of your kumite bouts.
Kata is the Art of Karate, it is where the stories are told and true battles are won. The repetitive nature of kata practise, quietens your mind and teaches your body how to respond to stress, attachment and fear. True kata practise requires commitment, focus and mindfulness. You need to listen to your body and recognise when your muscles are shifting incorrectly and adjust them accordingly.
When practising kata you need to develop timing, fluidity, tension and softness. It is not enough to tell this karate story in a bland monotone series of techniques, you need to learn how to bring the story alive.
“Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.” – Roger Gracie
There are so many variables to consider when selecting a Karate Club for yourself or your children. Do not be persuaded by a flashy cover, an exuberant instructor or well practised sales tactics. Look at little deeper, and make sure that you are getting value for your money.
- Location & Timing – is an important consideration. How far from home are you prepared to travel for classes twice a week? Do the days and the times of the classes on offer suit your schedule? Don’t forget to consider: school, work hours and other family members sport commitments.
- Does the club offer appropriate classes and activities for a range of ages and skill levels?
- Who is the principal instructor? Is he/she approachable? What is their rank, training and experience. Some clubs will encourage students as low as 7th Kyu (Yellow Belt) to become instructors. This is before they themselves have learned the style and correct execution of techniques. Beware of these clubs. There will often be a high turn over of instructors and students as little structure is offered within their karate system. Some will claim that unlike other styles, they have been taught to teach and perhaps that is true, to the extent that they receive a manual of lesson plans, attend an occasional workshop and are awarded a certificate that says they can teach which often times is not worth the paper that it is written on.
- Look for a club whose principal instructor has not only spent years learning and perfecting their Karate style but is affiliated with governing bodies such as the Australian Karate Federation that ensure instructors maintain a standard of professionalism, education and on going development.
- Where does their Karate originate from? Karate is a Japanese Martial Art and as such a true Karate style will be able to trace back their lineage to the founding fathers of Karate. Physical training techniques have advanced in many ways and a good instructor will incorporate these changes into their training. However, the true spirit of Budo and the essence of a Kata driven style is strong, beautiful, and worth finding because its application is still relevant for today’s students.
- Clubs will often try to get you in with special offers, one going around at the moment is $49 for a Karate uniform and five free lessons! Another club is offering free training until you reach your first belt (which is often within two weeks of joining). Make sure that you know what the costs of training will be when this special offer runs out. Ask what the cost of classes are: if you miss a class do they offer a make up class? How much are gradings? Is there an ongoing registration fee? What about seminars with visiting heads of styles, are these included in your membership? Do your fees cover you for insurance and affiliation memberships?
- How often does the club hold gradings? What is the criteria for a student to grade? Check that the club does not hold mass grading where everyone can attend for a fee as long as they have a suitable attendance record. Students should only be asked to grade once their Sensei has seen them consistently perform the required techniques at the skill level appropriate to the rank that they are attempting during class times.
- When visiting the dojo look at how the students are being treated? People are not numbers, does the instructor regularly use a persons name? Does the instructor treat everyone with respect sharing his/her time equally among all ranks from beginners to the most experienced? What is the general feeling you get from the other students, are they friendly, helpful and approachable? How do the students treat each other? What is the atmosphere within the dojo?
Do not let these questions overwhelm you. When you are making inquiries do not be put off and have your questions brushed aside. Consider that in the long term you will invest a considerable amount of money into Karate training so make sure that you choose wisely.
DO NOT JOIN ANY CLUB WITHOUT ATTENDING A FREE TRIAL AND GETTING YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED!
In the age of instant gratification, everyday rewards and entitlements Karate teaches us that persistence, respect and humility are the ways forward. As parents we want the best for our kids and we want our kids to be able to achieve their best. We want them to be the best version of themselves.
The following list is compiled of the six attributes Karate training in the right dojo will promote in your child. They only have to turn up, walk through the door and listen.
- Confidence: Walking through the door on that first day takes courage, curiosity and maybe a little push dappled with parental assurance. New experiences get easier to approach in time and while the fear never goes away completely, the more times you put yourself in a new situation the more coping mechanisms you build. Kids learn instinctively that they need to make eye contact, start a conversation, simply smile. Making friends greatly improves all new situations and this is just in the beginning, wait until you see what learning new techniques, mastering complicated routines and achieving the next phase in their syllabus will do.
- Focus: Classes usually run for an hour at a time and are often made up of drills, partner work, group work and solo training. What a student gets from his class depends on the time actually spent being mindful in the dojo and their ability to do this will increase with practise. It is a skill they can develop and that will automatically be transferred into all other areas of their lives.
- Self-Discipline: This starts with getting ready, looking after your gi and equipment, walking through the door and turning up to class, even when it is too hot, or too cold and your favourite show is on the television.
- Self-Defense: A common reason to start training but it is not the be all and end all of a students achievement in the dojo. Rarely do karate students need to defend themselves, they learn to avoid dangerous situations, to take care to themselves and importantly they learn how to behave in situations so that they do not escalate.
- Leadership: As a student progresses through the ranks they become a role model for new and younger students. A good club will encourage students (under guidance) to share their knowledge with others to improve the development of everyone within the dojo.
- Respect: “Karate starts with etiquette and finishes with etiquette” K Tomiyama, Fundamentals of Karate-do (1990) p15. Shihan Tomiyama goes on to write more about rei – a bow or more broadly etiquette [that]”.. signifies the utmost importance of proper etiquette in karate. Not only karate but all Japanese martial arts stress the importance of proper etiquette as a means of self-defence ……….. A person of good etiquette possesses an aura of dignity and quite naturally gains respect from those he is in contact with. Thus there is much less chance of his being involved in arguments and being forced to defend himself physically. This teaching does not stop there, the real aim of practising the martial arts is to develop a complete person, fit physically and mentally, which is consequently beneficial to society...” p15
For more information visit Karate for Life
Following a study of over 20,000 school age children in Australia it has been revealed that 1 in 4 students between the ages of 8 and 14 years old have reported being bullied regularly at school. This equates to a whopping 25% of our children that are suffering bullying in our primary and secondary schools. The numbers could be higher as not all cases are reported.
What is Bullying?
Bullying is about taking power, real or perceived and aggressively and routinely harming or controlling another. A power imbalance could be physical or social. A bully will seek to isolate his victim and exclude them from social groupings. A bullies actions may be verbally and or physically abusive but in all cases the result is that the victim feels belittled, isolated and afraid.
Who is a Bully?
Bullies are always the ones with the problem. Often they do not fit in, rarely do they have any true friends and chances are that they themselves are being bullied.
Karate Can Help
Traditional karate training instills a self confidence in a child, we train to stand and move a certain way, we learn the strengths and expand the limits of our own body and mind. Children work on defensive moves while improving their agility, fitness, strength and confidence.
Students are encouraged to think outside the box and to explore methods of dealing with confrontation without fear and aggression.
Respect is a pivotal foundation of all traditional karate training. Respect for self and just as importantly respect for others. A child with bullying tendencies benefits greatly from learning about shared respect. With consideration and respect students learn that domineering behavior is unacceptable and that everyone is entitled to feel safe.
Join us in February 2017 for our FREE ‘Done with Bullying’ seminar. Register HERE
KidSport is a Kwinana Council initiative that assists eligible children aged between 5-18 years old in accessing financial assistance towards club fees.
How do I know if I qualify?
- Students must be aged between 5-18 years old and have a health care card or pension concession card.
- Parents that do not hold a health care card may still be eligible to apply, however they are required to contact a Kidsport Financial Assessor through KidSport and must fit into one of their four ‘financial exceptions’ Click here for more information.
How do I apply for KidSport?
- Complete an applications Click here for a Kidsport Application.
- Once approved a representative from Kidsport will send us a notification, and at the same time they will send you an Voucher code.
- Bring this voucher code into the dojo, or forward the email to us at email@example.com. We can then invoice Kidsport for your fee subsidy.
- Family members cannot share a voucher, each student will need to submit a separate application.
How can you utilise KidSport at Kwinana Dojo
Bring your validated voucher to Kwinana Dojo and pay the remaining term fees for the current term.
A total annual sum of $150 will be credited towards the student’s term training fees for the year. At Kwinana Dojo this $150 is divided across our four terms reducing the fees payable by $37.50 each term per student.
Joining fee, equipment costs and grading fees will still be payable as set out on our Fee Page.
Do you wonder if Karate is right for your child? Our junior Karate program is designed to help kids grow into strong, vibrant adults who can navigate the challenges of growing up outside of the dojo.
10 Benefits of Karate for Kids:
- Without raising a fist your child will learn how to deter a potential bully.
- Karate is a self paced activity. The dojo brings together all levels of training and each student is encouraged to advance to the next level at their own pace.
- Confidence. We have heard many stories over the years from parents of our students about how their child is more confident outside the dojo and is performing better at school.
- Karate is a year round sport – (with the exception of school holidays). Your child will learn and train consistently throughout the year, and I promise you that there will be no early morning muddy field, rainy day events for you to attend at our dojo.
- Our instructors understand how to talk to children to bring out the best in them when they feel challenged
- We are facing an obesity epidemic. Kids need to move and if not in the dojo then elsewhere just please keep them moving! Karate is not a weight-loss class but it will help your child to improve their strength, flexibility and agility.
- Karate is a family activity, Mum and Dad can join in with the kids, younger brothers and sisters are welcome too.
- Knowing self defence is priceless.
- A dojo provides another community group that you and your child can interact in. Being part of something is important at all ages.
- Karate is a life long pursuit of perfection, just like life. We all strive to be our best and of course we want what is best for our children too.
Kwinana Dojo offers free trials throughout the year. Contact us now for details.