Tips for Learning Karate Online

With the restrictions in place during the COVID-19 crisis we have to change the way that we deliver and receive our learning.  Students are moving into a homeschooling  model with support from their school and their parents. This will continue for the foreseeable future, it could only be weeks but will more than likely be for months.

 

Shihan Bo 1 2019

How will this affect your karate training?

Learning anything online is hard, but not impossible. Online studies requires both discipline and commitment on your part. In saying that, just because something is hard that does not mean that it cannot become an important part of your karate journey.  Adaptability is the key to successful online learning.

 

To get the most out of online classes:

  • Be prepared –

    • Ensure that your device is charged, plugged in, has video and sound drink bottlecapabilities and is connected to the internet.
    • Make sure your surroundings are clear of hazards (that there is nothing that you can trip on or come into contact with when you are performing techniques)
    • Allow yourself some time before class for warm up and afterwards for cool down.
    • Have a drink bottle close by.
    • Be ready to start class on time.

 

  • Speak up –

    • Live classes will give you the opportunity to ask questions just as you would in the dojo. Sometimes you may be muted and have to ‘raise your hand’ or else send a text message using the program hosting the meetings such as Zoom to a live IT assistant who can relay your messages to the instructor.
    • Use feedback opportunities offered by your instructor. Our principal instructor invites you to send in short videos via Facebook messenger of your kata or combinations and will provide you with corrections as required and tips to help you move forward in your training.
    • Use your clubs Facebook page to keep in contact with your training buddies.  At a time when we are self-isolating we will miss the feeling of spending time with our training buddies, the banter and general chat that goes on before and after class will be sorely missed so engage with each other when possible on Facebook and other chat media.
  • Keep a training journal:

    • Keep a note book close by to use straight after class and record anything that you are learning while it is still fresh in your mind following a live class.
    • Use a journal for Kata mapping a kata or combination that you are learning on video use the stop start features on your device.  Try writing out the kata in long hand to help commit the moves to your memory.
  • Get the dojo feel at home-

    • I mentioned above about clearing a space suitable for you to train in, this KK Dojocould be a corner of the family room, your bedroom, carport, garage or in the garden.  Do what you can to make the space suitable for your training.
    • If you can create your own space, bring out your grading certificates, old belts, photos of you and your dojo friends at tournaments, camps or gradings, photos of the past masters of your style,  the logo of your style, bonsai tree, inspirational quotes, your dojo kun and so on.. basically anything that makes you get your karate on.
    • Put your gi and belt on before class, this helps to set your mindset for the class to come.

These are interesting times that we are moving into and there is a lot of speculation on how we will look on the other side.  Let’s uphold our traditions and practices with as much diligence and grace as we can muster.  It won’t be long before we are seeing each other in the dojo again, but until then, do whatever you must to keep your karate spirit alive.

Ageing Well With Karate…

“Population ageing is a triumph of humanity, but also a challenge to society”   

Ageing Well with Karate 3

It is generally accepted that we suffer a decline in physical and cognitive abilities as we age. The study that inspired this article undertook to prove that Karate training can assist in improving our declining cognitive abilities, strength, balance and flexibility.

 

The Benefits of Movement

Improved physicality will lower the risk of falls and so lessen the occurrence, if not cease the risk of associated injuries. Additionally I believe that the act of participating in a group activity brings many psychological and emotional benefits such as decreasing loneliness, isolation and depression.

About the Study

The study itself comprised of 89 men and women with an average age of 70 years old.  The participants were generally in good health when they started.

The controlled group where tested at 5-month  and 10-month intervals.  Results showed an improvement at the five-month stage, and further increased improvements were noted at the 10-month mark. Researchers suggest that continued practice would continue to show benefits in minimizing the general aging decline found in non-practicing  people.

 

“Active ageing is the process of optimizing opportunities for health participation and security in order to enhance quality of life as people age. Active ageing depends on a variety of influences or determinants that surround individuals, families and communities” 

Why Karate?

Karate training by its nature is wide and varied and so the benefits are far reaching.  Young people are often brought to karate classes for reasons revolving around discipline, attention building, anti-bullying strategy formation, self-defense, and finally fitness.  Fitness, strength building or flexibility are usually not the reasons that young people start karate training. Physical strength and flexibility are often a given for the young.  As we age the table turns, mentally we become stronger, less afraid of confrontation and more suited to stand up for ourselves, but we see a physical decline as we age, regardless of our exercise prowess.

My Karate

After over 20 years of training Karate ( I started at the age of thirty) I am glad to say that even while I am not an outstanding talent, I am if nothing else diligent in my practice. I attend regular training at our dojo and participate as much as possible in the warm up, drills, kata. The result of this training means that I can do many things that other woman my age can find difficult.  I am strong, in both body and mind, most of the time. Sometimes inflammatory arthritis takes over and robs me of the best of myself.  But even in these times I find a more refined practice to be beneficial in lessening my recovery time and generally keeping down times to a minimum. I believe that continuing to practice Karate will help me to stay active into a ripe old age.

Funakoshi

What does Karate Training involve?

A typical class will involves a short meditation, a warm up, stretching, drills, partner work, kata, more stretching, a final short meditation.

Six improvements to be by Karate training for all participants.

  1. Balance – strength and improvement of cognitive ability.
  2. Flexibility – repetition of movements to extension through warmup and cool down
  3. Strength – gained from stances, and joint repetition of movements
  4. Learning a new skill –  builds memory and learning muscles.
  5. Co-ordination – kata and drills
  6. Cognitive improvement – kata and drills.

Age is not a barrier to participation, Karate training by its nature can be tailored to suit any age group, health condition, size of body, and general physical and mental abilities.  Karate is not a team sport, it is self-paced and your journey is not dependent on someone else’s progression just as theirs is not dependent on yours.

A tailored made training program can easily be made to suit an older student without diminishing the heart of Karate.  Karate itself is about the art of self-defense, the first line of self-defense is against your own body’s dis-ease and decline.  Karate by design is suited to assist with many issues brought about by aging and this will probably be easier for a new student over fifty years old to accept than a student that trained in a dynamic style when they were younger.  If you are coming to karate as a new student in an older body you soon learn to let go of any ego that demands you perform beyond your capabilities.

How old is too old to start?

You are never too old to start learning Karate.  Karate will meet you where you are.

Contact us here to find out about our classes at the dojo, private classes or if you would like us to tailor a program for your group.

Michelangelo

Material References and Quote Sources.

    1. (WHO 2002 Active Aging: A policy Framework. Geneva)
    1. WHO 2002 Active Ageing
    1.  WHO Global Report on Falls Prevention in Older Age; By World Health Organization
    1. WHO 2002 Active Aging.
    1. Journal of Sport and Health Science, Volume 5, issue 4, Dec 2016, p484-490 KerstinWitteaSiegfriedKropfbSabineDariuscPeterEmmermacheraIrinaBöckelmann
    1. S.M. Gregory, B. Parker, P.D. ThompsonPhysical activity, cognitive function, and brain health: what is the role of exercise training in the prevention of dementia?Brain Sci, 2 (2012), pp. 684-708
    1. http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2095254615000939

 

Reishiki

“Bowing is an expression of gratitude and respect”

Gichin Funakoshi

JosiahReishiki comes from two Japanese words, the first is ‘Rei’ which can be interpreted as a bow, courtesy, thanks and appreciation.  The second word “Shiki” can be interpreted as a ceremony.  The word Reishiki can therefore be interpreted as ceremonial manners or etiquette.

The Reishiki procedure that is observed at the beginning and the end of the class is as follows:

  • Ritsu rei – standing bow to Sensei.
  • Seiza – Sensei sits (formal sitting position), the class sits in seiza facing shomen and prepares for class.
    • The head student (Sempai) calls out:
    • Mokuso – which means close your eyes and clear your mind  (Silence for approximately 1 minute or more)
    • Kaimokubowing 1meaning open your eyes or “Mokuso Yame” meaning finish meditation.
    • Zarei – next the class performs three zarei or sitting bows when the head student calls out –
    • Shomen ni rei – meaning bow to the front of the dojo.  After this the Sensei will turn around and face the class.
    • Sensei ni rei – meaning bow to the teacher. As the class bows to the teacher the teacher will return the bow.  As a student bows they recite “Onegaishimasu” which can be interpreted to mean please teach me.
    • Otagai ni rei – meaning bow to each other. Both the teacher and the students will bow to each other at the same time.  This is to acknowledge that we are all students of the art of Karate do.
  • At this point the Sensei will indicate that the class should stand up and training will begin.

After the training session is finished, the above procedure is followed again except in the Sensei ni rei section, the students bow and recite “Sensei arigato gozaimasu” which means thank you.

Dave Hatte – Sensei arigato gozaimasu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why Kata?

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

“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

Why do Kids Need Karate?

 

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.

  1.  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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.
  6. 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

Is Karate Right for Your Child?

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:

  1. Without raising a fist your child will learn how to deter a potential bully.  
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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.
  5. Our instructors understand how to talk to children to bring out the best in them when they feel challenged
  6. 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.  
  7. Karate is a family activity,  Mum and Dad can join in with the kids, younger brothers and sisters are welcome too.
  8. Knowing self defence is priceless.
  9. A dojo provides another community group that you and your child can interact in.  Being part of something is important at all ages.
  10. 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.