“Bowing is an expression of gratitude and respect”
Reishiki 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)
- Kaimoku – meaning 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.
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
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
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.