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.

 

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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.

Online Subscription Registration

STAY ACTIVE & STAY HEALTHY AT HOME

Keeping normality in our  lives in this uncertain time is important for both our mental and physical health. With so many sports cancelled our children are left with little in the way of physical activity.  Our aim is to keep our students healthy and active at home.

Commencing Term Two – until further notice:

  • All classes will be conducted online.
  • All online learning will be subscription based.
  • Gradings will be by appointment only.

We want to help you stay active and continue your Karate journey without interruptions.

So we will continue to offer all students the following:

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1) Access to online curriculum modules via a dedicated Facebook group.
2) Access to LIVE classes via ZOOM. Each class will be offered on Mondays, Tuesday, Wednesday Thursday and Saturdays and will be conducted by Sensei Don. Classes will be begin as per your normal class time.
3) FREE dedicated feedback, simply send in your questions or a short video (up to 5 minutes) for advice on your training.
Once your registration is processed we will send you access to our Facebook page and Upcoming Zoom classes.
Your Principal instructors full-time employment is teaching. He is going to spend his time hard at work putting these classes together and assisting his students.  We appreciate your support in keeping our club alive and well, for its students now and in the future.
The Karate for Life Kofukan Team believe that these measures are important to keep both your training and our club alive.

STAY ACTIVE & STAY HEALTHY

Subscription Fees:
        • 1 x Family Member            $100 (per school term)
        • 2 x Family Members          $175 (Per School Term)
        • 3 x Family Members          $200 (Per School Term)

What you receive:

  1. Unlimited access to our syllabus videos on a dedicated Facebook Page.
  2. Unlimited attendance to our LIVE online classes.
  3. Individual critique from Sensei Don on your training techniques and performance.

 

Please complete the form below to secure your registration for TERM TWO.

New Members Welcome

The Meaning of the Kofukan Logo

 

 

The Kofukan logo combines three swords and a circle.

Swords have special meaning in Japanese society.  During the samurai era, samurai were the ruling class.  A samurai sword was said to the ‘soul of a samurai’ it represented a code of honour.kofukan-international-logo

The samurai sword represents ‘spiritual purity’.  Its mirror like surface reflects one’s weak mind and improper thoughts. Its razor sharp blade will cut them away.  Many Shinto shrines have swords as their treasure.

The three swords in the logo represent the ‘shin’ (Mind) ‘Gi’ (technique) and ‘tai’ (body).  These are the three main purposes of martial arts training.  Through practice, a martial artist should develop a ‘strong body’, ‘correct techniques’ and ‘correct attitude’ and hopefully attain a high level of spiritual achievement.

The circle represents ‘harmony’ and ‘perfection’.  These three aspects should develop in kofukan-international-logoharmony and into perfection. In the design, the circle of harmony joins the three principles together.

So the Kofukan logo represents the purpose of martial arts training in general and of karate study within our association in particular.

The three Japanese letters within the circle mean ‘Kofukan’ the two larger letters at either side of the circle read ‘shito’ (our style). Also the area inside the circle represents the lower abdomen (tanden) as the linking point of the three aspects that is mind, body and technique.

We chose the colours black and yellow gold for our association badges as they are the colours of the tiger and in order to make a link with the name of Kofukan, which literally means ‘tiger, wind, establishment.

The Meaning of KOFUKAN

  • Ko – is the tiger
  • Fu – is the wind
  • Kan- establishment, group or organization

According to Chinese legend the king of the sky is the dragon and the king of the land is the tiger and when the tiger appears the wind blows and when the dragon appears so do the clouds.

 

Documentary on Karate-do (1956)

 

 

An interesting documentary produced by the Nippon Karate Association in 1956 detailing the history and development of Okinawan Karate.  The show highlights how wide reaching and beneficial Karate training is for children and adults of all ages.

“Karate is an art, one of the most authentic practices and it is also a sport, one of the most rewarding ever devised.”

Documentary Transcription.

About 300 years ago, during the History of China, the victims of attack by bandits in Highland every founded in a rather non-priest like fashion by creating a system of self-defense which is to this day an equal for deadly effectiveness that was born the biggest art of Karate, a form of self-defense in which no weapons of any sort are used. In fact, in Japanese, Karate means empty handed. Through practice and training however, the hands become weapons in themselves and that effective one that no form of offensive attack can overpower them.

The act of Karate as we know it now was developed by the natives of the Okinawa  little or nothing that none of the 50 in development there and it remained a mysterious art well talked about and practiced in other parts of Asia. Until 1922 when the Japanese Ministry of Education invited Ginchin Funakoshi an outstanding exponent of Karate to give an exhibition in Japan, the Japanese showed a keen interest in the development of this unusual art and through the years this interest grew even stronger. At present, its popularity is increasing tremendously to the extent that it is now finding its way into the western world.

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Karate uses every striking service of the body both for defense and for attack especially important are the hands and feet which are systematically trained until they become a formidable form of weapon. Since Karate is essentially a defensive art, they become defensive weapon to be used when attacked in which case they are also used for counterattack.

The various have kind of punches used in Karate are the rising forward punch, the side sitting punch, the hook punch, the inverted forward punch, the uke punch and the double forward punch. The basic movement is the ordinary forward punch. Unlike the boxing punch however in Karate, the body does not follow through the movement rather the entire body with emphasis on the hips is different at the moment of impact in each of the relaxed so that balance is never lost.

Just as important in Karate as the punch is the kick. There are various kinds among them the forward kick, the side hitting kick, the side snap kick and the side thrust kick. When properly mastered, these are even more powerful than the punches and maybe used most effectively as a surprise counterattack. Needless to say to be used successfully, this technique required considerable practice.

The basic principle of Karate is that a strong defense is the best possible offense. In deflecting an assault, the block is executed in such a way that the most effective counterattack may be instantly used thus in Karate, the defender paradoxically is almost assured of victory over the attacker. If the block is forcible enough however, there is often no need for any further counterattack. In other cases, the opponent’s attack is both anticipated and prevented by a suitable counterattack.

documentary 1956 1Learning the form of exercise is one of the most important facets of Karate training, for in this art the body must be made into a veritable weapon. These so-called kata or sets of exercises include all the various kinds of punching, kicking and blocking so that all kinds of imaginary attacks are successfully blocked and followed by effective counterattacks. There are more than 50 sets of such exercises most of which were long ago developed by Karate masters so that the students practice by themselves. Some kata empathize elaborate movement while others specialize in speed.

Sparring with another student comes only after one is thoroughly familiar with the basic movement of Karate in these mock fights the attack is pre-arranged and the defender is required to apply the block proper to the mode of attack following with the counter-attack.

Karate is also most effective in any kind of weapons attack for example in defending oneself against an attacker with a knife.

Boxing and Karate share some common elements but are actually quite different. In this earlier filmed comparison between the two, it will be noted that while agility and speed are most important in boxing in Karate, it is the combination of various kinds of punches and kicks plus speed and agility which make the Karate expert by far the more formidable opponent.

More recently, the art has been gaining popularity among women since brute strength is not required and since Karate is more an art than a sport, one may become adept at learning a fundamental by constant practice and master of the control and body coordination that even the most slightly built women may learn a very sure means of self-defense.

It is training however which is the most important single part of becoming a Karate expert. For it is by training alone that the body can develop the skill and strength needed in practice of this art. That’s one of the tests of proficiency consists of breaking three one inch boards with fists or feet or cracking 10 pieces of slate.

Another way of increasing one’s strength is by using weight on hands and feet, a practice which is now used in various kind of body building as well.

After mastering the fundamentals, the student is ready for freestyle practice. Unlike the sparring practice, here the attack is not pre-arranged. By this time, the Karate student is able to stop his kicks and pull his punches just short of contact this he must do or very shortly, he would have no one to practice with. This freestyle practice can be quite dangerous if the contestants are careless or overaggressive but it does add an element of competition and gives excellent training and accuracy and confidence.

As more and more people realize that Karate may not be deadly but may rather be a controlled and exercise sport giving the students absolute body control, it is expected that the freestyle matches will transform Karate into an accepted sport.

Karate as a most effective scientific technique of self-defense is gaining popularity not only with specialized institutes teaching it but also in offices, in homes, in the country and in schools. It is also becoming a part of the regular training of the American air police station in Japan. There’s every prospect that Karate will soon seize being a purely Japanese art and will gradually spread throughout all the countries in the world becoming both a sport and a superb means of self-defense.

Credit for Karate’s stage pf  high development is due to Mr Ginchin Funakoshi, the man who gave Karate its first Japanese exhibition and who has devoted his life to teaching and perfecting of this art.  Formally regarded as somewhat esoteric, it fundamentally protects secret that are passed on from master to selected students. Now, it is on its way to becoming a worldwide art.

In emphasis on successful defense, Karate is based on the highest principle of sportsmanship and fair play. Its practice is excellent all round exercise and aids in muscular development. It also teaches courage and self-confidence. Because of its deep devotion to the principle of the self-defense, Karate is obviously not a sport which will appeal to those who want to use it as an instrument of attack or who are merely interested in the amount of damage then may inflict if used. Since it does not teach how to harm other but rather, how to protect oneself it will therefore attract only those who wish to combine clean sport with a tangible accomplishment. In this way, Karate is an art, one of the most authentic practice and it is also a sport, one of the most rewarding ever devised.

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