“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
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 lessons 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 $29 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.
You will find our handy club selection guide on the link below, I have already entered the details of Karate Kwinana and there is plenty of space for you to make your own inquiries with other clubs too: Club Selection Guide
DO NOT JOIN ANY CLUB WITHOUT ATTENDING A FREE TRIAL AND GETTING YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED!
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.