ASPECTS OF TRADITIONAL SHOTOKAN KARATE
Martial Arts are very popular these days with so many different styles being offered it can be difficult for a novice to choose which would be best for them. Here at Adaptive Karate we have kept our art pure Shotokan, nothing has been added and nothing has been taken away.
"Martial" Means to be warlike,
"Art" Means Skill, creation of works of beauty.
A Martial Art performed well can be devestating and beautiful.
Kihon are the basics: Blocking, punching, kicking and strikes. When students learn these they at the same time learn stance and posture. Correct stance and posture is vital if Kihon are to be performed correctly. When a student has achieved a competent level with these first few techniques, they will then be taught combinations advancing into take downs and locks.
It is in Kihon exercises that students learn to master the body dynamics and correct hip rotations as well as the thrusting actions of these techniques so that they can apply them into their Kata and Kumite.
It is not unusual to have the occasional lesson where the Sensei teaches in detail how to be able to master one of these techniques as there is a lot of content within them.
Each technique has a system of workings behind it. These workings have to be performed in the correct order and accurately timed to be able to generate maximum power and control. As students become more competent with these, they become more competent with their lives and more confident with themselves.
When performing Kihon, a student learns how to block, punch, kick and strike effectively with speed, precision and with maximum power. This aids coordination and focus when involed in both Kata and Kumite.
Kata is a sequence of techniques that are performed in a particular routine. Kata teaches us self awareness mentally and physically.
The mechanisms behind Kata are very complex and can take a lifetime to master correctly. Mental aptitude and physical dynamics all come into play when we perform Kata
A Kata should be performed fluently with correct timing and using proper body dynamics to be able to harness maximum energy at the precise moment creating the most power at the point of impacting a technique. Each technique should flow naturally into the next. Correct breathing and posture as well as dynamic hip rotations are all effected into Kata.
We teach how to ground and centre the body creating proper alignment, which aids balance and fast strong foot movements.
Students learn how to think and focus their thoughts and energies into the techniques making the whole Kata come alive and have substance, as opposed to just performing a choreographically sequenced dance routine with empty movements.
The techniques in Kata are performed against an imaginary opponent. Our Sensei's teach the students the Bunkai behind each Kata. Bunkai is the application of the techniques in Kata and how they can be effectively used in a mock combat situation. There are many variations of Bunkai.
When Kata is performed correctly it can look both powerful and beautiful.
Kumite is the application of all techniques in any combat situation. Kumite teaches a student to be steadfast and brave in any confrontational situation. A student is taught the reality of what they are capable of doing when they are faced with an opposing influence.
We are not clinical about this, there are no nice ways to defend yourself if you are ever in a life threatening situation. Sensei Johnston's methods are to use Adaptive Karate. This is where he adapts Karate techniques into real confrontational situations which have been proven to be effective either by himself or what he has witnessed himself in his security work.
Street fighting is very different from competition fighting. Competition fighting will not save your life in a real violent confrontation. Sensei Johnston spent many years competing at a high level in National and International Competitions in the days when the arena was quite brutal. He also spent many years working as Head Doorman in Coventry's top night club, which was renown for it's violence. Sensei Johnston's knowledge andd experience in this area is very unique.
The major components of combat are actually psychological before they become physical. The effects that Karate has on the psyche is via mind conditioning. We are condintioned to avoid mental discomfort and it is surprising what lengths one will go to to avoid this.
Kumite teaches students to be able to calm there emotions enough so they can think quickly when faced with an opposing situation and take quick decisive action or evasion.
Sensei Johnston gradually takes students out of their comfort zones where they learn about the effects of adrenalin, fear and controlled aggression. A lot of valuable insight is gained when one practices Kumite with correct intensity.
These are the stretching and flexibility exercises that we do before each lesson. They aid in strengthening and conditioning the body.
The physiology of Karate actually goes against what our bodies have been conditioned to do. So we have to re-educate our entire physiological system. These exercises help a student to gradually build their bodies to be able to perform Karate as it should be performed. It is very important to know that there is often discomfort when pushing the body out of its conditioned zone, but no real progress will be made unless students are willing to challenge their mind and their bodies and get out of their comfort zones. These exercises doen correctly will help them progress by enhancing the bodies abilities to be able to perform the techniqies in Karate with strength and purpose.
Karate training is about endeavour. Everything we do must be done with a clear intention and a mindfull attitude.
Martial Arts training should always be done to the best of the students ability and with the best manners possible.