Kihon (basics) is fundamental to karate training. It is very important that karate technique is built on a strong foundation of basics. In basic training we practise striking, punching, blocking, kicking and stances. We also practise combinations of the above mentioned movements with practical self defence or athletic application. We teach traditional kihon in lines, perfecting technique. This teaches body mechanics, control of the body, recognising target areas and use of suitable strikes etc. Our style has a big impetus on training with pads and power generation. The most effective self defence/protection techniques are often single strikes.
Kata (form) is a prearranged sequence of attacking and defensive movements which students of karate learn.
The original function of karate kata was as a log or a record of self-defence techniques. Today, kata is used in many ways. The most common is a method of grading students where students must learn a particular kata in order to achieve a certain grade. Tournaments have also become very popular and kata can be performed in competition with other students and points awarded for the best performance. We train and practise kata performance and also place a large emphasis on the practical application of kata, the ‘bunkai’ or ‘oyo’. This is a study of how a particular move can be used in self defence against realistic types of attack that are most common western society today. Kata contains nerve/vital point strikes, gouging, joint-locking, throwing, manipulation and ground grappling or anti-grappling.
Kumite (sparring) gives the students the opportunity to put together basic punches, blocks and kicks in a competitive environment against an opponent. It helps students to learn range, timing and control. Kumite is rule bound for safety. Our club accepts that the true self-defence in karate is found in kata, not kumite.
It is important that we understand what kumite is and what it is not. By the very fact that kumite is governed by rules, its effectiveness is limited. Students are able to use their sparring/kumite skills in tournaments. We take part in Club and Association tournaments around the country. Initially, the majority of sparring that we do is non-contact. This is for safety reasons and also to ensure that everyone can take part in kumite.
Then, as students progress in fitness and skill, they can take part, if they wish to do so, in semi-contact and randori-free fighting.
“just a little bit of junbi undo”
“Within the Goju Ryu tradition of Okinawan karate, a series of exercises have been handed down since the days of Chojun Miyagi, the tradition's founder. These exercises are intended to not only warm up the body making it ready for training, but also to engage the particular muscles and tendons used in the various techniques of karate. They also play an additional role in focusing the mind on a particular part of the body as the routine is worked through, thus giving an early appreciation for some of the postures and feelings you are searching for in your karate technique.
In the main, there are two kinds of junbi undo exercises. The first kind stretches the muscles and tendons and loosens up the joints, which helps to promote suppleness and increases range of motion in moving parts of the body. The group of exercises begins to stir the blood and raise the body's temperature. The second group of exercises is done to build strength and stamina in the major muscle groups of the body and to increase mental powers of endurance.”
- from Michael Clarke's –THE ART OF HOJO UNDO
When training in Karate we are trying to achieve a stronger, fitter, more flexible body. In self-defence being fitter and stronger is a real advantage.
The truth is, nobody can really say where, how and who started karate, we only have likely progression and word of mouth. The word Karate was not given a definition until 1935, this was by the ‘Butoku Kai’ a Japanese martial arts committee.
It is widely accepted among most of karate's historians that fighting arts were brought by the Greeks through the Middle East to India by Alexander the Great in the 4th Century BCE. These fighting arts were for use on the battlefield and as a way of keeping the troops fit and occupied when they were not fighting. Alexander the Great managed to conquer Syria, Eygpt and Babylonia so it is highly probable that he may have picked up local combat arts on his why through to India.
One of the best known Indian styles are the Kalaripayt which contains wrestling, striking and close quarter fighting. This was practised by the warrior class (Kshatriya). It has been said that Indian traders may have taken this art to Okinawa where it was combined with the Okinawan form of combat.
But the most popular belief is that the Indian monk ,Bodhidharma, travelled to the Shoalin Temple in Hohan Province in approximately 500CE. Bodhidharma possessed knowledge of fighting arts and passed them onto the Shoalin monks who, in turn, used them as a method of staying fit, healthy and strong and it was also a very effective form of self-defence. This, as time progressed became ‘chuan fa’ - fist way, better known to us as kung fu.
Over the next 1000 years, via trade and travel, it is believed that kung fu spread across east Asia with the particular art having each instructor’s perspective put on it to suit the area where it was taught.
The origins of karate as we know it today began in Okinawa, a small island between China and Japan. Over the years Okinawa has been a colony of both China and Japan so has been influenced by the cultures of both. Okinawa was also a bustling trading port, so it is quite possible that the native fighting arts were also influenced from further afield.
Karate is the Japanese name for what the Okinawans called ‘Te’ - hand. In Okinawa there were three main schools. The schools took the name of their geographical location,Naha-te, Shuri-te and Tommari-te. Te was passed down via physical instruction, no real records exist. What we know today has been passed down from instructor to student over the years.
The first public demonstration of karate in Japan was in 1917 by Gichin Funakoshi, at the Butoku-den in Kyoto (Hassell 1984). This, and subsequent demonstrations, greatly impressed many Japanese, including the Crown-Prince Hirohito, who was very enthusiastic about the Okinawan art. In 1922, Dr. Jano Kino, founder of the Japanese art of Judo, invited Funakoshi to demonstrate at the famous Kadoka Dojo and to remain in Japan to teach karate. This sponsorship was instrumental in establishing a base for karate in Japan. As an Okinawan ‘peasant art’, karate would have been scorned by the Japanese without the backing of so formidable a martial arts master (Maliszewski, 1992).
Today there are four main styles of karate-do in Japan: Goju-ryu, Shito-ryu, Shotokan, and Wado-ryu:
Goju-ryu developed out of Naha-te, its popularity primarily due to the success of Kanryo Higaonna (1853-1915). Higaonna opened a dojo in Naha using eight forms brought from China. His best student, Chojun Miyagi (1888-1953) later founded Goju-ryu, 'hard soft way' in 1930. In Goju-ryu much emphasis is placed on combining soft circular blocking techniques with quick strong counter attacks delivered in rapid succession.
Shito-ryu was founded by Kenwa Mabuni (1889-1952) in 1928 and was influenced directly by both Naha-te and Shuri-te. The name Shinto is constructively derived from the combination of the Japanese characters of Mabuni's teachers' names - Ankh Itsou and Kanryo Higaonna. Shito-ryu schools use a large number of Kata, about fifty, and is characterized by an emphasis on power in the execution of techniques.
Shotokan was founded by Gichin Funakoshi (1868-1957) in Tokyo in 1938. Funakoshi is considered to be the founder of modern karate. Born in Okinawa, he began to study karate with Yasutsune Azato, one of Okinawa's greatest experts in the art. In 1921 Funakoshi first introduced Karate to Tokyo. In 1936, at nearly 70 years of age, he opened his own training hall. The dojo was called Shotokan after the pen name used by Funakoshi to sign poems written in his youth. Shotokan Karate is characterized by powerful linear techniques and deep strong stances.
Wado-ryu, 'way of harmony', founded in 1939 is a system of karate developed from jujitsu and karate by Hienori Otsuka as taught by one of his instructors, Gichin Funakoshi. This style of karate combines basic movements of jujitsu with techniques of evasion, putting a strong emphasis on softness and the way of harmony or spiritual discipline.
In the early 20th century Te was taken to mainland Japan and popularised among the Japanese and given the name karate. Then after the second world war during the American occupation of Okinawa and Japan. Many of the Allied troops learnt karate and took it back to America. From that point the rest is history, karate has spread across the world with millions of people training every week.
Doryoku Ryu Karate Jutsu has been successfully training and teaching karate across the Southwest of England since 2008. We are fully committed to providing a quality karate experience for our students. We are also continually working on the evolution and further development of karate, its philosophies and benefits, for our students.
Our club philosophy is simple. We base our karate on teaching realistic self defence/protection and the latest fitness techniques. These are taught within the structure of traditional Karate dojo etiquette which was the original intention of 19th Century Okinawan karate training.
It is impossible to replicate the original karate (tode jutsu) methods from the 19th century as we are now on the 3rd,4th and 5th generation of instructors. We have also changed continents, cultures, and we are also now in the 21st century. Times have changed, but the intentions and principles of the Karate masters are the same and can be upheld and adapted to the current needs of contemporary society.
Doryoku Ryu Karate Jutsu teaches traditional karate as a complete self defence system which includes, vital point striking , locking, joint manipulation, gouging, throws and takedowns, ground grappling and anti grappling, It's all in karate!
The Opinion of Gichin Funakakosi on styles of Karate; Various styles have arisen over time, but in fact there are only two styles- Shorei-ryu (Naha-te styles Goju Ryu & Uechi Ryu as we know them today) and Shorin ryu(Shuri-te styles Shorin ryu & Shotokan) The Shorei-ryu is suitable for big people with large bones and solid frames. In contrast, the Shorin –ryu is more suited to persons of smaller stature with slender, willowy bodies and a lack of physical power. Each school has its strengths and weaknesses. The Shorei style is good for basic stances and postures, but actually tends to be lacking in terms of quick movement. The Shorin style has quickness, but its drawback is that eventually moment becomes impossible if one is caught and pinned. Therefore, it is important that the karate practitioner understands the relative strength and weakness of each style and is able to use both together.-Gichin Funakoshi, Karate Jutsu
We are Jutsu/practical because our goal is to teach practical,realistic self defence orientated karate that can benefit the student whatever their individual goal: Whether it be self defence, fitness/weight loss, improved coordination, discipline or whatever it is for the individual. Karate is there for the student to take what they want, whether they are a lifelong martial artist, beginner, intermediate, advanced or simply just passing through.