What is Shotokan Karate and How is it Different from other Martial Arts?
Shotokan is traditional Japanese karate, introduced to mainland Japan from Okinawa by Gichin Funakoshi. Shotokan focuses on direct strikes, punching, kicking, and blocking techniques. Emphasis in Shotokan is focused on the maximization of force through proper body mechanics, efficiency of movement, and repetition. Repetition through practice eventually leads to maximum power and faster reaction without conscious thought.
What is Shotokan Karate training like?
Shotokan practice focuses on the kihon, kata and kumite. These are Japanese terms for the “basics,” forms, and sparring.
- Kihon: The elementary foundation of karate include stance, posture, coordinated body movement, and concentration upon the opponent. These provide a strong foundation, and most classes start with emphasis on improving this area. If the basics are strong, more advanced techniques become simple.
- Kata (form): Kata are pre-arranged sequences of techniques and movements that simulate combat against opponents. This method of training is a rational extension of basics, offering situations in which certain attacks and defenses would be applicable. At their essence, kata are mneumonic devices for learning movement. Kata are performed solo or in teams. They offer practice in combinations of techniques, focus and release of tension, breath control, and rhythm. Each level of karate has a prescribed kata that trains the student, mentally and physically, for a more advanced level.
- Kumite (sparring): Similar to kata, each level of training has an ever advancing level of sparring, from the formal five and three-step sparring of basic level (when the targets and attacker/defender are pre-arranged), to the free sparring at the more advanced level (when the students act/react spontaneously with attacks/blocks, using timing, distance, and strategy. But always, the attack is controlled just before body contact is made, requiring great body control and mental discipline.
When do you accept new students?
New students are welcome to begin at any time.
How do I join?
Contact one of the instructors by email or phone. They will provide you with more details and answer any questions you may have.
Could I get injured?
Injury is always possible when engaging in any physical exercise or sport. Karate is, by definition, a martial – or fighting – art. So, the complete elimination of any risk of injury is not possible. But by the nature of our method, we take precautions to reduce those risks. The primary way to avoid risk is to listen carefully to your sensei. He or she will show you how to practice with others safely. The second way is to respect your fellow student – always. If you become angry or frustrated, you should raise your hand and bow out until you are prepared to return with a calm mind. Finally, through consistent training you will learn to direct your punches and kicks to the point where you can attack full speed in kumite, yet maintain physical control of your fist or foot to within an inch of your opponent without actual contact. This takes time, patience, and practice. But serious injury is far more common in sports like football, basketball and soccer.
How much are classes?
Fees and dues for martial arts instruction can vary significantly and can depend on various factors, including geography; nature of the club – commercial or private; and philosophy of the instructor. Our dojo is a member of the International Shotokan Karate Federation (ISKF), which asks its members pay an annual due of $40.00. A small fee also will be charged at the time of testing for your new grade sufficient to cover the costs of your new belt and certificate.