Should I learn karate

IS LEARNING TRADITIONAL KARATE DIFFICULT?

We don't put unnecessary pressure on ourselves in karate. The progress you make, in whatever way, always depends on you. The karate training is extremely methodical, almost even step by step. They all have the same options. Everyone, young or old, fat or thin, man or woman, athletic or not, everyone can learn karate.

Really everyone ??? - No, just everyone who wants it!

Of course, it takes effort. Karate is like everything in life. In order to make progress, one must also achieve something. Of course you will sweat, of course you will get tired and your muscles will also ache, but only to the extent that you yourself determine. On your own path, which you follow through karate, over time you will have more and more the desire to deal with yourself a little harder until you finally reach your own physical and mental limits. That will then be the beginning! The limit of our mental and physical abilities is the limit that we have to test and cross over our entire life.

IS THE 9TH DAN THE END OF THE WAY?

No, not at all.

It is not always easy, using the ways of thinking in our western, modern and technological world, to understand something that cannot be grasped with these parameters. In our world we are used to doing something for a certain reason, to achieve a certain success (as obviously as possible), to need a certain, as short as possible, time for it and to achieve a certain goal. That doesn't work in karate.

In karate there is no ultimate goal, no set periods of time to be adhered to. Karate is an end in itself and not a means to an end. Of course you have to grow into this way of thinking, that's why there are different belt grades in karate for beginners, with different colors, etc., which can and should serve as motivation. But only at the beginning. From the advanced one expects that there is no more room for this kind of motivation in his thoughts, so later there is only the black color of the belt.

DO I NEED TO LEARN JAPANESE TO TRAIN KARATE?

It would certainly not be a disadvantage, but it is by no means a requirement. You will learn to count in Japanese through the training and you will learn the names of the kata and techniques. A qualified trainer will understand how to lead you step by step towards these goals. Many names, expressions and commands simply take time to understand.

Basically, the Japanese language (as we need it) is very simple and systematic. Don't worry if you may not understand everything at first. Ask your sensei.

If you plan to learn traditional karate, yes.

But this question is almost irrelevant because it corresponds to the question: "Do I have to shake someone's hand, do I have to say hello or do I have to be polite if I live in Vienna, New York or London?"
Of course you have to, otherwise it would be very rude. Remember, the bow is like a handshake, a greeting, with no religious or mystical meaning. So what the heck, don't be afraid!

WHEN CAN I STOP PRACTICING KIHON AND KATA TO ONLY TRAIN MORE KUMITE?

Why do you want to do this? If you think karate training only makes sense when you are fighting, then traditional Shotokan karate is not for you.

All three karate elements are inextricably linked:

  • Kihon: a lot of repetitions, perfecting your own technique, mastering your own body, concentrating on the smallest details and the seemingly unimportant detail (which of course doesn't exist) will have a positive effect on both kata and kumite.
  • Kata: the perfecting of longer sequences of movements, the repetition accuracy, the mental imagination, the demonstration and embodiment of etiquette, fighting spirit and aesthetics.
  • Kumite: the inevitable confrontation with the opponent, the mental strain and the need for mental strength, the control of emotions as well as the domination and manipulation of the opponent.

All three parts form a whole, a large tree with mighty roots (Kihon), a strong trunk (Kata) and a huge tree crown (Kumite). It doesn't matter what part of the tree you cut, saw or destroy in any other way, the tree will die.

WHY DO NOT BEGINNERS LEARN TO FIGHT FROM THE BEGINNING?

Because it takes time to learn to coordinate and control yourself.

Since in traditional karate (ITKF) the techniques have to be carried out with the whole body, the risk of injury is too great at the beginning. Only when I can control myself physically and mentally can I begin to try to control the opponent first physically and later also mentally. Only when we are ready can we speak of real traditional karate.

WHY DO YOU TRAIN KARATE BAREFOOT?

It's kind of a tradition. There are several explanations for this.
On the one hand, the barefoot training gives you better contact with the ground, so that you can feel the surface at all times, adjust to it and possibly use it for yourself in a fight.
Another explanation is that it is an ancient Japanese tradition to take off your shoes before going into a house where someone lives.
It also hardens and strengthens the feet. The skin becomes less sensitive and you are also able to have the smallest possible hit area with your foot while performing a technique.

WHY DO KARATEKA BOW?

Karate is a traditional martial art. Traditionally means that we follow the knowledge and experience of many karate masters before us in order to build on their knowledge in order to further develop our Karate-Do.

In Japan it is normal to bow when greeting someone, just like we shake hands to greet someone. Every training, every kata, every fight, every exercise begins and ends with a bow as a sign of respect, respect and courtesy.

Some people tend to forget that. But it's like changing the essence of karate. This has nothing to do with traditional karate. "The spirit of karate is lost without courtesy!" - Funakoshi Gichin

WHY DO KARATEKA SMASH BOARDS OR BRICKS?

It is no more than an old tradition to test the strength and correctness of your own technique. So it's a test, nothing more. It is rarely used in traditional Shotokan karate. Unfortunately, through public demonstrations and the display of such exercises, the image has grown that this is all in karate.

Master Funakoshi wrote in his book "Karate-Do Nyumon" on this subject:

"Karate-Do is a noble martial art and the reader can be assured that those who brag about smashing boards or bricks, or those who brag about tearing up raw meat or ripping ribs out of the flesh, are really ignorant of karate You are playing dreamily in the leaves of a huge tree without having the slightest idea of ​​the mighty dimensions of the trunk. "

WHAT DOES SITTING WITH CLOSED EYES MEAN BEFORE AND AFTER TRAINING?

This could be explained as a kind of welcoming ceremony. The Japanese word for it is Mokusô, which means "calm thinking", meditation, concentration or sitting in silence. It is practiced before and after every martial arts training.

After all practitioners have lined up in a row, the command "Seiza" is given and all practitioners sit down for silent meditation. It is of the utmost importance that the duration of meditation be long enough for the martial arts students to harmonize by focusing on their breathing. Meditation at the beginning and at the end of each class is a crucial factor in the practitioner's progress along the path (Do).

WHAT DOES THE WORD BUDO MEAN?

BUDO is the umbrella term for Japanese martial arts methods (Karate-Do, Judo, Aikido, Kendo etc.), which developed from Bujutsu (techniques of war) under the aspect of the way (Do).

The techniques of Bujutsu have been formed as deadly fighting methods over centuries, but it was only through their connection to Zen (early 17th century) that they received their ethical or philosophical content and were able to form Budo (the warrior's way).

The word Budo consists of two Chinese characters, Bu, which means "to stop something", to stop a conflict and Do, a way or a philosophy of life. In the words of Master Funakoshi: "Since Karate-Do is also Budo, you should always keep this in mind and never use your fists carelessly".

The psychology of Budo, after having crossed several levels of consciousness, ultimately aims at its highest challenge: at accepting the inevitability of one's own death. Years of practical confrontation with death and the issues connected with it causes the practitioner to have a pronounced sense of realities in the present day-to-day life and changes his attitude towards himself, others and life itself. This is the unavoidable prerequisite for one real confrontation (Shiai), in which there is no first and second place, because the second is then dead. By confronting death and losing the fear of dying one will fight for one's own life without fear - free from everyone Fear, emotion, or nervousness.

WHAT DOES THE WORD KARATE MEAN?

The word KARATE is formed from two roots.
The first, Kara (empty, formerly China), and the second, te (hand), where the word Kara has many definitions and meanings.

The meaning of the word Kara as "empty" is very subtle and probably the most accurate, because by practicing karate one learns, among other things, techniques for self-defense, which is why no weapons other than one's own body are needed.
Another meaning of the word "empty" is spiritual emptiness. Just as a mirror reflects its image without distorting it or like a quiet and calm valley reproduces the echo, those who study karate-do should empty their thoughts and consciousness of selfishness and other negative influences, because only with a selfless and pure attitude Thoughts he can really understand what he gets from karate.

Another meaning that Master Funakoshi has given the word Kara is the incessant pursuit of inner humility and outer, accommodating and open-hearted action, which can be interpreted as inner emptiness or lack of selfishness. Master Funakoshi also spoke of the elementary form of the universe, which is seen in a certain way as emptiness (kara, ku), but this emptiness is at the same time its own substance.
The Kara of Karate-Do is much more than a self-defense technique, so the first definition is actually a shot that misses the real essence of karate as a philosophy - a philosophy that encompasses inner values ​​such as humanity and the search for perfection of character.

WHAT DOES THE WHITE CLOTHING IN KARATE MEAN?

Before karate was introduced in Japan, when it was mainly practiced in Okinawa, one trained in Hakama (long, wide, mostly black pants). In Japan, inspired by Judo, a white "uniform" consisting of a jacket and trousers was introduced later. In Japanese, this clothing is called Karate-Gi. The traditional karate gi is white.

Of course, I stick to my Sensei Hidetaka Nishiyama 9th Dan, who says: "In Japan, white uniforms were always used because cleanliness is important in the philosophies of traditional martial arts, because this symbolizes spiritual purity. A samurai had to always be pure in his thoughts, body and (fight) spirit. In a confrontation or Shiai my opponent becomes my Sensei and vice versa I become his Sensei, and so we have to respect each other. However, respect begins with good behavior and cleanliness (Purity)."

Shomen is the main page of the dojo, the side you look at. It mostly includes the Kamidana, a small Shinto shrine, and the photographs of the masters and senseis, in the case of the traditional karate master Gishin Funakoshi and master Hidetaka Nishiyama.

Sho means true, pure or sincere and men means face.

The word Shotokan is made up of three characters in the Japanese language.
The Sho is derived from the word Matsu and is the word for the pine tree. To is the word for waves. Pine waves is the literal translation that tries to give food for thought, just like the Japanese word Kani gives food for thought: The noise that is created by the wind and the pine needles when the wind blows through the treetops of the pine trees is very similar to that Sound of waves pouring onto the shore (maybe next listen when you're in the forest).
The founder of today's karate, Funakoshi Gichin, used the name Shoto as a pseudonym when signing his poems and calligraphy.

The meaning of Kan is house, building, or dojo (training room), so Shotokan is the word for the Hombu-Dojo (main dojo) of Funakoshi Gishin.

WHAT DO YOU ACHIEVE WITH TRADITIONAL KARATE TRAINING?

Does there have to be a purpose, reason, or intention? We must be very careful in our materialistic culture to believe that everything has a materialistic purpose. No seriously, the reasons why someone does karate vary from person to person.

Some do it to learn how to defend themselves and they will certainly learn a lot about it. The best self-defense is still to avoid problems and dangerous situations right from the start. Others want to improve their physical and mental condition and still others want to win cups and medals. A few may learn karate to get to know themselves better.

As mentioned at the beginning there are many views and intentions and without evaluating them, they are also acceptable as long as one is within the correct moral framework. In the course of your own further development, it is definitely to be welcomed if views, intentions and opinions change and continue to modify, because this is a sign that you are developing - you have started to learn and often also to understand.

WHAT IS THE HIGHEST GRADUATION IN THE TRADITIONAL SHOTOKAN KARATE?

The 9th Dan, whereby exams only have to be taken up to the 5th Dan. The purpose of these exams is to control and evaluate the technology, i.e. the technical skills. In the case of higher grades, the degree is awarded on the basis of personal achievements in karate-do, i.e. to master the development of character and the embodiment of karate-do. This is a very difficult and responsible task, because it is not always easy to measure someone's progress in terms of the DO. In general, one could say that technical skills are assessed up to 5th dan, then mental skills.

The dojo is the "place of enlightenment". It is the place where one tries to follow the karate-do. This can be your own house, a gym, nature, etc.

The kiai is the battle cry carried out by the explosive exhalation while the body is tense at the moment of the meeting. It is important that when performing a technique with a kiai (especially in kihon) one becomes aware of the effectiveness of the technique, since a correct karate technique should always be carried out with a kiai and with the correct mental conception.

(Ki, the inner physical and mental energy and strength; ai - to meet, to meet).

Compared to Aiki, Kiai is the wrong composition between Ki (energy) and Ai (harmony) and describes the active principle of the universe, i.e. Aiki converted into activity. Accordingly, Kiai and Aiki are closely related and denote the same principle. Aiki is passive and works in "doing nothing", while Kiai embodies the working of nature in active action.

The mental aspect of kiai includes a state of readiness (zanshin), the particular mental alertness that can react immediately to any sudden attack. It is a state of such high energy that the scream breaks out spontaneously. Therefore, the Kiai can also be used effectively to increase one's level of readiness.

Do I have to do the Kiai? - Yes.

The Makiwara is a punch post. It is a normal part of every dojo.It is used to train punching techniques such as kicks, hand-edge kicks, elbow techniques or kicks. It consists of a wooden post and a padded playing surface. Both elements can be made of different materials. The original Makiwara consists of a bamboo post and tied rice straw.

Maki means bound and wara means rice straw. Makiwara is a good teacher because it shows every mistake well and it is used to harden the body and to develop strength and energy when performing the technique.

WHAT IS A BLACK BELT AND HOW CAN I GET ONE?

The black belt is a piece of black fabric in the shape of a long belt.

The correct question should be rather: "What does the black belt represent" and that needs a longer explanation.

When Master Funakoshi Gichin brought karate to Japan, there were no different belts. When he introduced different levels in karate in 1932, which were based on the graduation system of judo, a belt system also emerged in karate. At this point, he black belted all of his advanced students.
The black belt represents the point in time at which one has learned the techniques well enough to begin real karate studies. So one day maybe you too will get a black belt and be ready to start over.

In traditional Shotokan karate there is 9 Dan (black belts), whereby an examination must be taken up to the 5th Dan. But there are some hurdles (read exams) to master before you can take on the black belt (Dangrad - Shodan).
The graduations that precede the Dan are the so-called student degrees (Kyugrade).
These are the 9th Kyu (white belt), 8th Kyu (yellow belt), 7th Kyu (orange belt), 6th Kyu (green belt), 5th Kyu (1st blue belt), 4th Kyu (2nd blue belt), 3 Kyu (1st brown belt), 2nd Kyu (2nd brown belt), 1st Kyu (3rd brown belt).

Sen means "before or first", Sei means "life, birth or lived". So a sensei is someone who has done, learned or experienced something before you. He has gone the way you plan to go before you, he can tell you what to do.

In general and therefore not quite correctly one could say he is a kind of teacher, in karate usually the chief instructor of the dojo from which you should learn and from no one else. However, the term is also used for other high ranks, e.g. professors, doctors, masters.

The opposite of Sensei is Gakusei (student, student) or Deshi (pupil, apprentice).

The master, called Sensei in Japan, has a different meaning in Asian cultures than in Europe. There he is not the one who imparts knowledge or skills to a student, but the one who shows the way. To do this, he makes use of an art (Jutsu), the goal of which, however, is beyond learning the forms in an inner confrontation, from which the possibility of the path arises. The teaching of a master is therefore inaccessible to those who only want the form.

Karate-do is a martial art that was founded on Okinawa, an island off the main Japanese islands, and was expanded into a kind of "path of life" by Master Gichin Funakoshi.

Before these modifications were made, it was just a group of techniques that allowed yourself to defend yourself without weapons, using only your own body. So it was that the main development took place in Okinawa and later in Japan, but there was also considerable Chinese influence in the development of this art. Master Funakoshi, who was very fond of the traditional martial arts of Japan such as kyudo, kendo or judo, modified karate so that from that moment on one could speak of karate-jutsu, a martial art that placed philosophical aspects in the foreground. This created the basis that technique, ethics and etiquette could be taken into daily life by the student, and that is the reason why Karate-Do is a kind of way of life (Do means path or direction of the road).

Gichin Funakoshi combined karate technique with budo (path of martial arts), so to speak, by transplanting the essence of budo into the heart of karate.

WHAT IS TRADITIONAL SHOTOKAN KARATE-DO?

Shotokan is a karate style that does not focus on victory or defeat, but on perfecting the character. Shotokan Karate was essentially developed and influenced by Master Gichin Funakoshi, who is considered the founder of today's karate, Master Yoshitaka (Gigo) Funakoshi and Master Hidetaka Nishiyama. Traditional Shotokan karate is not so much a sport as it is aimed at expanding and improving our mental and physical possibilities. It is all about a Budo art and as such it is, by studying and practicing karate as DO (Japanese way), a way of life, a lifestyle or a basic philosophy of life, which is based on the personal development of the practitioner and the development of inner energy, AI of the practitioner is interested.

The techniques and movements follow natural laws, they are full of vitality and energy, although the principles of harmony and relaxation are always used to avoid the use of raw strength. If one learns to use all the possibilities that traditional Shotokan karate offers, then the size, strength and weight of the opponent becomes irrelevant. That is also the reason why karate is not a sport in the traditional sense, since sport alone emphasizes the physical aspects (strength, stamina, athletics, etc.) too much.

The tradition of this martial art already shows that karate training not only teaches techniques, but also basic ethical values ​​such as respect, sincerity and tolerance. These and many other aspects show that traditional Shotokan karate promotes progress on all human levels, not just the physical one.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT TYPES OF PARTNER EXERCISES AND FORMS OF FIGHT IN TRADITIONAL KARATE?

There are:

Gohon - Kumite: Five steps fight
Sanbon - Kumite: Three step struggle
Kihon - Ippon - Kumite: One step fight
Jyu - Ippon - Kumite: One - step - (half) free fight
Jiyu - Kumite: Free fight

These are iron sandals or iron blocks. They are traditionally used to strengthen the legs and hips of Karateka. They weigh approx. 4 - 5 kilograms each.

WHAT KIND OF PROTECTIVE EQUIPMENT WILL I NEED?

Since traditional karate, as we learn it in the ITKF from Sensei H. Nishiyama, is a traditional martial art, we do not use any protective equipment except for the groin guard for men, also for reasons of reality. These measures are prescribed in the ITKF competition. You can also use a mouthguard.

All other protective equipment such as gloves, hand guards, forearm guards, shin guards, head protection, etc. are prohibited because we do not play ice hockey or rugby but practice karate. Don't play a game, just practice a martial art.

The Kohai is the younger and inexperienced who follows the Senpai in the Senpai / Kohai relationship. The Senpai / Kohai relationship pervades the entire social structure of Japan. Wherever two people meet in mutual dependency, there is a younger one (Kohai) and an older one (Senpai).

But even without mutual interest, this relationship between two people exists solely on the basis of age. The senpai does not necessarily have to be the teacher. However, in a certain sense, society assigns him responsibility for the behavior and behavior of the younger man. The senpai feels responsible for bad behavior of the younger and can lose face in front of his fellow men.

The senpai (Japanese: the elder) is the head of the students. He can also be a trainer, leads training sessions himself and has a teaching role. In Japanese culture, however, the senpai is the mentor.

WILL I HURT WHEN I LEARN KARATE?

The answer to this question is a good way to finally dispel many prejudices.

The fact is that most other sports are far more injurious than karate. Statistics sufficiently prove this.

During the time I've been practicing karate, I've never had a serious injury. It also depends on what you call an injury, of course. The truth is that it is much more common for karateka to get injured in other so-called compensatory sports. Of course, it also depends on how often you train. Statistically speaking, the more likely you are to get injured if you exercise more often. Small injuries such as "bruises", abrasions or sprains can occur, as in any other sport. However, they are very rare in traditional Shotokan karate.

Experience shows that it is easier and more frequent to get injured in the beginning, although in the beginning you often do not train as often and as hard.
Why? The answer is very simple. In every sport, the risk of injury is particularly increased because you are poorly able to assess yourself, and you can expect too much and often go beyond your individual physical performance limits because you do not recognize them. This often works fine, but sometimes it doesn't.
A slightly more advanced karateka knows exactly what and how much he can do. The fact that you want to achieve a lot quickly, especially at the beginning, increases the risk of injury for those who are not practiced because the body needs a longer time to be able to adjust to new stresses. Until the musculoskeletal system (bones, muscles, joints, tendons, ligaments, etc.) can adjust to these movement patterns, you should therefore give yourself the chance to learn exercises and techniques slowly and systematically. A piece of advice that some coaches should write behind their ears.

The fact that karate, in contrast to many other sports, is a martial art and therefore also, if not from the beginning, consists of kumite, has shown that fighting with the opponent does not increase the risk of injury.

HOW OLD CAN I BE TO EXERCISE KARATE?

There is absolutely no age limit. Anyone who wants to learn karate can do that too.
Age is never the problem, the problem is attitude. Lots of people think they're too old, but that's not true. I can say that from my own years of experience. The oldest member in our dojo is 65 years old and fully motivated.

Of course, as you get older it will take longer to recover and achieve some degree of flexibility, but there is nothing to worry about. The training is adapted to the respective personal possibilities. There is no need to stress yourself.

HOW LONG DO I TAKE TO GET A BLACK BELT?

As long as you need to go into the store and buy it ... no seriously: It again depends on how much you train and learn - depending on the commitment, from four years to the top.

I once read a story in which it was written: "If you always aim at your goal with one eye, then you only have one eye with which you can see where you are going."
I think that's especially true of karate. We have to learn to understand and study karate as an end in itself and not as a means to an end, without a materialistic goal, without any special interest other than that. In this way you will reach your goals automatically and maybe even unconsciously without your striving for them; they are inevitable if you make sincere efforts and you face yourself in your daily training.

How long do karate training sessions last?

They can last from one hour (15 minutes warming up and stretching; 45 minutes karate) to three hours.

Of course, nobody is forced to take part in all of the training sessions. If you cannot finish the training completely for physical or physical reasons, nobody will prevent you from resting. However, at the other extreme, it is when people come into training or quit training whenever you believe it. Arbitrarily and often entering or leaving the dojo at your own discretion is not in the sense of a qualified karate training and should be avoided, after all, it bothers the others.

A good start would be a weekly training session of approx. 3 - 5 hours at the beginning. When the physical and mental condition improves, you can start to increase the training units. Too much training, especially at the beginning, massively increases the risk of injury. In order to avoid physical and mental overload, all karateka should try to give their body the opportunity to relax and regenerate between training units. (Easy running, easy movement of the joints, drinking plenty of fluids, balanced diet, sauna or steam bath, massages, whirlpool, etc.)

HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO TRAIN TO BECOME A KARATE EXPERT?

Your whole life! When you really do and understand karate seriously, questions of this kind become meaningless.

HOW LONG DO I HAVE TO TRAIN TO DEFEND?

There is no definite period of time so that you could say "train for a year and nothing more can happen to you".
The success of the training and thus also the ability of self-defense depends on the personal training effort. You will also soon notice the following: the more you train, the more mistakes you will discover in your karate. You will never be satisfied and you may never feel "invincible". This is not a weakness. On the contrary, it is an experience and an attitude that shows that you are learning and that you can judge yourself critically.

Many "amateur martial artists" never reach this stage. You are satisfied with what you can do and always feel superior to others. You don't notice, however, that they are just scratching the surface. However, some practitioners will progress faster, others will never be able to defend themselves.

Karate trainers or other so-called martial arts experts who promise something else are dubious. They arouse hopes and ideas in the practitioner that he cannot achieve, and all of this only in order to market himself or her school well. A very dubious motivation.

HOW OFTEN ARE KARATEKA INJURED IN THE KARATE-KUMITE?

Every now and then it can happen that you get one or the other "bruise" from it, but everything is within an easily bearable framework.

Just as you don't learn to ski on the mogul slope, you don't start free fighting in karate, but learn to fight step by step. Due to the very high degree of control of one's own technique and the control of the opponent, there are hardly any serious injuries in traditional karate. In addition, your own body is on the one hand more and more hardened over time and on the other hand, since injuries are always the result of bad timing and your own inattention, you learn through training not to block the opponent and use force against force, but rather the empty ones Spaces to use mental and physical Kyo as well as all other mental and physical weak points of the opponent

HOW SHOULD I BE ABOUT THE SENSEI?

With the respect and courtesy that you should show to every other person who has a little more experience and knowledge than yourself. Every true sensei will certainly not expect any special treatment and will probably be a very approachable and friendly person.

HOW MUCH OF A TRAINING SESSION IS DEDICATED TO THE KIHON, KATA AND KUMITE?

This is very different. I can only say how it is customary in traditional Shotokan Karate according to the system of Sensei Nishiyama (ITKF) and thus also in our dojo and association (ÖTKV).

About 1/3 kihon, 1/3 kata, and 1/3 kumite. But of course there is also the possibility of holding training units that only have one of the parts (only Kata, only Kumite or only Kihon) as their content.

WILL I RUNNING AND LIFTING WEIGHT TO GET IN SHAPE?

Yes. It depends on what you want to achieve.
The obscure claim that strength training is incompatible with martial arts is simply wrong. But it is important not to destroy your mobility and flexibility with the dumbbell training. So stretch after every exercise. It would be important and advisable to seek advice from a specialist in setting up the training in order to ensure a targeted training structure.Running, especially sprint interval training, is certainly good for karateka, since footwork and explosive movements are very important in karate.