We practice Shotokan Karate. Karate (空手) is a Martial Art developed in Okinawa. Kara means ’empty’ and te means ‘hand’. So karate is mainly a striking art, focusing on punching, kicking, elbow and knee strikes and open handed techniques such as palm strikes, however locks and throws are present in the style (these techniques are most commonly found in the Shotokan kata).
Shotokan (松涛館) is a style of karate developed by Ginchin Funakoshi and his son Yoshitaka Funakoshi. The meaning of the name Shotokan comes from Funakoshi’s pen name, ‘Shoto’ meaning pine leaves and ‘Kan’ meaning house. There are many other styles of karate, including Goju-Ryu (Go= Hard, Ju = Soft, Ryu = Style/Way), Isshin-Ryu (Is = One, Shin = Heart, Ryu = Style/Way) and Kyokushinkai (Kyuoku = Ultimate, Shin = Truth, Kai = Meet/Join). Each style has its own characteristics, Shotokan is known for its dynamic and impressive kata and also its combination of speed and power in fighting techniques. We are affiliated to the Karate Union of Great Britain (KUGB) a Shotokan specific Karate organisation.
Each training session will start with a warm up which will get the body and mind prepared for the lesson. There is 3 main components of karate: ‘Kihon’ (基本), ‘Kata’ (型 or 形) and ‘Kumite’ (組手). ‘Kihon’ means fundamentals or basics which enables the karate-ka (student of karate) to practice the timing, power, speed and focus of techniques. ‘Kata’ means form or pattern, each form has a name that is recognised in any Shotokan dojo across the world.
‘Kata’ are patterns of techniques, which often contain unusual moves, such as wrist locks (found in Bassai Dai), grab releases (Heian Yondan) and throws (Kanku Dai).
‘Kumite’ literally means the meeting of hands and is the sparing element of karate. Each lesson contain these three elements presented at the correct level for your grade.
The Karate we practice develops balance, speed, flexibility and strength. Aside from physical benefits of karate, the specific training techniques used in the class result in self-confidence, motivation and self-esteem – that carry over to all aspects of life.