|What is Shotokan Karate?
Shotokan Karate was developed from various martial arts
by Gichin Funakoshi (1868–1957). The Shotokan style of
karate is usually regarded as a 'hard' martial art
because it is taught that way to beginners. Students
learn how to develop strong basic techniques and stances
where strength and power are demonstrated. Shotokan
training is usually divided into three parts: kihon
(basics), kata (forms or patterns of moves),kumite
Kihon means "basics" or "fundamentals." The practice and mastery of kihon is essential to all advanced training, and includes the practice of correct body form and breathing, while practising basics such as stances, punches, kicks, blocks, and thrusts, but it also includes basic representative kata. Kihon is not only practising of techniques, it is also the karateka fostering the correct spirit and attitude at all times. Kihon techniques tend to be practiced often, in many cases during each practice session. They are considered fundamental to mastery and improvement of all movements of greater complexity. This style of practice is believed to ingrain the techniques into the muscle memory of the karateka.
Kata is often described as a set sequence of karate moves organized into a pre-arranged fight against imaginary opponents. The kata consists of kicks, punches, sweeps, strikes, blocks, and throws. As the karateka grows older, more emphasis is placed on the health benefits of practicing kata, promoting fitness while keeping the body soft, supple, and agile.
Kumite is the practical application of kata to real opponents, taught in ever increasing complexity. Beginners learn kumite through basic drills. These drills use basic (kihon) techniques and develop a sense of timing and distance in defence against a known attack.