12 Step Approach to Karate
For the novice or beginner, one might think that true karate can only be done by those who have been practicing the art form for many years, which is not the case, the following in an easy 12 step guide to karate which can help anyone young or old to begin their journey in the karate genre.
Getting in the zone (mind right, body right)
1.Meditation (5 minutes )
Mind over matter”, this phrase is the essence of the mental aspect of karate. Before you start take the time to breath, in a quiet and a calming place, and just let go of everything that is bothering you and ultimately clear your mind of everything.
2. Warm up (10 minutes )
Karate is as much about the mind as it is about one’s body, warming up your body in this art form is like prepping your work tools for a day’s work. Running around the block, doing some push ups and some sit ups should prepare you for the demanding requirements this sport form requires
3. Stretch (15 minutes)
Stretching in any sport is crucial, and this one is not any different, your body needs to be ready for the intense activities and strains that karate demands. Ideally you should focus on your legs, although a good full body stretch could never do anyone any harm.
4. Understanding the philosophy
All martial art forms begin and end with courtesy. This art form involves the mind and soul as much as it does the body, thus requiring the practitioner to simultaneously develop all aspects to truly master and understand this sport.
Mastering your Stance, Balance, and Power
5. Starting with the basic stances
No karate style is the same, each has their own variation to various stances and positions depending on which you are practicing:
The natural, or walking stance (Shizentai-dachi). Achieved by placing the front foot forward and the back at a 45-degree angle, and at a walking or natural standing width apart.
The front stance (Zenkutsu-dachi). Like the natural stance, however feet width is slightly further apart and one’s body weight rests more on the front leg.
Cat or back stance (Nekoashi-dachi). Foot positioning is like the walking stance, however your weight rests mostly on your back leg.
6. The ready stance
The above mentioned stances are fighting stances, however at the beginning of any spar opponents begin with a ready stance. Of which there are three basic options:
The Fukygata series has participant’s heels together and toes pointing outward to a 60-degree angle.
The Pinan series has their feet at shoulder width, with toes pointing outward at a 45-degree angle.
Lastly the Naihanchi series have their feet directly together and parallel.
7. Balance is key
Karate takes immense balance in order to successfully master it, practitioners need to focus on finding their centre of gravity in this martial art form.
8. Concentrate on your speed and power
Karate is not about being able to move large objects, rather being able to move a small object with speed and detailed precision. Using ones whole body in route to your target will help bring more power and in essence increased speed.
Mastering the Moves
9. Punch and blocking
There are several punch techniques you will need to learn to effectively engage your opponent. These are namely straight punch, upper-cut, knife-hand, spear-hand, elbow strike and the back fist. In the martial arts genre blocking a punch is just as important as delivering one, don’t just focus on attack, each yin has its yang.
When engaging in a kick focus beyond the actual target to gain the maximum power, practice the flow of motion to gain fluidity of motion first.
11. Sparring with an opponent
Sparring will help you increase your stamina and one’s ability to throw combinations as well as defend against multiple attacks.
12. Practice your Kata (Techniques)
Practice makes perfect, focus on one style or kata per session and get to grips with it. Once you feel comfortable with it move on, it is important to focus on easier techniques in the beginning and work your way up.