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Previous karate articles

• Training Must Be Difficult 
• Approaching Kata 
• Training Focus Points 

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APPROACHING KATA - Sensei Paul Fourie

Guidelines for instructors and students


Performing kata has many elements such as breathing, speed, balance and weight distribution, rhythm, bunkai etc. that need to be incorporated to bring the kata alive. However, when perfecting kata, the following 3 elements MUST be perfected before any of the other kata elements can be applied.

The 1st element: EYES

Eyes equal focus. Failing to look into the direction where you're moving into, will leave the technique without a focus point. Karate technique's success lies in the ability to find the correct focus point. In other words the target and then channel the energy combined with correct technique onto the target. The same way an oi-zuki must be at centre of the body, the same way your eyes must be precisely on target. Being even half a cm off target means that your energy is being split into two. Also target determines direction. Know where to look, so you know where to move.

The 2nd element: STANCE

Now that your focus point determined your direction, concentrate on the specific stance. Remember STANCE IS STRENGTH! It is no use trying to do a strong gedan barai with the hands if the stance is incorrect. The gedan barai WILL be weak and your opponent WILL kick through your block. Get into the habbit of thinking about your legs before you concentrate on the hands. Know EXACTLY where you will place the foot into the next move. Make sure each stance in kata is perfect!

The 3rd element: HANDS

Only NOW you can apply the hands. Why? Because you have now determined your target point through focus and your target point determined your direction. You also now have the correct stance that will SUPPORT your hand technique.

Summary: Perfect your kata by perfecting these 3 elements in this order.

1st EYES

2nd STANCE

3rd HANDS


By swopping around the order of any of the above elements is like trying to build a house and putting the foundation on the roof! It just doesn't work. Teach your students to know what is the focus point and direction of each move, then make sure the stance is correct, and then put the hands in place.
Lastly - Karate can only be taught through example. Instructors must spend 80% of their teaching doing the techniques alongside the students and 20% in walking through the class. Doing it the other way around is like teaching karate through a textbook.

Let's be the best instructors we can be. Our students rely on us for knowledge, example and support. How else can one learn real karate?


Sensei Paul Fourie
 

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