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About Karate

Shotokan Karate is a Japanese martial art which, like all traditional karate styles, has developed from the original Okinawan martial form of "te". Karate was introduced to Japan from Okinawa in the 1920's and has evolved into the styles we have today. Master Gichin Funakoshi who was among the first of the Okinawan karate masters to take up residence in mainland Japan for the purpose of spreading the art. Master Funakoshis style later became known as Shotokan karate.

Shotokan karate is characterised by deep stances and long, linear attacks. It places great emphasis on dynamic body movement to generate powerful, fast attacks and blocks. Training is broken down into three elements, Kihon (basic exercises), Kata (forms) and Kumite (sparring). Beginners are taught how to move in stance while simultaneously performing kicks, strikes and blocks.  

Great emphasis is placed on kata which forms a central part of the training. Kata training teaches form, movement and power. It also enables participants to learn and practise the range of techniques contained in the Shotokan system. There are more than 20 kata in Shotokan karate and although none are "easy" to perform some are more complex than others and require a deeper understanding of the art in order to perform them competently. Kata is regarded as the soul of Shotokan.

Kumite training forms the other vital element of Shotokan training. Kumite takes two forms:

a) Basic sparring when the attack is announced to the defender before it is performed. There are several types of basic sparring.

b) Free-sparring where participants freely exchange attacks and counters.

Shotokan karate is suitable for both sexes and can be practised by young and old alike. It is an exciting, structured method of physical training and a highly effective self-defence form.