Thursday 27 October 2011

The difference between sports and traditional (martial arts) karate

The right combination and use of kihon (fundamentals), kata (formal exercises), bunkai/oyo-jutsu (analysis/technical applications), and kumite (sparring), is prerequisite for karate to be the unparalleled martial art of self-defence it is was made to be.

Nevertheless, as Asai Sensei always said, most karateka fail to do enough impact work and oyo. "Most people merely do sports karate". So much so that Asai Sensei formed one organisation for sports-focused karate (JKS) and one for his personal "martial arts karate" (IJKA). Many of you will remember the article I wrote in 2007 on "Air Karate" (if not, you can read it here: and more recently a post on "oyo"
(click here: There have been numerous other articles in relation to these topics, but because this is merely a blog, I've not provided specific explanations. Naturally, I'll keep it this way because this knowledge is for my students around the world, guests who visit the dojo to sweat, and for my hosts when I'm invited to conduct technical seminars.

Overall, unless one has a complete system of training, as explained above, their karate will never be optimally functional. This is what clearly establishes the difference between sports and traditional (martial arts) karate.

© André Bertel (2011). Christchurch, New Zealand.

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