Monday 19 March 2012

The 'art' of karate: Neglecting the `martial' part

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to establish that many of the techniques, movements and positions in karate are clearly not directly transferable for self-defence; however, everything has a purpose and can be readily traced back to a critical aspect of combat. Clearly, such an obscure comment has little weight as "anything" could potentially be related. Nevertheless, this is where intention/focus of one's training comes in.

Whether practicing kihon, kata or kumite we must always think "What is this for?" then train it in accordance with the bigger picture of our target(s). Just "perfecting the moves" is certainly not enough to turn our karate into an effective self-defence system. Likewise, just practicing applications of the moves will not give us the physical prowess needed to apply 'martial arts'.

From this perspective, the classical stances and techniques (such as those depicted) can serve to either improve the body and range of motion, and specific principles/applications for self-defence, or set us up with more things we can't use in reality.

Hence, how we approach our training every time we enter the dojo or self-train ultimately determines the potential effectiveness of our karate. Unfortunately, most dojo do not adaquately address this issue, or only do so from a theoretical perspective, or in an inconsistently novel way. This drops the 'martial' and leaves karate as a merely a form of 'art'.

© André Bertel. Christchurch, New Zealand (2012).

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