Wednesday 27 December 2023


Takushoku University 1939

You can’t only practice 基本 on the spot—Sonoba Kihon; and marching up and down the dojo—Ido Kihon. Yes, merely hitting the invisible enemy. Splitting the air. 

Yet so many fail to insufficiently go beyond these base methods. It's like a baseball player simply practicing their swing, yet never facing a pitcher trying to strike them out. Lots of karate instructors are like this now, only image, not combative practicality. 


It is utterly imperative to train kihon to be functional, which means ‘kumite training of kihon’ and full-contact impact work; moreover, doing this practice needs to be regular—especially for the higher kyu grades and beyond. Otherwise, it is not true karate: only an impression of karate: 'karate movement'.


The constant target of “…being able to hit more accurately, more strongly, and faster, are naturally high priorities amongst budo karateka (plural)”.


What I strongly advise, for those doing insufficient kihon, is to simply amp up uchikomi practice and bag work (also makiwara, focus mitts, impact shields, etcetera).


I also recommend doing reps and sets. Three sets of fifteen sets of a ‘one—two’ combination: for example, kizami-zuki kara jodan gyaku-zuki. Set one as uchikomi with a training partner. Sets two and three with maximum explosiveness on the sandbag, followed by moving focus mitts.


This is a super simple example, nevertheless, a 'start point' for many people. Reps and sets help: they motivate! I need to add here that many require strength training. Not only to maximize their karate and avoid injury, but also for daily life. The typically sedentary nature of people's lives now has resulted in the average person's muscles and bones to be weaker. Hojo-undo, weights, calisthenics, plyometrics, and so forth, are all excellent to maximize ourselves. However, it is imperative to take care to not overtrain and cause injuries: step-by-step... The key is to be systematic and build up slowly.

ALL OF THESE POINTS ARE 'KIHON'. Mix them in accordance with what you need to maximize yourself. Furthermore, do so safely so that you can avoid injuries. Simply punching the air on the spot and doing line-work is OK for beginners and intermediate level karateka; however, one cannot develop true BUDO/BUJUTSU (that is, REAL KARATE) if they only do this.

© André Bertel. Oita City, Japan (2023).

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