Karate is a martial art that was developed on the islands of Okinawa. It is was formed from an indigenous fighting system called Te, and was also substantially influenced from Chinese martial arts, as there was fairly robust trade between the former Ryukyu Islands (now Okinawa), and China. Te was designed for the protection of Island royalty, as well as the common man. It wasn’t until the 1920’s that Okinawan karate was brought to the Japanese mainland by a senior practitioner by the name of Gichin Funakoshi. It was Funakoshi Sensei’s efforts, as well as his senior students, that karate bloomed into the sport karate that is widely seen across the international stage.
Traditional karate is a striking art that is very practical from a self-defense perspective. It involves the use of striking with many parts of the body, grappling and ground defense, as well as joint locks and restraints.
One of the ways that techniques within the art has been transferred through the years has been the practice of kata.
Kata is a Japanese word that means form. In karate, as in other arts, it is a choreographed series of movements designed over the years to train the participant in the technique, movement, transitions, and nuances of the given emphasis of the kata.
The practice of kata is only the first half of an integrated approach. The kata contains a series of movements that contain technique which represents several self-defense situations, and it is the analysis and application of those series of techniques where the true heart of karate lies. We place a heavy focus on understanding the application of our style’s techniques, and being able to apply them. This practice is called oyo bunkai; analysis and application. We believe an equal emphasis on both kata and oyo bunkai is what traditional karate is about, and what the early masters intended.
We also have knife and gun defense in our curriculum to round out the practitioner’s arsenal of tools that they can use in the event they ever need to defend themselves.
Also integrated into our curriculum is the softer-skills of self-defense. They are:
- Environmental awareness
- Verbal de-escalation skills