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#432481 - 05/24/11 09:39 AM Defense in Karate
Razma Offline
Member

Registered: 05/19/11
Posts: 36
I'm currently taking Shotokan Karate. MY class is a small group and we're all around the same experience level.

What I don't get is that my classes focus almost solely on attacking. We rarely do any sparring, and we don't practice applying the blocks.

Does defense become more important at the later levels of karate?

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#432482 - 05/24/11 10:50 AM Re: Defense in Karate [Re: Razma]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2572
Hi Razma

As I say I don't know an awful lot about karate, but traditional Shotokan kumite seemed to be very much rooted in the concept of ichigeki hissatsu, or the one cut. In the Samurai tradition ichigeki hissatsu was considered the highest skill. It meant to take your opponent out with one strike of a sword, regardless of what happened to you. The idea would be to strike before your opponent, so defense wasn't always at the top of the list. Could be your karate school follows this tradition. What association does your Shotokan class belong to? JKA? ITKF?

It could just be your class though and the way they teach??
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#432483 - 05/24/11 10:58 AM Re: Defense in Karate [Re: Razma]
gojuman59 Offline
Member

Registered: 04/08/11
Posts: 223
Loc: Missouri
Hi Razma. This is typical and I can relate to your observation. The offensive aspects of martial arts are easier to work on than the defensive ones. The blocking in karate is much more important. Actually from a Goju ryu prospective blocks are called uke, as in receive the technique. We don't block it, we make your technique part of our response. We flow with it.
This is one of the major differences between the different styles of karate. Not better or worse, just different.
Shotokan karate is hard style karate.. linear.. attack in a straight line. In my past M.A. life I did ITF TKD so I have some experience with "banging it out" straight on. IMHO working solely on offensive techniques is fine for tournements but isn't always the way to go as far as self-defense.
I guess it comes down to what do you want out of your training. Shotokan is a good style that can make one very fast and hard to defend against,but sometimes it's better to be able to evade the attack. Banging it out linear is for tournements.
All I can say is keep training hard!! It will sort itself out. Karate is a journey that has no end. I'm sure that you will find what you are seeking.

Mark

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#432485 - 05/24/11 01:11 PM Re: Defense in Karate [Re: gojuman59]
Razma Offline
Member

Registered: 05/19/11
Posts: 36
My school works under the JKA Organization. I enjoy practicing offense. It's what I've always been good at. And my training is real good at making people fast.

And to answer Prizewriter's question. He says that the ultimate aim of my style is to defeat an opponent with one blow.

And to Gojuman it really does seem to sort itself out. I'm still not sure what I want out of my training. Right now I'm working on improving my stances and such so that I can get more power. Most of my training is for speed and power.

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#432490 - 05/25/11 06:12 AM Re: Defense in Karate [Re: Razma]
Ives Offline
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Registered: 04/25/05
Posts: 691
Loc: the Netherlands
Razma, maybe you could help by telling at what kyu/dan level you are training.
Some schools start by learning attacks. Some do this to learn tha attacks, so you know what to defend for. (IMO this only works for karate-kumite-competition, not for self-defense.)

I don't know that much about Shotokan or JKA.

The karate I practice starts the curriculum (9th kyu) with tsuki:punch, gedan-uke:low-block and mae-geri:front-kick. So you see, there is already a uke from the start.

I must also say, that we don't do sparring until 5th kyu level (because of the full-contact form we do) where the level of techniques must be up to par.
Yakusoku- or tangan-kumite practice always uses attack and defense at our school.

You could ask your instructor about it. He might have a reason to do things this way.
_________________________
Ives

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#432493 - 05/25/11 08:05 AM Re: Defense in Karate [Re: Razma]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2572
I think the JKA still does Ippon Kumite? One good hit and it's over. Below is an example of JKA kumite from back in the day. Seems very much the emphasis is on attack in the Kumite below, with the idea of "being first" i.e. hit the other guy before he hits you!

_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#432498 - 05/26/11 01:04 PM Re: Defense in Karate [Re: Prizewriter]
Razma Offline
Member

Registered: 05/19/11
Posts: 36
I'm at the 3rd belt level. Orange belt at my dojo. I don't know the kyu system. I'm a good ways away from my first dan rank. We practice and he's taught me all the basic blocks and we just got into blocks and counter attacks. The main thing is that we practice punches and kicks and practice landing them. But we only do blocks in the air. I'm gonna have to talk to him a bit about what's coming up. My training place is currently closed down for the summer, but my class is the adult class and we're supposed to be organizing some training during the summer.

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#432499 - 05/26/11 03:14 PM Re: Defense in Karate [Re: Razma]
Prizewriter Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 10/23/05
Posts: 2572
Just so I understand correctly... You practice blocks in the air against no resistance, but you practice punching and kicking each other with no blocking??? Do you just stand there while the other person punches and kicks you?
_________________________
"Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food" Hippocrates.

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#432511 - 05/27/11 02:18 PM Re: Defense in Karate [Re: Razma]
Victor Smith Offline
Professional Poster

Registered: 06/01/00
Posts: 3219
Loc: Derry, NH
Razma,

It actually takes quite a bit of time to develop appropriate skill in any technique. I bet your instructor is taking time developing new material before you're skills in previous studies mature.

Personally I liken all kyu (or beginner) training as just that skill development, not preparation for fighting.

It is always difficult for beginning students to understand the pace of their training until they move beyond it and the logic becomes apparent.

The choice comes down to you to train or choose to do something else, but from the little described the training seems appropriate.

Of course I've only been doing this 38 years now and perhaps I'll learn something better next week.

best wishes,
_________________________
victor smith bushi no te isshinryu offering free instruction for 30 years

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#432517 - 05/27/11 11:36 PM Re: Defense in Karate [Re: Victor Smith]
Razma Offline
Member

Registered: 05/19/11
Posts: 36
To prizewriter. No, we don't practice against each other. We practice with pads. It's just straight aggressiveness without the other person participating.

And to Victor. It seems like a snail pace at first, but then I read that Gichin Funakoshi had students working nothing but the first kata for 3 years before starting a new kata. So in comparison to that I'll have to happy. I can't even begin to imagine training for 38 years. I don't plan to ever stop training so I ope I'll get to that much experience.

I'm honestly thinking it's just a time thing to let these skills develop. I remember reading somewhere that the problem with alive training from the start was that you never get the technique down the correct way. I'm probably just getting antsy because I can make some great sounds with my punches and kicks but I can't defend myself well.

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