Did You Know?
What is Karate
Karate is the way of the empty hand; karate is a type of sport, which is used for self-defense or to defeat an opponent.
That or something similar would be the answer from a normal karate teacher if asked by a student "What is Karate?"
If one were to put the same question to a karate master of wisdom and knowledge he would probably answer "Karate is Kata!"
A young karateka or teacher with a keen interest in sport tournament karate would laugh about such an answer, because the deeper meaning and way of karate-Do is not so easily understood.
The main interest of many tournament karate fighters and teachers is to beat their opponent, to be successful, to become a seasoned (street) fighter or to guide their students into these directions.
It is not strictly necessary to be a member of a karate school in order to become a good fighter. Everyday experience in combatin the streets, in bars and so on, can also make a good fighter.
Even for fights in competitions it is not strictly necessary to study the basis of karate-do
It is often quiet sufficient to familiarize oneself with the correct moves and kicks, the rules and the point system from competition sparing in order to be successful.
It should – however – always be remembered that kumite, the fight, is only a small part of karate, kumite alone must never be seen as karate.
Karate is like the ocean and the fight can only be seen as drops in the vast masses of water. Karate is one of the most disciplined of the martial arts; its very essence is kata.
The true art of karate combat cannot survive without outstanding discipline and a trained mind.
A truly dedicated and traditional karateka will always see that he becomes perfect in the eight virtues, which the traditional kata teaches the student:
Respect for higher ranks, older people and opponents. Politeness can always befound at the beginning and end of each kata. "Rei", bowing respectfully opens and closes every karate training.
A good karateka should try to keep body, mind, clothing and in fact his whole life-style clean and in order. He should set a good example to others.
"Yoi", at the beginning of each kata indicates the ability to detect even the most gentle movement or sound and to be in constant readiness to react with whole body.
By means of correct and exact breathing the inner organs of the body can be kept healthy and inner strength (ki) can be built up.
In order to carry out the movement precisely yet with elegance, kata supports the development of a healthy and strong body trains in agility, speed, balance as well as a correct posture.
The first move of a karate-kata is always a defense technique, which shows, that karate beyond all is meant for defense and not attack. The karateka should be able to defend himself successfully against several opponents attacking him from different directions by using his whole body.
The karateka is able to carry out all moves and techniques simultaneously with his body and mind in total harmony, through concentration and meditation.
As mentioned before, the bow expresses respect for teachers, parents, his country and for all fellow men. Without kata, its soul, karate would be not more than "Punch and Kick", one combat sport among many, which could be given another name. Karate can be compared with a large tree; kata is the root that feeds it, keeps it strong. Karate without kata is like a tree without roots.
Shorin-Ryu and especially Seibukan Karate is a style that originated in Okinawa, Japan. It contains many movements from a ninety degree stance and emphasizes the learning of correct, precise movements through repetition of Katas and forms. Aggressiveness and the ability to block and instantaneously counterattack are also basic principles of this style. Hands and feet are both used for fighting on an equal basis. Shorin-Ryu is neither a "soft" nor a "hard" style. It is powerful and precise; but at the same time requires speed as well as agility. Although Shorin-Ryu is not the easiest of the karate styles, it is undoubtedly one of the most powerful and graceful style. There has been no change in this style throughout the centuries. Over the years in many of the karate styles the original names of katas and techniques have been changed due to political reasons, still calling themselves traditional karate style even through the original traditions are not being carried on, not so with Shorin-Ryu. Shorin-Ryu is the oldest karate style in the world. Where many other karate styles have derived from such as Shotokan, Shito-Ryu etc. And we are proud and privileged to say that we are learning and teaching the Shorin-Ryu style practically the same way that the old Okinawan karate masters learned and taught it.
What is Kubodo?
The word Kobudo means "Ancient weapon way" and as the word indicates it is the art of using weapons. All the weapons used in Kobudo were formerly the farmers or fishermen tools and later used to defend against enemies
There are two main styles of Kobudo, the Matayoshi Ryu Ha and Shinken Taira style. Our style is Jinbukan Kobudo and was founded and taught by Sensei Kasuyoshi Kanei, 9th Dan Kobudo. He was a student of both Matayoshi and Shinken Taira.
Sensei Kanei passed away in 1993 leaving his assistant Sensei Masatune Chinen, 9th Dan Kobudo in charge. Jinbukan Okinawan Kobudo have a good and systematic way of teaching.
The instructors of United Karate Sports Centre dojos train under Sensei J. Measara, 5th Dan Kobudo. He has trained under Sensei Matayoshi and currently training under Sensei Chinen.
This style trains weapons such as Bo, Sai, Tonfa, Nunchaku, Kama, Eku (boat rowing equipment), Nunte, Son satsu kon, Sonchaku, Tinbe etc. A variety of weapons dating back to China and Okinawa 1500th century. In martial art, weapons are the advanced staged. With unarmed Karate, the Kobudo makes an ideal complement and combination and is a must of all Karateka's.
What is Aikido
Aikido (the way of harmonizing the energy of the universe) is first and foremost a martial art but it is also much more. At its most basic level Aikido is a system of throwing, joint-locking, striking and pinning techniques, coupled with training in the use of sword, staff and knife techniques. Aikido was founded by Morihei Ueshiba in the early twentieth century and has now grown to be one of the world’s most popular martial arts.
As a form of Budo (the martial way), Aikido is more than a fighting art. It is a path of personal discovery and character improvement. The path on which you have taken the first steps is different for each person but if you train hard you will see improvements in many areas of your life. Some of the benefits include increased physical fitness, improved self-confidence and a greater awareness of yourself and your boundaries as well as those of people around you.
The most fundamental concept of Aikido is that of ‘harmonising’ with an attacker. In practical terms, a practitioner of aikido will use the force of an attack against their aggressor to apply a lock, throw or pin. When pulled the Aikidoka (practioner of Aikido) moves forward in the direction of the attack. When pushed, the Aikidoka pivots out of the way. In this way, Aikido redirects the force of the attack until it is no longer a threat. In this weakened position, the attacker then becomes susceptible to various forms of controls (ways of directing an attacker to a final pin), or throw.
Underpinning this theoretical basis is a number of principles and methods, all integral to cultivating a greater understanding and means of applying this fundamental principle.
The first of these methods is the appropriate roles of both ‘shite’ and ‘uke’. In traditional aikido training, shite and uke are training partners, not opponents. As a ‘pair’, both will work with each other, fostering an atmosphere suited to the application and research of often dangerous locks and throws. Such a high level of co-operation helps you to reconceptualise an attack - from a hostile and destructive force to a positive facilitator of your aikido technique. The attack becomes a positive means to your ends.
Another of the methods used is ‘Shuchu-ryoku’ - or focused power. This is the ability to focus your power into one point. Using the power of the hips, legs, knees, abdomen, etc, harnessed together to focus your energy towards one aim. The power generated is greater than the power of the muscles alone. It is the aikidoka’s ability to generate such power that enables a smaller and comparatively weaker person to apply techniques on larger and stronger opponents.
Breath power or ‘kokyu-ryoku’ results from the alignment of feeling (sensitivity), breathing and rhythm, allowing the Aikidoka to read uke's movement and lead them. It is not necessary to do any special training in order to develop breath power, you will develop it through consistent training.