Karate training is divided into the following three disciplines: Kihon, Kata and Kumite.
Kihon is considered the basis. In Kihon one learns and trains the basic techniques of Karate, which later on serve for the execution of more complex movements. A good Kihon should be the starting point of each Karateka (person who practices Karate). A Karateka without a good knowledge of the basic movements is like a swimmer who has never touched water. This is why we focus strongly on a profound knowledge of Kihon techniques.
Kata is understood as a sequence of several connected techniques. Kata can therefore be seen as an imaginary combat against various opponents. In Kata generally important abilities such as coordination and visual thinking are developed.
Kumite is partner-training. In this discipline we train the different techniques of defense, attack and counter-attack with a partner. The student learns to get a feeling for the right distance and to control his or her techniques. As Karate is a martial art in which one learns how to defend oneself against an attacker, be it in a sports competition or in a real fight on the streets, Kumite training is essential. However, while fighting Kumite, our highest concern is that nobody gets injured in any way. Therefore, beginners will be slowly and thoroughly prepared for Kumite and do not have to be scared of fighting. Controlling one's techniques and always fighting attentively are some of the main principles in Kumite.
All three parts of Karate are inseparable and a good Karateka always trains all three of them, regardless of his or her grading. Without a good Kihon, one cannot perform well at Kata. And without Kata and Kihon, Kumite is impossible. For that reason, we try to provide students with a well-balanced training, covering all three disciplines.
"Karate starts and ends with politeness and respect" – This is Gichin Funakoshi's first principle, which many tend to forget. In our Karate club the principles of Karate and Dojo-Kun are very important. For instance, if one enters or exits the training hall, one bows to one's Sensei and fellow Karateka, showing respect to everyone. What is also important is the greeting ritual before and after the lesson.
Training always starts with some warm-up exercises such as running and stretching, relaxing one's muscles and preparing one's body for the Karate lesson. After that follows the technical training. Depending on the student's grading and level, we practice different techniques individually and in sequences or combinations. A Karate lesson covers all three disciplines of Kihon, Kata and Kumite. Nevertheless, taking into account a person's individual strengths and weaknesses, one may perform better at Kata or at Kumite. We try to support our students in maximizing their strengths and minimizing their weaknesses and try to focus on each student's personal abilities. A training session usually ends with some muscle building and fitness exercises, which is especially useful for beginners whose bodies may not yet be used to the amount of stamina and perseverance necessary for Karate training.
There are some general issues we would like you to keep in mind: First of all, every Karateka should be at the Dojo, fully dressed in his or her Karate gear, at least 15 minutes before the beginning of class. In these few minutes before training, one may do some stretching and muscle relaxation exercises on one's own. Should one, however, be late, we would kindly ask you to enter the hall in silence and remain seated in Seiza (a traditional seating position) until the Sensei asks you to join in. Simply 'sneaking' into the hall is considered very impolite and absolutely goes against our Dojo etiquette!