What is Karate?
It is a martial art. Karate is actually two words: kara (empty), te (hand). This infers that the exponent is practiced in the art of fighting using bear hands.Karate was originally practised in private by the Japanese, who were not open to the idea that foreigners should be shown the art. Gichin Funagoshi is credited with bringing modern karate out in the open on his return to mainland Japan from the island of Okinawa.
Who is it for?
One of the most common misconception about practicing Karate is that you must be very well fit, strong, flexible and you should have probably started at age of 8 and now is too late for that. And you might be right thinking that, but only if you consider taking place in a knockdown competition, where most of the karatekas would probably fit that description. Not everyone who attends a classes is there to compete. Actually, it is a small portion. Most people are there because they were looking for a martial art, a way to stay fit, a new hobby, to reduce stress, etc. We have practicing students from age of 6 to 60+. We have Bankers, Brokers, Engineers, IT specialists, Musicians, etc. So Karate really is for everyone.
How do I start?
As every other journey - you start with a single step! You should be aware however, that this journey only has a start. It is a never ending one as Karate is for life! And all you need for your first step is a pair of tracksuit bottoms, a tee-shirt & a bit of enthusiasm. On arrival you will be asked to fill out a short form with your details, which is a legal requirement on running a club. Whether you are new to the martial arts or a veteran, the instructor will take into account your capabilities and encourage you accordingly. The very youngest that we take kids is 6 yrs old and we do not have an upper age limit.
What style do we practice?
The style we practice in Docklands Dojo is Kyokushin (極真?). It is a full contact karate, founded in 1964 by Masutatsu Oyama, and it means "the ultimate truth." Kyokushin is rooted in a philosophy of self-improvement, discipline and hard training. Sosai Oyama wanted to make a style that is concentrated on the power and character of the practitioner. In pursuit of this, he sought advice and followed the example of the famous Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, by living in the mountains, practicing, studying and meditating. After one and a half years he came down and put his abilities to the test by challenging other martial artists of the time to fight and also fought bulls as well. In the 1950's he then started his own dojo in ikebukuru (Japan) and Kyokushin karate was born. It is now practised throughout the world with each student challenging themselves to become better in body and mind with the philosophy of "Osu, no sienchin" (never give up).
Respect, honor, loyalty, humility, self-control, integrity, honesty all these are the building blocks of Karate, no mater the style. Etiquette can be defined as forms, manners, and ceremonies – the proper way to behave, clean dogi (uniform), properly tied belt, etc., but it’s so much more then that. It begins with probably the first thing we learn in Kyokushin. OSU!
“Osu!” is so much more than a word of understanding, direction etc. As Sensei Fogarasi explains to us, Osu comes from a longer phrase known as “Osu no Seishin”. “Osu!” is a combination of two different kanji. The verb ‘osu’ which means “push”, and ‘shinobu’ which means “to endure”. Together, these two kanji form a new compound word, which symbolizes “combat spirit”, “the importance of patience, determination and perseverance” “the necessity to overcome all obstacles”, “advancing with a positive attitude”, “not showing pain or exhaustion”. Essentially “the spirit of determination and perseverance is the meaning of “Osu!”.
- Kihon is a Japanese term meaning “basics” or “fundamentals.” The term is used to refer to the basic techniques that are taught and practiced as the foundation of most Japanese martial arts. Think of standard blocks, kicks and strikes.
- Kata a Japanese word meaning detailed choreographed patterns of movements practised either solo or in pairs. In other words, if you think of the basics you learn in Kihon like words, kata now teaches you to form sentences, stringing those basics together in prearranged movements.
- Kumite literally translated means “grappling hands” and is one of the three main sections of karate training, along with kata and kihon. It refers to forms of sparring. Kumite is the part of karate in which a person trains against an adversary, and the part which has made Kyokushin so famous. Unlike most other traditional forms of karate which do “point fighting”, Kyokushin is full contact.