What is traditional karate?
First off what you see in the movies and on TV shows is not traditional karate. Many times shows and movies actually make this very old, very effective art look childish and ineffective. This is far from the case. What is seen primarily in everyday life is what is known as “sport karate”. If you are wondering what sport karate is well it is just what it sounds like. This type of karate has rules and regulations that are used for tournament competition. This includes full contact knockdown karate as the object in competition is to not completely disable to your opponent.
Traditional Karate of Okinawa the true old style of karate practices techniques that are highly effective for a self-defense situation. These techniques are various striking techniques to vital areas of the body, joint locking techniques, seizing techniques, pressure point techniques, and throwing / grappling techniques. These techniques are used not to kill or maim but to shut down an attack quickly god forbid anyone ever have to face a real life attack.
When practicing these techniques they are practiced with a great amount of control so to avoid injury in training at all costs. This control is developed through the regular and diligent practice of kihon (basics) and kata (form). Though kata with application is nothing but a dance and this is where our self-defense techniques come from. Our kata is like an unwritten encyclopedia of the techniques already mentioned.
All the reasons I can’t do karate
At the Seijitsu Shin Do Kan Dojo (Okinawa Karate Of Twinsburg) we have heard I think about every excuse on why someone can’t start learning karate as an adult. These include: I’m too old, I’m out of shape, I am not sure how to start, I don’t want to train with kids, I am afraid of embarrassing myself, or some people want a specific class for just their specific wants.
Simple fact is everyone regardless of age, gender, background, shape or color all start at the same point “the beginning”. Karate is about defeating your worst enemy which many times is yourself and the excuses you make. It is about developing the self-confidence to stand up strong and be proud of what you do knowing you put your all into your achievements and they were not handed to you but they were earned. Not comparing yourself to others and what their abilities are but accepting what you have achieved as being good and looking forward to being better. In karate people of all types are supposed to be able to train next to each and know that the person next to them will support them and encourage them just as you should do with them.
There are many reasons people can come up with to not train in karate but there are many more benefits that should encourage to train.
All the reason I CAN do karate
Regardless of age, physical ability or gender anyone can practice traditional Okinawan karate. There might be some limitations on what your body will allow you to do but the growth potential is immeasurable. Everyone who practices karate has the opportunity to better their health both physically and mentally let’s explore some of the ways.
Physical fitness is one of the first things an adult student will notice about training in karate. The strength and flexibility that is gained by regular hard training is better than going to the gym or local rec center to work out. Karate builds muscle from the inside out rather than the outside in. It helps keep you flexible and in turn keeping your body from cramping up and being sore. Students can and have experienced weight loss and even dropped clothing sizes dramatically as a result of the training and a lifestyle change. This allows people to maintain a healthy weight for their body size while having a fun activity to participate in doing it.
Mental health is a rough one and connects to our physical health. In today’s world with the all the stress we face every day with work, family, friends or just dealing with the general public stress can take a devastating toll on our body and mind. If everyone had a healthy stress relieve it is my opinion that we would see a decline in severe heart attack and stroke numbers as a society. Control your stress and you can control your physical health.
Karate and modern day self-defense
With everyone seemingly wanting a quick fix to everything these days and not wanting to dedicate themselves to something everything is being effected, self-defense is no different. There are many short term self-defense courses out there for people that want to learn to defend themselves. Most of them are for women but some for men also; however self-defense starts with your self-confidence and self-awareness. Many of these courses claim to be able to teach you defend yourself in a short period of time let’s use 6 weeks with 1 hour classes as an example.
Going back to self-confidence and self-awareness being a key component to being able to defend yourself many times this means changing the way you think and the way you do things. Karate training will increase your self-awareness by the amount of focus needed while training. This is not something that is taught but developed. Through this process as you achieve your individual goals your self-confidence will increase also. Now do you think that this can be done in a course with a total of 6 hours of practice time? If not than you are correct. Self-defense techniques require speed, timing and perfect execution to work to the maximum effect needed. When faced with an actual attack there cannot be any hesitation whatsoever otherwise the attacker has the upper hand and will cause severe injury to you.
LEARN TO DEFEND YOURSELF CORRECTLY NOT QUICKLY!!
The techniques that traditional Okinawan karate contain are time tested with the effectiveness and can be absolutely devastating when executed at their full potential. Don’t look at karate as a kid’s thing because it truly isn’t. Kid’s karate is watered down to make it age appropriate and not scare them but give kids the many physical and mental benefits karate as to offer. Adults are able to comprehend the level of danger involved and better understand how these techniques can be used so they are then able to fully benefit from the training.
How do I get started?
This is a question that every adult asks and the answer is really simple and direct. Just walk through the front door! If you don’t come and try it out you won’t know if you will even like it. I won’t tell someone that they won’t experience soreness and some pain in their training however the chance of injury is extremely slim if you are learning from a truly qualified instructor. Don’t second guess yourself and don’t make excuses just get in and do it.
Brandon L. Fisher
Okinawa Shorinryu Karatedo - Kyoshi / 7th Dan
Ryukyu Kobujutsu – 4th Dan
Okinawa Karate Of Twinsburg - Chief Instructor
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