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Karate Do Shotokai

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    Karate Do Shotokai

    Does anyone here train in this style? Just curious to see if anyone else here does it, and hopefully I can learn more about this style from some of you who have done it for a while.

    My big question is what level of sparring do you eventually get to do? Do you ever do completely free sparring? Full contact? Etc.?

    Being a beginner, all I've gotten to do so far is one step sparring or VERY controlled continuous sparring.


    Shotokai usually refers to Egami's lineage and I think they were somewhat anti-free sparring, at least traditionally. Sometimes though it refers to Okano's lineage who were very big on free-sparring, specifically continuous. Which are you referring to?

    Karate, even within a specific style, can vary so much from school to school though. I would just 1) ask your instructor what you can expect sparring-wise as time goes on 2) watch and see what the brown & black belts do.

    P.S. One steps, done properly, are just basic drills btw, designed to teach fundamental movement skills (i.e. stepping to angles instead of our natural inclination to move straight back) and get day-one beginners used to attacks with full intent coming at them in way that's telegraphed enough for it to be safe. It's a good beginner drill, but it's not sparring and no one (sane) really considers it to be despite the name of the term.

    Mind you, I'm not so much correcting you as I want to get that in before someone jumps in with how worthless one step "sparring" is.


      No worries. I don't mind being corrected if I'm wrong. "Sparring" was just the best word I could come up with to describe what we do at the moment.

      I'm still VERY new to it. Almost everyone who is training with us during the summer is as new as I am as well, so I don't get to watch any advanced students for the moment.

      All my time over the past month has been spent working on learning to settle down in my legs in my stance, moving, and doing irimi, learning mae geri, Gyaku-zuki, and Oi-zuki. Then also the first kata which is the same as the first kata I learned in TKD.

      I'm coming out of years of doing TKD, and what I've learned so far feels like it could be a lot more applicable to 'real' fighting as opposed to 'point' fighting.

      As far as lineage goes, it is under Mitsusuke Harada's KDS. And if I'm correct (tell me if I'm wrong) he has direct lineage back to Egami and Funakoshi.

      I appreciate any feedback, and maybe I can offer up some good info about this style as I progress in it. I'm definitely enjoying what I've learned so far!


        Oh, this will be fun.


          Here's some info that I managed to pull from part of the website. This will pretty much sum up most of what is practiced in the style. I do want to communicate that I have no desire to ever become an amateur or professional fighter (However I do LOVE really good sparring sessions... a LOT). I'm more interested in taking it for self defense purposes and because I enjoy martial arts. It's one of the three striking styles offered in this area.

          So anyone who has had more experience with it or any thoughts please offer your opinions. Or if you have any questions I'll try to supply some form of an answer. I'm really just trying to learn more about it since I'm just really diving into it for the first time. :)

          (And about my last post, I didn't mean to say that TaeKwonDo "couldn't" be used to defend yourself... it's just that I wouldn't try to defend myself with a flying spinning backkick etc.)


          (1) KATA: Like other martial arts, KDS practice employs various kata: routines combining basic techniques (see right column). Although the names and forms appear similar to other styles, the muscular implementation has been drastically revised by Harada Sensei and is unique to KDS practice. Rather than using Kata to simulate combat situations or to meditate, Kata is for us a form of body building where correct timing, muscle development, muscle control, and muscle chaining are practiced.

          (2) KIHON: This refers to the "basics." Techniques learned in Kata are put into practice in controlled, repetitive situations with real partners. Offensive and defensive maneuvers are carefully and technically executed in an atmosphere free from anxiety, stiffness, and tension. Then, we increase the speed and realism in "Ten-no Kata" where partners attack full speed while striving to maintain the correct body condition learned in Kata and Kihon.

          (3) KUMITE: Once proper skeletal alignment and muscle control have been slowly and carefully refined, we move on to Kumite, or sparring. We use no mats, no pads, no referees. The goal is to become one with your partner's motion, break down their breathing, timing, and distance to attack at unrealized moments of stiffness or lack of focus or intention. Thus we strive to control not only ourselves, but ultimately our partner as well in order to protect ourselves and those in need.


          A. Techniques...
          Techniques are the basic vocabulary of the martial arts: punching, kicking, blocking, moving, etc. KDS practice seeks to align the skeleton according to the natural laws of physics that will make it possible for energy to flow freely through the joints and leave the body or be redirected.

          B. Muscle Control...
          This is the ability to use individual muscles (or muscle groups) independently or in sequence. To avoid being both stiff or floppy is challenging, but special exercises devised by Harada Sensei can develop a unique muscle dexterity that enables quick responses and penetrating force.

          C. Power & Penetration...
          Training in a stiff, rigid manner is to build a flawed body condition. In striving to relax the joints, KDS practice helps eliminate tension and allow for the release of energy rather than touching for points or trying to push through for effect.

          D. Stability...
          KDS practice strives to be constantly settled. It is to be connected to the ground and thus have the ability to maintain position, retreat, or attack. Most stances we would simply call snapshots of movement, except Kiba-dachi (see below), which we use often to strengthen the leg muscles necessary to settle properly. To be stable is to be relaxed, settled, loaded, strong and mobile all at once.

          E. Mobility...
          The phenomenal speed and power generated by experienced KDS practitioners originates in stability and is unleashed through mobility. It is to be ever settled, but always moving--a seeming contradiction, but attainable through constant moving practice in relation to a partner rather than against an opponent.

          F. Distance & Timing...
          Moving with a partner helps us learn to understand and manipulate this delicate relationship. It is the ability to sense intention and move the right distance, at the right time, with the correct speed instead of simply charging at or reacting to another person's movement.

          G. Strength & Flexibility...
          In KDS practice we also strive to increase our muscle strength throughout our range of motion rather than trying to build bulk or kick high. Proprioceptive Neuromuscular Facilitation, or PNF stretches, are utilized to aid in achieving this goal.


            I still say ask the instructor and watch the brown belts, but the sparring being described as using no gloves doesn't make me think they're going to go past light.


              Ok, I'll ask at class on Thursday.


                I asked and he told me it goes up to a free / full contact sparring, but only at the Brown/Black belt levels. Apparently he and the only brown belt here do some before everyone else gets to the class, and he invited me to come early to watch.



                  There is another thread on Harada Sensei that you can find if you search for it. I've had two cents' worth of say on it, and won't repeat myself here; but I'm not a big fan of KDS - because all the talk about how Harada has discovered the true secret of relaxation and body control, etc., is hooey. And kata as relaxation exercises? What???

                  BTW: the 'sparring or no sparring' question isn't really a question, because it misunderstands the seamlessness of the relation between kihon, kata and kumite. The advanced study of bunkai is free sparring, but it takes time and patience to get there. IMHO you shouldn't be in too much a hurry to do jiyu kumite. Study kata, kata, kata - not just how to do them, but what they mean - to the limits of your imagination. A lot of people who contribute to this site will disagree with me, though.


                    And for good reason.


                      Originally posted by maofas View Post
                      And for good reason.
                      Oh not another of these threads LOL



                        Go on?


                          Originally posted by HenryT View Post
                          Go on?
                          everyone knows how I feel about Kata , which is if you dont know , Kata is a very valuable training tool. There are alot who discount it .
                          I said this before its up to the individual to decide but my premise is if you dont like Kata dont pick a school or a style that puts alot of empathis on Kata .


                            Fox, I recommend that you either present evidence for your arguments vis-a-vis the usefulness of kata, or STFU. It's become trollish the way you inject yourself into every damn thread with your "hey it's all opinion man but kata rocks" bullshit.

                            Make your own thread where you present your arguments and thoughts, and hash it out there. Stop interfering with this site's mission of pointing people towards worthwhile schools.



                              Couldn't agree more. But someone (Miyagi?) remarked that kata without bunkai is Okinawan folk-dance. When Harada san announces that kata is really a relaxation exercise (which is what I understand his position to be), I don't really know what he means. Maybe I'm misunderstanding something here.



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