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PRINCIPLES OF BASIC TECHNIQUES

The basic techniques of blocking, punching, striking and kicking are both the beginning of karate and the ultimate goal. Although only a matter of months may be sufficient to learn them, complete mastery may not come even after a lifetime of training. The student must practice regularly, with maximum concentration and effort in the execution of each and every movement.

This will not be sufficient, however, unless the techniques are scientifically sound and the training systematic and properly scheduled. To be effective, training must be conducted on the basis of correct physical and physiological principles.

It may come as a surprise to many to know that the techniques created and refined through long and continuous practice by the early karate student have been found to accord with modern scientific principles. And the more they are studied, the more this proves to be true. This is not to say that there are no unsolved problems, but these must await further study. Further refinement of karate is quite probable, as techniques are analyzed in an unceasing effort to improve them through a scientific approach.

In order to benefit from his training, the student should have a good understanding of the following primary points.

Form (katachi)

Correct form is always closely related to the principles of physics and physiology.

Prerequisites of correct form are good balance, a high degree of stability and the order of movements of each part of the body, since movements are made in quick succession in a short period of time.

This is especially true in karate because punching and kicking are vital to the art. The need for good balance can be seen particularly in kicking, where the body is usually supported by one leg. To withstand the great impact when a blow is landed, stability of all joints in the arms and hands is necessary.

With changing situations and different techniques, the centre of gravity changes, shifting to the left, right, front, back. This cannot be done unless the nerves and muscles are well trained. Again, standing on one foot for too long will open one attack, so balance must be constantly shifted from one foot to the other. The karate student must both avoid giving an opening and be prepared for the next attack.

Breathing (kokyo)

Breathing is coordinated with the execution of a technique, specifically, inhaling when blocking, exhaling when focusing technique is executed, and inhaling and exhaling when successive techniques are performed.

Breathing should not be uniform; it should change with changing situations. When inhaling, fill the lungs full, but when exhaling do not expel all the air. Leave about 20 percent in the lungs. Exhaling completely will leave the body limp. One will not be able to block even a weak blow, nor will be able to prepare for the next movement.

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Courtesy Sensei Tanzadeh Shito-Kai

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