Showing posts with label Karate. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Karate. Show all posts

Sunday, December 25, 2016

How KARATE Can Help With MEDITATION

Français : Méditation avant le cours de karaté...
Meditation before the karate class 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Although the ancient origins of karate are somewhat unclear to us,The one thing I can tell you,is that about 1400 years ago,while teaching at the Shaolin Temple in China,Daruma Daishi used techniques that were similar to karate.Later these techniques developed into forms of karate known as Shaolin Boxing.

You need a clear mind to use Karate and meditating is the best way to clear your mind when you are in a sport such as karate.In 1955 one of master funakoshi's last direct pupils cam to the United States and was the first person to teach karate in this country.That same year he put together Southern California Karate Association,which has grown over several years to now become a national non-profit organization. 

As I meditated I continued to learn more about karate.I learned in 1961,which happens to be my year of birth,Mr Caylor Adkins,One of Mr Ohshima's first black belts, began attending CSULB and soon formed the school's first karate club.In 1968 after being gone for a while he returned to CSULB along with a gentleman named Mr Don Depree. Mr Depree carried on the tradition and led the growing club until the year 1992,when he entrusted the leadership of the club to Mr Samir Abboud.

Still keeping my mind clear by meditating I learned that Mr Samir Abboud was a continuing student of Don Depree since the year of 1969.Samir was the CSUBL captain of the karate club,and assistant instructor to Mr Don Depree for many years. Through meditation children and adults learn breathing techniques that help them concentrate on karate. When first starting karate you will want to start with the beginners belt.The purpose of this level is orientation.



Students will be taught the general structure of the class,basic commands,the importance of self-defense and some basic combinations of self-defense moves. By concentration with meditation the student will learn to be familiar with and to perform any of the moves on the curriculum sheet.The students also should be able to stand in a Chunbi position for 1minute without moving.Minimal proficiency will be required.

The practicing time 5-10 minutes 3-4 times a week will be plenty for the beginners level.It will usually take 4-6 weeks to start your next belt. So whether you are a child or and adult learning karate for whatever reason,remember the key to karate is first using your breathing techniques and your meditation will help you to practice your breathing.

Meditation books are also very helpful, if you are interested in learning more about meditation just go to your local library and check some of them out. Take time out to study meditation and you could be feeling much better real soon, which is something that most of us all want for ourselves. Good luck and remember that keeping a positive attitude can really make a difference in your stress levels. Please take time out for yourself for meditation. 



Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Difference Between KARATEand KUNG FU

A karate student wearing a karategi
A karate student wearing a karategi 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


For many people, especially those who are not familiar with martial arts, the question often arises on what the difference between karate and kung fu is.  Upon watching somebody doing martial arts, the untrained eye will find it hard to tell whether that person is doing karate or kung fu.  Even those who are beginning martial arts may sometimes be confused about the different styles until further exposure to them will reveal just how different they really are.

Historically, the people living in the islands of Okinawa just south of Japan got exposed to Chinese kung fu martial arts due to the close proximity to China.  Over time, the Okinawans and Japanese developed their own styles of martial arts now known as karate from the original influence of Chinese kung fu.  Although both karate and kung fu utilize many similar martial arts techniques, most kung fu styles will usually have more variety of techniques compared to karate systems.  It’s almost like the Japanese streamlined the number of techniques from Chinese systems to develop karate.  The Japanese also modified the way techniques are executed in karate as they became more linear compared to kung fu.  This is especially evident in the forms or katas (traditional sequence of set moves) where karate techniques are performed with crisp movements that have distinct stop and go motions.  

In kung fu forms, movements involve the use of more circular techniques, particularly with the hands.  These circular motions give kung fu forms a more visually graceful look as techniques seem to flow from one to another.  There is less stop and go with most kung fu styles.  This is why some martial artists, especially in North America, often refer to Chinese kung fu as ‘soft’ styles while karate and tae kwon do are ‘hard’ styles.  This is not to say that hard styles such as karate or tae kwon do are more powerful martial arts than kung fu and other soft styles.  The term ‘soft’ is a bit misleading because the power from circular kung fu moves is often hidden.  Circular moves can generate just as much power as linear ones found in hard styles.   Most kung fu forms are also usually more complex and longer in duration than most karate forms.   To most martial artists, a kung fu form will look much more exotic while a karate form will look more straight forward in terms of martial arts techniques.  Interestingly enough, there are karate styles such as goju which do have quite a lot of circular techniques similar to kung fu.  Kempo styles are considered a hybrid of Chinese kung fu and Okinawan karate techniques with both circular as well as linear techniques.  There are also many more different styles of kung fu compared to karate.  

A shaolin student doing a kung fu moves. Shaol...
A shaolin student doing a kung fu moves.
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
A shaolin student doing a kung fu moves. Shaolin Kung Fu is more than just a martial art. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)Martial arts weaponry is found in both kung fu and karate styles but different sets of weapons are utilized in each martial arts system.   Much like the empty hand forms, the kata with karate weapons are also more linear compared to those with kung fu weapons which have more circular movements.  As expected, there is a lot more variety of different Chinese kung fu weapons than found in the Japanese karate styles.
    
Traditionally, practitioners of karate wear a white uniform called a gi which features the overlapping kimono-like top.  Less traditional schools like those in North America will allow colored uniforms.  A colored belt will be the finishing touch to the gi with of course the black belt for those at instructor level ranking.  Most of the time and especially inside a dojo studio, karate stylists will not wear any shoes while training.  Most kung fu stylists will wear a very different looking uniform.  Kung fu uniforms usually consist of tops with Chinese ‘frog-style’ buttons rather than overlapping fronts like the karate gi top.  The uniforms can be black or a variety of colors with often lighter fabrics such as satin and shoes are commonly worn.  The modern acrobatic Chinese martial arts of wushu can feature satin uniforms with many different bright colors.  Many kung fu schools simply utilize t-shirts and baggy pants as uniforms.  Satin colored sashes are often worn to signify rank of students but this is actually more of a North American style as most kung fu schools in Asia do not show rankings in uniforms.

Overall, there’s more variety of techniques, styles, weapons and uniforms found in the Chinese kung fu systems compared to karate.  However, that is not to say that one system or style of martial art is superior to another.  They are just different and to the observer, it could come down to personal preference.  Some prefer kung fu and some prefer karate.  Some ambitious martial artists who desire a full well rounded education practice both kung fu and karate.






Saturday, June 4, 2016

Training with Martial Arts Weapons - KARATE KUNG FU Weaponry

English: Martial arts weapon.
Martial arts weapon. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There are opportunities in martial arts training to learn to use various martial arts weapons.  Many martial arts schools, especially those that teach Japanese karate and Chinese kung fu styles have weaponry as part of their overall curriculum.  Popular weapons from karate systems include the bo staff, kama, sai, sword, nunchaku and tonfa.  Chinese kung fu styles have broadsword, 3 section staff, kwan do, whip chain, butterfly knives as well as their own versions of staff.  Of course, there are many other types of weapons in martial arts but the above are the more common ones taught.  

Some of the more exotic weapons include the fan, rope dart and the hook swords.  Martial arts weapons can be divided into short and long range.  An example of a short range weapon would be a pair of sai.  The bo staff would be a long range weapon because of the longer reach.  Weapons can also be divided into bladed and non-bladed.  Kamas and swords of course would be bladed weapons where staffs and nunchakus would be non-bladed.  In most training situations with bladed weapons, the blades are not live.  That is, the blades of swords and kamas are blunt rather than sharp.  This adds to the safety aspect of martial arts weapons training.  Weapons can also come in different weights from heavy traditional models down to ultra light weight versions for forms competition.  

Martial arts weapons are considered as extensions of a martial artist’s own body.  For example, strikes with a weapon are really extended hand strikes.  Blocks with weapons are modeled after traditional martial art blocking techniques.  Therefore, it is important for martial arts students to be relatively proficient with martial arts techniques using their own bodies first before learning to use any martial arts weapon.  This will help the students understand the applications behind each weapons technique much better.  In most Japanese karate schools, weapons training won’t be offered until students reach an intermediate level such as green or blue belt.  There are martial arts that are strictly weapons oriented.  An example is Japanese kendo which is modeled after samarai sword fighting.  Philipino arnis is stick fighting which was developed in the South Pacific islands.  

There are many benefits in training with martial arts weapons.  Because most weapons have some weight to them, their use will help develop muscle tone and strength.  Performing forms or katas with weapons will also develop coordination.  In today’s world, martial arts weapons may not be as practical as the days of the past when it was acceptable to carry weapons wherever one traveled.  However, with some understanding of weapons techniques, a martial artist today can turn almost any household item such as an umbrella, cane or even a set of keys into weapons of self defense if required.  Another important point that shouldn’t be ignored is that most practitioners will claim that training with martial arts weapons is a lot of fun.  


However, not all martial arts clubs and studios will teach weapons.  Many tae kwon do schools for example do not include weapons in their overall training.  This is not to say that Korean martial arts do not have weapons.  The Korean martial art kuk sool won features the staff, sword and cane.  So if a martial arts student wishes to learn the use of weapons, a school that includes them in their training should be sought after.  Another alternative for students who are otherwise happy with their martial arts club that doesn’t have weapons training is to get supplementary private instruction from instructors who can provide it.

Weapons training can open up a whole new dimension to overall martial arts training.  Even advanced tai chi practitioners use swords in some of their forms.  It doesn’t matter if sometimes the swords are made entirely of wood either since the actual weapons techniques will still be used in the forms.  For many martial arts competitors, weapons forms are their favorite divisions to compete in.  From a spectator point of view, weapons forms can be very exciting to watch especially when weapons such as whip chains or kamas with strings are used since their presentations are so dynamic and even somewhat dangerous to the user.   Such weapons have caused injuries to users when certain techniques were sloppy or mistimed.  But like other aspects of martial arts, proficiency with a martial art weapon after much hard training can bring a high sense of satisfaction to a martial artist.



Saturday, April 16, 2016

History And Fundamentals Of KARATE

History:

Though Karate is often associated with Japanese martial arts, its true origin dwells in Okinawan combat techniques and Southern Chinese martial arts. It is basically a fusion of both arts and was introduced to Japan only in 1921. During this period, Karate was simply known as "Te", or hand, as called by the Okinawans. Chinese influence is evident in the original symbol for Karate - the "Tang Hand" or “Chinese Hand”.

Karate training in Shuri Castle
Karate training in Shuri Castle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
There were no specified or concrete Karate styles in the early days and simply generalized as Shuri-te, Naha-te and Tomari-te, named after the three cities in which they were formed. Each city had its own methods, principles, system and traditions of Karate.

The introduction, popularization and modernization of Karate to Japan are mainly credited to Funakoshi, an Okinawan master, venerably regarded by many practitioners as “The Father of Modern Karate”. Other prominent Karate experts in his time include Kenwa Mabuni, Miyagi Chojun, Choshin Chibana, and Motobu Choki.

Japan began introducing Karate as a subject in schools before the Second World War and soldiers in the army were often trained in the discipline. Competitions and different styles also started emerging as several universities started karate club programs during this period.

The popularization of Karate in the West has its roots in the American military occupation of Japan and Okinawa after the Second World War, and Japanese immigration to the United States.

Fundamentals of Karate:

Karate mainly stresses on volatile combat techniques such as punching, kicking, knee and elbow strikes, and open hand methods. Grappling, joint manipulations, locks, restraints, throwing, and vital point striking are also parts of this discipline.

Karate training is divided into three main sections –

• Kihon refers to the study of basic techniques, movements and components
• Kata or 'form', a fixed sequence of moves, is a series of movements and techniques linked together by the combatative principles that the kata expresses.
• Kumite or 'sparring' evovles from well-defined kata to open attack and defense.



The Uniform – Color of the Belt and Ranks:

The Karate uniform is white and comprised of the Kimono (shirt), Dogi or Keikogi (pants) and a belt (white or colored), a combination introduced by Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo. The color of the belt is dependant on the rank and expertise of a practitioner. In accordance with commonly held standards, white belts are for beginners, and black for the highest rank. This, howver, may differ from one organization to another. Each rank may also have subdivions of its own even if the color of the belt is similar.

Styles and Variations:

Karate styles can be broadly classified into Traditional and Full Body Karate. Traditional styles are those that developed in the early period of the 20th century and include variants such as Shotokan, Goju-ryu, Wado-ryu, Shito-ryu, Kushin-ryu, and Shindo Jinen Ryu. Full contact karate includes styles such as Kyokushin-kaikan and Kansuiryu. Many of the styles have offshoots that developed into styles of their own. Although the concepts remain universal, each representation differ from one another.