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About Training in the Martial Arts.

There are as many reasons to practice the martial arts as there are martial arts to practice. Some folks train for self-defense, some to attain enlightenment, still others for physical fitness and to increase their self-esteem. Some people are drawn to the history of their art and the feeling of connection to warriors of old who learned the same techniques. Martial artists train for a variety of these reasons, and it is important to provide opportunities to allow students to follow their own paths in training.

At Heritage Martial Arts We Teach Karate-do.

The teaching at Heritage Martial Arts is centered around the kata and kihon of Shotokan Karate. The kata (formal exercises) of karate are stressed. Practice in kata familiarizes one with a vast number of useful techniques, which were designed for the "real world" and are effective when properly taught and understood. At Heritage Martial Arts, kata is given a place of major importance. Kata can be used for one's own individual physical and spiritual progress: they are, in essence, meditation in action, or dynamic yoga postures.

The kihon (fundamentals) are the basis of all karate training. Long hours are spent perfecting the basic blocks and strikes. It is believed that there are no blocks in karate, and that every block is an attack. To this end, great emphasis is placed on making every technique decisive. It is not enough to rush through a sloppy block, hurrying to get to the counterattack. Each technique must have total body power, focus (kime), balance, timing, and distance. These are the essential physical principles that must be present in every motion.

Emphasis is placed on karate-jitsu, which gives the student a well rounded knowledge base, not only in the range of their primary style, but in other fighting ranges as well. By exposing students to fighting ranges that are not strengths of their primary style they are prepared to better defend themselves effectively in an encounter. We also teach techniques suited to self-defense that work in the “real world” rather than tournament competition techniques more developed for the sport application of Karate.

A Typical Karate Class at Heritage Martial Arts.

What I intend to do here is give an idea of what to expect during a karate class at Heritage Martial Arts. Remember we try to train at the most intense level possible, and we are looking for your own personal best effort. Usually your basic class would usually consist of some of the following:

  • A bow in to begin the class.
  • Warm up and cardiovascular exercises.
  • Stretching and balance exercises.
  • Basics training, including blocks, strikes, kicks, combinations, breakfalls, etc. These may be done from a static stance (hachi-dachi or kiba-dachi) or moving. This would probably be the longest part of the class.
  • Advanced or new techniques.
  • Kata training.
  • Sparring training.
  • Self-defense training.
  • Weapons training.
  • Cool down exercises.
  • A bow out to end the class.

There are beginner and advanced classes. When in a class of all ranks, quite often the class must be taught to the lowest common denominator, which would be the lowest ranking students in the class. However, with an advanced class, as there are no lower ranks, these classes concentrate on more advanced techniques and advanced kata. It also gives the advanced students a chance to train for a longer time at a higher level (as everyone would be of higher rank).