What is Shotokan Karate

What is Shotokan Karate?


What is Karate:

Karate is a system of self-defense / unarmed combat which uses all of the bodies natural weapons.

Karate is a demanding and difficult martial art yet one that is highly rewarding and satisfying.

Karate is fascinating - maddeningly complex but highly enjoyable.

Karate encourages character development and personal strength.

Karate is physically and mentally demanding

Karate works the mind

Karate is for everyone and karate practise can benefit anyone.


What is Karate NOT:

Karate is not brutal nor does it encourage aggression.

Karate is not a game – in which one scores points – or a sport – in which one trains to compete and takes part in competitions.  There is however a sporting element and competitions do take place – students who wish to compete are encouraged to do so.

Karate is not a magic means to instant overnight fighting ability (anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something).

Shotokan Karate is known for its simplicity and effectiveness. Its techniques are based on the correct application of body dynamics. One also learns to apply patience, discipline, co-ordination and balance in balance with the delivery of correct and effective Shotokan techniques. We emphasise harmonious use of mind and body. At the heart of traditional Shotokan Karate training is the development of character as well as the conditioning of one's body. In karate, respect for others, calmness, and perfection of character takes priority over physical skills. Even though Shotokan's techniques can produce very effective results, Shotokan Karate is much more than a form of fighting. It is a discipline. For some, it is a catalyst that impacts, sharpens and improves all aspects of their lives.

Shotokan Karate has also become known as the sport with a purpose and might be considered as the most ideal physical exercise for children and adults of all ages. Shotokan style karate offers great benefits such as, greater focus, increased self-esteem, increased self-discipline, calmness, and a more positive attitude toward life, as well as knowledge of self-defence. The main focus of Shotokan Karate training is the perfection of character.

There are as many reasons to take Shotokan Karate, as there are people who take it. Each individual has his or her own reason for training in Shotokan Karate. However, three reasons stand out above the rest.


Some people take Shotokan Karate as a means to improve themselves. Shotokan Karate can offer rigorous physical fitness training and a way to improve speed, power, flexibility, co-ordination and confidence. Shotokan Karate is also studied by some to enhance inner peace and strength.



A great many people take Shotokan Karate as a recreational sport. Some take it to develop skill and technique (as demonstrated in the floor exercises, or "Kata"), while others who may enjoy competition, take it for the sparring (limited contact fighting against an opponent, or "Kumite"). Most people that begin Shotokan Karate training find that they enjoy both aspects of this sport. In addition to there being regional and national competitions held throughout the country, the International Olympics Committee has accepted Shotokan Karate as a future Olympic event.



Shotokan Karate is a very effective way to counter an attacker. It teaches techniques to subdue or disable. It conditions the reflexes to react instinctively if attacked. Best of all, no weapons are needed, so Shotokan Karate can be used whenever and wherever necessary.

Regardless of your reason for taking Shotokan Karate, the time invested in it will return a lifetime of benefits.


Why Practice Karate?



a) Benefits for adults:

  • Increased motor skills - allow the participants of the program to enhance their balance and hand/foot/eye co-ordination.

  • Self-discipline - promotes better problem solving capabilities, increased patience, and less frustration, which is vital to achieving worthwhile goals.

  • Physical fitness - includes increased flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, muscle tone, breathing, and overall proper health and fitness.

  • Longevity - to live longer than average.

b) Benefits for children:

  • Attention span - teaches children to focus on the task at hand.

  • Respect - children learn the importance of respect in relation to authority figures, peers, and learning institutions.

  • Leadership skills - children grow and accept responsibility as they progress in rank

  • Self-esteem - helps children to realise their intrinsic worth.

  • Body awareness - helps prevent bumps and bruises, and allows children to lead a more accident free lifestyle.

Shotokan Karate is a safe, non-aggressive activity for all to enjoy. It combines the fun and excitement of sport with time honoured tradition.  


Those who follow Karate must never forsake a humble mind and gentle manner. The Tremendous offensive and defensive power of Karate is well known where one can defeat enemies with a single attack. The value of the art depends on the one applying it. If its application is for good purpose, then the art is of great value, but if it is misused, then there is no more harmful art than karate. One who truly trains in the art of Karate-do is never easily drawn into a fight. Karate is used only in those rare occasions in which one must really defend one's self. An ordinary person experiences this situation possibly once in a lifetime, and therefore there may be an occasion to use karate techniques only once or not at all. In Karate, one's individual goal might be improvement of his or her health or training of his or her body to function efficiently. One might wish to develop total body strength and co-ordination or to attain poise and spiritual fortitude. One who trains in Karate do strives internally to train his or her mind to develop a clear conscience enabling him or her to face the world truthfully, while externally developing strength.


Shotokan Karate is recognizable by its linear, direct punching, blocking, and kicking techniques from low stances. Shotokan emphasizes correct posture, correct joint alignment, and formality of basic technique above all else. The Shotokan expert is expected to perform using strictly defined basic techniques even under harsh conditions. Creativity and “freelancing” are not looked upon as favorable in Shotokan. Basic techniques are defined to the minutest detail, and performing them with absolute perfection is given the highest priority.  The intrinsic mastery of one’s body dynamics to generate fantastic amounts of power is really what sets Shotokan Karate apart from other styles. The modern science of Biomechanics and Sports Medicine has been fused with ancient Japanese and Okinawan training methods to produce one of the most powerful Martial Arts in Human history…. SHOTOKAN!


The Shotokan view is that purity of raw technique is most important. The idea behind this is that one elegant technique mastered so completely that it is as natural as flipping a light switch will finish off the opponent quickly and efficiently. In situations where there are multiple opponents, such an ability is believed essential because there may not be time to throw more than one technique per opponent, and grappling and getting tangled up with your adversary when two others are also trying to harm you is probably unwise. Therefore, each Karate technique is maximized at the expense of learning more complicated defenses.  In combat, less is usually more.  Simple techniques win (physical, mental and emotional) engagements.  The Shotokan belief is that nothing is more important than strong basic technique.


When attacking, the Shotokan expert will drive directly forward with straight punches and kicks while sweeping at the ankles to unbalance the retreating opponent. Shotokan experts are familiar with other types of techniques, but they generally avoid them unless they feel secure in their superior firepower.


When attacked, Shotokan fighters stand their ground. They may shift one step to the side in order to flank the attacker, but the most common defense used is a pre-emptive strike against an incoming opponent. While Shotokan is simple and does not employ a wide variety of motions, the few techniques are designed to be mastered to such a high degree of precision and ease of use that they "truly" become extremely effective weapons.