Training consists of different aspects that form an integrated and comprehensive approach. The aspects are:
1. Physical Training
Karate practice is an excellent way of keeping fit, emphasising all-round development of the body. Most people who start karate want to improve their physical fitness. Physical training is usually divided into four categories:
Warming up - it is important to check the joints and to raise the body temperature. Stretching muscles is best done when the body is warm to prevent muscles being torn. This usually involves low impact exercises such as jogging.
Flexibility training - during training your limbs move further than in normal everyday activities. We need to prepare the body using stretches and to understand how to use them effectively. Attention is given to the physiology behind safe ways to stretch (such as the PNF technique).
Speed - education of the optimum muscles to generate fast and smooth actions.
Stamina - exercises to build up the body to maintain peak work rate during the training.
2. Kata (fundamental training)
Kata is a series of karate movements and techniques joined together to make a sequence. Kata are designed to enable the practise of all karate techniques. There are just over 25 kata, ranging from quite simple kata involving only a few techniques, to very complex kata requiring jumps and physical dexterity. If a particular kata can be performed well, then one has grasped many of the fundamentals of karate - concentration, balance, coordination, technique etc.
3. Kihon (fundamental forms)
Kihon is the exercise of the basic physical techniques. Training in the individual techniques allows the action to be executed smoothly, accurately and efficiently. It is during these practices that students learn the skills that will be the foundation on which the rest of their karate will be supported.
4. Ten-no Kata (basic application)
These basic exercises teach you how to apply the technique in relation to a partner. The partner executes an agreed attack to which you exercise a specific defence and counter. The skill developed is to learn to follow the trajectory of the partners attack and to apply a defensive technique in time and to gain maximum efficiency from it and to understand what counter technique will work.
Skills like how to move in a fast, yet physically relaxed manner; how to punch, kick or deflect attacks -all of these are covered in a systematic manner.
5. Sanbon Kumite (pre-arranged sparring)
The more subtle differences between controlling the partner or the partner controlling you comes down to being able to see that split second when the attacker is vulnerable and you need to exploit it. This practise is based on 3 nominated attacks delivered in one overall sequence, so that the defender can look for and check the time and position for the defence and apply by the 3rd attack. The defender can determine whether their ability to read the attacker and exploit an opening is of the appropriate skill level.
6. Ju-Ippon Kumite (limited sparring)
Being able to defend depends on your ability to read the attack. This requires you to subtly determine when the partner will execute their attack. Ju-Kumite allows you to probe the attacker through adjusting the distance to find an indication from them as to the time when they would execute their attack.
7. Ju-Kumite (free technique)
This practice is one of the most difficult of karate practices to accomplish well, and the easiest to perform badly. At its highest level, Kumite involves the free use of any karate technique, usually against a single opponent. Skilled practitioners only practise this when they have mastered the control of their technique. Kumite is usually only practiced by those of considerable experience.