Classes usually cover the three main aspects of karate training:
- Kihon (the basic strikes, kicks and blocks, practiced separately or in combinations),
- Kata (a fixed pattern of moves, to practice defense against multiple opponents), and
- Kumite (sparring exercise performed between at least two Karateka).
Practice of Kihon is like building tools to use. If the tools are not made correctly, you may not be able to build the best product no matter how hard you try. Naturally, this component is the foundation of other two components in Karate-Dō practice and no matter how advanced one becomes in Karate-Dō practice, there is no practice without practicing of Kihon. The most important aspect of Kihon is building a strong and correct stance. Without it, any other technique built on top would not be as effective as it could be.
There are 25 Kata in the JKA – 5 Heian Kata, 3 Tekki Kata and 17 higher level Kata (Bassai-Dai, Kankū-Dai, Jion, Enpi, Hangetsu, Jitte, Gankaku, etc.). The Heian and Tekki Kata are considered to be fundamental, and these Kata are practiced by senior students as frequently as they practice more complex and advance Kata. In fact, the higher the rank of a student is, the more technical details are expected to be demonstrated in Heian and Tekki Kata. In other words, the expectation for a black belt to perform the simplest Kata, Heian Shodan, is very different from the expectation for a beginner student.
|Name||Counts||Kiai in count|
|Heian Shodan||平安初段||21||9 and 17|
|Heain Nidan||平安二段||26||11 and 26|
|Heain Sandan||平安三段||20||10 and 20|
|Heain Yondan||平安四段||27||13 and 25|
|Heain Godan||平安五段||23||12 and 19|
|Tekki Shodan||鉄騎初段||29||15 and 29|
|Bassai-Dai||抜塞大||42||19 and 42|
|Kanku-Dai||観空大||65||15 and 65|
|Jion||慈恩||47||17 and 47|
|Enpi||燕飛||37||15 and 36|
|Gankaku||岩鶴||42||28 and 42|
|Jitte||十手||24||13 and 24|
|Hangetsu||半月||41||11 and 40|
|Tekki Nidan||鉄騎二段||24||16 and 24|
|Tekki Sandan||鉄騎三段||36||16 and 36|
|Gojūshiho-Dai||五十四歩大||67||59 and 66|
|Gojūshiho- Shō||五十四歩小||65||57 and 64|
|Chinte||珍手||32||28 and 32|
|Bassai-Shō||抜塞小||27||17 and 22|
|Kanku- Shō||観空小||48||6 and 48|
|Sōchin||壮鎮||41||30 and 41|
|Nijūshiho||二十四歩||34||18 and 33|
|Unsū||雲手||48||36 and 47|
Kumite, which only involves simple attacking and blocking techniques for the junior students, becomes more challenging as the students develop their skills. The development of a student’s Kumite technique can be seen through in the progression from basic sparring to free sparring.
In basic sparring, well practiced standard techniques are used to attack and block and this includes:
- Kihon Gohon Kumite (basic five-point sparring),
- Kihon Sanbon Kumite (basic three-point sparring), and
- Kihon Ippon Kumite (basic one-point sparring).
Students attack and block five times, three times, and once, respectively.
In Jiyū Ippon Kumite (semi-free one-point sparring), the attacking student may select from a number of options such as punching or kicking to attack the announced target. The defending student will respond by blocking the attack and then launching a counter-attack. Finally, there is nothing pre-arranged in free sparring (Jiyū Kumite).
In all cases, the students should strive for speed and power along with accuracy to contact with good control so as not to damage the target. Learning good control is a very important part of training Karate-Dō. Good sense of distance is required for both attacking and defending sides.