Secrets of Karate (Basics)
To pass your grades in karate you need to be able to demonstrate your ability in three areas;-
Kihon - (basic punches, blocks, strikes & kicks, including body posture & stances)
Kata - these are various choreographed moves dependant upon grade.
Kumite - sparring (fighting) with another partner.
But to be good at karate and achieve anything above the level of 1st Kyu to Black Belt and above, you also need to work on all the following items;-
Control (non-contact) - our style of karate is the Traditional Japanese Karate, and the skill of being able to control a punch to within say a millimetre of your desired target increases your chances of taking down an opponent with one single effective strike. This is part of the meaning to the term referred to as a Hard style of martial arts. Again, to gain control requires constant practice and focus (concentration).
Power - ki (from stomach/core muscles) "Hara or tanden"
Hip Rotation - proper use of the technique of rotating the hips through proper body posture with speed when delivering a punch or strike/block will help increase the power and effectiveness of your technique and therefore success.
Drive - the ability to move in a direction with speed and power through proper use of stances and leg movements.
Relaxation - this takes a lot of time to practice when carrying out combinations for example, it's not until you reach about 4th kyu that one learns how to gain this ability. Proper relaxation of the muscles increases your speed and thus power and focus in a technique. Proper use of breathing techniques is important here.
Stance/Body Position - the correct foot and body position, this requires a lot of repetitive practice and focus.
Technique - the correct movement of your arms, legs and body when delivering a strike like a kick or punch. Don't sacrifice technique for speed, make sure the move you perform is a full move.
Kime - otherwise referred to as ones focus or even Spirit. The amount of concentration that you put into a technique using the correct use of breathing and relaxation. Tensing the muscles at the correct time as well as direction of the desired technique.
Personal Effort - what "you" personally want to get out of and achieve in karate. What your goal is in practicing karate. How much do you crave the perfection of your effort in karate and thus character.
Size - not important. Think of David & Goliath. With the proper use of speed and technique, described above, you can take on any adversary no matter what the difference in size between you.
Strength - not so important. Strength will come through training hard and putting a lot of personal effort into your practice at lessons, but it is not a vital factor in defeating an adversary or opponent.
Flexibility - this is very important to prevent injury and carry out your techniques correctly and can only be achieved through regular training.
Stamina - this comes with time and regular training with personal effort.
Practice, Practice, Practice!!! Repetition is the key here, keep on going over your kata's and combinations until you don't have to think about them anymore and they become automatic.
Personal Goals & Attitude - having a positive mental attitude and good wholesome balanced view in life. Being better today than you were yesterday. Always looking forward in life and not at the faults and mishaps of the past. Constantly learning and studying throughout the whole of your life. Having a love or passion for your art and doing well. Carrying out your techniques in accordance with the True Spirit of Karate-do