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Karate training is split into three aspects (which are commonly referred to as the '3 Ks'). Good, regular practise in these areas allow any Karate-Ka (Karate Practitioner) to develop their skills and improve from beginner to expert. No one aspect should be disregarded as this will ultimately affect the other two.

1. Kihon

Kihon is the Japanese term for 'Basics' or 'Fundamentals'. The practice and mastery of kihon is essential to all advanced training. It includes the practice of correct body form and breathing, whilst rehearsing basics such as stances, punches, kicks, blocks, and thrusts, but it also includes basic representative kata.

In order to pinpoint improvements in your technique and achieve the ability to consistently replicate good technique, it is important to regularly practise all basic moves with repetition.

Master Nakayama

2. Kata

Kata is the Japanese term for 'Form'. It consists of detailed patterns of movements practiced either solo or in pairs. Kata is executed as a specified series of a variety of moves, with stepping and turning, while attempting to maintain perfect form. The kata is not intended as a literal depiction of a mock fight, but as a display of transition and flow from one posture and movement to another, teaching the student proper form and position, and encouraging them to visualise different scenarios for the use of each motion and technique. Karate-ka "read" a kata in order to explain the imagined events and suggest applications for the moves and their transitions between them, a practice known as Bunkai ('Analysis' or 'Disassembly').


There are various kata, each with many minor variations between schools. Below is a list of the 27 Kata that are practised at ECSK, you are expected to learn them as you pass through the grades:

1. Kihon Kata

2. Heian Shodan

3. Heian Nidan

4. Heian Sandan

5. Heian Yondan

6. Heian Godan

7. Tekki Shodan

8. Tekki Nidan

9. Tekki Sandan

10. Bassai-Dai

11. Bassai-Sho

12. Kanku-Dai

13. Kanku-Sho

14. Jion

15. Ji'in

16. Jitte

17. Nijushiho

18. Meikyo

19. Enpi

20. Chinte

21. Hangestsu

22. Sochin

23. Gankaku

24. Wankan

25. Unsu 

26. Gojushiho-Dai

27. Gojushiho-Sho

Gichin Funakoshi practising Kanku-Dai
Hirokazu Kanazawa practising Ji'in

3. Kumite

Kumite is the Japanese term for 'exchanging, or group hands' this is widely known as sparring. Kumite is split into sub-categories in Karate:

Gohon Kumite - This is a five-step sparring exercise. The attacks (and generally, the defences) are pre-determined. This type is very good for beginners as it gets you used to receiving attacks and responding as necessary.

Ippon Kumite - This is a one-step sparring exercise. It is typically used to practise self-defence drills.

Sanbon Kumite - This is a three-step sparring exercise. Much like Gohon Kumite, it is typically used to develop speed, strength, and technique.

Jiyu Kumite - This is free sparring. It can be used in many application, including competition style Karate.

Hirokazu Kanazawa in training
Karate Kumite
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