When searching for self defence classes you will probably be bombarded with a number of different results: Self defence classes for women, martial arts, judo, kickboxing and more. So where do you start?
We’re here to help make your search that little bit easier by introducing you to the ancient art form of Karate. We also aim to expel some of those preconceived ideas around karate and explain why karate is so highly recommended as a martial art; one that can improve overall confidence, mental agility, fitness and, of course, teach you vital self defence skills.
So, let’s begin.
Why is Karate Good for Self Defence?
Karate is an ancient martial art that promotes defence over and above the need to attack or instigate fighting: One of the fundamental rules of karate is to defend yourself at all times and this is rooted in the guiding principle that ‘there is no first strike in Karate’. In Shotokan Karate the majority of the moves you learn are blocks. Blocks from kicks, sweeps, punches and jabs.
In addition to this a proportion of most lessons is dedicated to learning self defence moves that can help you get out of normal attacks that might occur on the street such as, strong hold restraints, knife attacks, head restraints and more.
Karate is a discipline: Karate teaches us to connect with the inner-mind. You are taught to be ready, focused, switched on and alert, and through training it is possible to develop the ability to instantly switch from a normal state into someone who is highly alert and in a composed mental state. This means that you are free from other external thoughts, free from worry and focused at all times.
This is particularly useful in combat situations where you need to defend yourself from any form of attack. Many self defensce classes only teach you how to execute certain moves. But what it doesn’t teach you is how to switch on mentally and be prepared to defend. Therefore, if you aren’t mentally up to the task of defending yourself the chances are you have already lost the battle.
If you did need to immobilise your attacker a karate punch is one of the most effective: Different martial arts and self defence classes will teach different attacks. However, the principles behind a karate punch or kick is based on executing an attack with minimal effort with maximum impact. Hikite is the technique that teaches about force. Punches are like a loaded spring in that all the force comes from within while retracting your opposite hand. This means that every punch is delivered with full force and accuracy. Another way to ensure effectiveness is through mastering hip control and utilising the power contained within the core muscles within the human body. When these techniques are combined, an opponent, no matter how big or strong, simply couldn’t withstand a properly executed karate punch.
While karate does not advocate fighting or attacking, there may be instances or situations where it would be necessary and this knowledge of human anatomy, coupled with mental readiness cannot be found in any other form of self defence or martial art.
How is Karate Good for Children?
When looking at the guiding principles of Karate you will understand that the core focus of karate lies within self improvement. This doesn’t relate to being proficient at karate but more to do with mental agility and focus. The founding father of Shotokan Karate, Gichin Funakoshi (1868 – 1957), once said “The ultimate aim of karate lies not in victory nor defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants.”
Karate therefore promotes strength of character, to have self-control, confidence, discipline, focus and to be ready at all times. We have a lot of children participating in our karate sessions and it is incredible to see the mental and physical development that comes as a result of their training. Many children, particularly small children start sessions not being able to focus on the Sensei (teacher) for more than 15-20 minutes. Children are naturally inquisitive, are distracted easily and can struggle with their coordination. We generally see improvement within the first few months and within a year children are able to focus quickly, carry out commands, control their curiosity and have achieved a good level of mental and self control.
We have even had reports from parents that their child’s ability to concentrate in the classroom has improved as a result of learning karate.
Composure is an excellent skill for children to learn: At the risk of repeating ourselves, karate ultimately aims to teach control and composure. This is brilliant for children whose emotions and language is still in its infancy. Children will often cry, lash out, and simply cannot control their emotions or their bodies and can end up getting into trouble at school or nursery for hitting or biting. Karate can help to combat levels of anger, frustration and aggression by teaching discipline and control.
So, If you hadn’t considered karate before then you definitely should do. If it’s self defence classes you’re looking for then there really isn’t anything that rivals karate especially if you want to achieve strength of mind, fitness and self defence.
Where Can I Learn Karate?
There are many karate schools up and down the country and choosing a class can sometimes be daunting. So don’t forget to return here to check out our essential guide to finding the karate class that is right for you – coming soon!
However, if you are in the Leicestershire, Market Harborough or Northamptonshire area then Kokoro Karate Dojo (formerly Kibworth Karate) is a great club. Established in June 2015 Kokoro Karate Dojo (formerly Kibworth Karate) already has over 35 members and is part of the highly esteemed Conroy Karate group. The group is led by 8th Dan Sensei Conroy who has over 30 years teaching experience and is dedicated to teaching Shotokan Karate rooted in ancient traditions.
Feel free to contact us if you have any questions.