Bradford Bushido Ryu Shotokan Karate Club (est. 1985)

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Shotokan Karate is a martial art with its origins in the Far East and is the most widely practiced style in the world. It owes its popularity to its structured and well disciplined approach to training. It is a dynamic art and puts extreme physical demands on the mind and body. Our aim here is to give you a brief insight into karate, how we train and learn.

All our training sessions start with a warm up. It is important to warm up properly not just to reduce the risk of injuries but to develop flexibility. This flexibility is crucial. Not just that it allows maximum reach but also that it allows movement to be fluid and direct thereby ensuring fast accurate delivery of the technique. It is no accident that our lifestyle does not lend itself to our having natural flexibility. Our younger members usually find that stretching comes easy, as do the lady member to a certain extent. The ones who struggle the most are the men !. There is no easy answer to achieving great suppleness but regular stretching, everyday, including as soon as you get up will give results.

When we are fully warmed up we will usually move on to some basic techniques. We practice punches, kicks and blocks in different combinations to improve speed, strength and the quality of the technique. Each has to be practiced with focus, as if it was to be used to stop an opponent. The combinations are varied and will suit some more than others. Some people find hand techniques easy while others prefer leg techniques but all must be practiced.

The next step is often to work with a partner. This may be three step, five step, or one step sparring where we practice the techniques we have learnt. Working with a partner one person is the attacker and must step forward with the appropriate punch or kick. The other person must step back and deflect the attack and finally defeat the attacker with a counter attack of his own. Our partner attacks different target areas and we do different blocks and counter attacks thereby sharpening our skills to defend ourselves against others.

Kata is a predetermined series of blocks, evades and counter attacks that has to be done in sequence. The idea is that the person doing the Kata is being attacked by a number of people and they have to defend themselves and defeat their imaginary attackers. Even though their opponents are imaginary, kicks and punches must be performed with full power and effort. Kata is taught at every level within Shotokan Karate from the first training session the first basic Kata will be performed. As you progress through the grades you are taught more and more advanced Kata's but the first Kata must not be forgotten and the emphasis must be on improving your techniques, for example better stance and more power.

Multiple attack situations are sometimes practiced to help us learn how to defend ourselves against attacks from more than one opponent. Obviously this has to be developed from simple situations but gradually the karateka will develop skills to cope with these situations.

Free Style or Free Fighting is more or less self explanatory. You are free to do anything you like as long as you do not make excessive contact or draw blood (this can result in disqualification). The idea is to find a controlled technique without excessive force. Speed, agility and technique are paramount in this.

Karate can be learnt by anyone young, old, male or female. Our demonstrations show examples of how karate can be used to defend yourself. The blocks and attacks taught in karate are very affective when applied correctly and can be used to defeat a bigger and stronger opponent.

Whether you are interested in karate for sport or just to help you get fit, you can find a fascinating world of learning from your training. It requires dedication and commitment to get the best out of yourself but the training is available to all ages, both male and female.

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