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Senior grades at the club have said it all before, Karate is all about the three "K"s which is Kihon, Kata and Kumite.
Without each element working together in harmony, the practitioner will find that their Karate becomes diluted if one or more of these elements is left out of training.
Kihon are basic techniques which includes stances and accurate position of the body and limbs to position one self in correct form.
Correctness is critical to perform an efficient but yet strong technique where short cuts cannot be taken.
If you ever wonder why we keep talking about repetitions of correct form, this leads nicely onto muscle memory. Karateka will eventually respond to a situation without thought where the body will drop into a natural strong reaction to deal with whatever poses a significant threat to you. This why repetitions of Kihon is so important.
Kata's are sequences of Kihon where correct form should pass smoothly from technique to technique efficiently and correctly. If your Kihon is lacking then so will your Kata.
Kata is also a tool of guidance to give the Karateka direction in conflict.
Within Kata is Bunkai which is the application stage of various techniques demonstrated within Kata.
Bunkai should be real world self defensive techniques in Kata which should be unique to oneself as we are all diverse and have many strengths and weaknesses to each other.
What may be suited to a fellow Karateka may not specifically suit you.
Kumite is third element of Karate which in stages offers the Karateka to start from a basic level of sparring. This is developed in stages to the point where advanced Karateka undertake Semi Freestyle and Freestyle Kumite with opponents.
All the way through the Kumite process, Kihon is often promoted as this is the strongest and often the simplest way to to spar effectively and efficiently and quickly.
So here we are having travelled through all 3 key elements in Karate, we always arrive back at the beginning with Kihon.
Without correct Kihon, your Karate life will never be fully fulfilled as your Kata and Kumite will be compriomised when you need all three to work in harmony in your self defence.
Sensei Kev Berry