Mastering the Basics

Master Karate Basics, Vancouver, BC, Martial Arts Lessons, Kitsilano, Goju

In Karate-do and Kobudo you must strive to master the basics when you train (1). Sure, you may want to leap into doing your most advanced kata or practicing an elaborate two-person set, but this really isn’t where you should be focusing your time….especially if you’re a novice.

Instead you should be learning the basics correctly: preparatory and supplementary exercises, stances, postures, kicks, strikes and parries – both static and moving. As a new student it’s your job to learn these fundamentals correctly because the fundamentals will improve your Karate-do or Kobudo faster than any other method. They will also pay you dividends in terms of improving your balance, stamina, range of motion, and strength.

Unfortunately, many new Karateka and Kobudoka suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and find themselves racing between a plethora of ill-conceived and often unrelated practices: complicated kata, elaborate two-person sets, free-fighting, etc. It’s usually not the fault of the student, but that of the teacher. Indeed, it’s the teacher that sets the content of the class and if she isn’t focused on what the essentials are and how those essentials need to be trained, then how could the student possibly know?! I suspect the student is quite confused, but since most human beings are respectful, he doesn’t ask for clarification and the confusion and ADD remain.

There’s a simple, albeit boring, solution to the problem of ADD in your training; focus on a few things until you get good at them. That’s it. Just start practicing those fundamentals and keep at them. Hell, make a list and pin it to the dojo wall to remind yourself. It may take a few months, but it will lay a strong foundation for your Karate-do or Kobudo.

Karate-do and Kobudo aren’t something that you will master in a few months or even a few years. You need to take a long-term view and instead you should be striving to master those fundamentals as you train them. Good luck in your training.

(1) In Japanese this is called “waza wo kiwameru” which I’ve talked about in an earlier post.