The Origins of Karate
Karate (Kara-te) means Open-Hand or a hand without a weapon and is known to many as a sport of kicking and punching. But if one was to visit any of the thousands of Dojo, (communally known as a training hall, you would feel an energy from children and adults marching up and down in strict lines, making rapid hand and leg movements while screaming out warrior cry’s (Kiai). However, there is a lot more to this Martial Art than just the exercise.
Karate is best known in two forms, first as a sport and second as a traditional fighting (Martial) art.
More than just exercise
There’s no doubt that you will get a high intensity workout from taking a Karate class, but besides developing your body for fighting by means of blocking, kicking and hand attacks, this helps to develop fitness, physical and mental ability, discipline, respect and confidence, particularly in children.
The Traditional Martial Art of Karate is very different to the sport, as it has a philosophy that accompanies the ‘energy’ in physical training and the development of the spirit.
The essence of Karate training is Kata (set forms) and it is the Kata that preserves the techniques of the system with the main focus on breathing. Some of the very early Kata forms such as Sanchin (Three Battles) have very slow movements using extreme body tension and very deep breathing to allow the body to develop. The breathing assists in allowing the body’s internal systems to open and increase the flow of energy, as the slow moves turn to very fast moves, all practiced as one smooth movement throughout the complete form. All of this is taught through breathing exercises and a focus on internal energy to develop power.
Each and every lesson pushes the student to their limits and beyond. When a student wants to give up, they must be encouraged to continue. When the body feels tired, the mind must stay focused and let the spirit shine through.
How did you start in your journey with Karate?
I have been training in traditional Shotokan Karate for over 50 years now, originally under the late Kenosuke Enoeda in Japan. I’ve also trained in other forms of martial arts, such as Aikido and Kobujitso, along with many other forms of karate including Goju Ryu.
I have travelled to many parts of the world studying martial arts with some of my time spent in Japan and also in Sydney, Australia under Takehashi Sensei from the Japan Karate Association. Having won numerous national tournaments in kata and kumite, I subsequently opened a Dojo on Bondi Beach and continued my training under Yoshikazu Sumi Sensei.
Returning to the UK in 1984, the Windsor Dojo was opened, and I was awarded the title of Sensei (teacher) and the grade of 5th dan from Sumi Sensei in Japan.
A passion to spread Karate
With the main headquarters as the Windsor Honbu Dojo, adult and children’s classes are also held in Eton Wick, Maidenhead and Wraysbury. The highlight for me is watching beginners transform not only physically with strength, power, stamina and agility, but particularly the children who are gaining invaluable skills in their levels of confidence, resilience, self-discipline, and respect – all of which are all crucial elements of traditional character building.
For more information on adult, children and family classes, contact Ashley Jansen today!