Karate practice comprises 4 categories of training which are all linked together. Kihon, Kumite, Kata and Bunkai. Students are encouraged to practice all categories in order to gain a good understanding of karate and its application for self-defence.
Four categories of training
Kihon is basic training practice, no opponent, no contact, developing strength, timing, co-ordination, mental alertness, fitness, speed, instilling instinctive body movements. Practiced in class with other students, or practice alone at a time and place of your own choice.
Kumite practice is about learning how to apply kihon and kata in a fighting situation. We commence with predetermined moves with a partner. We take turns to strike and block. These prescribed moves help us practice co-ordination, reaction, dealing with different attacks. Higher grades practice free-style fighting once they have demonstrated an ability to control their moves accurately.
We have 27 kata in our syllabus. It generally takes about 10 years training twice a week for students to learn how to perform them all to a good standard. Kata practice is no contact. See our section on Shotokan Kata for more details
We also work on Bunkai (applications of the kata techniques) for selected moves in the katas. This helps interpret the kata and encourages practice in a determined manner for continual development. Bunkai practice helps with our preparation and our abilities for self-defence Bunkai practice does involve contact.
For our bunkai practice, we pick up ideas from each other, our teachers and those published on the internet to see if we can make them work for us. When the bunkai does not work we keep looking for ways that improve our understanding and for those that have a chance of working if required for real.