Importance of preparatory exercise, "Goju Gymnastics"
Preparatory exercise “Goju Gymnastics “originated by Chojun Miyagi is a very rational exercise method and physical strength strengthening method for training Karate. Its major feature is that it is an exercise method to enhance the functions of each part of the body and to relate to the acquisition of Karate skills. With the improvement of performance of the Kata and the kumite, the understanding of the exercise method will deepen.
The performance of the Kata is the core of Karate training
Goju Ryu Karate has basic Katas, Sanchin and Tensho, and 10 Katas of open hands Kata including Gekisai.
When performing Kata, we try to master something like “emptiness and truth” by accurate techniques of defense and offence with imagined opponent in mind, being aware of learning the change of technique as a feature of Kata, the movement of the center of gravity and breathing in/out method on the performance line. Therefore, the Kata is not a mere way one moves as “performance” and the spirituality of the performer greatly affect the actual state of the training
Unlike status in other martial arts, Kata in Karate is the center of Karate training. In other words, the principles and norms are given to practice Karate, so it is important to master the Kata and repeatedly practice the correct offence and defense techniques, and, in addition, to theoretically study the offence and defense methods. Froｍ there, we can learn to keep our mind calm and to move our body correctly following Karate theory during the actual fight.
In particular, the basic forms of Sanchin and Tensho are the basis as toughening form of Goju Ryu. Balance between the tightening of the muscles & bones that incorporate the unique “strong breathing method” and the one’s sensation of the body which is a subject of movement is fostered. And a robust body and the spirit of karate-do are cultivated, being awakened to agreement of clenched fist & body (physical physiology, harmony of power) and agreement of clenched fist and Zen
In training Kata, there are things such as strong & weak and suitable & unsuitable in a person depending on the age, gender, physique and skill of each person, but it is important to repeat all the Kata learned.
In the practice of Kata, there is nothing to tell you which Kata is important and there is no end to the practice. Kata can be said to be genuine only when it is acquired and becomes your own.
In practicing karate-do with a technique of flexible offense & defense by Kumite that is more practical, it is important to try to acquire technique of offense-defense of which the correct basic skill and strength are really felt. There is Kumite as a training & toughening method for that purpose. In Kumite, as you and your opponent will use techniques on each other, it is performed in a form closer to actual fighting.
There are a Tanren Kumite and a Yakusoku Kumite which are the Kihon (basis) of Kumite.
After the competition were began, a free sparring became common. The focus was on competing for victory and defeat rather than toughening. There are various rules in the game style, but when doing Free Kumite, it must be done under the supervision of a teacher or instructor. Kumite is meaningful and exquisite only when the body movements that are flexible offense and defense are performed sufficiently with the precise techniques of Karate-do. Therefore, the game style must be such that it is possible to determine the victory or defeat accurately, and that anyone can understand. In Goju Ryu Karate, there are various techniques of offense and defense, in a close distance between oneself and the opponent, and, therefore, it is difficult to judge the technical victory or defeat in the rules of the current “competition game”.
Indispensable auxiliary and cooling-down exercises
Auxiliary exercise promotes and assists the improvement of Karate technique by indirect aid, and trains flexible and powerful physical strength. There is also training of body parts as a weapon, but the main purpose of training is to build tough muscular strength. In other words, in order to be proficient in with the basic techniques of Karate, comprehensive training of nerves and muscles such as body flexibility, durability, quickness and balance is promoted. In addition, after exercise, it is important to do cooling-down exercise (stretching exercise).
As auxiliary exercises using equipment, sports equipment such as barbells, dumbbells, and expanders are used in addition to those that are traditionally used in Okinawa, such as lifting stones and hand grips Nigiri’ Kame. The same effect can be obtained by using either one, but it is desirable to use them according to their own bodily power. Rather than suddenly using a heavy one, it is better to think about variations, such as increasing the number of movements and increasing the speed with a light and reasonable one.
As for gymnastic exercises without using apparatus, there are calisthenics such as stretching, push-ups, open leg exercises, and handstand exercises. We try to incorporate various kinds of exercises considering physical strength of people.
Always familiarize yourself with Makiwara.
When practicing Makiwara, you always punch and kick with your abdomen and waist facing the Makiwara correctly. It is important to practice with the correct posture while balancing the whole body, not just with the hands and feet. At that time, consciously punch and kick while adopting the breathing technique (breathing in/out technique). This breathing technique in Makiwara has the same effect on demonstration of Kata.
When facing a Makiwara, you should practice without forgetting the fighting spirit that you are always punching, striking and kicking towards a living opponent. If you increase the number of practice times while gradually changing the strength from slow to sudden, from weak to strong, you will be able to do it intensely. It is important to always be familiar with Makiwara for Karate training.
Six teachings of Karate training
Komeikan is practicing Karate with the motto of “strongly,” “correctly,” and “cheerfully” without being hit by people and without hitting people.
Those who practice Karate should respect courtesy so as to say that “starts with courtesy and ends with courtesy”, and should not forget the founder’s philosophy that “to finish without incident, without being hit by people and without hitting people”.
Followings are six tips for training.
- ①Don't neglect every one fist and one kick
- Always practice seriously while virtualizing the opponent's attacking means. Don't lack the fighting spirit of surrendering the opponent with a single blow without forgetting the attitude that lies at the root of Karate technique, which is “getting a high sense of dignity of detecting the opponent's speculation quickly and hitting it before the opponent takes action.”
- ②Practice repeatedly every day
- If you do not practice even one day, you will not be able to see brilliance of the skill and fullness of energy. The most important thing is practice by repetition every day.
- ③Practice considering importance of the basic skills
- It is important to acquire the correct basic techniques. As it is said that “the training of basic skills is the innermost secrets”, if you do not rush forward and devote yourself wholeheartedly to the practice with enthusiasm, you will master skills definitely.
Also, self-training tends to lead to bad habits and can require a lot of effort in correcting later.
- ④Choose a good teacher
- Beginners think that the first teacher is everything. That's why choosing a good teacher (a good instructor) is important for later Karate training. A good teacher always hopes pupils to be better persons than himself or herself. That is the right figure of the person who teaches, and the correct Karate is inherited by the good instruction of the good teacher
- ⑤Learn practical skills and theory in parallel
- The combination of learning practical skills and theoretical research enables to produce a fine achievement. To conduct the practical and theoretical research in parallel without biasing one side promotes training progress. When training, it is important to carefully identify your strengths and weaknesses, and also to fix your mind upon and observe the skills of other trainees.
- ⑥Don't be conceited
- As it is said that "Karate has no innermost secrets", Karate is a road for lifetime training. Even though you master a skill, you must not be pride of it, do not lapse into self-righteousness, always reflect on yourself, and strive to cultivate your mind and body.
5 Articles to be aware of in everyday life
- ①Take appropriate sleep and refrain from eating and drinking immoderately.
- It is important to have appropriate sleep and refrain from eating and drinking immoderately. Immoderate eating and drinking will slow down your body movement and let you lose your vigor. When practicing, take a rest for at least 30 minutes before and after a meal respectively. Also, take a proper amount of water during the training to avoid the dehydration.
- ②Do not neglect to look after your nails and hair
- Always keep your fingernails and toenails short. If you keep your nails long, you will not only hurt your opponent, but you may also have an unexpected accident such as losing your own nails. Also, you cannot demonstrate correct gripping nor sufficient kick technique. If your hair is too long, it will disturb your practice.
- ③Be sure to urinate and defecate before practice
- This is important in preparing the physical condition before practice.
- ④Always clean your training suits
- When used training suits become sweaty, they are unpleasant for both yourself and others, and if there is a torn part in the suits, they can cause unexpected injury. It is important to always keep your training suits clean so that you can practice with a fresh feeling too.
- ⑤Practice without haste and with regularity
- Generally speaking, it is good for health to limit the training time within three hours a day. Also, training should not be biased and should continue evenly.