The Shuri Karate Dojo provides a clear pathway for students to learn and improve. Below is a structure of a basic Karate lesson.
Bow In (Rei 礼)
Traditional Karate always starts and ends with courtesy. Therefore a traditional bowing ceremony precedes the beginning and end of each lesson.
Meditation (Mokuso 黙想)
Usually there is a few minutes, sometimes longer, spent on meditation practice to prepare the mind for the lesson ahead.
Warm up exercises (Taiso 体操)
A typical lesson would consist of a warm up to ensure that muscles and tendons of the body are warm enough so that the risk of injury to yourself is minimized. There will also be strength and stamina building exercises.
Basic Techniques (Kihon 基本)
The basic techniques of karate usually always follow the warm up. These will include punching, kicking, blocking, stances and basic combination movements.
Supplementary Training (Hojo Undo 補助運動)
“Hojo Undo”, meaning supplementary training; training with weighted items is also known as kigu undo (機具運動, "tool exercises") which are designed to test the karate-ka’s physical and mental tenacity and endurance. Hojo undo training is designed to develop ambidextrous physical strength, stamina, muscle coordination, speed, and posture. This style of training uses simple, traditional devices.
Partner work, Drills & Sparring (Kumite 組手)
The techniques learnt above put in motion with a partner in a controlled manner. This may involve striking various pads or controlled sparring wearing protective equipment under supervision.
Forms (Kata 型) - (for a more information on kata go here)
Forms. This is the main focus within traditional karate. These kata or forms have been handed down from generation to generation which contain a myriad of defensive applications. The kata is performed without a partner and consist of techniques and movement to a set pattern against an imaginary opponent.
Breakdown & analysis of the Forms (Bunkai 分解)
Kata bunkai is the breakdown and analysis of techniques within the kata. The application of the techniques (oyo) within a kata performed in a controlled manner with a partner. The instructor will usually show an interpretation of a move within the kata for the student to practise, but often bunkai has to be 'found' by the student once a certain level of experience is gained.
Breaking (Tameshiwari 試し割り)
The art of breaking wood, tile etc with the hand or foot. Tameshiwari allows the karate practitioner to expend total effort and energy on an inanimate object. Again practised under strict supervision.
Warm down exercises
To cool the muscles to reduce stiffness
Usually there is a few minutes spent on meditation practice to calm the mind after the lesson.
Bow out (Rei)
Traditional bowing ceremony at the end of the lesson.