In this article I want to talk a little about the problem with karate training, with particular emphasis placed on the training rather than karate itself. Before I do this I want to make one thing clear: martial arts in general, karate included, have a lot to give – the more you put in, the more you get out – but receiving instruction from someone who thoroughly understands the principles and theories of his or her chosen art is essential for turning a style into a practical self-defense tool.
Picture the scene:
You are walking through the park and a guy steps in your way. He’s clearly looking for trouble and he’s brought his friends along for the ride.
Does he want to rob you? Beat on you?
You don’t want to wait to find out, so you drop into a solid front stance like your teacher showed you in your karate training classes; you chamber your fist at your hip and prepare to deliver a straight-on forward punch. You know, just like you’ve drilled countless times…
… And then reality puts the lie to your karate training!
Maybe the jerk bull-rushes you and you can’t move quickly enough in your rigid stance to get out of the way. Perhaps your standard outer block is useless against his jabs and looping punches. Or perhaps you attempt a sequence out of one of your katas only to find that your opponent fails to react as you’d expected him to, rendering your actions useless.
The problem with karate training, you see, is that few karate instructors teach karate as a practical form of self-defense. That means that most martial arts instructors don’t (or can’t) teach you how to use an ancient art against modern attacks.
They teach katas as part of their karate training but they either demonstrate incorrect, impractical applications of the techniques contained within them or they don’t teach applications at all. They teach stances that are rigid and inflexible, rather than fluid concepts of movement that can be adapted to any situation.
It’s not their fault. Most of them don’t know any better. It’s probably how they themselves were taught.
In many cases, the original meaning behind the techniques contained within the kata has been lost over the course of the evolution of the kata themselves, because the kata that are taught today have been watered down and modified from the original Chinese Kung Fu, and Okinawan karate forms from which they are descended.
In addition, modern karate practice focuses on the promotion of fitness and personal discipline, and the development of karate as a sport and performance art, rather than on the development of practical, effective self-defense techniques. I say that from street experience, but also know that there will be a lot of instructors and students who will be ready to defend their methods. Learn more about Best Karate Coaching In Kolkata here.
To them I say, you don’t have to prove your movements, ideas, and methods to me. You’ll have to convince the street-smart thug or gang-banger who’s coming at you with a club or a knife!
However, as I said in my opening, the more you put in, the more you get out. Plenty of people toil for years to develop practical applications out of seemingly impractical kata techniques; they struggle to discover better karate training methods than the regimented “robotically performing moves alongside your fellow students to a strict count’ methodology that is the training rule, rather than the exception these days. Maybe what they invent works, maybe not. They need to put themselves in a deadly situation to find out.