- THE FOUR
building blocks of karate
- As with anything of
substance Shotokan karate is based upon a strong
- Like a forty-two story
office building standing tall and proud, Shotokan karate
is supported by four cornerstones without which it could
not have stood the test of time. These four building
blocks are: a proper stance, proper posture, proper
balance and proper "kime" or focus.
- Without these four basic
building blocks working in harmony with each other,
equally weighted, and equally given their due, you will
never learn to develop your techniques to their full
potential, and thus you will never have any hope of truly
understanding let alone mastering, the art of Shotokan
- Your stance
is the platform upon which everything else is built.
- It is the beginning,
middle, and end of all that you will do as a Shotokan
karate-ka. More than any other style of karate Shotokan
is noted for its long low stances which, when
practiced correctly, are very effective at creating a low
centre of gravity, promoting good stability, and
fostering strong muscular development.
- Early on in your karate
training you will quickly be made aware of the fact that
landing in a poor stance, however momentarily, will
create a level of instability that will prevent you from
making any effective defensive or offensive movements,
while at the same time you will be leaving yourself open
to a successfully attack or counter attack from your
- Given such an opening even
a junior belt properly trained will seize upon the moment
and may be virtually assured of victory due to your lack
of stability and strength.
- Without a
proper stance nothing else is possible.
posture says it all.
- From walking down the
street, to sitting in a business meeting, or simply
driving in your car. In your daily life how you carry
yourself says a lot about who you are. Throughout our
early childhood we were all told to sit up straight, to
stand up properly, to keep our head up, and to watch
where we were going. Today how you personally hold
yourself, how you carry yourself when you move, and how
you focus on your surroundings, depends largely on how
well you have taken these early lessons to heart.
- In Shotokan karate it is
vital that you learn to always center your torso over
your hips when you move. If you can remain conscious of
this fact, especially when shifting from one stance to
another, then by combining good hip movement with proper
posture and balance you will create a strong vertical
center, thus making smooth rapid movements possible and
- The hips should be
considered the steering wheel of your body.
- You will
quickly come to learn that poor posture equates to poor
balance is the result of a proper thought.
- In karate from the moment
you start to move from one stance to another, or from one
technique to another, you are essentially risking all
that you have in the hope of achieving something better.
This period of transition often lasts for less than a
split second of time, a time in which balance plays the
role of the sun, acting as the center of your universe
around which all of your other actions must revolve.
Without proper balance a successful out come in anything
karate related is virtually impossible.
- Balance, however, can never
be achieved unless the scales are even. While your
technique and skill will weigh heavily on one side of the
scale, they must in turn be equally balanced by the
mental and spiritual side of your being. In karate trying
to perform any movement or technique requires a level
playing field, one in which each function must be awarded
just the right amount of concentrated effort necessary to
make the whole thing work as you intended it to.
- Balance is the sum of all
movement added together.
- Only when
the body, mind, and spirit are in complete harmony can
proper balance be achieved.
- Kime is the
sum of all your efforts.
- The concentrated focus of
all your physical, mental, and spiritual actions combined
at a specific moment and place in time is called kime.
The moment you make any kind of movement in karate your
true level of kime will be reflected in the accuracy and
quality of your techniques and any errors in judgement
will then be clearly visible for everyone else to see. If
your kime is found lacking then in effect nothing you
just did should be considered real. No amount of
strength, no amount of speed, and no amount of kiai can
ever make up for a lack of kime.
- In your training you must
believe in what you are doing, and that belief must have
a definitive beginning and ending, an ending that you
will find you can only reach by putting all of your other
thoughts aside and focusing for as long as it takes to
achieve your goal. Without this all encompassing belief
in the success of what you are attempting to do your
techniques will become nothing more than physical actions
without any mental substance, in a world where mental
substance is often the difference between victory or
- Without kime your karate
has no value.
- Kime is
only effective when nothing else matters.
- So there you have it, the
four basic fundamentals without which your karate will
not develop properly.
- So train hard, train often,
and make these fundamentals the basis for everything you
do in the dojo.
posture, balance, and kime,
- are the
foundation upon which you must build.
- Part the
clouds - see the way
objective of karate is to contribute to the evolution
- of the
human spirit through physical and mental training."